Sensor cleaning

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sonyalpha
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Sensor cleaning

Post by sonyalpha »

All of my recent postings have been marred by a myriad of dust spots on the sensor of my Sony Alpha 300 camera..............I have run the vibrating cleaning mode three times now and used a rather poor quality puffer.................this did get rid of some but still a few stubborn spots remain:

I had a quote from an independent photographic dealers yesterday of £30 plus VAT at 17.5%.................this seemed excessive to me.............until I checked around to discover that this is one of the cheapest quotes:

Do members here boldly clean their own sensors.......or....do they bite the bullet and go down the pro cleaners route???

Just curious:

Just looking inside my Sony scares me to death never mind dabbling around with specialist cleaning pads:

I could of course stick with post processing of the dreaded spots in Photoshop:


Comments and advice very welcome:

Would the cool-rinse cycle in our dishwasher do the trick????

sonyalpha :roll:
Retired but not old in spirit:

Fairly new to photography........keen to learn:

ChrisLilley
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Post by ChrisLilley »

I don't have experience with Sony Alpha cameras. I have had two Nikon DSLRs, one of which has a vibrating cleaner and one does not.

The D40 did not, and I needed to clean it every couple of weeks. I used a good quality blower, a Giotto Rocket. These are available in the UK. By the way, due to the shape, if you take these through airport security be prepared for some extra investigation of your baggage.

I found it best to hold the camera so that the mount was pointing down, and to blow upwards into it. That way, any dislodged dust falls out instead of merely shifting to a different place.

My D90 has a vibrating cleaning mode and I have only needed to give it a puff of air once or twice.

I have never needed to wet clean either of them.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

I have two Canon DSLRs, one with vibration and one without. Both have needed to be wet cleaned, which I do with Eclipse and Pec*Pad. The camera without vibration goes several months between cleanings. The one with vibration has been wet-cleaned only once, if I recall correctly.

I agree the process is scary, but I have not had any actual problems doing it. Usually it takes me several attempts, using a clean pad each time, before I am satisfied with the few spots that always remain.

--Rik

seta666
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Post by seta666 »

I use sensor film and I higly recomend it http://www.sensor-film.com/cleaning.html , beside that I added a UV filter between the camera and the bellows to prevent dust getting in
Regards

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

£30 plus VAT at 17.5%.................this seemed excessive to me............
Don't really know what the "going rate" is here, but I think sooner or later you're going to have to do some of your own cleaning. Dust spots that are just about invisible in "normal" photography get to be a pain in close-up photography since the apertures (as seen by the sensor) are quite small and therefore create more distinct shadows of the dust. (And on a microscope it is really brutal!)

Entire cottage industries have sprouted up marketing sensor cleaning products. (I use Visible Dust sensor swabs for wet cleaning. First a "full sensor" swab and then one of their "corner swabs"... and they cost more than I think they should).

If you are really after the small offending spots a real problem is that you can't see what you are doing. It's a little like trying to clean a large window while blind-folded! :wink: The large swabs usually do a fine job on the bulk of the sensor, but often considerable dust gets swept into the corners and edges. There are a couple of products out there that are basically illuminated magnifiers that supposedly let you see the sensor as you clean it. I've been using a stereo microscope (with adequate working distance) to see the sensor as I clean it. Fantastic! Can't imagine doing it "blind" again. One reason I mention this is that while at first it seems crazy to consider buying a stereo microscope to clean a camera sensor, a basic "usable" Chinese scope can be purchased for nearly the same amount (actually even less) than the illuminated sensor loupe products. (Or for about two of your £30 plus VAT professional cleanings). But then you have a stereo microscope that you can use every day to look at nature subjects, or prepare specimens for table top photography.

sonyalpha
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Post by sonyalpha »

A very big thank you to all of you for the various suggestions and comments:

I have boldly decide to go down the DIY route.............I have ordered a rocket blower and a full sensor cleaning kit:

All I will need to do when they arrive is to pluck up the courage to.........blow then swab around inside the camera;

Do you think I should have a drink first????? {-X {-X {-X

sonyalpha
Retired but not old in spirit:

Fairly new to photography........keen to learn:

ChrisLilley
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Post by ChrisLilley »

sonyalpha wrote: Do you think I should have a drink first????? {-X {-X {-X
In the words attributed to a wise porter by Shakespeare:
it provokes the desire, but it takes
away the performance
(Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3)

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Always make sure the camera battery is fully charged first though so the shutter does not close on your cleaning tools mid clean. Usually many cameras give a beep a second or two before the shutter closes if the battery is drained and can't hold it open much longer, but I know somebody who damaged his camera shutter that way and claims he did not get the beep.

Remember the normal shutter state is closed with the battery out and no power to the camera, and if the power fails that is the state it will quickly return to since the shutter is held open by electromagnets, not mechanical means these days.

Also though you have plenty of time for cleaning don't waste time with the shutter open by going away and coming back a bit later since the magnets warm up in prolonged use and many cameras have a fail safe mechanism that will release the shutter if the magnets overheat.

If you have to leave the camera mid clean for long close the shutter and open it again when you get back to resume cleaning to avoid the magnets overheating and the shutter closing on your cleaning tools. If you hear a beep get out of the mirror box immediately as the shutter may soon close.

DaveW

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