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.
  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.

  • 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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