How to clean dust from a Ricoh GR III / IIIx sensor
I absolutely adore my Ricoh GR camera. It’s small enough to fit in my pants pocket, so it goes everywhere with me. And, as the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you.
Unfortunately these cameras tend to be susceptible to dust which can cause artifacts in your images, especially when using narrow apertures (e.g. f/8-f/16.)
Some owners of this camera try to avoid dust entering the camera through the use of lens caps, protective cases, and other accessories. I’ve found that in practice this means the camera is no longer pocketable - and if you can’t pocket it, then what’s the point of having such a compact camera?
Even with careful use of the camera, dust has a habit of sneaking in. Thankfully, it’s neither difficult nor time consuming to remove the dust with the right tools! Read on to learn how…
If your camera is under warranty, following this guide may void it. Cameras contain sensitive electronics which can easily be damaged. It is possible to cause irreparable damage to your camera by attempting this repair.
By following this guide you acknowledge that I am in no way responsible for any damage that occurs to your camera. If you are not confident in your repair skills please consider finding a qualified technician to remove the dust for you.
That being said there’s nothing inherently difficult about this process. Pay attention, take photos to remind yourself how everything fits together, and your camera will be dust-free before you know it.
This process can be completed in approximately 15 minutes once you know how it’s done. Expect your first repair to take about an hour.
You’ll need the following tools:
- PH00 screwdriver
- Rocket blower
- A small flathead screwdriver
- A safe spot to store your screws
- Optional - APS-C sensor cleaning kit
You will be removing screws of different lengths, so it’s a good idea to lay them out in such a way that you’ll remember where they came from. Be sure to use the correct bit (PH00) to avoid stripping screws.
A sensor cleaning kit is usually unnecessary because, unlike an interchangeable lens camera, the sensor is never directly exposed to the elements. However, if your sensor is severely dirty a cleaning kit may help to remove stubborn deposits. In my experience a rocket blower is all you need.
Throughout this guide I will refer to the sides of the camera as if you are holding it in your hands with the LCD screen on the back of the camera visible. Therefore, the movie button is on the left side of the camera, the USB port is on the right side of the camera, the lens is at the front of the camera, the shutter button is on the top of the camera, and so on.
Step 1: Remove any accessories from the camera.
Start by removing any wrist or neck strap, battery, SD card, and hotshoe cover on the camera.
Step 2: Removing chassis screws
Starting with the left side of the camera, remove the screw located at the bottom right corner (closer to the LCD screen.)
Facing the LCD screen, there is a recessed screw in the upper left corner, next to the “RICOH” text. Remove it.
There are two screws to remove from the right side of the camera. The first is located center-top, just left of the wrist strap loop. The second is hidden behind a piece of rubber just below and slightly to the left of the first screw. Peel back the rubber piece which straddles the play/review button starting from the top right corner to reveal it.
Orient the bottom of the camera so that the writing is right side up and remove the two upper screws.
Looking at the top of the camera, remove the screw under the hotshoe. Next, use your flathead screwdriver to pop out the cover from the hotshoe. Finally, remove the four screws holding the hotshoe in place, and lift out the hotshoe mount.
Step 3: Opening the chassis
You should now be able to separate the back case of the camera from the rest of the chassis. Be careful, as there is a cable attaching the two pieces inside. Gently pry the ribbon cable from the edges and then pull straight up to disconnect it.
Step 4: Reveal the sensor
Remove the three silver screws holding the sensor mount to the camera body, and flip it over to reveal the sensor.
Use your rocket blower to blast the sensor clean. If you opted to use an APS-C sensor cleaning kit, follow the included instructions.
Reassembly is the reverse of the above procedure.