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10-19-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
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Artifacts on every image...where to look?

I haven't posted in a long time. I'm reaching the end of an extended road trip from Austin to the entire Pacific Coast, the High Sierras, Oregon, the Tetons, and am currently in Arizona, working my way back home to Texas.

I've taken thousands of photos on the trip, and have recently noticed that two "artifacts" show up in every photo, when the background is sky or light enough to show them. I've att'd two examples.

They are always in the same place. I have never removed the 18-135 lens since I put it onto the K-30 body when I got the camera. I've ALWAYS had a filter over the lens since it came out of the box. I've cleaned the UV filter, and still these two little "V" shaped things are always there. I've had the "Dust Removal" setting on "shutdown" ever since I got the camera, as well.

Where could these two little bits of whatever be hiding? I'm really bummed to think that they are there on every single photo I've taken on this trip. They are only noticeable when sky is the background.

Anyone have any ideas of where I should look or clean or should I take the camera and lens into a shop for a cleaning?

THanks for any input.

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10-19-2013, 04:57 PM   #2
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Dirt on sensor.
10-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
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OK, how can I get to it and clean it off? I thought that's what the "Dust Removal" setting was supposed to take care of.
10-19-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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Dust or something on the sensor.
Dust removal procedure in order:

1) Use the camera dust removal system (shaker) There is a menu setting to turn on/off. If you have dust run this several times in a row and then check for dust again. I leave mine on "run on startup" and think that is best so you don't have to worry about it.
2) Use a 'rocket blower' or equivalent to blow off anything the shaker will not get rid of. Do not use compressed air or canned air. Some folks report it is OK to use canned air if you are careful, personally I'm not taking any chances.
3) Use a wet cleaning kit. This is the last resort, and on two cameras with over 25,000 actuations in all kinds of environments I've never had to use one yet. Get this if all else fails but don't go there unless you are sure you need it.
4) Send in for professional cleaning. Pentax extended warranty (in the US) includes one 'free' cleaning. Not sure about anywhere else.

Most cameras shops can do a quick sensor clean for you, they don't have to be a Pentax shop.

Depending on your software those can be fairly easy to clean up. Lightroom offers good tools for this.

10-19-2013, 05:06 PM   #5
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There is a mirror lock-up / sensor cleaning function that will flip up the mirror and you'll be able to see the sensor. The first thing to try is a rocket blower -- just blow on it. The way to test for dirt is to stop down to f22 or more and take a picture of the sky -- the smaller the aperture, the visible and defined crap on the sensor will be. There is probably also a "dust alert" function on the K-30 -- someone else can verify.

Anyway, if just blowing on it doesn't remove the dirt, then you've got to clean the sensor or have it cleaned. There are various options for that...

I highly recommend this product (comes under other brand names also):

http://www.amazon.com/Promaster-Systempro-Cmos-Sensor-CLeaner/dp/B001E02ZTE

Easy to use, nothing wet, no residue. Even if a real wet cleaning is truly needed (which is actually pretty rare unless you get something oily on the sensor), this thing is invaluable.
10-19-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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Dust on the sensor is a fact of life with a DSLR. As others have said, try the dust removal on your camera, or the rocket blower. Make sure your camera is pointed down when using the blower so the dust falls out (not back in!). Many photo editors have a "healing" or "retouch" or clone tool that makes it easy to erase these dust spots. Even the freeware Picasa or GIMP can do this.
10-19-2013, 06:01 PM   #7
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Careful with the blowing. You're just as likely to dislodge some other dust in there that could end up on the sensor. It's happened to me....
10-19-2013, 06:22 PM   #8
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I assume your model has the dust alert feature. I use mine at least once a day when traveling and taking lots of photos. It seems to be pretty reliable in identifying significant dust, and is much easier/faster than manually examining images.

On my post-K100d cameras I've only had to use a blower, and occasionally a dry brush, to get dust off the sensor. The K100d sometimes needed scrubbing with cleaning fluid and pads, and never seemed to come completely clean.

