I just inadvertently scratched my DSLR's mirror system.

SimplyShaneSimplyShane Servant to My CameraPosts: 153Registered Users Major grins
edited August 10, 2010 in Cameras
(First, before I say anything, I am NOT trying to spam this message board. I know I already have two other topics active, but this just happened today and now I'm trying to cope with the results.)

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the title says just about everything you need to know. While cleaning my camera's sensor with the Digital Duster kit (http://www.flickr.com/photos/msknight/796859394/), I decided to use the same kind of swab to clean my mirrors off. (If you can clean a sensor with it, why not a mirror, right?)

Boy was I ever wrong. After "cleaning" the camera, I immediately noticed smears and light scratches in the viewfinder.
Upon taking a few shots, I discovered that my image sensor was still very much intact. In fact, after opening the image on my computer and viewing it at full magnification, I was still unable to find dust spots or any other kind of defect. Despite that good news, I am still absolutely devastated. What I have done is so stupid, I can't even attempt to defend myself. I'm sure a lot of you are even having a good laugh at such a display of ignorance.

The scratches do become a lot less noticeable with a lens attached. However, now that I know they are there I just CAN'T let it go. I'm having thoughts of selling all of my equipment (55-250mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, plus the camera body) as is and just starting over with whatever crap I can throw together.
Probably an atrocious idea though if you consider the fact that my 50mm might have a front-focusing issue and...well...my mirrors are scratched.

If you were me, how would you handle this? What's the next step? Can it be repaired?

I'm going to have a *lots* of trouble sleeping tonight. :cry :dunno
---My Photography Homepage---

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengford

Comments

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,477Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 7, 2010
    Canon Factory Service can make you whole for a fee..... http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/online_repair_tracking/consumer/eos_slr_camera_systems/eos_digital_slr_cameras/digital_rebel_xti?pageKeyCode=requestRepair

    It sounds like you have scratched your mirror surface - the mirror in an SLR is a front surface mirror, the silvering is on the top surface and is very easy to scratch, as you learned.

    A scratch on your mirror will not affect your images, but can be annoying to see in the viewfinder all the time.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,393Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 8, 2010
    Live and learn. Have the mirror replaced if you want. As you have discovered it does not affect image quality so just wait until you have a break in the action and send the camera in when you know you won't be needing it.

    Alternately acquire a second body and use this camera as a backup.

    Stuff happens. You're not the first to do this. Move on and don't dwell on mistakes. It's not the end of the world. I'm sure your comments will help others to avoid making the same mistake.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 19,018Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited August 8, 2010
    Bummer. Can scratched mirrors affect autofocus or metering? headscratch.gif
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,393Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 8, 2010
    Richard wrote: »
    Bummer. Can scratched mirrors affect autofocus or metering? headscratch.gif

    Extreme cases could cause dispersion which can (potentially) affect both autofocus (if the scratches occur in the center, partially transparent, portion of the main mirror) and metering (if an advanced dSLR with spot metering and a very small spot sample size). Remember, I said extreme. I have never seen any mirror scratches through cleaning that can cause that sort of damage. You would rather have to use a grit of some sort or have an abrasive particle caught on the cleaning swab, for instance.

    In any case I have ever seen, the scratches would not affect any system of the camera.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • SimplyShaneSimplyShane Servant to My Camera Posts: 153Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 8, 2010
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Extreme cases could cause dispersion which can (potentially) affect both autofocus (if the scratches occur in the center, partially transparent, portion of the main mirror) and metering (if an advanced dSLR with spot metering and a very small spot sample size). Remember, I said extreme. I have never seen any mirror scratches through cleaning that can cause that sort of damage. You would rather have to use a grit of some sort or have an abrasive particle caught on the cleaning swab, for instance.

    In any case I have ever seen, the scratches would not affect any system of the camera.


    Great news. Apparently the camera is still under the manufacturer's warranty. After going to the site posted above by Pathfinder, I discovered that Canon is willing to repair it for *free.* That, and it will only take 7 business days to send back to me. Much faster than I was thinking it to be...(Still going to kill me to be camera-less like that...but oh well.)
    ---My Photography Homepage---

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengford
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,477Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 8, 2010
    Good luck!!

    Clean your mirror ONLY with an air blower bulb, or if you want to live more dangerously, with a camel's hair brush or a fine brush from Visible Dust.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • SimplyShaneSimplyShane Servant to My Camera Posts: 153Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 10, 2010
    Horrible news::

    The damage IS NOT covered by the warranty after all. One call to the service center confirmed that for me. (Honestly, I shouldn't have been so naive to believe it could be covered for free in the first place.)

    It will cost right around 200-220 dollars to get the mirrors repaired.

    At that rate, I'm almost tempted to hand over my XS and trade up for an XSI that would then cost 335 dollars...(I could keep all my lenses as well. Don't have to send back the kit. Just the body.)

    But who knows...*sigh*

    Maybe I should just live with this and move on? What does everyone else think? What would be the smartest move at this point? :cry
    ---My Photography Homepage---

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengford
  • SimplyShaneSimplyShane Servant to My Camera Posts: 153Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 10, 2010
    richy wrote: »
    Live with it tbh. Yes its probably very annoying in the VF but the image is fine which is the most important thing. I might also contact some 3rd party repair shops and see if they can be more competitive on price.

    I've been cleaning the mirror for years and never bust it, thanks for the heads up, its and air blower only from now on for me!

    That's a good idea going third party...

    It's worth a shot. I'll try calling some places.
    ---My Photography Homepage---

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengford
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