Sony DSC-RX100M3 Sensor Dust [Sample Pics]

I bought my RX100M3 in December 2014 and it’s pretty much the only camera I use to capture my personal memories and I choose to leave the bulky Canon 5D Mark iii for work only events.

In the last 8 months I’ve taken my trusty RX100M3 skiing in Austria, a long weekend in Paris, a stag week in Vegas, a week at Glastonbury Festival and most recently a week in Switzerland. I look after my kit and it’s never dropped, exposed to moist or excessively dusty environments, kept in a soft pouch, etc. It’s got an official Sony screen protector on the rear and Sony grip on the front. (If you are reading this and you own any RX100 model do yourself a massive favour and buy the Sony stick on grip, you’ll thank me).
So on my latest trip to Switzerland I was trying to capture the beautiful lake view and instantly noticed a large dark spot in the sky on every image.

Sony RX100M3 Sensor Dust
I initially assumed it was a mark on the lens but looking at the front lens element it was spotless. To make sure I used my Lenspen Micro to double check and clean the font element. The mark persisted and any image with a small (or is it large, I always get confused) f-stop such as f1 and f11 showed it the most and at f1.8 it wasn’t very noticeable. Sensor dust is known to be more noticeable at smaller apertures as the smaller the aperture the more parallel the incoming rays of light giving a sharper shadow edge on the sensor dust, this is perfectly explained in this post.

The images below were of a blank piece of A4 paper at f11 and f6.3 I have adjusted the levels slightly in Lightroom CC to exaggerate and help visualise the dust spots.

20150816-Sony RX100M3 Sensor Dust-004 20150816-Sony RX100M3 Sensor Dust-003 Sony RX100M3 Sensor Dust

There is no way to remove the lens like you can on DSLR and Mirrorless IL cameras. There is also no internal sensor cleaning mode like you get on those style cameras. I’m stuck with having to return my camera to Sony for repair and/or cleaning as it is less than 12 months old. I purchased it from John Lewis who offer their own 2 year guarantee for free so if Sony claim sensor dust isn’t a warranty issue I’ll have to see what John Lewis say.

It should be noted that my previous non-interchangeable lens cameras such as the Fuji X10 have suffered from dust in the lens but my X100S, XF1, G10 have never have any dust problems.

The only frustrating thing is having to be without the camera I use the most for up to 28 days whilst it’s repaired. Maybe I should just buy the recently released RX100M4 and sell my RX100M3 when it comes back from Sony?

UPDATE 2nd September 2015: Sony service centre were brilliant and my camera was returned in under a week and that included a bank holiday Monday. Paperwork lists “new lens assembly” so perhaps the dust wasn’t on the sensor but the back of the lens? No more dust spots, all is well again in the World.

Is call audio logging baked into your iOS device?

Are Apple and the NSA logging your phone calls?

How much do we actually know about our mobile devices? The information they collect, store and transmit is largely unknown to the majority of users and closed sources and systems make it difficult to maintain transparency in a progressively security conscious time.

We all make mistakes with security, your author revealed some of these a few years ago where Facebook, Dropbox, 1Password and a smorgasbord of other apps were found to be storing critical data in plain text.

A few years on and again I was digging around in code and spotted something which concerns me.

It may be nothing, but I think it’s in our collective interests to have the following clarified.

The following header file displays the function names contained within the iOS 8.1 Springboard App’s TelephonyManager interface


Read more…

Sage Drive Service Unavailable [FIX – kind of, just click Disconnect]

Sage have recently ventured into the cloud storage arena with their new Sage Drive feature for Sage 50 Accounts. This constantly updates a copy of your accounts database to Sage Drive servers so that remote workers and mobile devices can access, view and edit things and syncs changes made remotely back to your main locally stored master copy.

However, they’ve had more than their fair share of teething problems with their servers being offline/down for some time. This shouldn’t cause a huge problem because your main accounts database is actually stored locally on your local computer (or server in a multi-user network setup) but it seems like Sage didn’t allow for Sage Drive failures or program a clean failover into Sage Accounts should Sage Drive be unavailable. Inevitably, when Sage Drive goes down, your Sage 50 Accounts program will freeze and become unresponsive, if you are lucky you might be present with a warning saying:

The Sage Drive Service is currently unavailable and may be unavailable for some time.
To check again to see if Sage Drive is available, click Retry.
To stop accessing your data on Sage Drive, click Disconnect.
To discard your changes and close Sage 50 Accounts, click Close.

Sage Drive Service Unavailable

This error message is very misleading, OK so the click to Rety is quite obvious but as long as Sage Drive is down you just end up with the same error message. You probably won’t be brave enough to try the Disconnect option nor the Close button, especially if you have been entering transactions all day into Sage along with several other team members. Instead you’ll probably do the sensible thing and pick up the phone to Sage for support (you all pay for Sage Support right!?), but since Sage Drive has gone down for all users globally, you’ll be on hold for over an hour in most cases.

So for those who have staff members twiddling their thumbs because they can’t get into Sage 50 Accounts to carry on working locally, let me reassure you that clicking Disconnect is the option you want to carry on working on your local copy of your data. This isn’t clear from the error message shown but since I had a backup of my sage from 5 mins prior to the downtime I had nothing to lose so thought I’d take the risk and try the disconnect option. Effectively what happens is you disconnect from Sage Drive and continue working on your local copy of the data (assuming you are the host for your data on your local network) and then when Sage Drive comes back online you will need to reconnnect and it will push a new copy of your entire local database to Sage Drive. It will NOT just push the most recent transactions to Sage Drive since you last connected, you would think this is logically but it doesn’t work like that. As you have disconnected, when you reconnect to Sage Drive it will have to push an entirely fresh copy of your data to Sage Drive. This might not be a problem for some with small databases, but if you have a slow connection and a huge Sage backup file it may take a while.

WARNING: If you are working remotely and accessing your accounts via Sage Drive then do not click disconnect or close, wait and wait and wait clicking retry every now and again. The above suggestions to click disconnect is only useful for those working locally with their Sage 50 accounts on a local or networked computer.