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Thread: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

  1. #1

    Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    I have a Canon 30D and the image sensor is dirty - what do you recommend that I clean it with?

    Also, I have done some reasearch on a product by photographic solutions that uses a swab and Eclipse solution - does anyone know much about this?
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 8th May 2009 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Thread Split

  2. #2

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Hi "BBF4L",

    Do you have a first name we can use?

    Sensor cleaning is a 3-stage process, with each stage getting more "agressive".

    First of all though, you need to decide if it's something that you want to tackle; it's not hard, but you do need to be very careful. Many make the investment in being able to do it themselves, but many also choose to have it done professionally.

    Keeping in mind that when you do a sensor clean, your not cleaning the sensor itself - your actually cleaning a thin glass filter that is sealed over the front of the sensor. This filter is quite robust, but if you contaminate it with anything it can be quite difficult to recover from (I tried to "cheat" when cleaning the sensor on my Canon 1Ds3 - and the camera had to be returned to Canon and have the sensor removed for cleaning twice -- so in my opinion it pays to stick rigidly to the rules!).

    If you go into the cameras setup menu you'll find the option for manual sensor cleaning - this retracts the mirror and opens the shutter so that you can get to it ... then ...

    Stage one is to blow the dust off the sensor using a few puffs from a hand held blower. Don't use compressed air (even from a can) - and don't blow into it using your own breath. To test, take a shot at something bland like a wall or the sky at F22 (doesn't matter is out of focus or if there's copious amounts of camera shake).

    Stage two is to use a soft-haired brush, designed for the purpose to remove dust that the blowing won't remove. I use an product from Visible Dust called an Arctic Butterfly - you can also read more about it in a discussion we had about it here and here.

    Stage three is to use a wet cleaning solution such as sensor swaps from visible dust (I'd insert a link for you, but the site seems to have just gone down). The involve purchasing a swab that's the correct width for your sensor (you'd need the 1.6x size for a 30D sensor) and some cleaning fluid.

    Best procedure is to be prepared to try each of these stages, but test in between each one, and stop if you get a good result. With stages 2 & 3 you need to be exceptionally careful not to get any finger oil or any silicon grease from the mirror mechanism on the brush / swab.

    So there you go - everything you need to know There are other ways of cleaning, but this is the way I do it. I use www.visibledust.com products exclusively now - they're not cheap, but once you've made the investment they should keep you going for a very long time - AND - if you muck it up trying to cheat like I did you could well be at the sharp end of a very expensive repair bill (I was looking at around USD $4000 for a replacement sensor if they couldn't clean mine ... and they had to remove the sensor twice and order in a special cleaning solution to do it - so how close was that!).

    Is this helpful?

  3. #3

    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    hi, sorry i should have given you a first name to use, it is Scott. yes this did answer my questions. should i shy away from the Photographic Solutions brand products?



    thank you
    scott

  4. #4

    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Quote Originally Posted by baseballfans4life View Post
    should i shy away from the Photographic Solutions brand products?
    Scott,

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the SensorSwab and Eclipse. Have used them myself. More recently switched to Visible Dust swabs, but can't give you a compelling reason why. (I bought some when I was over in Vancouver once, and guess I stuck with them.) Still used Eclipse.

    Best,
    Graham

  5. #5

    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Hi Graham
    thanks for the info, will give one of them a try.

    scott

  6. #6

    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    I'm just curious if anyone can answer this...what if I don't have the option listed in my setup menu of my Canon 30D for sensor cleaning?? It's so strange, because I can't find any information on this. Is it an issue of upgrading my software? If so, how do I do that? Please help!
    Thanks,
    Teresa

  7. #7

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Quote Originally Posted by nycalgal View Post
    I'm just curious if anyone can answer this...what if I don't have the option listed in my setup menu of my Canon 30D for sensor cleaning?? It's so strange, because I can't find any information on this. Is it an issue of upgrading my software? If so, how do I do that? Please help!
    Thanks,
    Teresa
    Hi Teresa,

    I believe only some of the Canon cameras have the sensor cleaning function. It is a hardware feature, so upgrading the camera's firmware wouldn't change anything.

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Quote Originally Posted by nycalgal View Post
    I'm just curious if anyone can answer this...what if I don't have the option listed in my setup menu of my Canon 30D for sensor cleaning?? It's so strange, because I can't find any information on this. Is it an issue of upgrading my software? If so, how do I do that? Please help!
    Thanks,
    Teresa
    Hi Teresa,

    There's really 2 ways to clean it ...

