Camera Sensor Cleaning

This is a discussion on Camera Sensor Cleaning within the Digital Cameras, Lenses & Accessories forums, part of the PHOTO FORUM category; I noticed that with little apertures (f22 mostly) there are stains on my pictures, due to dust on my sensor. I'd like to remove them ...


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Thread: Camera Sensor Cleaning

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    22
    I noticed that with little apertures (f22 mostly) there are stains on my pictures, due to dust on my sensor.
    I'd like to remove them (yes yes...), but i'm not ready to buy a cleaning kit (70$ for the one i saw)

    My questions are :
    -are there free techniques that permit the cleaning ? If yes, do you use them, what do you think of them?
    -in the (Canon) camera manual, there is written to use a little "hand pump" to blow dust away, but I read that it is bad, for it blows dust in the reflex chamber, and cause the blowed air maybe be "contagious" (contagious of what?) What do you think?

    The Canon technical service could also do it, but one month (the cleaning delay in France) is too long for me.


  • #2
    Administrator
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    Mar 2005
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    USA
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    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Bob Atkins' Cleaning Digital Sensors tips.
    Admin

  • #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    6
    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    That article was a good read. I've the same problem. I recently got a 20D and the few times I've had a chance to do some landscapes, the weather/lighting was poor. I noticed the dust marks, and at first, gave the lens a clean, thinking that was to blame. Nope, the marks are still there. I got some advice to prove the dust was on the sensor very like the tips given in the link. Also, after shooting a white sheet of paper (moving the camera round to eliminate any marks on the paper) I hit auto levels and applied an Emboss filter to make those specs stand out like microbes from Mars. (top picture)
    Since I've only had the camera a month or so, and I'm new to DSLR I'll put it into a "photographic engineers" who'll do it for £32. I hope it doesn't take weeks to do, as in the link. I'll see how long it stays clean or how much of an improvement it gives. Perhaps the next time I'll have a bash at it myself but I want to get some more use from it before messing with the sensor.
    Cheers
    Anthony
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  • #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eagle River, Alaska
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    40
    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    Aangus,

    That "emboss" technique seems pretty cool. I hadn't heard of that one before. Sure makes the wormies jump out at you, doesn't it!

    My 20D is getting filthy inside, too. Of course there are ways to remove the specks during post processing, but that's a pain. Many folks have a distinct aversion to doing anything remotely close to their sensors for fear of damage. I'll admit I've been a bit hesitant, too, but I think I'll end up doing it myself after really studying the plethora of good advice already out there. Wish me luck!

    If anyone else has already manhandled their own sensors, can you give us a report on how easy / hard it actually turned out to be? Is the fear and loathing many of us anticipate really accurate?
    --Stacy
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Alaska Photos: http://www.alaskafocus.net

  • #5
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
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    2,400
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    I read horror stories, so I bought an Olympus that has the "Ultrasonic Wave Filter", cleans it every time it's turned on....NOW, if I could learn to keep my lenses clean!
    Rob
    Nikon D300 & D70 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 | Nikon 18-70mm | Nikon 18-200mm VR | Nikon 70-300mm VR
    Olympus EVOLT E-500 | Zuiko 14-45mm | Zuiko 40-150mm | OM - 4/3 adapter | Assorted OM lenses
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8

  • #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mumbai
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    689
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Very informative link MOD. Thanks !

    I almost fell off chair on reading this line ->

    "... If you are very unlucky you will see a scratch or other defect at which point you should probably call your psychiatrist for professional help in dealing with your suicidal feelings."

    Very hilarious.
    cheers
    Srinivas

    ================
    Nikon D70, 18-70mm ED, 70-300mm (non-ED, non-VR) and SENSITIVE eyes

  • #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    4
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    I've never done this, but I think Bob Atkins' Cleaning Digital Sensors tips could help you.
    Thanks. Good link.

  • #8
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2006
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    Near Seattle, WA
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    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    ah, the perennial terror over cleaning sensors... it isn't nearly as difficult or delicate as most people believe. i have cleaned the sensor on my 30D several times. it's easy, though it can be tedious (sometimes the dust bunnies don't go away, they just move around!). i use the Micro-Tools SensorSwabs and Eclipse cleaning solution. find the kit for your camera here:
    https://www.micro-tools.com/store/SearchByC...ategoryCode=DCK
    the kit for my 30D cost me about $50, but it's been almost a year and i still have plenty of swabs and fluid left, so over time it's not an expensive proposition.

    to see if your sensor needs cleaning, aim your camera at a solid, light colored area that fills the viewfinder... clear sky, a white wall, even a piece of white paper will work. stop the lens down (bunnies show up better at f16 or smaller apertures...) and snap a shot. now look at the image on your computer. if you see dark spots or blotches, your sensor needs cleaning. as long as you're reasonably careful, it's really pretty foolproof. remember, you're not cleaning the sensor itself... you're cleaning a glass low-pass filter in FRONT of the sensor. for Canon DSLRs, it's pretty simple. (the steps below assume you're using Sensor Swabs and some kind of cleaning solution)

    1. remove the lens.
    2. in the menu, select "sensor cleaning".
    3. the mirror will lock up, and you will now see the sensor hiding back there in the body.
    4. apply a couple of drops of cleaning solution to the swab, which should be exactly the same width as the sensor.
    5. gently - with about the same pressure you'd use writing with a felt-tipped pen - move the swab from one end of the sensor to the other.
    6. turn the swab over, and sweep across the sensor in the opposite direction.
    7. after you've swabbed the sensor, turn the camera off. the mirror will snap back into position.
    8. reinstall you lens, and take a test photo as outlined above. if the spots are gone, you're done. if they're still there, repeat steps 1-7 as needed.

    there... that wasn't scary at all, was it?

  • #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Puyallup, Washington.
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    2,027
    I've cleaned mine. My camera still works. I have a friend who has cleaned his. His camera still works.
    To make a difference in someones day or life, just be nice.

    IAFF L-726

  • #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1,694
    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    I have a poorly Nikon D40.

    It appears that I have managed to get a foreign body, piece of dust or something, on my sensor.

    Now I know there a Few D80 owners in here, which ain't that dissimilar to the D40 in function. Any clear and practical advice on this subject.

    I have been advised that if its just one piece of dust on there its best to just leave it alone because "getting it wrong" may make the situation worse. This is probably good advice however I really dont want to see the contamination on my images and spend valuable time cleanining them up in PS.

    I know of course I can take it back to the retailer for a service but wanted to know if there is a simpler, less expensive option.

    The camera is about 4 months old

    Regards

    Patrick
    Nikon D700 / D40 - Nikon 16-35mm, Nikon 50mm F1.8 Prime, Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro, Sigma 70-300 F4

    www.pmc-photography.co.uk


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