Paul

10-19-2013, 07:00 PM   #9
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I have used the Giotto large size--and it has always removed the dust, and I change lenses a lot (I have a K20d). It is certainly something you should do before considering cleaning the sensor.
10-19-2013, 07:04 PM   #10
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I would also check the lens before heading off to touch the sensor. The last time I got those marks, the culprit was a dirty lens, the sensor was fine.
10-19-2013, 07:53 PM   #11
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Many thanks for all your kind replies. I went back through the settings and set the "dust removal" to both on startup and shutdown, and then turned the K-30 on and off several times, and it's still there.

I will take a closer look at the lens (I have never touched it, since it's been under the filter the whole time), and will clean it if the culprit seems to be there. I'll get one of those Rocket Blowers next. I will try just blowing it out first, as I don't really want to mess around with a "wet cleaning" yet.

I've always tried to be careful with the thing, and right now I'm kickin' myself that I didn't notice these marks before now. I've got to go back through everything and see when they started appearing. With only a 13" MacBookPro to work with on the road, I have just left everything as it was shot RAW+), only making "save for web" jpegs out of the larger files to show friends. Once I've got my 27" monitor back in front of me, I'll be able to go through things the way I want to. I've taken over 8,400 shots since I left home on Sept 1, so I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

I've got the version of Photoshop that came with CS5, so I will poke around in it to see if I can figure out which tool will get rid of the artifacts.

Thanks again for all the ideas. If cleaning the lens doesn't do it, I will get brave and try and blow it clean, and see if that takes care of it.

And yes, those two above are dreadful photos...I knew they would be when I shot them. I just wanted to document all that amazing red rock towering over my head! Here's a shot from Bryce Canyon a couple of days before...as you can see, the dust doesn't matter until you've got blue sky behind it.
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10-19-2013, 08:13 PM   #12
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Dust bits are much more visible against a clear blue sky--that's really the test case for them. Pentax (and industry) dust removal has improved so much during the past seven years. I used to have to blow out my *DS every two weeks, and resort to wet cleaning every six months.

When I still suffer from dust bits, it is always associated with road trips when environmental conditions are untamed and my personal lens changing practices are less than stellar. In Photoshop try the healing brush or the cloning tool or both.

M
10-19-2013, 09:56 PM   #13
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If the dust is from the lens, it will be on the rear, not the front. 95% chance of it being the sensor. Usually just needs a blow -- takes 5 seconds.
10-20-2013, 01:32 AM   #14
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All blowers are not equal

I'll post the same thing here I've done elsewhere regarding blowers for cleaning your sensor.

Giotto's Rocket Blower provides a great blast of air - but it's not necessarily CLEAN air. I've used it to clean big crud off my sensors in the past, only to find it added a lot of smaller, sticky particles which would not blow off and required a real contact cleaning method to remove them.

I still use a Rocket blower to clean around the lens base and camera body before removing a lens.
I use it to clean the back of a lens before putting it on the camera body.
I sometimes also use it to clean out the mirror box area of a camera body.
I use it to clean filters and the front of a lens.
But I do not ever use it to clean sensors unless I have no other choice.

I now use a finely filtered blower from Visible Dust called Zeeion.
Nowhere near the blast you get from a Rocket blower but it's enough to remove any loose particles from your sensor and it won't add more as it filters the air before it blows it.
It's not cheap, but it works better IMO.

As for why I got more more particles on my sensors after using a Rocket blower, I think some of them may have been residual mold release wax or other contaminants that flake off and get into the airstream when the blower is used vigorously. These particles then impact your sensor where they may stick and stay until wiped off with another method of cleaning. I prefer to avoid that.
When I'm at home I actually use a custom made compressor, dryer, filter, regulator and nozzle setup for cleaning that's easier to use. It provides a nice clean constant stream of air and you don't have to worry about the tip moving because you're not squeezing and distorting a rubber bulb that causes the nozzle to wiggle around.
10-20-2013, 02:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by aglet Quote
When I'm at home I actually use a custom made compressor, dryer, filter, regulator and nozzle setup for cleaning that's easier to use. It provides a nice clean constant stream of air and you don't have to worry about the tip moving because you're not squeezing and distorting a rubber bulb that causes the nozzle to wiggle around.
Please share your setup. I've been having the same trouble with blowers and like your solution!
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