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Cleaning Sensor Versus Sending It Away  
User currently offlineFlyingfox27 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2007, 424 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4054 times:

Hi, i often hear about a lot of people that clean their sensors by themselves, i often think this is very dodgy practice as the camera shop i go to say that its always sensible and best to take it in for cleaning and to be sent away for cleaning.

I often take mine to the camera shop for cleaning as i dont want to take chances and dont mind having to pay the full £60 or so to have it done. The last time i took my Canon 1000D to get cleaned they did it for free because iam a loyal customer and even when i offered to pay they said i didnt need to which was very nice of them.

Of course i go to 7dayshop.com for the small things like memory cards and batteries and small essentials but when it comes to cleaning the sensor i always take it in to be cleaned professionally.

So what so you do folks do you do the risky thing by yourselves to save money or are your hands steady enough to do it or do you do what i do?

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2929 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4048 times:

Quoting Flyingfox27 (Thread starter):
i often think this is very dodgy practice

As long as you are careful in what you are doing, it's no more dodgy doing it by yourself than sending it away to be done. You only do yourself what the people you send it to will do. The process is no different and no more 'risky'.

Quoting Flyingfox27 (Thread starter):
the camera shop i go to say that its always sensible and best to take it in for cleaning and to be sent away for cleaning.

They would say that and make a nice mark-up on it too!! If you don't feel it's something you want to do by yourself, then it's a good service. However cleaning your sensor is by no means beyond most peoples skill.

£60 is a lot of money to spend when the next time you change your lens, there's a chance you'll get some dust inside. It's a lot of money to pay when you can get yourself a cleaning kit for £30 with sufficient supplies for 3 or 4 plus cleans. It only takes 5 minutes to do by yourself but the biggest advantage is you aren't without your camera. I'd be reluctant to send nearly £1,000 through the post however good it was packaged.

Quoting Flyingfox27 (Thread starter):
do you do the risky thing by yourselves

As I mention above, it's not risky as long as you're careful in what you do. I do mine 2 or 3 times per year, it's getting ready to do again as I'm getting sick of removing the same dust spot! With a little preparation and light hands, it's honestly no big deal.

Darren



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlinedvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1746 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4047 times:
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You're not actually cleaning the sensor, but rather a piece of glass in front of it (the low pass filter). This filters is actually incredibly hard and difficult to scratch.

I generally use a blower only to clean, but if I have a mark or smudge somehow, I use a lenspen cleaner to clean it up.



From the Mind of Minolta
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4045 times:

I personally don't like the idea of fiddling around inside my camera's chamber, but more to the point I dislike further the idea of a stranger doing it! I've had three DSLRs and although my second (a 30D) had a stubborn dust spot which refused to come off it was so faint (invisible without equalising) that further action I deemed not necessary.

I keep my cameras free from dust by taking the utmost care when changing lenses (back to the wind, not anywhere dusty, etc.) and also by frequently using the auto dust removal systems. Once a speck becomes stubborn it's difficult to remove.

In summary, I've never once taken a camera to be professionally cleaned - nor have I done it myself - and I've never had serious dust issues.

Karl


User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4033 times:

I have been cleaning my XTi / 40D myself for a few years now and I haven't had any accidents. A professional clean here is around $90. Even if I screw up now and ruin of the cameras now, I think I'll still be ahead money-wise given how much money I've saved by not paying to get them cleaned.  

I used to use the one-off swabs but they were too frigging expensive. So, I've migrated to the Copper Hill method a year or so ago

http://www.copperhillimages.com/index.php?pr=Tutorials1

and I haven't had any problems. I also tried SensorKlear, but I had no luck with it (it seemed to put more dust on the sensor). So I haven't used it for some time.

General advice I'd give is: Using the "easy" sensor cleaning methods (blower / sensor brush) is very straightforward. Using the wet method was a bit more nerve-wracking in the beginning but I'm used to it now.
After some practice it will become a non-event. But if you're in any way uncomfortable in doing that yourself, just don't. If you damage your sensor, your camera will become a (very expensive) brick. So, just be careful.

Here's some extra information on sensor cleaning, in case somebody would like to know more about it:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/P...tography-Tips/Sensor-Cleaning.aspx

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4026 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 3):
I've had three DSLRs and although my second (a 30D) had a stubborn dust spot which refused to come off it was so faint (invisible without equalising) that further action I deemed not necessary.

