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Thread: Advice for dust on camera sensor

  1. #1
    Azz252's Avatar
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    Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Hi Everyone

    I was wondering if someone with more knowledge than me could offer some advice, i was taking some shots yesterday and i think i have some dust on my sensor.

    A black dot appears in every shot, at the same location in every photo. If that area of the image is dark it doesn't show up there, and it's 100% black which means (i think) it's not a hot/stuck pixel issue as they are coloured/white. Example below.

    Advice for dust on camera sensor

    I was shooting at f22 however doing a few tests it becomes less visible at f3.5, but you can still see it. The camera is a 450D, bought at Christmas, i haven't done any tests on long exposures etc.

    So first question, is it indeed dust?
    Second question, is it bad enough to require some form of cleaning or will the dust detection software/thing in my camera solve it?

    Obviously i can photo shop it out but thats a pain on every photo...advice would be much appreciated

    Cheers
    Last edited by McQ; 14th February 2010 at 06:53 AM. Reason: removed broken link

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    Re: Dust

    Quote Originally Posted by Azz252 View Post
    So first question, is it indeed dust?
    It's unusual to see a single spot that large, but yes - definately something on the sensor (Possibly on the rear-element of the lens, but most likely the sensor). If you put the camera in manual sensor cleaning mode you should be able to see it.

    [quote]Second question, is it bad enough to require some form of cleaning or will the dust detection software/thing in my camera solve it?[quote]

    Easiest solution is simply to clean it off. You could have it done professionally, but it's a problem you'll probably have regularly - so the best solution is to probably learn to do it yourself; it's a little nerve-racking the first couple of times you do it, but once you get used to it it's something you always need to be careful with, but it's not hard.

    Keep in mind that it's not the actual sensor that you're cleaning - it's a glass filter that's permanantly attached to the sensor and although it looks otherwise, it's not particularly delicate (I've even heard of someone dropping a wedding ring on one with no permanent damage).

    There's a lot of advice and tools for sensor cleaning - personally, I'm a big fan of visible dust products - and in particular their Arctic Butterfly 724 product. If you're interested, we discussed it a while back here ... Arctic Butterfly Sensor/mirror cleaning kit / brush

    Hope this helps!

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    I've found this site helpful

    http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/

    I use one of these blowers about once a month. I keep it sealed in a plastic bag for dust-proof storage.

    http://www.micro-tools.com/store/ite...?ItemCode=204I

    I wet clean about once a year using Eclipse fluid and Sensor Swabs. I used to make my own DIY sensor swabs because I heard the Sensor Swabs were expensive. But what the heck, I only need one or two a year per camera. A package lasts a while.

    Wet cleaning can be intimidating at first, and people will tell you all sorts of horror stories about damaging the sensor. I think you'd have to get pretty rough to do any damage. The main issue is that it's possible to leave streaks, and sometimes I'm just moving the dust around, and I have to re-swab a few times. I use a DIY pinhole body cap to really get a good look at whats on the sensor when I'm cleaning.

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    I had dust early on and was quite pleased with the results of this guy which now lives in my bag. Have used it several times on both cameras with spectacular results.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...er-Review.aspx

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    One of those lives in my bag too.

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Thanks for the advice guys. Much appreciated.

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Does anyone have a recommendation as to where one might make an online purchase for one of these artic butterflies within Australia?

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    No, but for when you return to Scotland;

    [COLOR="RoyalBlue"]WarehouseExpress

    Usually best prices.

    As usual, I'd follow Colins' advice.

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Got myself the Artic Butterfly 724 Brite for 200 bucks at lunchtime

    Hopefully this will mean the last of mr dust spot and i can back to practising taking photos instead of stressing about dust

    I'll follow Colins advice in the other thread re using it.

    This isn't the cheapest of hobbies is it...

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Azz252 View Post
    Got myself the Artic Butterfly 724 Brite for 200 bucks at lunchtime

    Hopefully this will mean the last of mr dust spot and i can back to practising taking photos instead of stressing about dust

    I'll follow Colins advice in the other thread re using it.

