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01-24-2014, 03:47 PM   #1
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Where is the dust?

Hello, I have a Pentax K-x and there are three spots of 'dust' in all my pictures, its been this way for a while and so I thought I'd look into it.

I assumed the dust is on the sensor. As I thought the dust must be on the sensor I also used the Dust Alert that checks for dust on the sensor it shows up lovely and clear - not a speck.

I gave the mirror and focusing screen (the opaque rectangle above the mirror, its not labelled on the instruction book I'm just guessing this is what it is) a brush and now have even more dust particles in my view and showing up on the pictures. To me it looks like the dust is on this focusing screen, the mirror is clear.

I have never touched the sensor with a brush, in fact I've never even got the mirror up as the camera always tells me there is not enough battery charge.

Now, where is the dust? If its on the focusing screen how can it appear on the pictures, looking on the forums here I get the impression that dust on this will not appear on the pictures.

The other problem I have is that I am in New Zealand and it will cost $150 to send the camera away for cleaning, until I know whats getting cleaned I'm reluctant to pay this much.

I would like to learn how to do this myself (I really can't afford to keep paying to have dust removed when living in such a dusty climate) so it would be a useful skill.

So
1. - Where is the dust? How can I find out?
2. - how can I clean it?

01-24-2014, 03:57 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jen_jen Quote
Hello, I have a Pentax K-x and there are three spots of 'dust' in all my pictures, its been this way for a while and so I thought I'd look into it.

I assumed the dust is on the sensor. As I thought the dust must be on the sensor I also used the Dust Alert that checks for dust on the sensor it shows up lovely and clear - not a speck.

I gave the mirror and focusing screen (the opaque rectangle above the mirror, its not labelled on the instruction book I'm just guessing this is what it is) a brush and now have even more dust particles in my view and showing up on the pictures. To me it looks like the dust is on this focusing screen, the mirror is clear.

I have never touched the sensor with a brush, in fact I've never even got the mirror up as the camera always tells me there is not enough battery charge.

Now, where is the dust? If its on the focusing screen how can it appear on the pictures, looking on the forums here I get the impression that dust on this will not appear on the pictures.

The other problem I have is that I am in New Zealand and it will cost $150 to send the camera away for cleaning, until I know whats getting cleaned I'm reluctant to pay this much.

I would like to learn how to do this myself (I really can't afford to keep paying to have dust removed when living in such a dusty climate) so it would be a useful skill.

So
1. - Where is the dust? How can I find out?
2. - how can I clean it?
The dust is on your sensor. If it's elsewhere then it won't show up in your photos.

  1. The first thing you should do is run dust removal (DR) a few times. Having it come on at startup is a good idea also. DR is great at keeping larger specks of dust off of your sensor, but it might not be able to get rid of the small ones.
  2. Next, try blowing the dust off your sensor with a blower like this one: Giottos Rocket Blaster - Extra Large reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
  3. If that doesn't work, buy a wet sensor cleaning kit and use it to clean your sensor.
  4. If you're not comfortable with that, or if the dust is still there, take it to a local camera store to have it professionally cleaned (I'm sure there's one in your area, it doesn't have to be a Pentax authorized shop).
Never attempt to brush the sensor, and don't touch it with anything except for the cleaning kit.


By the way, to really test for dust you need to take a photo of a uniform background (such as the sky) with the lens set to its smallest aperture, like F22. The wider the aperture, the less dust you see, which is why you won't always see every specks of dust if every normal photo.

Adam
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01-24-2014, 04:01 PM   #3
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I believe there are a number of threads on this site about this subject and on youtube too no doubt. The first and cheapest tool is a rocket blower but you'll need to pop your mirror up for that. I'm surprised that your camera is saying low battery on that. Charge your batteries then do it. Personally, I have this system SensorScope DSLR Camera Sensor Cleaning System most of which is overkill. The best thing in that kit is the sensor scope SensorScope Camera Chamber Inspection, because you can really see the dust. The sensor scope plus this great device from Pentax Pentax O-ICK1 Image Sensor Cleaning Kit 39357 make a killer system for really getting the dust off.

