Old 03-23-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
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Default How do you clean your sensor?

I don't have any dust yet, but I'm sure that day will come and it will irritate the hell out of me. Do you guys clean it yourselves or have someone else do it?

I try to be careful when changing lenses, and never do it out in the elements.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:01 PM   #2
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When I purchased my first DSLR, I kept right on changing lenses in the field like I used to in the "old" film days. And sure enough, after a trip to dusty Nevada, I ended up with dust spots. Fortunately, they were just that...dust and dirt....not sticky stuff like pollen. I used a magnifier loupe under bright light to see the stuff and I blew it off with one of these "rocket blowers" (basically a big sqeeze toy with a blow-pipe on it that can be directed at the sensor.) Since then, I have always changed lenses indoors...or in the car. I make sure the power is turned off, I keep the body tilted downward and I blow off the lens mount before attaching it to the body.

My old DSLR did not have any sort of "sensor cleaning system". My current one does, and I activate it before every day of shooting. I use two bodies. One with a wide-angle lens and one with a super-zoom. With that combination, I rarely have to change lenses. Knock on wood, I have not had the problem in the last 3 years.

I have never used any sort of sensor swabs, although I have met plenty of folks who have. The key pieces of advice I've heard with those is to be very gentle and use an AC power adaptor to ensure that the shutter lock-up feature on your camera does not lose power and close the shutter while you have a swab in there. That WILL destroy your camera in a heartbeat.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:04 PM   #3
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Before I did it the first time, I went back to the camera store and had them demonstrate for me. I only use a rocket blower (never an aerosol can - they will ruin the camera I've been told).
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:36 PM   #4
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I lick mine.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:43 PM   #5
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I must be lucky as I have never performed a "wet clean" of the sensor on all three of my DSLR's, I do occasionally give the sensor a blow of air from the Giottos Rocket blower I have. I've changed lenses in steam locomotive cabs, beaches and in snow storms and have never had a significant problem with dust and grime. I am careful however when changing lenses in these environments, it usually only takes a second and the camera is always facing down. I shoot stopped down fairly often as well and see no sign of dirt (spots).

Anyway, this seems to be the method a lot of people use.

http://www.copperhillimages.com/index.php?pr=tutorials

And here is the Giottos blower.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ir_Blower.html
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:06 PM   #6
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I lick mine.
Doesnt your helmet get in the way?
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:53 PM   #7
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This usually

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Old 03-23-2011, 08:33 PM   #8
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This usually

Is one can enough?
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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Is one can enough?
As long as you sand with a course grain sandpaper (almost emery board) afterwards and then put the entire camera in the dishwasher on the disinfect cycle.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:15 PM   #10
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SRSLY

I'm going to get the little air puffer Walter mentioned. Anything beyond that I'll send it in to Canon and hope it comes back with less dust.

Thanks for the advice guys!
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:48 PM   #11
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My sensor cleans itself every time I turn the camera off... or am I missing something.
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I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
Railroad photography is what you make of it, but one way is not "better" than another, IMHO. Unless you have a pole right thought the nose of the engine! -SG
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:52 PM   #12
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My sensor cleans itself every time I turn the camera off... or am I missing something.
It probably does... just isn't true of all cameras. Some require a manual cleaning.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:22 AM   #13
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Ahh just wondered if maybe I was interpreting it wrong.
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I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
Railroad photography is what you make of it, but one way is not "better" than another, IMHO. Unless you have a pole right thought the nose of the engine! -SG
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:32 AM   #14
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I do it myself using this kit from Photographic Solutions:



I also use a rocket blower before and after I wipe the sensor with the swab.

I believe that kit comes with 4 swabs (as pictured), but they also sell boxes of refills (12 count box is what I've purchased so far).
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:34 AM   #15
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coborn: I think even the ones that clean the sensor can get stuff stuck on there.

Jim: that looks pretty professional-like. I would consider using that after my warranty expires.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:40 AM   #16
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Jim: that looks pretty professional-like. I would consider using that after my warranty expires.
Cleaning the sensor with the swabs is quick and easy. I've done it over a dozen times...even while a train was coming!
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:44 AM   #17
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coborn: I think even the ones that clean the sensor can get stuff stuck on there.
It is still possible. My XSi automatically cleans its sensor, but I still get lens spots on occasion. Sometimes just you have to turn your camera on and off a couple of times (turning the camera off activates the sensor cleaner, at least on my camera) to get rid of the dust. Beyond that, I've never needed to do any sensor cleaning.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:46 AM   #18
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Most of the sensor cleaning systems on DSLRs these days use vibration to shake the low-pass filter that covers the actual CCD or CMOS sensor. They are probably piezoelectric crystals, or something of that nature. Anyway, they only work if the dust is loose material. If the contaminant is a sticky substance such as pollen, those systems are completely ineffective. Only cleaning with appropriate solvents and swabs can deal with that sort of contamination.

Best bet: Minimize your risk of getting excessive dust on the sensor. Keep your equipment clean and refrain from changing lenses in uncontrolled environments.

Digital cameras have significant advantages over film cameras. Unfortunately, they are not without their drawbacks....and sensor dust is definitely one of them.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:46 AM   #19
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My sensor cleans itself every time I turn the camera off... or am I missing something.
Most newer ones do. Starting at the 40d, 1d3, 1ds3, 5d2, Rebel XTi as far as canon's go.

Original 5d does not.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:56 AM   #20
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I lick mine.
I use dog, tongue bigger.

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Old 03-24-2011, 03:37 AM   #21
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It is still possible. My XSi automatically cleans its sensor, but I still get lens spots on occasion. Sometimes just you have to turn your camera on and off a couple of times (turning the camera off activates the sensor cleaner, at least on my camera) to get rid of the dust. Beyond that, I've never needed to do any sensor cleaning.
My D3100 has that same feature but I haven't needed to try it yet.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:48 PM   #22
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Sensor dust? Damn, I thought I was bagging UFO's like a mofo.

I change lenses in the field about 10-15 times per day and though I get dust on the sensor, the selfclean feature of my D300 takes care of most of it. For the stubborn stuff, I use a welfare rocket blower that came with my scanner years ago.

For the really stubborn stuff, I perform delicate surgery with finger.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:23 AM   #23
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I use the swabs and liquid from photographic solutions as well. Quick, easy, and the best bang for your buck. I still use a 30D as a main camera and do not have the luxury of a self cleaning sensor, though the xti and 50D that I use often still need a wet cleaning from time to time.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:47 AM   #24
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The D300 is supposed to clean itself, it makes a squeaking sound similar to a mouse when you activate it. I still don't trust it, and I lock the mirror up and use a blower. However I always use the blower on the inside of the camera every time that I go to use it..
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:13 PM   #25
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You can turn the auto clean off on the D300. I figure that it is likely to prematurely wearout the self cleaning mech leaving set on start-up. I only use it when needed - it isn't great, but it is better than not having the feature.
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