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10-14-2016, 08:34 PM   #1
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Sensor cleaning!

Hi, I never cleaned my sensor before and just want to ask if it is safe to use a 4 year old Eclipse cleaning fluid on my K3 sensor? Sorry I can't get a new one but I am open to any suggestion for a safe and effective sensor cleaning.

I have the new Sensor Swabs type 2, Pentax sticky thing is overpriced but is it worth $40?

10-14-2016, 08:55 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Markx Quote
Pentax sticky thing is overpriced but is it worth $40?
YES!! (Well I have the Dust Aid, which is similar.) It will be sufficient for most instances of dust on the sensor.

Wet cleaning should be a last resort.

Sequence:
1. Camera's own dust removal system.
2. Blower. (Clean environment so you don't blow more dust in. Camera held upside down.)
3. Sticky silicon pads (Pentax, Dust Aid etc)
4. Electrostatically charged brushes (Arctic Butterfly, etc)
5. Mini swab for spot.
6. Full size swab.

Or bail out after step 2 or 3 and pay a pro to do it. In some places, a free clean is included in the camera warranty.
10-14-2016, 09:19 PM   #3
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As far as I know, Eclipse cleaning fluid is essentially methanol. I canʻt imagine that going bad. You could use a regular Q-tip on a clean mirror (not in camera!!!) just to see if it leaves any type of residue. I agree with Des that this should be a next to last resort (last resort is sending the camera in for cleaning professionally). When trying the cameraʻs dust removal system and when using a rocket blower, have the lens opening face down to allow gravity to help.

My own experience on probably 20 wet Eclipse attempts has found about 85% success, 10% where the dust was more than dust (oil or grease that had to be cleaned professionally) and one time when the sensor was so incredibly dirty that the swab was only pushing the mess around the sensor.

If you have the sticky silicon pads, that is a bit safer than the wet sensor cleaner method.
10-14-2016, 09:32 PM   #4
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Thank you guys, now I feel better, I will try to get Pentax sticky thing or Dust Aid and at some point will send the camera for professional cleaning.

10-14-2016, 10:49 PM   #5
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I am jumping in a bit late but I will just say that I've never encountered particles on the sensor that I could not blow of with Giottos Rocket Blaster. I lock-up the mirror for sensor cleaning, direct the camera toward ground and blow on the sensor a couple of times. Then I check @f/22 on the wall if there is something left and rarely I had to do it the second time.

Hope this helps,

Marko
10-14-2016, 10:58 PM   #6
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You might find that the blower or silicone pad will do it and you don't need to send it for professional cleaning. With the sequence I listed, you stop at the step that works! Much of the time it will be step 2 or 3.

If it's any consolation, the K-3 has a far superior dust removal system to the entry/intermediate models. I think I have only once had to deal with dust in the K-3, compared with many times in two K-30 bodies (with similar number of lens changes, and trying to be careful).

And with the K-3 you can check whether the sensor is clean using the Dust Alert system. That's much easier than the old way: take off lens, mirror up, use blower, switch off camera, reattach lens, go out and take a photo of the sky at f16, check photo, still got a spot (damn), take off lens, mirror up, try something else, etc etc ..... (repeat ad nauseam).

A loupe can help too. The best ones have LED lights and a cutaway side to work with whatever tool you are using (silicon pad, brush, swab, or whatever).

QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
I've never encountered particles on the sensor that I could not blow of with Giottos Rocket Blaster
Lucky you. My ratio is less than 50%. I think it depends a lot on how damp the environment is (whether the dust sticks to the sensor) and the nature of the contaminants (pollen can be particularly sticky). It might also be that the more you use the camera (dust removal working each time) the less chance of dust sticking to the sensor.

Last edited by Des; 10-14-2016 at 11:04 PM.
10-14-2016, 11:18 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote

Lucky you. My ratio is less than 50%. I think it depends a lot on how damp the environment is (whether the dust sticks to the sensor) and the nature of the contaminants (pollen can be particularly sticky). It might also be that the more you use the camera (dust removal working each time) the less chance of dust sticking to the sensor.
Unless I shoot some crazy macro stuff, I rarely see the particles anyway. When I do, i try to localize them on the sensor, approximately based on the photo if not visually and I direct the blower toward them. Works every time. I seldom use dust removal, once a month maybe, never found it very useful with persistent specs of dust.
10-14-2016, 11:50 PM   #8
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in c. 25 sensor cleans with Eclipse and swabs I've never had a problem, and had 100% success. Honestly, it's not hard. Set camera, put some eclipse on swab, clean sensor by stroking over it, let dry, done.

