Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Taboo topic: Cleaning the sensor

A lot of people have a terrible fear to clean the sensor of his camera, but there are two facts to consider:

  1. Every time I change my lenses (twice a day?), I have a new mote of dust.
  2. A professional cleaning is very expensive and it takes too much time.

The cleaning of the sensor is a taboo topic, but I think this is a necessary knowledge for  every photographer that use several lenses with a same body.

In the Internet you can read a lot about this topic. The better method I've found is using isopropyl alcohol. This is a very volatile substance. You can clean the sensor with it and it is evaporated immediately without residues.
WARNINGS: 
  1. This method could causes damages in your gear out of the limits of the guarantee (do it at your own risk).
  2. I have less dust at the end of the process, but can't eliminate all the dust.

Material: 
  • Isopropyl alcohol (you can buy it in a pharmacy).
  • Swabs (in a pharmacy too).
  • Pipette (in a pharmacy too).
  • Air blower  (in a pharmacy too).


The first you have to do is activate the option mirror lock-up. Now you have a direct way to the sensor. Firstly, you should blow with the air blower and, after, try to take a picture. Take a picture to a white wall or a clean blue sky with the maximum f-number possible. Maybe the dust is now disappeared. If you have dust yet, you should clean the sensor with isopropyl alcohol. Take some alcohol with the pipette and put only a drop in a swab (too much alcohol can generate stains in the sensor). Clean with the wet swab (with alcohol, you mustn't use water) the sensor carefully. You can dry the sensor with a dry swab (or wait, the isopropyl alcohol is very volatile). You can also blow a last time with the air blower (I prefer don't follow the last step).


After use this process I haven't had problems with the camera, but I also haven't had success eliminating all the dust. I've decreased the amount of dust and it is inappreciable with low f-numbers, but the dust always comes back to my camera when I use high f-numbers. It's a problem I hope solve soon... but not today.

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