One of the great things about Flickr is that there are groups of people with similar interests who not only post images, but also have discussions about issues with cameras and other aspects of photography. I’ve been a member of lots of groups on Flickr since joining in 2004 and currently I’m a member of a few Ricoh GR groups. One of them has an ongoing discussion of the Ricoh GR’s problems with dust and I’ve been tracking it: how do/did handle the dust issue?. The other day one of its members, Jamie Collinson, posted a link to a post he’s written on disassembling a GR and if you’re a GR user (or even if you’re not) it’s worth taking a look at and bookmarking for possible future use:
Many people have had dust issues with the Ricoh GR. It’s both a cult favorite camera and a rather fragile beast. A theory is that it’s retractible lens (the lens telescopes out of the camera when its turned on, then retracts into the body when it’s turned off) is acting like a bellows and pulling dust in when it moves. Another is that the seals on the camera aren’t doing their thing.
If you have a GR and you’re not sure if you’ve got dust on your sensor, the standard test is to stop down (close the aperture) to f/16 and focus on and shoot a clean white wall or a clean sheet of white paper. You’ll see the dust spots (as hopefully differentiated from dirt on the wall or paper). Or, you may have seen spots in clear skies that are shot at small apertures.
I don’t think its worth doing this surgery for a single dust spot when you can easily clean it up with an image editor like Lightroom but people who get dust in their cameras generally have a number of spots and that can be a tedious clean up process (in software).
If you generally shoot with an open (wide) aperture you’re less likely to see the dust, unless you’re really loaded with it, it generally only shows up at smaller apertures.
It’s worth it to have a look at Jamie’s post just to see what the inside of the Ricoh GR looks like, he’s got great pictures.
The only thing I’d add to his otherwise excellent post is a technique I learned doing surgery on early Macintosh computers (mostly powerbooks and early MacBook Pros) with small sets of different sized screws that might get mixed up. List the steps of the disassembly on a piece of paper and pile the screws next to their corresponding steps. For example, in his post with 7 steps, one might divided a piece of paper into 8 boxes, put a number in each box and put the corresponding screws in a box. Just make sure to not move the paper.