- Nikon Lens Pen Cleaning System
- Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths Wipes
- Canon Optical Digital Camera and Lens Cleaning Kit
- Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large
- Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
- Giottos CL1001 Large Cleaning Kit with Small Rocket Blaster
- Hoodman Lens Cleanse Natural Cleaning Kit
Cleaning your DSLR camera sensor is a process you will eventually have to do, regardless of the antidust technology the camera has built in it. After some time in use, dust will find its way inside the camera’s mirror chamber and on the sensor. It’s likely to happen when changing lenses, but it doesn’t mean that having the same lens mounted will result in lack of dust. As I mentioned, it finds its way, especially when shooting outdoors. Before we talk about how to clean the camera, I’d like to make a short note on how to change the lens to minimize the risk of getting dust inside the camera body. Always do it with the camera mount pointing down, this is especially important when shooting in windy conditions. Have the second lens ready before taking of the first one. You don’t want to be looking for it in your camera bag while having the mirror and darkroom exposed. With a bit of practice, you’ll eventually do the process at good speed.
How can you tell if your sensor needs cleaning?
You might notice spots on your photos, black dots or even small hairs. Sometimes they show up on all photos, other times they’re only visible when shooting with a small aperture, like f8 or f11. To see exactly where you have dust spots on your sensor, you have to take a dust reference image. Some cameras have a menu option for this test, but I recommend doing it manually.
The way to do this is by closing your aperture to a value of f16 or f 18, setting a low ISO and an exposure long enough to shoot handheld. Point the camera at something bright, I usually use the sky, but you can also use a white piece of paper. The point of this is to get contrast that will show you the spots. Focus isn’t important so you can set it to manual and shoot.
There are multiple ways of cleaning a camera , depending on how dirty the sensor is. Whatever method or tool you decide to use, make sure the battery in your camera is fully charged. DSLR’s usually have an option in the menu for lifting the mirror for cleaning. If your battery isn’t close to full, this option isn’t available. There is a way of going around this if you can’t wait for the battery to charge, but it isn’t recommended . Set the camera to minimum ISO and longest exposure, release the shutter and remove the lens. Just make sure you’re not doing it in direct sunlight.
1. Air blowing
This is the most common method and also the one recommended by most camera manufacturers. A blower is a cheap, easy to carry tool that allows you to blow the air off the sensor, or to be more specific, the low pass filter. It’s recommended because you don’t have to touch anything inside, and thus can avoid cancelling the warranty. It’s a very good method for removing normal dust particles, not so much though when dealing with dust or pollen attached by moisture. Make sure you do it holding the camera upside down ( battery chamber should be on top ) because in a normal position you’ll just be pushing dust deeper or spreading it into the mirror chamber.
2. Cleaning solutions and wipes
Certainly not a method favored by camera manufacturers, as it involves getting internal components , especially the sensor wet or moist. However, there are situations when an air blower just won’t cut it and you will need to use a cleaning solution and wipes. It is a bit risky because you might leave unwanted stains on the filter, so make sure you use quality stuff, preferably from a manufacturer that guarantees no damage to internal components. The Digital Survival Kit by Photographic Solutions is probably the only solution endorsed by camera manufacturers.
Lenspens are tiny little things you can carry anywhere and are easy to use. They use a special cleaning tip that you gently rub on the filter. They are very effective, but they have a limited number of uses. They cannot be cleaned, so after a while you should change it instead of touching the low pass filter with a used tip.
These are the top recommended methods for cleaning a camera sensor, however, not the only ones. Items such as scotch tape, compressed air cans , makeup brushes and so on , SHOULD NEVER be used in attempts to clean a camera. Other than blowing air, none of the other methods are fail safe, so please understand that these are merely recommendations. Please do not hold this website responsible for any damage that might result from cleaning attempts. If you have doubts about doing it, it’s best to just send the camera to an authorized service.
Recommended Cleaning Supplies:
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