However, the rocket blower Amazon.com: Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large - Black: Camera & Photo, is fast and will work on a lot of stuff before you go to a more heavy duty system like I have.

There are other ways to do it but this system works for me. Once you learn to do it, have the right tools, you can maintain your sensor yourself. I've had to shoot in Death Valley, California, and had to clean my sensors every day. Hope that helps.
01-24-2014, 04:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jen_jen Quote
I have never touched the sensor with a brush, in fact I've never even got the mirror up as the camera always tells me there is not enough battery charge.
What make/model batteries do you use?
Which firmware version are you on?

01-24-2014, 04:18 PM   #5
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The batteries are rechargables, and not fully charged so i suspect this may be why!
Firmware?? How do I find out?

The local camera store does not do cleaning, only sends it away - hence the $150 quote

I'm not quite sure I understand why the Dust Alert shows no dust, yet it all shows up on the 'sky' picture

Thanks very much everyone, lots for me to read...
01-24-2014, 04:33 PM   #6
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Check your lens.
Try another lens and see of the same dust spots are visible.
01-24-2014, 05:32 PM   #7
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It is dust on the sensor. It will not show on the photo if it is on the mirror, lens or viewfinder.

Get new batteries if yours are crap so you can pop the mirror up and use a Giotto rocket blower, which should be the first accessory you need for digital cameras.

To check the firmware version, hold the menu button down when you turn on the camera.
01-24-2014, 10:15 PM   #8
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I actually asked for make / model
There is / was a thread somewhere which batteries to use. I thought it was a sticky somewhere but can't find it easily. If I'm not mistaken, Sany Eneloops are very well regarded in that thread.

If you don't know how to determine the firmware, you will more than likely still be on the first version. As far as I remember, one of the updates for the K-x related to incorrect battery level reporting. So worth to do the upgrade. The firmware upgrade is quick (one to two minutes), so you need batteries that will last that long; a failed upgrade will brick your camera.

Maybe send the camera in this time to get it cleaned AND get the firmware upgraded.

03-07-2014, 09:55 AM   #9
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I have the reverse of this question. The dust alert on my K-r shows spots and streaks of dust (the streaks covering half the image). But I see no evidence of dust either when I look at the sensor or on any images. So what is the dust alert image showing me???
03-07-2014, 10:23 AM   #10
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All is good but my advice is : Never EVER blow this Giottos blower directly on your sensor unless you want to end up with it even more dirty with whiteish sticky stuff that my Giottos has blown onto my lenses - from then on I never blow it directly at the thing ( either sensor or lens ) but at an angle that ensuring any unwanted particles would end up on the outside area - not on the sensor or lens itself. This is my advice based on the fact that Giottos blowers when squeezed really hard will split out some whitish rubbish that is looking like sort of sticky talc of some sort that they have used to protect the inner rubber. Giottos is good but needs to be used carefully and mine has been for half an hour squeezed really hard until it stopped blowing with crap completely.
And for those who want to ensure that their Giottos is safe - try that: Take some large diameter dark filter ( like 58 + size ) e.g. polariser - and blow your Giottos directly at it from close like 5-10cm. Remember to squeeze it really hard and fast. Then check for yourself whether your Giottas is safe or not by checking the surface of the filter - you can use a cotton bud and see if anything smears out of the residues that were blown onto the surface or not.--manntax

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Next, try blowing the dust off your sensor with a blower like this one: Giottos Rocket Blaster - Extra Large reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
so you can pop the mirror up and use a Giotto rocket blower, which should be the first accessory you need for digital cameras.
03-07-2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by theoldsmithy Quote
I have the reverse of this question. The dust alert on my K-r shows spots and streaks of dust (the streaks covering half the image). But I see no evidence of dust either when I look at the sensor or on any images. So what is the dust alert image showing me???
I don't know how the dust alert works. It may be confused by the lack of dust. Or you may be taking photos where the dust doesn't show a lot in images, but it's there. At f5.6, dust shows as soft darker blobs. At f22, the particles are much sharper. I usually use a solid blue sky to take a shot at f22, which may be a rarer condition for you in the home of Rolls Royce. Any background where the dust will be obvious, like a solid color wall, should do.
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