    This isn't the cheapest of hobbies is it...
    Couple of things to keep in mind ...

    1. Never EVER touch the brush with any part of your body.

    2. Be careful to ONLY brush the sensor - other parts may have minute traces of oil on them which WILL contaminate the sensor.

    If the brush does get contaminated then it's dead easy to clean - simply pour some IPA (Iso-Propyl Alcohol) into the hard plastic cap - insert the arctic butterfly - and give it a few short bursts.

    THEN LEAVE IT SOMEWHERE FOR A FEW HOURS TO DRY (or even overnight).

    • Don't operate the motor to dry it quicker (it dries it really well, but it'll leave the bristles all splayed out), and
    • Don't put the brush anywhere near the sensor if theres any possibility of it still being wet with IPA.
    • If you can, test it for smears on something like a clean lens front element first (saved my butt - I suspect someone at the store ran it across a finger to see how soft it was before it was sent to me).
    Be aware that it's a great solution for most dust - but - wetcleaning is still sometimes required - and the 7x Loupe helps a lot too (finally got mine a few days ago). So yes - the products are expensive - but then again, Canon charge about $125 for a clean in these parts - so it doesn't take too many of those to exceed the cost of the entire VisibleDust suite of tools.

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    So...the dust spot is still there. I can clearly see it when i look at the sensor. It's annoying me greatly.

    I don't want to pay Canon, or anyone else, a fortune to do a professional clean which i could do myself. From what i've read, yes cleaning the sensor is intimidating but once you've done it it's ok. What i'm really concerned about is investing more cash and the spot still being there

    So....I'm looking into buying;

    Visible Dust 1.5x - 1.6x Sensor Cleaning Orange Swabs $59.95
    Visible Dust VDust Plus Formula $39.95

    Buying this will more or less be equivalent to paying someone else to do it and allows me to do it myself.

    Colin - what is the 7x loupe you've referred to if you don't mind me asking. I'm finding Visible Dust distribution in Australia to be a bit limited.

    I'm looking at the below for these products by the way....

    http://www.cameraaction.com.au/call1...189419&dept=68

    Cheers guys

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Hi,

    That sounds like "one stubborn spot" - I'd wondering what it is and how it got there? I take it that you've gone over it with the Arctic Butterfly a few times?

    Sensor swabs and fluid are the next thing I'm afraid - yes, they're expensive - but you get 12 in a pack - so you should be good for a lot more cleanings without spending more $$$ - so in time you should come out ahead in the long run.

    The 7x sensor loupe is basically a magnifying glass with white LED lights around the outside - designed to show up the dust so you know if you've got things clean or not. As a rule, NZ is even worse for sourcing stuff than Aus - and we can get them - so I imagine that you would be able to get one too; whether or not it's worth it (it's another expense!) is a different story. I'm glad I got mine, but that's just me

    It's good to know Canon are there as a last resort - some time ago I botched my sensor up something chronic when I ran out of the proper cleaning materials and tried to "cheat" with some locally sourced items - I had to send it to Canon - they had to remove the sensor to clean it and then sent it back. Unfortunatly they gave it to the new guy (bless them) who did a very rough job - so back it went a 2nd time - sensor out again - but came back perfect (the other chap did it this time). So personally, I'm sticking to official Visible Dust products in future!

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    I have no idea what it is or how it got there but it's proving to be quite annoying

    From what i've read in various forums about the net it seems to be relatively big, it just looks like a black dot when i look at it, sitting there smirking at me from the sensor. I'm half tempted to get it done professionally but the thought of paying someone all that cash when i could get 12 bits of kit to do it myself...well i can't justify it at the moment.

    I went over it 5 or 6 times with the butterfly, reasonably firm, and it wouldn't budge. I've got a Canon 18-200 on my camera and it hasn't came off since i bought it in December but the spot has appeared in photos since Feb - i haven't done a detailed look into when it first appeared but i saw it in a shot last night which was before i really noticed it being there.

    I understand that dust can happen even when not changing lenses frequently - i'm mainly concerned about it not coming off after i spend more cash on cleaning. I think i'll give the magnifier a miss as i can clearly see it.

