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01-06-2014, 06:30 PM   #1
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Sensor Cleaning Mistake

I recently tried to clean my K-3 sensor with a camera brush. The brush left bristles and more dust debris on the sensor, now my sensor is a mess and can not take pictures. Can someone pls help me solve this mistake, I really appreciate it.
This makes me sick.

Thank you.

01-06-2014, 06:33 PM   #2
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What procedure did you follow to clean the sensor?
Do you have any other camera to take an image of the result?
What camera brush did you use?
What do you mean by "it cannot take pictures" exactly?
01-06-2014, 06:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
What procedure did you follow to clean the sensor?
Do you have any other camera to take an image of the result?
What camera brush did you use?
What do you mean by "it cannot take pictures" exactly?
Hi JiinDesu,
I did the mirror lock-up per the instructions. My brother-in-law had a brush that came with his Canon, so I used it on the mirrors and when the mirrors were up. When I take pictures you can see the debris.
01-06-2014, 06:42 PM   #4
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But you are still able to take pictures at this time, correct? The reason I ask is because the camera not able to take pictures is a serious issue, whereas if you meant it cannot take clean pictures that is something we can fix.

01-06-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
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You are correct, I can still take pictures.
01-06-2014, 06:50 PM   #6
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So to be a bit curious, I've never really heard of a camera sensor brush. The only thing I know to use to touch the sensor directly is a product like this: Digital Survival KIT - Sensor Swab Type 2 (w/Eclipse): Camera & Photo

It is a soft cloth on a plastic stick that is soaked in a alcohol solution to pick up dust and debris and other things off the sensor. Usually a brush such as: Nikon Lens Pen + Cameta Microfiber Cloth Cleaning Combo Kit for Digital SLR Cameras, Lenses, Camcorders, Binoculars & Scopes: NIKON: Electronics

Is more suited for brushing dust off lenses, not sensors. This is because generally these brushes leave particles behind and only pick up large stuff.

Now, you may try using the lens swab with solution to wipe the sensor, but the least destructive thing you can try now is a blower: Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large - Black: Electronics

I've almost always have been able to clean my sensor in my k-x with the rocket blower. I've only had one situation where I needed the sensor swab (something sticky got onto my sensor). If your brother in law has a blower like what I linked, you can try that - mirror lock up the camera, face it downwards, point the blower into the mirror cavity (carefully, do not touch the sensor), and squeeze very hard for several tries. The sheer air pressure blowing onto the sensor will most likely dislodge anything on the sensor, and will then fall downwards out of the camera.

Also - one thing to also try is the in-camera dust removal function. I'm not sure if you've used it already, but try it - and keep using it with the camera in different orientation (facing forward, down, upside down, right side, left side, etc). It might do enough.
01-06-2014, 07:08 PM   #7
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Sensor Science?

Hello Karen, Welcome to the forum!
Don't despair, it sounds like you didn't do any permanent damage. Here's my suggestion;
Close up the camera and don't use it for a few days, but make sure the battery is charged.
Click on B+H camera (it's a site sponsor, there's links everywhere) When you get on the store site, do a search for "Sensor Cleaning tools".
Whoa! Pages and pages of stuff, right? But you really only need a few things, and they're not just useful for your current problem, they're pretty much basic sensor-care essentials, ones you will use regularly, as long as you own a DSLR.
1) This is number 1 for a reason; It's the first thing you use, anytime you clean the camera innards. A 'Rocket Blower', Giottos is the most popular brand.
2) Sensor Cleaning Brush. I don't know what your brother gave you, but the real ones go for about $30-$50 each, and as you've seen, are worth it! These won't shed and if used properly, won't leave any debris or gunk behind.
2) Sensor-Cleaning swabs, a set of 4 should do for now. Make sure they're made for APS-C sensors, I believe it's type 2. Eclipse brand is my favorite, there are several other good ones.
You can also find most of these in a well-equipped camera store if there's one nearby, but you'll pay a little more.
When you have all the tools, take the brush out and give the bristles several strong blasts with the Rocket blower. This generates a small electrical charge and attracts dust. Put the brush back into its airtight bag and leave it there whenever it's not being used.
Remove lens, lock mirror to 'Up' and hold the camera overhead, lens opening facing down. Without touching the sensor, blast every square mm of the mirror/sensor opening. By holding the camera this way, at least some of the debris will float out and down. No sense just moving the stuff around, get it outta there!
OK, brush time. Carefully wipe the brush across the sensor, pushing anything towards the edges. Do NOT let the bristles touch the black frame around the sensor, just clean the green/purple area. The frame collects dust and lubricant from the mirror and shutter, this usually gets picked up by the brush, then deposited onto the sensor. This is probably what happened with the first brush.
Once the sensor looks clean, remove the brush and blast it thoroughly with the blower, then rap the handle on a table edge. Knock everything off the bristles. Return the brush to the bag and seal it up.
Last follow the directions for using a swab. It's quick and pretty easy.
If you do everything correctly, your sensor will be as clean as it can get!
Regular use of the blower and occasionally, the brush, will solve 99% of all sensor problems.
Last, on the set-up menu page, enable 'Dust removal on start up'.
Good luck!
01-06-2014, 07:15 PM   #8
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Hey Karen, I've been there and done that with my K-5... except the brush that I used left greasy residue, so it was worse.