10-15-2016, 02:34 AM   #9
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Not sure how confident you feel about this.

But - when Nikon came out with the D600 it really sucked due to oil and dust on the sensor. Why is this relevant you ask ?

If you google how to clean nikon D600 sensor there are loads of videos of people showing how to (and how not to) clean a sensor. Seems it was quite the thing to do to convince yourself you hadn't wasted thousand s of $$$ on your new nikon toy.

Watching them might give you some background on how to go about this.

just a thought for you

Cheers
10-15-2016, 04:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
clean sensor by stroking over it, let dry
...and always only in one direction, not back and forth. Hold the swab at a light angle as you swipe. So, one swipe from right to left (or left to right) then lift swab, turn the used edge of the swab over to the other side (it is now facing slightly up) and repeat the same action as before. So, I repeat never back and forth but always only in one direction !

Remember, the sensor is considered to be a user serviceable part, manufacturers know it will accumulate crap and needs cleaning. The sensor assembly is pretty robust. You can train yourself to do it and there is no reason to believe that a service person who is doing the cleaning service for you is a better operator. I have heard of cases where the camera was returned worse then what it was when it went in.

Cheers

Last edited by Schraubstock; 10-15-2016 at 04:08 AM.
10-15-2016, 08:56 AM   #11
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I use eyeglass wipes and a piece of plastic card cut to size.
Works good, no side effects after quite some iterations.
10-16-2016, 03:08 PM   #12
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FWIW I had some very stubborn dust that my blower wouldn't remove and I was very, very nervous of trying to clean it myself. However, I bit the bullet and bought the Pentax cleaning pad thingy. It took 2 or 3 goes but it worked like a charm. Can thoroughly recommend it.
10-17-2016, 02:14 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by keithw Quote
FWIW I had some very stubborn dust that my blower wouldn't remove and I was very, very nervous of trying to clean it myself. However, I bit the bullet and bought the Pentax cleaning pad thingy. It took 2 or 3 goes but it worked like a charm. Can thoroughly recommend it.
Yes, the Pentax ones are very similar to the eyelead ones I use. Having had a fair amount of sensor dust over the years and bought all sorts of solutions, I now have 3 'grades' of cleaners

Arctic butterfly - mild clean. It's basically a vibrating brush, doesn't get tough stuff off
Eyelead - a jelly like pad on a stick that you touch the sensor with to pick up gunk. Medium clean - dead easy to use, gets 80% off
Eclipse & Brushes - if all else fails. Nervy at first, brushing the sensor, but works great, gets the tough stuff off
01-14-2017, 03:25 PM   #14
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How Often Should a sensor need a clean? every few months I start to notice small blotches I guess in post process. Only Really appear blue skies or solid white backgrounds. Easy fix with clone tool in Lightroom. But maybe my ocd gets a little annoyed with it. A few months back I ordered a sensor cleaning kit with the liquid and it cleaned it out nicely, since it was never cleaned after two years. But now a few months later I am noticing some specs coming back.

How often does a sensor need a clean? I don't want to get into a habit of swabbing it too often. Would rather not play around with the sensor. Maybe I invest in a good hand blower and try blowing it out first. Or should I just keep cloning it out in post and not worry.

Also, what would be maybe amateur mistakes or common mistakes that could lead to increased dust on the sensor. I always make sure I turn the Camera off when I change lens

Cheers

Eric
01-14-2017, 03:58 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
How Often Should a sensor need a clean?

Also, what would be maybe amateur mistakes or common mistakes that could lead to increased dust on the sensor.

Eric
There is no set amount of time or actuations before a sensor needs cleaning. Unless you have a camera with a known issue where the camera shutter creates oil specks from the focal plane shutter (Nikon D600), the dust almost always is entering your camera when you swap lenses.

Try to change lenses when youʻre in a low dust environment, not too windy, no carpets, etc. Before swapping lenses, check that the lens about to be mounted is dust free on the rear element. Point the camera down if possible when switching lenses and make the switch quickly.

I use prime lenses, so that usually means dealing with more dust than, for example, using just one lens that is WR or AW. As you said, the dust will typically only show itself in blank areas of sky or walls, and it also shows up when using small apertures (f/16, f/27, etc).
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