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07-13-2014, 07:05 PM   #1
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Dirty sensor help

Ok a lot to tell my samyang 14mm arrived this morning so excited of course grab k50 and go out and take some shots mmmmmmmm black dots on the end result. Give lens a clean try again still there grrr must be on inside of lens but had better check with another lens to make sure yep still there. Ok so sensor issue then sigh............ Use sensor cleaner the shake one for start and finish to no avail took back into store where purchased it from they gave it a dose of tinned air I get home take some shots still there. Camera is only a couple of months old and I am very careful where I change my lens as soon as one comes off the other goes straight on. The most frustrating thing is I did a 1 1/2hr shoot on Saturday and not a dud shot and it was the last time I used it so I guess I will have to send it away for a professional clean is this normal for a 2 month old camera like I said very careful to change lens within a clean dry area any suggestions greatly appreciated just waiting on the store to get back to me on cost. Hoping I don't have to do this every couple of months somewhat disappointed. Any suggestions or thoughts welcomed.

07-13-2014, 07:16 PM   #2
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Dust removal procedure in order:
1) Use the camera dust removal system. 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 I 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 but YMMV. You have to use the menu item to lift the mirror to see the sensor. Spraying air without lifting the mirror does not help clean the sensor.
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.

Easiest way to check for dust is to set your aperture to f/22 or so and take an image of the sky. Dust on the sensor is more visible at smaller apertures.


Dust on the sensor is a fact of life for interchangeable lens cameras. You will get dust no matter how careful you are. Generally it goes unnoticeable unless the aperture is high (f/22 for example) or you are shooting plain walls or plain skies. A professional cleaning can be necessary but in my experience only very rarely. Most important is to set the camera's dust removal system to 'on startup' and leave it that way.
07-13-2014, 07:40 PM   #3
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We would need to see a photo of black marks to say if it looks like sensor dust (as opposed to dead pixels or something else).

Normally you don't notice most sensor dust until you stop down to f11+. If its visible at f8 then the sensor is getting pretty dirty and you need to do something.

If its a dirty sensor then you a bit unlucky to have to deal with it already but the steps jatrax suggests are the way to go. Except I usually use a lens with a smaller aperture than f22 available (The 18-138 does f38 at the right focal length) because the dust is easier to see.

I tend to be careful where I change lenses and also make sure I'm quick and efficient about it. Even so I have had to do 3 wet cleans so far - twice on my k-x and once on my k-5 (which seems to have a better dust removal system and probably the WR helps too).
07-13-2014, 07:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
on my k-x and once on my k-5
Agree 100% on that the k-5 is far ahead of the k-x as far as dust removal, and the k-3 appears to be even better. I'm not sure which system the k-50 has but if it is nearly silent then it should be the 'ultrasonic' one rather than the mechanical shaker in the k-x. Either way, if it is not on then it will not work. And IMHO the dust removal system is not something you activate after you have dust, it should be on all the time to keep the inevitable dust cleaned up.

07-13-2014, 08:04 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Dust removal procedure in order:
1) Use the camera dust removal system. 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 I 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 but YMMV. You have to use the menu item to lift the mirror to see the sensor. Spraying air without lifting the mirror does not help clean the sensor.
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.

Easiest way to check for dust is to set your aperture to f/22 or so and take an image of the sky. Dust on the sensor is more visible at smaller apertures.


Dust on the sensor is a fact of life for interchangeable lens cameras. You will get dust no matter how careful you are. Generally it goes unnoticeable unless the aperture is high (f/22 for example) or you are shooting plain walls or plain skies. A professional cleaning can be necessary but in my experience only very rarely. Most important is to set the camera's dust removal system to 'on startup' and leave it that way.

Thank you so much I have done 1 and 2 I have the clean function set for when I turn off as the birds seem to not like it when I had it on start up

Mine is not noticeable unless I take a shot of the blue sky so found your comment interesting, as to test it in store the white wall didn't show it up but the shot wasn't that clear that they took either

I had some sky shots on Saturday on which I have gone back and not seen them. I am wondering if when I changed my lens on Sat night to take a shot of the super moon the only time my lens has not been changed indoors may have done it.

Your comment has given me a few things to try and a comparison so thank you so very much. I haven't heard of a wet clean I will have to go look it up but think I would send it to pentax instead of attempting it, it sounds tricky and while still under warranty would rather let them take care of it.

---------- Post added 07-13-14 at 08:13 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
We would need to see a photo of black marks to say if it looks like sensor dust (as opposed to dead pixels or something else).

Normally you don't notice most sensor dust until you stop down to f11+. If its visible at f8 then the sensor is getting pretty dirty and you need to do something.

