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Thread: Cleaning dust inside cameras

  1. #1
    Senior Member RomNYC's Avatar
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    Cleaning dust inside cameras

    Hey guys.

    I was post-processing some photos from earlier this week, and I have a multitude of dust spots on them. PS will take care of it, but can you recommend a way to clean up my camera a bit before I go spotting next time?

    I know dust spots will never fully disappear, but I have way too many of them right now, and I'm unsure what to do and don't want to break anything!

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Fighting_falcon_51's Avatar
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    Senior Member RomNYC's Avatar
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    You know what, I knew I should have done that as I was pressing the "send" button. Thanks!

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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    That is a GREAT thread...

    My routine:

    EVERY TIME I put on my lenses (I store my cameras with lenses removed and always cap all) I will do a Rocket Blower pass with mirror down, then another with mirror up and shutter open. I then take advantage of the sensor being exposed and use a anti-static brush to dust the surface and get off any remaining tiny bits the Rocket Blower leaves behind.



    this is a look at the brush.



    ONCE A WEEK if using camera more than 4 days that week, I will do a DRY CLEANING. Meaning I will use Sensor Swabs from Visible Dust (just my preference, but there are others) in DRY form and swipe from left to right, flip and again from left to right.




    I use a Sensor Clean Loupe which is very valuable for looking at the surface of the sensor itself. It saves me from having to do lots of tests.



    If the dust is stubborn enough, I will WET CLEAN as needed or ONCE A MONTH under heavy 4 day per week usage. This is only because I need to. My D3 spits a lot of tiny bits of oil from the mirror mechanisms and the shutter dampers and is well known problem. [It] does NOT have the self cleaning module of the D700 :-(

    The D2Xs is not as bad in this area.

    Here is the kit I have



    I bought it over a year ago and I still have plenty of swabs left as well as cleaning fluids. The brush is also very clean still. Although I think it may have a hair or two that's a bit oily :-( that would mean replacing it.

    Keep in mind, WET CLEANING is NOT an option, you will eventually have to do it! Unfortunately in this day and age.

    The manufacturers need to come up with more innovative ways to keep sensors cleaner and/or make them easier to clean.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
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    One thing that is good to get in the practice of if you don't already do so is to shut your camera off whenever you remove a lens for changing or bagging. If you do it with the camera powered on, the static generated will attract more dust. Hth.
    R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Finally, there are no substitutions for thorough testing of course. But I find my method above works 99% clean 99% of the time. What's left is usually very faint, small and very manageable in post (one or two faint spots as opposed to a whole bunch of poor ones.)

    I also know full well to stay BELOW the f/11 or greater side of the house if possible. This helps minimize the problem if there in the first place. However, when shooting props in full daylight it is really hard to prevent small apertures. To get 1/60th sec at ISO 100 you still need like f/16 to f/22 on a sunny day.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Oh, and this may seem obvious but I can;t tell you how important it is

    When doing wet Cleaning USE REALLY BRIGHT LIGHTS around the work area and do not use a cloth anything (like a towel for example) to put your gear down on.

    I use an old active anti-static mat from work. These are usually connected to batteries or clipped to a good ground source. They help neutralize positive dust particles. I also will use a rubber place mat or a piece of thick lawn trash bag plastic material if I am doing the cleaning away from home.

    Sounds like overkill? Well, let's say I HATE DUST!!! It has bitten me more than I care to admit so from bad experiences, I tend to overdo it LOL.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

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    Senior Member Fighting_falcon_51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RomNYC View Post
    Hey guys.

    I was post-processing some photos from earlier this week, and I have a multitude of dust spots on them. PS will take care of it, but can you recommend a way to clean up my camera a bit before I go spotting next time?

    I know dust spots will never fully disappear, but I have way too many of them right now, and I'm unsure what to do and don't want to break anything!

    Thanks for the help.
    You're welcome. I wasn't trying to be the forum police or anything but I was in a rush and I just found that thread on the forum.

    I just had a dust spot issue on my brand new DSLR, but after some help from another NYCAer I realized they are an inevitable pita. Anyway that method does work and I hope you have good luck with it.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member RomNYC's Avatar
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    Thanks, I really do appreciate it, and I admit I am in lazy mode tonight

  10. #10
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    This usually does the trick for me...



    But for those really stubborn dust spots...




  11. #11
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    I clean my sensor when needed, and use the Visibile Dust kit that Manny referenced. The kit is pricey, but worth it. DO NOT use compressed air (that is used to blow out your computer, etc.)!

    Moose.............thanks for the laugh with your cleaning kit!
    Mark
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    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

  12. #12
    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zee71 View Post
    I clean my sensor when needed, and use the Visibile Dust kit that Manny referenced. The kit is pricey, but worth it. DO NOT use compressed air (that is used to blow out your computer, etc.)!

    Moose.............thanks for the laugh with your cleaning kit!

