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Russell H.
Russell H., Service Tech
Category: Camera and Video
Satisfied Customers: 10919
Experience:  8+ years of professional experience
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I have an OMD E-M1 camera, The camera records black stills

Customer Question

Good morning Pearl
JA: What's the make/model of your camera? How old is it?
Customer: i have an OMD E-M1 camera
JA: What happened right before this popped up? What troubleshooting have you tried?
Customer: The camera records black stills similar to taking a picture with the lens cap on. It records video with no problems. I have tried to take out and reinsert memory card, take off lens and replace, switched lens, turning off camera and back on, removing battery and replacing
JA: Anything else you want the camera expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: I think that is it for now
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Camera and Video
Expert:  Russell H. replied 9 months ago.

Hi, thank you for contacting My name is Russell. I will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

That is a serious problem for sure, and made all the more serious, oddly enough, by the ability to still take video and store video.

The ability to still take and store video implies,

1. that storage isn't the problem (plus your having done various things with the memory card)


2. that the image sensor is still functional (since it is also involved in taking video.)

Given this isn't either a storage or an image sensor defect, what's left? presumably the details of processing of the signals from the image sensor. The processing for storing still images is a different pathway through the circuitry (at least after a certain point) than the processing of video. (Primarily in that video is compressed, its data is manipulated differently.)

This may mean one of various things, in terms of a solution to the problem. Before stating what I think would be the best approach to take, I need to ask a few questions, please:

How old is the camera? in months or years since you bought it.

Has the camera been dropped or otherwise subjected to mechanical shock(s) in its lifetime?

Has the camera been operated in or subjected to, temperatures below 32 degrees F (freezing point) or above about 100 degrees F ?

Has it ever been subjected to a humidity higher than 85 % or gotten wet ?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The camera is a little over one year old. (13-14 months). The camera was not dropped or hit for any mechanical shocks to occur. The temperature is above 32 degrees. I was in the middle of taking pictures of the most recent full moon and only 50% of the pictures actually produced images in about 50 degree air. I came into home that is about 70 degrees and I could not take nay more pictures as all attempts to take pictures left a black still on memory. I even tried to do a factory reset, hoping that I must have messed up a setting. The day before I was taking multiple pictures in the variety of ART setting but all those were captured.
Expert:  Russell H. replied 9 months ago.

That sounds alarmingly like a problem that unfortunately does not fall under warranty coverage (owing to its being more than 12 months since purchase.)

Erratic errors are neither settings nor immediate environmental conditions, nor 'hard damage' like breakage from being dropped, nor storage conditions such as the memory card being full or write-protected (and you say the images were stored, even if they were all black.)

Given that the problem started under conditions of dubious 'exposure' or light intensity levels, it might be not so much a picture processing/compression circuitry path problem, as a problem with the automatic light sensor, perhaps.

So in sum, I have considered what you have described so thoroughly, and I have to conclude that something is wrong... perhaps processing circuitry, perhaps light sensor (or circuitry associated with it), but still: the camera will need servicing to work well again.

Given that it is out of warranty (only just! unfortunately) you would have to pay for such repair-servicing as the camera apparently needs.

The page to go to, in order to initiate an Olympus USA repair-servicing of your camera, is here:

under the heading toward the lower left titled, REPAIR YOUR PRODUCT.

I'm sorry that a better conclusion is not possible under the circumstances, and good luck with the repair of your camera (or its replacement, should you so choose and prefer.)

If this answers your question, please rate my answer. A five-star rating would be appreciated!

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