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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old July 14th, 2006, 04:01 PM   #1
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Z1U grit under rings

Returning from a shoot in Afghanistan, where we got caught in a sand/dust storm while shooting, I found the Z1U focus and zoom rings now have a little grit under them, evident when turning the rings. The Sony tech explained that the lens assembly comes as one piece and that it cannot be taken apart to service or clean - a full lens replacement would be required. Any thoughts on how to remove the grit under the rings?

Najeeb
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Old July 14th, 2006, 10:38 PM   #2
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You might try calling different Sony Authorized service centers, and get different opinions. Never take just one techs advice. Remember, the lens had to be put together somehow, so somehow I'm sure it can be taken back apart.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 01:08 AM   #3
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Najeeb.

I agree with getting the authorised service people to look at the camera. While they may not be able to get inside the lens, the rest of the camera needs looking at.

Don't try using a air jet to blow the grit out. You may force it furthur inside the lens. Don't let them do it either unless they are also pressurising the lens body from the inside.

If it happens again an isolated location, depending on how much you have used the lens since, you may be able to get away with taking a piece of thin hard paper, cutting it into strips, melting some candle wax in a tincan , soaking a few of the strips in it, pulling them out, placing them on another piece of paper, placing this in a slow oven for a few minutes to soak out the excess of candle wax, pulling the strips off the paper before the wax sets, let the paper strips cool down.

The paper strips should be grey with the wax but not shiny. If they are shiny, then you need to put them back on another piece of paper and reheat them to wick the excess wax out.

Use the strips edge-on to draw through the gaps at the edges of the lens ring to pick up loose bits of grit. Most of the grit is probably caught in this area. Anything which is all the way underneath will be there for keeps.

Finally use dry strips of paper to clean out any wax which gets left behind. Getting at the lens body where it is hidden under the sub-assembly which carries the mike sockets is a problem. If you are confident, you could take this off but I am not confident so I leave it be.

Did you have the cassette lid taped over to keep grit out? If grit has got in there, it is more likely to cause you a problem than the lens in the long term if it is not cleaned out, the reason why would have a autorised service centre to look at the camera.

Again, don't use compressed air to clean it out. It will only drive grit deeper or move it onto lubricated parts where it will catch and cause wear.

I am no engineer or serviceman so don't take too much notice of my suggestions.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 06:44 AM   #4
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Sony told you right; the lens assembly is a non serviceable item according to the service manual and it costs over 1000

However a member from Italy removed his lens (search these posts back about a year ago) so he just might have one for sale.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 07:26 AM   #5
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Najeeb,

Really sorry to hear of your problem, that really blows, no pun intended!

I would not blow air in it because that will just push the sand deeper, just like Bob said. But, there is no reason you can't use a strong vacuum directed at the ring area. Vacuum all around them while gently turning the rings. You will get some out, with patience, and what is left will eventually be ground into a powder, that may come out with the vacuum later. It will do damage as it is ground up, but it may be in a low non-critical area. It might save you from replacing the lens.

I would use an attachment without a brush/no bristles, so that they do not get caught in the rings. You might also put something like tape on the end of the nozzle, to help prevent scratching on the lens. If you have the time and skills, I would attach some small piece of foam rubber on it to stop scratching and direct the suction better.

Then, you want to use a nozzle with short brush bristles and vacuum the whole camera, slowly and deliberately.

This may sound kind of strange, but maybe if the camera is working fine right now, try doing a basic clean up and continue using it. If the lens will need to be replaced anyway, you can use until it has a problem that requires replacement. After all, by the time you have the lens replaced and Sony clean the rest of the camera, it may cost you more than half the value of the camera, and I'm sure they will not warrantee that you will have no more problems.

I know Iím cheep, but I would start there. Either way good luck to you!

Mike
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Old July 15th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #6
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You can indeed see here that the lens is a sealed unit... they took apart just about everything else on the camera.

http://www.camcorderservice.nl/sony_fx1.htm
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Old July 15th, 2006, 10:18 AM   #7
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Boyd.

Do you know if the rings are directly linked mechanically via rollers or something similar to the lens system or do they simply slide around in plastic channels on felt surfaces and signal via magnetic pieces embedded in the rings and hall effect pickups to motor control circuits.

On the PD150 the rings go around forever which suggests to me something like a signal system.

If this is the case, there may well be no direct passage for dust to get into the guts of the lens except perhaps via the camera body inside. If it is a sensor system, under the rings themselves may be as far as the dust goes.

Sony are pretty clever at getting things right. I imagine they wouldn't seal a lens up non-servicable tight if there was possibility of contaminants disabling the lens.

If the lens itself is glued together to defeat dismantlement or togethered with concealed clips and latches, Sony may well have themselves in the foot shot longterm as consumers do not like to be pointlessly cashcowed into buying large subassemblies.

The FX1 and Z1 are too high-value a purchase for most of us poor peons to be flicked aside with major subassemblies being non-servicable throwaway items.

Some years back, a major automotive manufacturer vexed customers in Oz land for reason of concentrating parts support into fewer and more costly subassemblies rather than providing discreet components to repair those subassemblies.

People who had owned the type and bought another brand were known to suggest that as a reason for changing loyalties.

Hardparticle dust is too ever-present hazard in too many of Sony's export destinations, eg., nearly every beach and waterfront, inland Australia, inland west USA, much of the north of the African continent, news and C.A hotspots like Iraq, Afghanistan.

I suspect, or hope, that the grit under the lens rings situation is not an intractable problem.

Perhaps someone from Sony support might chime in and advise if there is a direct path from under the rings into the lens body for contaminents to travel or whether such contaminents can travel only so far and do no furthur harm.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 01:41 PM   #8
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That's a very good point Bob. Yes, the Z1/FX1 zoom and focus rings are like the PD/VX series in that they're some sort of encoders which drive servo motors and not mechanical controls. The zoom ring has an end stop, but it's still not a mechanical control. You can see this in action by switching from the ring to the rocker switch. While in the rocker position, move the zoom ring, then switch back to the ring position on the switch. The lens will zoom down to the new position of the ring all by itself.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 02:59 PM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions, folks - I'll give them a try. It's also encouraging to learn that the lens is sealed and that the grit can't get in. Thanks everyone for a great forum!
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Old July 16th, 2006, 12:32 AM   #10
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I wonder if flossing with waxed dental tape would help?
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