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Thread: Sensor cleaning

  1. #1
    Tringa's Avatar
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    Sensor cleaning

    I'm looking for some views about cleaning the sensor of my camera.

    I can clone out the dust/spots but I'm thinking it would be a better idea to have a clean sensor.

    I have read about how to clean the sensor but has anyone done this themselves? If so, how difficult/easy did you find it.

    Thanks

    Dave

  2. #2
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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    I have done it several times, it is quite easy. Do bear in mind that you are voiding the warranty on the camera if you clean the sensor yourself. You need to be meticulously clean and very gentle. Plus have the right gear, a kleenex will not suffice.

    I use the Visible Dust gear. Their website has a good description of the process and the materials you need. http://www.visibledust.com/

  3. #3
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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    I have also successfully cleaned my sensor but you have to be extremely careful. Here is another link with useful tutorials and information. http://www.copperhillimages.com/index.php?pr=tutorials

  4. #4
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Someone was looking over my shoulder at work and said I should qualify my "it is quite easy" to point out that I am a veterinary surgeon of twenty eight years experience and used to dissecting arteries nerves and ligaments free from tumors and repairing wounds. So maybe easy for me may be a relative thing.

    I still stand by the easy part, as John said you have to be be careful but it is not beyond the vast majority of peoples skills or abilities.

  5. #5

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    I do it, it's like driving a car, once you no how it's easy but you are still always careful.
    Russ

  6. #6

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Yes, Dave, it is easy; it just takes a bit of nerve the first time.

    My old 10D was always getting spots, the 40D wasn't so bad and, so far (tapping top of head for luck), I haven't had any problems with the 7D.

    Firstly, try a blower brush and see if that is sufficient. If not, it is time to get the swabs out. Don't over wet them. Make sure there is sufficient charge in the battery to keep the mirror locked up.

    Remember, you are only wiping the protective cover over the sensor not the really delicate parts.

    I purchased a Digital Duster kit which had a small low power vacuum cleaner with brush; but the motor didn't last very long, so now I just use the swabs.

    There are many euphemisms like 'It's easy, just child's play really' or 'Then combine with Photoshop'. Or those workshop manuals with optimistic advice like 'Remove shaft from housing and drift off bearing'. And I knew full well I would be struggling with a warming torch and heavy hammer.

    But in this case, it is simple.

  7. #7
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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    There are many euphemisms like 'It's easy, just child's play really' or 'Then combine with Photoshop'. Or those workshop manuals with optimistic advice like 'Remove shaft from housing and drift off bearing'. And I knew full well I would be struggling with a warming torch and heavy hammer.
    Now doesn't that just warm the cockles of my heart with confidence! LOL!

  8. #8

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    I clean my own, but to be honest, it's only because I'd have to send the camera away to have it cleaned by Canon. The sensor isn't as delecate as it looks; you're not actually cleaning the sensor - you're actually cleaning the glass filter that sits in front of it - and those filters are actually pretty tough.

    There are lots of products for the job though - each with it's own "place" - some that you might like to consider are ...

    - A sensor cleaning loupe (with LED lighting) that allows you to see the dust (keep in mind too that the image gets reversed on the sensor - so if you have dust in the top right of your images, the dust will actuall be on the bottom left of the sensor - but the bottom left of the sensor will actually be the bottom right when you have the camera turned around to face you.

    - A blower can be good to blow (filtered) air over the sensor to remove dust that's just sitting there (in my experience it usually doesn't shift a lot though)

    - An Arctic Butterfly to electrostatically attract the dust to the brush

    - A sensor pen to remove troublesome bits of welded-on dust

    - And finally, some kind of wet wipe system

    (and yes, I have - AND USE - all of these)

    Personally, I'd suggest just paying a few dollars a couple of times a year to have it done by an authorised repair centre - but if that's not practical, just invest in the first 4 of the things I mentioned.

    As others have mentioned, it's not hard - and doing permanant damage is unlikely - but having just said that, getting it totally dust free IS difficult, and there is a significant risk of smearing lubricant from surrounding structures on the sensor if one isn't very careful.

    Personally, it's one of those things that I do -- but I'd rather not have to.

  9. #9
    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Many thanks all for your views.

    Dave

  10. #10

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Here is an excellent article on sensor cleaning that should answer all your questions

    http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/index.html

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Hi Dave,
    I change my lens frequently, and often not in optimum conditions, so I regularly HAVE to clean my lens (like, sometimes twice a month). And as has been said, it's simple most of the time at the various levels.

    Briefly, try the following.
    a. Assess dust on sensor. (Take a picture of a blank, light coloured wall and check the image carefully).

    b. Set camera to cleaning mode (and be in a clean room, no drafts), then : -

    c. Level 1. Remove lens, invert camera so opening is downwards (gravity is your best friend). Use blower to dislodge dust, or use a brush gently.
    Level 2. For more resilient bits - a sensor pen/wet wipe system (and take your time, and take care, don't apply pressure).
    Level 3. For the stuff that just won't move - professional service.
    Graham
    Hope it helps.
    A clean sensor is a happy sensor.
    Cleanliness is next to good(image)liness

  12. #12

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Dave
    I've done the kinds of things that Colin talks about. Mostly resorting to a wet (well, damp) alcohol system for immovable stuff. Haven't suffered ill effects so far. Mind you, I'm less cavalier than a professional photographer colleague of mine, whom I watched while he took off his lens, locked up the mirror on his expensive Nikon, and wiped the sensor with his handkerchief to remove condensation. That shook me, but he then proceeded to take a couple of thousand very good shots, without any observable blobs, spots, or smudges. The experience made me think, like Colin, that permanent damage is very unlikely for those of us who take a modicum of care!
    Cheers
    Tim

  13. #13

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Hey, they taught someone else to clean sensors didn't they? It's not rocket science. Just take care and you'll do fine. Start light if you wish. Also pay attention to the instructions and sequences for cleaning whether the fault be dust or mirror lubricant.

  14. #14

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    Hey, they taught someone else to clean sensors didn't they? It's not rocket science. Just take care and you'll do fine.
    Without wishing to name any names (to protect the guilty), a certain administrator here mucked up a sensor clean so badly that Canon had to physically remove the sensor TWICE to get it back to normal again (using a $2,000,000 piece of equipment too I might add).

    I've learned that although it's not necessarily hard - it CAN take quite a bit of equipment to cover all eventualities (like something to remove silicon lubricant streaks when it gets on the occasional splayed brush bristle). If I lived in an area where I could simply drop off the camera at an authorised repair centre for a couple of days then personally, I'd far rather just do that.

  15. #15

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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    Assess dust on sensor. (Take a picture of a blank, light coloured wall and check the image carefully).
    * Must be done with the lens stopped right down to show. Eg. F22.

  16. #16
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    Re: Sensor cleaning

    Thanks everyone.

    Dave

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