    - As Kent mentioned, some Canon DSLRs have an clean sensor function that can be activated, but (a) I don't think that the 30D has it, and (b) in practice it's only of limited use anyway.

    - The other way is to do it manually, of which there are several methods:

    (a) Pay to have it cleaned by a Canon repair centre. By far the easiest way, unless you're feeling brave.

    (b) Pay to have it cleaned by someone who says that they know what they're doing and swear that they do it all the time without a problem. Good luck - do you feel lucky today?

    (c) Do it yourself. To do it this way you need the right equipment - at a minimum sensor swabs and fluid - and preferably a brush like an arctic butterfly. It's not THAT hard - but - you can still get yourself into a stick situation (as I did the other night, even after having cleaned them many times).

    My suggestion is to just pay Canon to do it, if you don't need to do it very often. It costs a few dollars, but those dollars buy a lot of peace of mind!

  9. #9

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    I cleaned my 40D sensor. I thought it was very easy actually.(I am very mechanically inclined though, and catch on to things very fast.) I watched a couple videos on u tube and then ordered the things i needed and just did it.

    First you need to see where the dirt is.

    In photo shop or gimp or what ever you use bring up a white layer and fill it with a sky blue color (easiest to see the dust). Clean your computer screen so there isn't any dust spots on it . Put a telephoto lens on your camera and set it to the highest f stop of the lens. Turn off the auto focus and take a photo of the screen from a couple inches away . It will be a long exposure so move the camera to help blur things. Down load the photo and you will see where all the dirt is..............only thing, it is inverted so top right is bottom right on the sensor.

    Make shure you have a FRESH battery in the camera. Set to cleaning mode and the mirror will lock up. (you have to keep the camera on or it will close, thus the reason for the fresh battery). Get your sensor swab ready..........remove the lens..........hold camera upside down and blow sensor off with air bulb blower . Blow it off real good and then turn camera over and in two strokes (one each way without lifting the swab off the sensor) clean the sensor. I used the presoaked swabs made for my sensor ordered from B&H Photo.

    Replace the lens............turn camera off and then back on again to close the mirror. Take another photo of the blue screen and repeat if necessary. I didn't clean mine for over a year and had pollen all over it (kind of like a dirty window---blowing or brushing won't clean it). It took 4 swabs to get mine clean. I also bought a sensor pen (lens pen for sensor cleaning----highly recommended.) Sometimes the swab will leave a faint streak and the lens pen will remove it.

    Watch the video on u tube and you will see step by step how its done.

    It isn't hard, but be very careful you don't scratch the sensor.

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post

    It isn't hard, but be very careful you don't scratch the sensor.
    Being careful is always a good thing - but the sensor is of course permanantly covered by a glass filter and isn't as delicate as it looks.

    The biggest issues I'm having recently are with smears - the sensor swabs are exactly the width of the sensor and I suspect that they pickup a bit of silicone grease from parts of the mechanicals on the way in - so as the fluid evaporates I'm left with a slight residue (last time - in desperation, before sending it off to Canon - I wrapped a piece of microfibre cloth around the swab which actually worked like a charm. And my Arctic Butterfly cleaned off the dust left by the cloth - so a pretty good result all round.

    Still makes me nervous though (apparantly the sensor replacement cost is around $7000).

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Being careful is always a good thing - but the sensor is of course permanantly covered by a glass filter and isn't as delicate as it looks.

    The biggest issues I'm having recently are with smears - the sensor swabs are exactly the width of the sensor and I suspect that they pickup a bit of silicone grease from parts of the mechanicals on the way in - so as the fluid evaporates I'm left with a slight residue (last time - in desperation, before sending it off to Canon - I wrapped a piece of microfibre cloth around the swab which actually worked like a charm. And my Arctic Butterfly cleaned off the dust left by the cloth - so a pretty good result all round.

    Still makes me nervous though (apparantly the sensor replacement cost is around $7000).
    Get yourself a sensor pen (triangular shaped to get into the edges). I was told by many that is what canon recommends and uses when you send your camera to them.

  12. #12

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    Re: Help needed cleaning sensor on Canon 30D

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Get yourself a sensor pen (triangular shaped to get into the edges). I was told by many that is what canon recommends and uses when you send your camera to them.
    Thanks Steve - I had heard of them, but I don't really know much about them -- I'l check them out.

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