Yeah, I also have a very stubborn dust spot on my 40D. But it's really not visible without equalizing, so I've left it where it is. It doesn't affect my shots.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 3):
and also by frequently using the auto dust removal systems.

This is an important point! When I shot a lot, I tend not to turn my cameras off and on and rely on them going to sleep. However, when they wake up again they don't do the automatic cleaning that they do when you switch them on. So, it's important to keep that in mind and maybe initiate it manually every now and then,.

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4851 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4006 times:
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Quoting SNATH (Reply 5):
Quoting JakTrax (Reply 3):
and also by frequently using the auto dust removal systems.

This is an important point! When I shot a lot, I tend not to turn my cameras off and on and rely on them going to sleep. However, when they wake up again they don't do the automatic cleaning that they do when you switch them on. So, it's important to keep that in mind and maybe initiate it manually every now and then,.

I will cycle the camera on and off a couple of times following a lens change to get that auto dust removal system going.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinedvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1746 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4001 times:
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Sometimes invoking the dust cleaning system from the menu will do a more vigorious cleaning than power cycling the camera.


From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3064 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3961 times:
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My thoughts for what they are worth - don't be scared. I don't think it is dodgy at all if you do it properly. I was definitely worried the first time I did it, but since then have never had a problem (other than my own perfectionistic tendencies, which mean when I am cleaning it usually takes a lot of wipes followed by photos of a clear blue sky to 'check' before I am satisfied).

I use the cleaning pads (right size for your sensor size) and Eclipse fluid - make sure that you use the correct type cleaning fluid though, because the newer models have a different kind of coating (tin oxide I think, used in sensors with self-clean) which is not supposed to respond well to fluid not specially made for them.

I agree with Darren - you are only going to be doing what they would be doing anyhow. I like to be the one in control!

Paul


User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3997 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3959 times:

I'm not such a dab hand in this type of thing, but cleaning the glass in front of your sensor with the Copper Hill method is not at all risky. The glass may end up dirtier than before if you make a wrong move, but then you can just do it again. No problem. Shops only tell you it's risky because they wants your business, and the one I tried didn't do a good job at all.

That said, I haven't cleaned my sensor in a long time, except by blowing away with my little Rocket Air Blower, which is enough to remove the bad spots.
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ttos-Rocket-Air-Blower-Review.aspx

By the way, Mick Bajcar once mentioned a cheap alternative to the rather expensive Copper Hill fluid.

Peter 



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3918 times:

Quoting Psych (Reply 8):
(other than my own perfectionistic tendencies, which mean when I am cleaning it usually takes a lot of wipes followed by photos of a clear blue sky to 'check' before I am satisfied).

Paul, I didn't think other folks were as anal as I am when it comes to sensor cleaning... Yeah, I do the same. Do you find that half the time it works out first try and the other half it takes forever?

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3885 times:

I still maintain that the best method is to prevent or certainly limit the amount of dust entering the chamber. I imagine the physical cleaning process carries little risk but if you never need to clean the sensor it's an unnecessary risk, irrespective of how small that risk may be.

Sure, I get a few dust spots now and then but they are always imvisible to the naked eye and pretty hard to place even under equalisation. If you can't see it, why bother? And even if you can see it, it's nothing the spot healer in Photoshop can't sort. After all, it's only A.net that insists upon every blemish being undetectable by NASA's finest technology!

With regard to the auto sensor clean, it is far more effective in later cameras. I have the automatic routine (i.e. clean at power on) switched off as I like to do it manually, normally after a lens change. This gives me more control and the rule of thumb says whatever isn't dislodged first time will be the second!

Personally, I don't care much about dust spots unless they're clearly visible without equalising.

Karl


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4851 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3866 times:
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Quoting JakTrax (Reply 11):
I still maintain that the best method is to prevent or certainly limit the amount of dust entering the chamber. I imagine the physical cleaning process carries little risk but if you never need to clean the sensor it's an unnecessary risk, irrespective of how small that risk may be.

Karl, being careful to not lest dust in is fine but dust WILL find it's way in there eventually. It's inevitable with a DSLR. So a sensor cleaning will be necessary for most people at some point.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2929 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3844 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 11):
I still maintain that the best method is to prevent or certainly limit the amount of dust entering the chamber.

I agree Karl, prevention is always better than cure but it's inevitable you'll get dust in at some stage however careful you are. If you're only shooting up to say f/10 then you may not have too many problems. However, I've been shooting down as low as f/22 over the last month or two (I hate frozen props and rotor blades!) so even the tiniest of dust spot shows as a huge blob when at f/8 or f/10, it's bearly visible.