I lifted the mirror up and blew the solid dusty stuff out with a Giottos Rocket Blower and the rest I cleaned up with Eclipse sensor cleaning products.

01-06-2014, 07:16 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Said it before, the Pentax gumby wand is the best for home use, with no chance of damaging anything as there's no bristles, dust blowing around or anything sharp.

Pentax Image Sensor Cleaning Kit, O-ICK1 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

If I was in your situation, I would stop doing anything more and pay a camera shop to clean it.
01-06-2014, 07:43 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote

If I was in your situation, I would stop doing anything more and pay a camera shop to clean it.
Agreed 1000%
01-06-2014, 07:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Corto-PA Quote
Agreed 1000%
Agreed! Sometimes, it's worth it to pay to clean/fix something.
01-06-2014, 08:14 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dansamy Quote
Agreed! Sometimes, it's worth it to pay to clean/fix something.
I agree too. If a rocket blower doesn't do the trick, send it in for cleaning. I wouldn't use a brush for anything.
01-06-2014, 09:19 PM   #13
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If the rocket blower doesnt work I usually dont bother with brushes. They tend to leave smears. What I do instead is this:

Sensor Cleaning

Go to ebay and buy something like that:

Eclipse 2oz Optic Cleaning Fluid and PEC Pad 4"x4" Wipes 100 Pack Photosol | eBay

This should be enough to last you for at least 50 wet cleans. in comparison a wet clean at a camera shop is like $50. Believe me, it is a scary process once you do it for the first time and afterwards you realize its not that big a deal. I have done it a bunch of times now and never had any problems. Even the most stubborn dust particles go away after 1 clean. I imagine 1 or two wet cleans and your sensor will be as good as new.

Good luck!!
01-06-2014, 09:30 PM   #14
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There is such a thing as a sensor brush, and it works great for any sort of dry debris. This and the corresponding mirror/focus screen brush are pretty much all I use these days. I have tried the wet swabs before and they work fine, too, but aren't necessary for dry debris. D-SLR Sensor Cleaning Brush for 1.5x & 1.6x Sensors (16mm) - D-SLR-16: Everything Else
01-06-2014, 10:15 PM   #15
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What ever you do, DO NOT USE A BLOWER !

You will only blow all that "Schmutz" deeper into the mirror chamber and it will come back to "bite" you. Do not use your camera at this stage as the turbulence from the mirror movement will further destribute the crap inside the mirror chamber.

Use one of these or similar from other vendors (Pentax has one on offer as well)
Eyelead SCK 1 Sensor Cleaning KIT Papers SET F Nikon Canon Sony Pentax Olympus | eBay
then pick off offending particels one by one.

Get one of these or similar:
JS Sensor Loupe Cleaning CCD Cmos Sensor Loupe FOR ALL DSLR Optical 2X 5X | eBay
which will allow you to see what you are doing. I have one and I would not be without it, they will allow you to clearly pinpoint the dirt.

And if you have already distributed the dirt because you have used the cam, after the first cleaning you will find new pieces start to re-appear. Simply repeat the process until everything is clear.

I said do not use the blower, didn't I !

Above all don't despair, it is only dirt, you have not destroyed your cam.


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