    I assume those products i was looking at are the correct ones? As ever, I've done a bit or research and i'm reasonably confident they're what i need. I'll just practice on an LCD screen as a first pass before trying the sensor straight out the box...

    By the way - when you "whizz" the Butterfly do you do this with or without the cap on. I assume with as it will allow the friction to build up?

    Thanks as ever for your help!!!!

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Azz252 View Post

    I understand that dust can happen even when not changing lenses frequently - i'm mainly concerned about it not coming off after i spend more cash on cleaning.
    To be honest, I'm getting a bit concerned about it's size - it's definately way bigger than normal dust spots. I'm just hoping that it's not a spot of lubricant or something else that might smear with a wipe. You might be better off getting Canon to do it this time and then maintain it yourself with the Arctic Butterfly?

    I assume those products I was looking at are the correct ones? As ever, I've done a bit or research and i'm reasonably confident they're what I need. I'll just practice on an LCD screen as a first pass before trying the sensor straight out the box...
    I didn't check the link because your description sounded perfect. Whatever you do though, DON'T practice with one on your LCD screen and then use the same wipe on your sensor - all you'll do is transfer skin oil from the screen to the sensor and risk scratching your filter if pick up a bit of grit along the way. BIG NO NO! (*** wagging finger at you ***!)

    By the way - when you "whizz" the Butterfly do you do this with or without the cap on. I assume with as it will allow the friction to build up?
    That's a very good question - I've always assumed it's with the cap off (must read the instructions one day!). Even out of the cap it still generates enough static to pick up small pieces of paper, so I don't imagine that dusk would be a problem.

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Roger that. I'm a bit concerned as well. I have no idea what it is or how it got there so I think i'll bite the bullet and be on the safe side with this one and get it done professionally.

    I was aware not to use the swab more than once but ta for the heads up

    P.s I'm interested re the artic butterfly. The instructions i have don't actually mention if the cap is to be on or off. It's obviously a great piece of kit to have BUT...i can't help getting the impression someone is laughing all the way to the bank at the same time for what it actually is

    Thanks for your help Colin

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Azz252 View Post
    BUT...i can't help getting the impression someone is laughing all the way to the bank at the same time for what it actually is
    I reckon. Mind you, if they did away with all the packaging they could sell it for 1/2 price!

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    So it's been cleaned professionally - costing $77 which i thought was ok and done in the CBD, by a registered Canon repairer.

    I haven't been able to check it as yet as i only took the body in, but was informed he did as best as he could...however there is still a spot on it.

    It's between the filter and the sensor. How this can or indeed did happen, I have no idea but it looks like i will be making a warranty claim on it.

    ..i have a feeling when i get home, put the lens on and take a test shot the same black dot will be smiling back at me in the photo....

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    I guess I was thinking that this was a camera that you have had for a while and this issue suddenly arose, but now I am wondering if that is the case. Is this a new camera that has exhibited this characteristic from the beginning, or did the problem suddenly appear ?

    I had dust that size on my sensor for a while and didn't notice right away because of the content, hiding it, until one day I took a shot and it stood out like crazy.

    After inspection, I went back and looked closely at older shots and realized it had been there for a while.

    Anyway, which is it for you ?

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Nope. I got the camera the week before Christmas.

    I'm unsure exactly when it has appeared but it's not been there ever since i got it. I'd need to go back through my photos and work out where it first appeared. It's pretty annoying it being there haha.

    I'm going to see what it looks like when i get home (in the hope that the bit of dust between the filter and sensor isn't the same one) and then make the call.

    What did you do with yours?

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    Re: Advice for dust on camera sensor

    Keep in mind that dust bunnies only show up at higher F-stops (F22, F16 etc) - at F11 they're getting a LOT harder to see.

    Just wondering if it's something that's been there all along and you haven't noticed because you might normally shoot wide-open?

    If it is indeed between the filter and actual sensor then I would have thought that there's no question of it being a warranty issue as the two elements are suposedly sealed together which makes me wonder (if it is the same spot) then (a) has something flaked off between the two, or was it not properly sealed in the first place?

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