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09-27-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
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Finally got my K-x sensor clean

I hadn't removed the lens that was on the camera but as I made a series of photos of the Space Shuttle flyover a week or so ago at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, when the planes came into view and I started shooting, suddenly there was a load of dust on the sensor (I only saw this later when viewing the photos with my computer's display). Maybe angling the camera up 20-30 degrees caused dust inside to suddenly rest on the sensor, is all I can think. I later looked at a previous shoot I made on Sept. 1, photos in the 100's, with the same lens on there, I'd never removed the lens before the Shuttle shoot, and I could see absolutely no specks.

Did some googling, read some threads. I tried conservative methods first, but they weren't working and I was at the end of my rope, if this didn't work it was time to get a kit or at least some kind of device to actually touch the sensor, something I want to avoid if possible. I tried these:

1. Sensor shake (no real help)

2. Blasting the sensor with my Giotto dust blower (numerous times, between which I took photos and inspected). This got rid of most of the dust, but 3 specks remained, far from inconspicuous.

3. I tried using Dust-Off duster (triggered gas from liquid in a can, from Costco, being careful not to angle the straw down). A couple of blasts on the sensor did not dislodge the last few stubborn spots. I tried again, this time blasting much more thoroughly, the tip closer to the sensor. If that didn't work, something to touch the sensor would be necessary, I figured. But that did it!

I don't change lenses a ton. I wonder if I should use a blower or the canned gas when I change lenses just to blow out any dust that would be in the camera body.

09-27-2012, 05:36 PM   #2
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Hi Muse.

I would be wary of blasting compressed air too close to the sensor. High air pressure applied too close could damage the shutter, as well as other components.

I routinely clean the sensor with a brush, and it's a piece of cake. Touching the sensor is no big deal, as long as you're using the right thing to clean it with. Here's something I posted awhile back on my cleaning method. The link to the brushes is dead now, but they're now at this link.

I keep my sensor clean, but you can drive yourself nuts getting every tiny speck off, Even if you do manage to get it pristine, it won't be pristine for long. To evaluate sensor cleanliness, I switch the lens to MF & focus to infinity, then I take an f22 shot of a blank white monitor screen with the lens a couple of inches away. Why do I focus on infinity? So I won't mistake a speck on the monitor for a speck on the sensor. I also take the shot at a slow shutter speed & move the camera a bit while it's exposing to totally eliminate the possibility of photographing crud on the monitor. That way anything I see is definitely on the sensor.

If you can look at the finished shot without seeing the specks easily, I'd call it good. Many people jack up the contrast a lot so it shows every tiny speck, but you can go mental doing that. If you don't see it on a white screen without boosting the contrast to insane levels, then you're not likely to see it on any normal photo.

Good luck,
Bobbo :-)
09-27-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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ARRRRRGH!!!
Don't use the can gas again!!! It's firing stuff into your camera at very high speeds - lodging dust up into the viewfinder or damaging the shutter also - any dust getting into the airstream will also be hammered into the sensor.

Just order a pentax cleaning "gumby stick". It works - it's also the method described in the manual, so you can be sure it's safe.

Pentax O-ICK1 Image Sensor Cleaning Kit 39357
Link is to Adorama, but available elsewhere too.
09-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Bob (Gibby), I have to thank you for that post about the brush method. I followed you advice, bought the brushes, and they work wonderfully. The procedure is simple an quick. (I recommend using the sensor shake function a couple of times before using the brushes. The first time I used the brushed, I initially got a clean sensor, and a couple of hours later a dust speck showed up on it... I suppose the brush transmits a bit of its static charge to the sensor, which then attracts any dust left in the sensor chamber.)

Before the brush, I was using DustAid: DUST-AID : DSLR Camera Sensor Cleaning Products -- a wet method, very good for welded dust, but unnecessary in 90% of cases. The CleanSkies brush method is much simpler and faster.


Last edited by causey; 09-28-2012 at 05:37 AM.
09-28-2012, 05:30 AM   #5
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Hi causey...

I do the sensor shake routine before cleaning as well. I've been meaning to try a personal air ionizer like this one in the chamber to "destatic" the sensor area. I know it effectively decreases static electricity in vinyl LPs, so it couldn't hurt. I just haven't done it yet. I'll report back to the forum with the results. Worse case scenario, it doesn't work. no biggie.
09-30-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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OK, well as I said my sensor is clean now, but reading this thread has me concerned that I've damaged my shutter by blasting the sensor pretty intensely with compressed gas (liquid to gas can with straw). There's a couple little specks in the viewfinder, but that doesn't concern me. How can I test my shutter and see if I've damaged it?
10-01-2012, 11:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Muse Quote
How can I test my shutter and see if I've damaged it?
Take a few photos. If it works, you're probably ok.
10-03-2012, 07:28 AM   #8
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Took a few shots. Shutter seems to be working.

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