If its a dirty sensor then you a bit unlucky to have to deal with it already but the steps jatrax suggests are the way to go. Except I usually use a lens with a smaller aperture than f22 available (The 18-138 does f38 at the right focal length) because the dust is easier to see.

I tend to be careful where I change lenses and also make sure I'm quick and efficient about it. Even so I have had to do 3 wet cleans so far - twice on my k-x and once on my k-5 (which seems to have a better dust removal system and probably the WR helps too).
Yes I am very careful too the lens or the camera are never left exposed for more than a few seconds at a time I too mostly use the WRs it is why I initially got the pentax to start with . I probably am not a general user either though I shoot everyday.

Thank you so much for replying it is great to hear other experiences

---------- Post added 07-13-14 at 08:15 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Agree 100% on that the k-5 is far ahead of the k-x as far as dust removal, and the k-3 appears to be even better. I'm not sure which system the k-50 has but if it is nearly silent then it should be the 'ultrasonic' one rather than the mechanical shaker in the k-x. Either way, if it is not on then it will not work. And IMHO the dust removal system is not something you activate after you have dust, it should be on all the time to keep the inevitable dust cleaned up.
I think the k50 is what I call the bone shaker definately not silent but I wouldn't call it loud either thank you for your reply greatly appreciated.
07-13-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sorver Quote
I have the clean function set for when I turn off as the birds seem to not like it when I had it on start up
That's fine as well, of course. I forgot you could set it that way. It is essentially silent on k-5/k-3 so it does not matter on those bodies.


QuoteOriginally posted by Sorver Quote
I had some sky shots on Saturday on which I have gone back and not seen them. I am wondering if when I changed my lens on Sat night to take a shot of the super moon the only time my lens has not been changed indoors may have done it.
Keep in mind that if you have the dust removal system on it will remove some dust each time it activates. I have gone through a day's photos and found dust spots then no dust spots then dust spots and so on. Dust gets in when you change lenses and also every time you zoom the lens it pulls in air that potentially could have dust in it. So even if you never change lenses you will get dust. Many times the dust removal system does it's job and you never see it.
07-13-2014, 08:40 PM   #7
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Ok the dealer just spoke with the pentax rep and there is now a pen you can buy from pentax that cleans the sensor like a lens pen several different pens for several different things on your sensor is my understanding like one for dry and other for sticky marks etc the kit costs AU $99.00 so will let you know how I go also to have a sensor clean professionally done AU $150.00

Thanks gang you helped me make this decision a lot easier

---------- Post added 07-13-14 at 08:44 PM ----------

Oh meant to mention other half suggested we get another pentax body just in case something happens so we have a back up so do I go the k-1 or get another k-50 or k3 or k30 woohoo it's primary source would be a camera for the better half and back up.
07-13-2014, 08:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sorver Quote
so do I go the k-1 or get another k-50 or k3 or k30 woohoo it's primary source would be a camera for the better half and back up.
Well if you got a k-3 I certainly hope it would not be the 'backup'

A couple of thoughts: The k-01 is very inexpensive right now (I have one I'm going to list for sale in case you are interested) and is an excellent camera same sensor as your k-50. It is somewhat smaller and easier to pack. In my opinion an excellent 'backup' camera. The down side is that the shape is different and the controls are not in the same place. For a pure backup that is not an issue, but as a second body used at the same time I find it hard to switch back and forth.

If you get another k-50, everything will be identical so you can seamlessly move from one to the other without any relearning. I use a k-3 with a k-5IIs as my second body and even though they are very close there is enough difference I have to be careful when switching bodies as some controls as just slightly moved.

If you get a k-3, then I do think the k-50 will become your backup camera.

07-13-2014, 09:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Well if you got a k-3 I certainly hope it would not be the 'backup'

A couple of thoughts: The k-01 is very inexpensive right now (I have one I'm going to list for sale in case you are interested) and is an excellent camera same sensor as your k-50. It is somewhat smaller and easier to pack. In my opinion an excellent 'backup' camera. The down side is that the shape is different and the controls are not in the same place. For a pure backup that is not an issue, but as a second body used at the same time I find it hard to switch back and forth.

If you get another k-50, everything will be identical so you can seamlessly move from one to the other without any relearning. I use a k-3 with a k-5IIs as my second body and even though they are very close there is enough difference I have to be careful when switching bodies as some controls as just slightly moved.

