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11-25-2015, 01:47 PM   #1
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Sensor cleaning...?

So I was out shooting the sky today - not sure why, just needed to take photos of something... All my photos I took had splotches (dust spots) on them, I naturally assumed it was the lens. Cleaned the lens (18-55) (front element, filter, rear element...), no change, so I cleaned another lens (50-200) and tried that on the blue skies, still dust spots. Through the viewfinder I see bits of dust, but different bits than in the photos. Mirror appears clean - not sure where this dust is coming from... I put the camera in sensor cleaning mode (with the mirror-up) and can see visible bits of dust on the sensor, tried dust removal from the menu, then looked at the sensor again, but it still has bits of dust. Now I need to clean the sensor - how do I do this?

TL;DR: How do I clean the sensor?

11-25-2015, 02:02 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
So I was out shooting the sky today - not sure why, just needed to take photos of something... All my photos I took had splotches (dust spots) on them, I naturally assumed it was the lens. Cleaned the lens (18-55) (front element, filter, rear element...), no change, so I cleaned another lens (50-200) and tried that on the blue skies, still dust spots. Through the viewfinder I see bits of dust, but different bits than in the photos. Mirror appears clean - not sure where this dust is coming from... I put the camera in sensor cleaning mode (with the mirror-up) and can see visible bits of dust on the sensor, tried dust removal from the menu, then looked at the sensor again, but it still has bits of dust. Now I need to clean the sensor - how do I do this?

TL;DR: How do I clean the sensor?
If you can see dust on your images, it almost certainly isn't on the lens. It will be on the sensor. After trying different methods including blowers, dry and wet wiping kits and (some time ago) an expensive and (in hindsight) rather poor Arctic Butterfly, the best tool for me by far is the Pentax O-CK1 sensor cleaning kit. This is what Pentax themselves use to clean camera sensors, apparently. Very, very easy - it involves using a special sticky-ended rod to dab the sensor and pick up the dust - then you press the sticky bit against some even stickier paper (supplied) which transfers the dust to that. I have cleaned the sensor on my K3 (once), K5 (twice) and Q7 (twice). It is pretty much foolproof and the one kit will last you an age.

What you see through the viewfinder will be bits of dust in the prism, or possibly on the focusing screen. You can try using the above kit to dab the dust off the exposed side of the focusing screen, but frankly I would just live with it. I have lots of little bits of dust and fibres in the viewfinder of my K5. It doesn't affect the photos as it's not in the path of the sensor.

EDIT: Dust in your viewfinder is kind of like a rite of passage

Last edited by BigMackCam; 11-25-2015 at 02:07 PM.
11-25-2015, 02:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the recommendation, will look into that.
$64 seems a bit expensive...
But if it is as good as people say it is...

Last edited by bertwert; 11-25-2015 at 02:19 PM.
11-25-2015, 02:13 PM   #4
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Sensor clean

Coincidentally, I had my K20D sensor cleaned yesterday by pro repair shop. It cost me AUD70.00 and took them about an hour and a half to remove "... surface dust from the mirror box area ... wet swabbed the filter surface. Basic external clean & test of the camera ... tested the filter clean by taking several test images ... externally cleaned the lens and elements ... standard focal testing." One comment was "There are dust particles in your viewfinder. To remove this is expensive.They will not affect your images."

Peter.

11-25-2015, 02:30 PM   #5
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The Eclipse cleaning kit (Check Amazon etc) was $17 when I bought it last year. Comes with some cleaning fluid, and little swabs. I used it several times on my K-30 and once already on my K-S2 when the Rocket blower can't dislodge stubborn particles. Easy as can be!
11-25-2015, 02:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
The Eclipse cleaning kit (Check Amazon etc) was $17 when I bought it last year. Comes with some cleaning fluid, and little swabs. I used it several times on my K-30 and once already on my K-S2 when the Rocket blower can't dislodge stubborn particles. Easy as can be!
I'm hesitant to use a wet clean system, and I really like the look of the Pentax one...
Apparently some professionals in camera repair centres use the Pentax one...

