Question about Pentax Optio 550 Digital Camera

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550 Problem: Dust collecting inside Viewfinder

Yesterday I noticed a white fleck on the Viewfinder of my 550 which I could not wipe off. Upon examination with a loupe I discovered that there are all kinds of particles (perhaps 25 of them) have collected on the inside of the viewfinder's glass, and a few specks could also be seen when looking through it from the front end as well. They cannot as yet be seen when looking through the viewfinder as they are basically invisible to the naked eye. I wonder if others can check their 550 camera viewfinder under a loupe or magnifying glass to see if they have this problem as well. If so, there is a serious dust-sealing problem with this camera - at least within the viewfinder itself. Unfortunately, I believe this could potentially extend to other areas inside of the camera, posibly including the inside of the lens, as I do not expect that the Viewfinder chamber is a module totally sealed off from the rest of the camera's innards. I am quite worried about this and intend to contact Pentax Canada on Monday to see what they will do about it. It does not as yet interfere with camera operation - at least at this point, as it is still only several weeks old, but it could potentially get serious enough where it could interfere in it's use. As it is, the lens cover is so fragile that it does not provide a perfectly tight seal, and I have often found specks of dust on the front lens element as well.

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I had hoped that a few people would check their cameras and posted replies before I contacted Pentax about my dust problem, but nobody has so far. But it's interesting that someone else posted a message this morning that he has some dust inside the lens of his 550. Anyway, this morning Pentax Canada told me that there should definitely be NO dust inside the viewfinder or the rest of the camera for that matter. Although the Viewfinder is "almost sealed" from the rest of the camera, it is not a total seal - which means to me that if dust can get into the viewfinder, it can get into the rest of the camera's interior - including the lens and imaging chip. They have asked me to bring my camera in so they can remove any dust particles that are inside. Basically, they told me that the only place I should see any dust is inside the lens cover, which is meant only as a protective covering rather than a seal from dust. Even then, they claim that any dust on the outer lens would only enter while the camera is being used. That one I don't buy, as the lens cover is very flimsy and can easily be accidentally spread open while the camera is turned off.

Posted on Sep 08, 2005

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