I have to say, that was quick service!
I took my dusty Panasonic LX100 up to DKAVS at Horley on Tuesday morning, and by late afternoon on Thursday had an email saying that the job was done. The 'job' being the cleaning of the sensor inside the camera, which required skilled professional dismantling to get at it. Friday was already a packed day, but I whizzed back to Horley first thing, and brought my Major Equipment Investment of 2015 home for examination.
It was neatly sealed in a plastic bag. I snipped this open and considered the contents. Hmm. It looked no different. Really, there were no signs whatever that it had been opened up and tinkered with. For instance, none of the black metal screws on the exterior showed that a technician with a screwdriver had been at work. There was mention on the printed report that the thumb grip had been replaced. (I seemed to recall that the original would have to be prized off in order to get at a hidden screw) But nothing suggested it had ever been touched. Someone had been meticulous! (I had half-expected a bodge, bearing in mind the negative comments so easily found on the Internet about warranty work)
The acid test of course was whether those spots on my pictures were now gone. So I inserted the battery and memory card, and took a few test shots at f/16.
Ah! No spots! Well, well. Not only a job done quickly, but a job done properly - at least, so far as I could tell. I had just a few minutes in which to restore my custom settings (these had been wiped while the camera was with DKAVS) and then dash off to pilates. I could take some more test photos over lunch after that. Which I did. Jo and Valerie understood perfectly - they are quite used to me by now!
I looked at all these shots very carefully on the laptop that evening. The spots had definitely gone. And the camera was otherwise functioning normally, with nothing upset or disabled.
It's now Saturday. Today, or more likely tomorrow (because today is washday at Melford Hall), I will go off for a few hours and take an extended series of test photos in order to be quite certain that the repair work has been successful. Chichester Harbour is a great place for this, whatever the weather. The light will be such that I can, during the daylight hours anyway, safely set the aperture to f/16 and take everything using that, which will show up any particles that may still be lurking on the sensor.
And if that test is passed, then I'm minded to give DKAVS some positive feedback on their website.
It's tough on the little Leica. Love was rekindled, but will now be snuffed out again. I just couldn't help getting excited at having the Panasonic back. And I couldn't help acknowledging that the Panasonic's pictures were that little bit better. So it made no sense to use the Leica for preference. You've got to be ruthless. They are just tools, after all. You should use the best tool. So the poor little Leica, forsworn, will return to the boot of my car, ready to step in if the Panasonic ever develops some pox or fever in the future. At least Fiona is a lovely environment for any camera to hang about in - warm, air-conditioned, smooth-riding. Lucky Leica, I say.
And lucky Panasonic! Determined not to have a repetition of this dust thing, I have invested £19.95 in a proper bag for it. An all-weather Lowepro camera bag. Two-tone grey, with an orange interior.
This is me wearing it yesterday evening:
The point of the shot is to show the strap, which to my mind is a little on the thin side: I will have to see about a replacement that will stay comfortable all day long if need be. Still, as you can see, the upside is that the strap is long enough to turn the bag into a low-slung holster for the camera, and it sits nicely on my hip.
The bag isn't really that big, and it's still possible to stuff it (with the Panasonic safety and snugly inside, zipped up against all kinds of detritus) into my large orange leather cross-body Italian bag. But you know, I think I'll probably now make it my usual thing to wear the Lowepro bag on its own strap when walking around looking for shots, rather than hide it inside the larger girly bag. Girls take pictures too. Girls do cameras, just like men do cameras, and need protective bags for them. Nobody will say 'She's no girl' if I sport a small camera bag, made for the purpose, with a real camera inside it. I'll be out and proud on this one.