My Incredible Camera Has Sensor Cleaning So I Never Have To Worry About Dust Spots In My Images.
That is one long title but it is also my lead in to this essay which I hope you will continue with. I am sure that several years ago I wrote something similar but now in 2012 with so many cameras boasting about their self cleaning feature I thought I would remind you that any thing automatic is not perfect, and in camera cleaning systems are great but not foolproof.
Let’s think about what makes a sensor dirty:
- Changing lenses means that little particles that occur removing and mounting lenses.
- Pollen in the air gets into anything
- Not making sure the camera body is free from lots of dust before changing a lens.
- Hot and cold temperature. Going from real cool car or air conditioning into a hot climate or the opposite of going from a nice warm house into the cold of winter. Condensation is a real nasty thing.
- Humidity -Along with temperature this is a killer.
- Holding your camera into the wind as you change a lens.
- Holding the camera mount against your body and dirt and dust coming off your clothing.
- Everyday pollutants. They are always around us and will eventually create a film.
Oh my! It seems like you should never take your camera out of the camera bag just to be safe. Not to panic. Here’s the scoop.
In the camera dust removal systems are okay up to a point. But there are too many times that those systems won’t work perfectly.
- Sticky pollen
- Hot and Cold and Humid conditions
- Holding the camera without the lens or body cap against your shirt or jacket after eating some messy fast food.
- Everyday pollutants.
When it comes to these 4 things you have several choices. You can spend a great deal of time in Photoshop, Lightroom or similar software products cloning out the what appears to be smudged rain drops.
You can buy sensor cleaning material which will allow you clean your sensor and in reality this is a practice you should adopt after every picture taking session. Let’s face facts. A sensor that is cleaned will perform better in producing an image. A sensor that is dirty will impact image quality especially those all around us pollutants that will leave an invisible coating ultimately effecting how much light is actually reaching the pixels.
When we talk about cameras that clean the sensor for you, that works 98 percent of the time for simple dust but not for pollen related dust and most certainly not dust that managed to stick, STICK, to the sensor because of rapid temperature change causing condensation or humidity causing condensation.
So what are you going to clean and what are you going to use to clean?
- Back of the lens mount
- A cloth to wipe down the body and the LCD screen on the back of your camera
- The contacts on your lens and on your camera body
- The sensor
- Your lenses all the time.
For cleaning the sensor as well as the back mount of your lens you want to use Eclipse Liquid. For the back of your lens and the camera contacts, you will use a Pec Pad.
For cleaning the sensor it will depend what size sensor you have as the SWABS are available in different sizes. i.e. 4/3 sensor, Full Frame, APS sensors vary, etc. The swabs or called SENSOR SWABS.
For cleaning your lenses there are two companies that make carry with you packets and they are both excellent. One is Zeiss and the other is Hoodman.
Below is a video from the fine people at Photosol, the makers of Sensor swab and Eclipse liquid.
One last thing. While I recommend cleaning the sensor and your lenses and the body and everything else mentioned above please be aware that you are ultimately responsible for your equipment. If you make a mistake please do not email me that I made you do it. It is important to you and your images and your gear that you learn these things.
If you are local in the Northern Va area OR even if you are not, I’ll be setting up some free classes through District Camera on how to clean your sensors, lenses and cameras. Please contact me here at MY CONTACT INFO
When blowing out the dust in the camera always hold the camera with the lens mount facing down.
While cleaning your sensor is not difficult, the most complete way to clean it is through a professional source like District Camera who have special equipment and personnel using microscopes and exceptional cleaning products.
I do however also recommend that you should maintain your sensor once a month for a general cleaning as well.