    Like an idiot I used compressed air on my D40x a few months ago and it blew a huge smudge into the sensor. Thought I was going to have to trash the whole thing. But thanks to the fine folks at Webb Cam here in Philly, they used a sensor swab and were miraculously able to undo the damage.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    they do make compressed air for cleaning the sensor, they are oil free... NO canned air is OIL FREE. The machines the fill the compressed air use oil and there have been many reports of people getting oil on their sensors. As posted above with the link... I do my camera's often and I have done this over 100 times with NEVER ANY ISSUES

    http://nycaviation.com/forum/threads...+spot+cleaning


    The thread is dedicated to all the dust spots I have cleaned off my camera. With as many Lens changes I do I would have
    to have my camera cleaned 3 times a year and most people are worried about cleaning. Being a PC tech with many hours of
    fixing over 500 types of Laptops/Desktops/Servers/Printers/Monitors and about every type of peripheral know to man, I will
    never send my camera out for cleaning and want you to know why!



    I spend countless hours on photography websites and can tell you most pros will send their equipment out for professional
    cleanings and when they follow these instructions and find out how the camera looks before they ship it and after they
    receive it back, they usually are VERY disappointed and sometimes get their camera back with more dirt and dust before
    shipping it out!

    The $35-$50 is nothing compared to the time that your camera is in repair and then if you figure tolls and gas depending on
    where you are...OR shipping.... Not happy.

    Some tech is NOT going to care for your camera as you will and it will not feel the love!



    There are lots of different ways of cleaning the camera...and I do not like most. I will go from worst to best as far as I am
    concerned. (all views are my personal opinion and I have done MANY cleanings on my XT with over 500,000 shutter clicks,
    my Wifes camera with 1,000 clicks... and my 40D (AFRAID TO LOOK) but during airshow I was around 18K for 1 week!

    Tape -(YES, some morons will put tape on their sensor and pull it off to clean)
    Reason why you should not is you can pull off the plastic cover for your CMOS or CCD!

    AIR CLEANER (OIL FREE) -They still use oil when compressing the air and people have
    oil free air cans spray oil on the plastic and then you have oil INSIDE YOUR CAMERA!

    Blower -(does not get all the dust off if it is really stuck good to the plastic CMOS/CCD
    clear shield.

    Pads - It is harder than Q-Tips and if you have sand in the camera it can scratch the plastic
    cover for the CMOS/CCD easier than Q-Tips.

    Q-Tips - Softest but can still scratch if sand and press hard enough.


    HOW TO SEE YOUR LOVELY SPOTS (this is my way)
    Take a picture at a high F-stop and over F-16 recomended in Aperture mode with lowest ISO (100 recommended),
    underexpose by 1/3 of a stop, point it at a wall and make sure to blur it by moving the camera as much as possible with a
    nice long exposure.

    Look at the image


    Now put it in photoshop and Use levels (CTRL-L) to bring the High down and The low up... (The little arrows on the bottom
    of the graph should look like this)


    It will now be easy to see ALL of them!




    How I Clean My Camera



    Take the Lens off and you will see the Mirror, blow above where the focus
    Screen is and blow the mirror (DANGER, DO NOT TOUCH THE MIRROR WITH THE
    BLOWER) None of this will affect image quality so if there is something on the
    mirror you do not like...LEAVE IT ALONE!!! Not as scary as this sounds! REALLY!

    (IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO USE THE BLOWER WITH THE SENSOR OR LENS OPENING
    FACING DOWN SO THINGS FALL OUT WHEN BLOWN)



    Blow around the metal ring that the lens attaches too (there will be metal shavings
    from the metal on the lens and the camera rubbing when lens's is attached,removed)

    ***MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR BEST BATTERY FULLY CHARGED IN THE CAMERA***
    AV Mode for old cameras and in the menu turn the manual cleaning mode on (Mirror will flip up)
    (BE CAREFUL NOT TO POWER TOWN CAMERA OR HIT BUTTONS)

    It will now look like this




    Holding the camera with the green colored CCD/CMOS faced toward the ground
    blow out as much of the dust and dirt as possible then wipe (gently) with a Q-Tip
    in rows from one side to the other as shown below


    The Blow with the hand air blower again and retest
    HOW TO SEE YOUR LOVELY SPOTS (this is my way)
    Take a picture at a high F-stop and over F-16 recomended in Aperture mode with lowest ISO (100 recommended),
    underexpose by 1/3 of a stop, point it at a wall and make sure to blur it by moving the camera as much as possible with a
    nice long exposure.



    My 40D before cleaning


    Wifes XS
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

  14. #14
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    If you do decide to do your own sensor clean make sure your battery is charged as Derf mentioned. Have patience as well. The first time I cleaned my sensor I was nervous as heck, but after doing it, it was no big deal. Additionally, your senor is protected.....when cleaning your are actually cleaning the protective material covering the sensor.
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

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