I saw a video about Leica something, and they were using a similar stick to clean sensors before sending them out, so if Leica uses something similar...
11-25-2015, 02:51 PM   #7
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any time I've noticed sensor dust, I've been able to use a rocket-blower to dislodge it; maybe I've been lucky (?) so far, but have not had to resort to an actual swabbing of the sensor....
11-25-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
any time I've noticed sensor dust, I've been able to use a rocket-blower to dislodge it; maybe I've been lucky (?) so far, but have not had to resort to an actual swabbing of the sensor....
The only problem I have with using a blower - though it *can* work - is that you're potentially blowing the dust somewhere else inside the camera - where it can gather on moving components like the mirror mechanism, get inside the viewfinder prism, or sit and wait before winding up on the sensor again... Having said that, I've had some success with it in earlier attempts before I finally came to the Pentax O-CK1...

11-25-2015, 03:07 PM   #9
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Decided to get the Pentax one... just need to buy it now.
11-25-2015, 04:28 PM   #10
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What do you guys think of this?
http://www.amazon.ca/docooler-Camera-Optical-Cleaner-Cleaning/dp/B00NNHE3S2/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1
11-25-2015, 04:35 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Now I need to clean the sensor - how do I do this?
Whoa! Before you go out and buy cleaning kits, consider the fact that many users on this site have NEVER used a sensor cleaner (wet type or dry) despite many years shooting with Pentax dSLRs.

If you find dust on your sensor and it is bad enough to not deal with in post-processing, here is the time-honored flow:
  • Attempt the in-camera dust removal feature. Give it 3 or 4 tries. Sometimes it works.
  • Use the mirror-up cleaning feature (set-up menu 4) to expose the sensor and attempt removal using a "rocket"-type blower (Giottos or equivalent) to puff a stream of air at the sensor. This is described in your user manual. Do not use a blower with attached brush. Do not touch the blower tip to the sensor. Do not use "canned" air or other pressurized air source.
  • If the blower fails to clear the screen, give one of the commercially available wet or dry kits
I have been shooting Pentax dSLR since 2007, change my lenses a lot, and have never needed anything more that a rocket blower to remove common dust. If you sneeze into the body (it happens) or take on salt spray with the lens off, that will required something more than a puff of air.


Steve
11-25-2015, 04:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Attempt the in-camera dust removal feature. Give it 3 or 4 tries. Sometimes it works.
10 time slater - nothing yet
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Use the mirror-up cleaning feature (set-up menu 4) to expose the sensor attempt removal using a "rocket"-type blower (Giottos or equivalent) to puff a stream of air at the sensor. This is described in your user manual. Do not use a blower with attached brush. Do not touch the blower tip to the sensor. Do not use "canned" air or other pressurized air source.
Tried that, but will try again.
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If the blower fails to clear the screen, give one of the commercially available wet or dry kits
I got here, and don't like the idea of a wet clean, and the Pentax one seems easy to use.

I change lenses probably on average 2 times a day for the past year.
Sometimes it is slightly dusty when I change lenses

Thanks for any help.
11-25-2015, 04:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
It will probably work... however, be careful... there have been other non-manufacturer-produced products like this that leave residue on the sensor (and, on occasions, only with specific sensors). The Pentax version may be relatively expensive, but you know it works because Pentax use it. With a third party "jelly"-type cleaner, there is always the possibility that it may leave residue behind.

You pays your money and takes your choice. Maybe someone here has used that specific product and can attest to its effectiveness...

Not trying to dissuade you - I just don't want you to end up with a possible pro sensor clean (which will cost more than this product or the Pentax version).

I keep mentioning the Pentax O-CK1 only because it has been a revelation to me, and genuinely works. There may be better / cheaper alternatives around.
11-25-2015, 06:22 PM   #14
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I routinely have lots of stuff on my sensor. I have been licking the mirror up and blowing out with a can of air but no red straw.

I was worried at first but no problems.
11-25-2015, 06:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by condor27596 Quote
I routinely have lots of stuff on my sensor. I have been licking the mirror up and blowing out with a can of air but no red straw.

I was worried at first but no problems.
See, licking the mirror is probably a bad move. ;-)

In defense of the Eclipse cleaning kit, the swab is only moistened enough to swipe the dust off the sensor. There is never any visible wetness inside the camera (it dries almost instantly).
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