Apologies if this question doesn't fit here (suggested by a moderator)

While on vacation in Las Vegas, the wife decided to pour a bottle of filtered water into her purse and coincidentally, all over our Leica D-Lux 4 camera.

The camera, after a few days of drying out, actually survived and works fine other than the lens and sensor now have water spots on them.

I am fairly mechanically inclined; What are the odds that I can disassemble the camera myself and clean it without having to send it off to a repair shop?

Can anyone recommend a repair shop otherwise that you may have experience with?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would start here: us.leica-camera.com/service \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Nov 8, 2012 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is really hard for us to gauge "fairly mechanically inclined". Personally, if I tried taking apart a compact like this, I know I would not be able to get it back together properly. This is normally one of those questions where I say "if you have to ask, don't do it"! I would suggest sending it off. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Nov 8, 2012 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fairly mechanically inclined == can solder, read technical schematics and design basic circuits? No problem taking apart laptops / xbox's and repairing / replacing parts. The smallest device I've repaired was a watch and had no problem replacing the LCD panel on an iPhone. Good enough ? :) \$\endgroup\$
    – lsiunsuex
    Nov 8, 2012 at 19:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In the old days it would have been easy: just make sure the camera is completely de-powered (batts removed, all caps discharged), soak in distilled water for a while to dissolve the spots, etc., pour out the excess, then soak in Freon TF (which will displace the water and evaporate cleanly). But those whinging sunburnt penguins spoiled that approach... \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Nov 8, 2012 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @StanRogers - Even in the old days, that's a terrible idea. The water soak, followed by the freon soak would dissolve most of the lubrication, and it would then get everywhere. You would wind up with a thin coating of grease on all the optics. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fake Name
    Nov 9, 2012 at 4:44

2 Answers 2


This mostly depends on what you define fairly mechanically inclined as.

I do electronic design and assembly professionally, and have a hobbyist interest in dissecting and repairing cameras and lenses of all varieties. I have taken apart a significant number of point-and-shoot digital cameras, and I can tell you from experience that there is a large element of chance involved in disassembling and reassembling any point-and-shoot, particularly if you have never taken that particular model apart before.

Basically, many PnS cameras, particularly with retractable lenses, have a very complicated assembly procedure.
Failure to properly follow whatever procedure they require can lead to you easily damaging one of the many, many plastic parts involved in the lens assembly or casing.

Now, if you can find a service manual for the camera, I would say "Go for it!". However, if you're doing your disassembly blind, it's very, very easy to damage something because it was assembled in a non-obvious way. One of the worst things to have to deal with is disassembling something, and breaking it along the way. Then, once you have it apart, you see that it had a extremely elegant mechanism for assembly and disassembly that you simply missed, because it was not apparent.

Anyways, it's up to you. If you do decide to try to take the camera apart, make sure you have a clean workspace, and some nice jeweler's screw-drivers, and a good pair of tweezers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, adding to the last paragraph, use a tray or other surface that stops small screws and parts from rolling away etc. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2012 at 5:02

Water damage is usually about short-circuiting electronics.

You do not have this problem, since you said after drying out, the camera works.

However in digital cameras, a sensor can also be water-damaged. This, however, cannot be repaired easily. It is not about electricity conductivity, its purely about water seeping into the sensor creating optical artifacts, even if the sensor is working.

The sensor, is also one of the most expensive component so repair charge is expected to be high.

As far as I know, unless you can remove the sensor, dry it so completely that there is no remaining water, or that the water particles do not optically affect the image quality, you are, unfortunately, looking at a costly repair or a replacement altogether.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not too sure what you are talking about here. Sensor packages are almost universally hermetically sealed. It seems like you're confusing the lens assembly and the actual sensor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fake Name
    Nov 9, 2012 at 4:42

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