If you get a k-3, then I do think the k-50 will become your backup camera.
Yeah I think the k-3 would be my main the only problem and reason I didn't get the k-3 to start with is that it was a little too heavy for me going from my bridging camera but now I don't notice the weight of my k-50 so maybe it might not be such an issue. I might do some reading on the k-01 I really haven't had a look at many of the other pentax models as I so wanted one to take rechargeable batteries and weather resistant but if it is a back up guess it won't matter so much. I was online looking at some of the older models and they seem more expensive than some of the newer models that are equivalent I don't think there is that much of a change in the Aussie dollar . Let me read up on the k-01 before I commit to your offer but smaller and easier to pack seems ideal for a back up at least then you will have it with you when needed
Thank you so much again
07-14-2014, 03:33 AM   #10
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No Australian should be wondering where dust on the sensor comes from!

Before going from Jatrax's step 2 to step 3, try a cleaning option that doesn't involve liquid. I use the DustAid Platinum wand which involves touching the sensor with a clean silicon pad. This usually does the trick for me. Available from Camera CheckPoint in Dubbo:
Camera Check Point services for photographers
A lot of helpful info on their site. Their starter kit including the DustAid is a good buy.

$150 for professional cleaning seems a bit steep to me. C R Kennedy (official Pentax agents) charge $88 (assuming you take the camera to them).
07-14-2014, 05:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
No Australian should be wondering where dust on the sensor comes from!

Before going from Jatrax's step 2 to step 3, try a cleaning option that doesn't involve liquid. I use the DustAid Platinum wand which involves touching the sensor with a clean silicon pad. This usually does the trick for me. Available from Camera CheckPoint in Dubbo:
Camera Check Point services for photographers
A lot of helpful info on their site. Their starter kit including the DustAid is a good buy.

$150 for professional cleaning seems a bit steep to me. C R Kennedy (official Pentax agents) charge $88 (assuming you take the camera to them).
I live in Toowoomba Qld I imagine the additional cost is postage/ couriers and the dealer would have to make a bit as well but the clean was meant to be being done by C R Kennedy. Yeah I know 75% drought in Oz but still kind of frustrating lol. Thanks for the heads up on the DustAid I had seen it but didn't know where I could get it in Australia problem solved thanks to you I like that it is square as aposed to the pentax one that is spot clean. About to go check the sight out thank you so much Des greatly appreciated.

---------- Post added 07-14-14 at 05:58 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sorver Quote
I live in Toowoomba Qld I imagine the additional cost is postage/ couriers and the dealer would have to make a bit as well but the clean was meant to be being done by C R Kennedy. Yeah I know 75% drought in Oz but still kind of frustrating lol. Thanks for the heads up on the DustAid I had seen it but didn't know where I could get it in Australia problem solved thanks to you I like that it is square as aposed to the pentax one that is spot clean. About to go check the sight out thank you so much Des greatly appreciated.
Just ordered the Essentials starters kit thank you again.
07-14-2014, 07:46 AM   #12
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you have the guarantee that they could not exchange it or they would not have traded him?
07-14-2014, 11:42 AM   #13
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I live in Florida, and sticky pollen gets in my camera about once every 2 or 3 weeks. The only product I've found that works well are the Clean Skies brushes from e-bay. There's one for the mirror box, and a different one for the sensor. You use a can of air to blow on the brush, which gives it a nice static charge. One swipe of the brush on the sensor, and the result is a very clean sensor,no liquid. When I tried the wet methods, it just dissolved the pollen which then smeared around instead of lifting off. Took me about 10 tries with the wet method to remove everything.

However, before I use the brush, I use the rocket blower with four or five squeezes to remove any hard sand or anything like that.
07-14-2014, 10:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
I live in Florida, and sticky pollen gets in my camera about once every 2 or 3 weeks. The only product I've found that works well are the Clean Skies brushes from e-bay. There's one for the mirror box, and a different one for the sensor. You use a can of air to blow on the brush, which gives it a nice static charge. One swipe of the brush on the sensor, and the result is a very clean sensor,no liquid. When I tried the wet methods, it just dissolved the pollen which then smeared around instead of lifting off. Took me about 10 tries with the wet method to remove everything.

However, before I use the brush, I use the rocket blower with four or five squeezes to remove any hard sand or anything like that.
Cheers I bought a blower yesterday day that does static charge and have a rocket blower coming too hehe I dare any dust to settle on my sensor now
07-15-2014, 07:50 AM   #15
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You're asking for trouble Veronica! If Qld is our Florida, you might find the same issue as Kozlok. The point is that you might need to try a range of methods for removing stuff from the sensor.

BTW it helps a lot if you can see the dust - often it isn't visible with the naked eye. A magnifying glass and torch might help but a loupe is better. Some have a space on the side so that you can use a swab or brush or pen or whatever while the loupe is in place, so you can see what you are doing.
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