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07-14-2008, 06:17 PM   #1
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How clean is clean?

Hi,

After recently taking some landscapes at f22 i realised how dirty my sensor was. I got my self a sensor sweep, blower and eclipse/plastic wand.

I am new to sensor cleaning but i am getting some strange results.

1. Blow the dust off - it got cleaner.
2. Use the sensor brush - it got a little cleaner
3. Use the eclipse and wand - it got MORE dust on it.
4. blow it off, use the brush - it got cleaner again.

I did all of this numerous times and found the the eclipse/wand usually deposits more dust on the sensor?!?!?! what am i doing wrong?

Anyway, i got it cleaner than it was when i started but a i am wondering what procedure people use.

I mount the camera on a tripod, lock the mirror up tilt the camera to a good working angle and then remove the lens. I proceed to clean and then mount the lens back on and take a test shot..... then i repeat and repeat and repeat.

How clean can you get your sensor?
Mine still has 5 or 6 specs and maybe another 12 specs so small that they are not worth the effort.

If the sensor got cleaner and cleaner and cleaner i could understand adn be happy that i am making progress but everytime i use the eclipse/wand it gets worse.

mike

07-14-2008, 06:47 PM   #2
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Sounds scary.

I've never cleaned my sensor, but I get the impression that "repeat repeat repeat" was generally not a good idea. Probably cleaning as little as possible is best. Even touching the sensor with anything sounds disturbing.
07-14-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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I agree that the repeat repeat repeat is probably not a good idea. This is why i stopped and am now asking questions.

I love to maintain all of my own tools (actual tools and electronic stuff) so i really want to learn to clean the sensor my self. I probably just need more practise. I can't afford a new camera at the moment but i am being rather careful and soft on it! If i do mess it up BAD then i would just get another K100d 2nd hand and keep practising until i could get it right. No point in practising on a k20d!

Sensors in camera shops are cleaned by people. There is no reason i can't learn to do it myself.

mike
07-14-2008, 08:22 PM   #4
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I sent my camera in today for a cleaning and they said it would take 6 to 8 weeks to get it back. I just bought the camera 4 months ago, with an 18 to 250mm Tamron lens. I have not taken the lens off since I bought the camera, but some how a speck got stuck on the sensor and I started seeing a flaw in all my pictures. The sensor shake did nothing. I also found a flaw on some glass inside the lens.

I'm to scared to touch the sensor so I decided to send it to the pros to get it cleaned. Now the lens is still under warranty so it's going back to Tamron.

07-14-2008, 08:23 PM   #5
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Yeah, wasn't trying to say you shouldn't do it yourself. I will probably do the same when the time comes. Probably easier on the nerves once the camera is a bit older

I thought most people just blew dust off with a bulb, but I guess if that isn't enough then maybe you've got to try the other steps you mentioned.
07-14-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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I'm not going to recommend this, but this is what I do:

I take the lens off the camera and open the shutter in the sensor cleaning mode.
I then take a squirt can of gas (Dust Off or similar). Holding the can straight upright, I squirt a few blasts PAST, NOT INTO the camera.
This makes sure there is no liquid propellant coming out. I then give the sensor a couple of shots of compressed gas.
I then put the can down, turn off the camera and mount a lens to it.
So far, this has been sufficient for me to not have dust problems. I rarely clean the sensor unless I notice problems. If I am using the camera for a portrait or wedding shoot, or a photo safari, or some such, I will clean the sensor prior to starting out.
I have never damaged a camera doing this.
07-14-2008, 08:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hick Quote
I sent my camera in today for a cleaning and they said it would take 6 to 8 weeks to get it back. I just bought the camera 4 months ago, with an 18 to 250mm Tamron lens. I have not taken the lens off since I bought the camera, but some how a speck got stuck on the sensor and I started seeing a flaw in all my pictures. The sensor shake did nothing. I also found a flaw on some glass inside the lens.

I'm to scared to touch the sensor so I decided to send it to the pros to get it cleaned. Now the lens is still under warranty so it's going back to Tamron.
Wow. There's no reason to send your camera out for 6-8 weeks to have the sensor cleaned. Cleaning the sensor takes just a couple minutes and you won't hurt it if you be gingerly about it. The sensor is covered with a glass filter, and you'd have to work at it to scratch that filter.

Why are you returning the lens? You can use a LensPen (or lens tissue, or various other methods) to brush off and clean the exposed glass.

07-15-2008, 04:59 AM   #8
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Do not use compressed gas! The air blast can scatter goo or particulates into your camera.