Darren

(Reminder to ones self; go and buy some ND filters for bright conditions!)



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3064 posts, RR: 58
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3835 times:
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I have a 40D (which has the sensor cleaning function) and I only ever have my 70-200mm lens fitted to that body - so no change of lenses. Also that lens is not the kind of push-pull that can act as a dust 'hoover'. But I still get dust on the sensor screen.

Where the hell does it come from?   

Quoting SNATH (Reply 10):
Paul, I didn't think other folks were as anal as I am when it comes to sensor cleaning.

Hi Tony - if you are looking for anal on that score look no further than me   . I am only happy when the equalised image of the clear blue sky is flawless at f/22! Almost never happens.

Take it easy.

Paul


User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3771 times:

Dust of course will enter the chamber but it can be dislodged by the sensor clean function. You can't stop dust but you can limit its effects.

I've never once cleaned any of my cameras' sensors and although there's certainly dust in them somewhere it's rarely visible, even under equalisation.

I guess you need to ask yourself how fussy you are about dust spots! It's odd because I'm a VERY fussy person but dust doesn't bother me too much.

Karl


User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3709 times:

As dvincent mentioned above it's not actually the sensor you're (no one in particular) cleaning. I just blower mine a few times, wipe it with a lens wipe if needed. Takes 2 minutes, piece of cake. Anyone willing to pay 60 quid I'll do it for a nifty!  
Spence.



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2929 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3673 times:

I think it depends on your lens to to a certain extent as well. Some lenses are bigger 'dust pumps' than others so however careful you are when changing lenses or with your camera, it's inevitable dust with enter.


Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
I guess you need to ask yourself how fussy you are about dust spots!

Just to give you an example, it's not about how fussy you are, it's about saving you time in having to clone out dust spots in post-processing. The following is a portion of the frame from a helicopter shot I took the other week when shooting at slow shutter speeds to get the rotor and background blur. As it was a bright day, it meant a small aperture and therefore dust spots show that may not otherwise be visible. This isn't equalised, it's as it came from the camera (1/40th @ f22):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v288/Dazbo5/Scuba2/IMG_3259.jpg

Would you want to clone these out regularly or spend 5 minutes cleaning the sensor? I know what I do, the spots are no longer on the sensor!

Darren



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3590 times:

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 17):
Would you want to clone these out regularly or spend 5 minutes cleaning the sensor?

Darren,

It's not only the time you have to spend cloning. Imagine if one of the dust spots was further to the right and half-covering that grill. Clone that.  
Quoting Psych (Reply 14):
I am only happy when the equalised image of the clear blue sky is flawless at f/22! Almost never happens.

I'm with Paul on this one. I do clean the sensor carefully after each non-trivial outing. Sometimes just using the blower is enough. Sometimes, I have to spend quite a long time with swabs. But, I rarely have any visible dust on my shots (notice: rarely, not never unfortunately).

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4851 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3526 times:
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I just wanted to share with this thread that I cleaned my 40D sensor today for the first time using the method Tony mentioned above. It took only a minute and it worked great! My sensor had become unbearably dirty and now it's like new.


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinesnecma From South Africa, joined Feb 2007, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3408 times:

Hi. I sent my Canon 350D to a professional camera repair shop once for sensor cleaning, and they were extremely helpful in moving all the dust to new locations on the sensor. After that I bought swabs and cleaned it myself. If you are careful, there should not be any problems.

Regards

Jacobus


User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3380 times:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 19):
I just wanted to share with this thread that I cleaned my 40D sensor today for the first time using the method Tony mentioned above. It took only a minute and it worked great! My sensor had become unbearably dirty and now it's like new.

Hey Ryan,

The old hand was trembling a bit during the first sweep?  

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineLGW340 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3379 times:

I use an Arctic Butterfly static brush.... Its amazing! Well worth getting and works like nothing else!


Live life from the window seat...
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4851 posts, RR: 26
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3327 times:
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Quoting SNATH (Reply 21):
Hey Ryan,

The old hand was trembling a bit during the first sweep?

LOL... To be honest, no not really. I did a lot of research and I read up on the procedure over and over to the point where, although I had never done it, I could probably have done it in my sleep already. But nah, it was really easy. Plus I have always liked getting my hands dirty and messing with things' insides...perform my own maintenance etc. I'm very hands-on. haha



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
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