Read Cleaning Digital Cameras and Camera Clean for a survey of different methods. I have an Arctic Butterfly but have never yet needed to use it. Luminous Landscape has a positive review.
07-15-2008, 06:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Do not use compressed gas! The air blast can scatter goo or particulates into your camera.
Do you know this for a fact or is it one of those "the sky is pink, I read it on the internet" things? It seems to me that the rush of compressed gas coming out the front of the camera is going to be carrying dust along with it. Like I said, I've never had a problem with using compressed gas in 5 years and 3 DSLR cameras. I live in a dry climate where dust is inevitable, I don't want it on my sensor, and the insides of my cameras have always been remarkably clean
07-15-2008, 06:47 AM   #10
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I had a foreign object on my sensor that I could not remove by rocket blower so I ordered the Pentax cleaning kit. Used it once and the foreign object was gone. Worked for me.

Gary
07-15-2008, 06:48 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Do you know this for a fact or is it one of those "the sky is pink, I read it on the internet" things?
I read things on the Internet and I read things in books and sometimes I hear things on the television or radio. In all matters I use my best judgment, common sense and a good dose of logic to determine what to believe. If you tell me your definition of "fact" perhaps I can be more precise.

The claim that industrially machined air can have contaminants has not been empirically determined by myself since I do not have the time to spend on such things. However, it is a plausible truth unlike, say, astrology, psychoanalysis or capitalist economic theory. If you read the references I took the time to find, you will find many possible ways of sensor cleaning but not the one you advocate... in fact it is expressly mentioned as something one should not do.

The fact it has worked for you means that we have a sample size of one backing up that opinion. This does not inspire confidence in a high risk venture like sensor cleaning.

By the way, I have seen pink skies -- they are lovely.
07-15-2008, 07:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Wow. There's no reason to send your camera out for 6-8 weeks to have the sensor cleaned. Cleaning the sensor takes just a couple minutes and you won't hurt it if you be gingerly about it. The sensor is covered with a glass filter, and you'd have to work at it to scratch that filter.

Why are you returning the lens? You can use a LensPen (or lens tissue, or various other methods) to brush off and clean the exposed glass.
I'm accustom to cleaning my 35mm Nikon, but when it came to the delicate sensor in the K20 I was a little skiddish about touching it, and because I was sending in the lens I decided to send in the camera also. As far as the lens, the the defects were on the inside of the glass, not on the outside. I saw two defects, one looked like a small chip and the other was like a smudge, also on the inside of the glass.
07-15-2008, 07:23 AM   #13
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I had a very dirtly sensor following a very dirty weekend at a motor sport event and much lens changing.

I tried various tricks including a foot pump. This made matters much worse and I wondered if I had done some serious harm.

Next I purchased a Giotto rocket blower. This improved things a bit, but there was still considerable contamination. So I purchased Eclipse E2 and sensor swabs (very expensive for what they are).

First attempt with these improved things considerably. More blowing with the rocket improved things more but also introduced some debris where it was not before. Had a second go with eclipse using a new swab. This made things almost OK - just a small hair remained. Rocket took care of that and I have a nice clean sensor again.

I was initially worried about doing this, but in fact you are just cleaning a glass cover slip, not the sensor itself. If you are reasonably careful you won't scratch it (unless of course you have diamond dust in your camera).

The in camera dust reduction system seems to do nothing in my K10D. I wonder if it is working correctly. I have it set so that it comes on when the camera is powered up. It goes Da-Da-Da for under a second at a low frequency. Is that what it should do? I would have thought that high frequency or even ultrasonic would be better.

Also - make sure you blow out the front of your lens before replacing on camera.
07-15-2008, 07:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote

The fact it has worked for you means that we have a sample size of one backing up that opinion. This does not inspire confidence in a high risk venture like sensor cleaning.

Fair enough, if you have so little confidence in the build quality of your camera that you think sensor cleaning is a high risk venture.
Personally, I think sticking a wet foreign object into the camera and scraping it across the sensor is higher risk than a puff of compressed air, but that's just me.
My method doesn't involve risking scratches on the cover glass.
I am aware that there is an entire industry out there spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding sensor cleaning, with the intention of getting people to buy expensive cleaning equipment, I'm just not buying into their hype when what I do works for me and doesn't cost me a twenty dollar bill every time I get a dust speck in a sky..
07-15-2008, 08:07 AM   #15
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Wheatfield, I appreciate where you are coming from. But I think that any time I poke around inside the camera it is high risk. Relative to other activities like using the shutter button or the back LCD.

However, I do not advocate manic sensor cleaning. Far from it. Instead I advocate prevention and intelligent awareness of dust and wind when changing lenses. I change lenses quite a lot and have clicked off 13,000 actuations and have never cleaned my sensor. I find the dust reduction system little short of miraculous.

But I do have an Arctic Butterfly on hand for when I do need to clean. In comparison those $20 a use systems do seem like a rip-off.
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