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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Cleaning Sensor...Anybody had any experience of cleaning the sensor of their digital camera, specifically an EOS20D. I see lots of cleaning ...
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:29   #1 (permalink)
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Cleaning Sensor

Anybody had any experience of cleaning the sensor of their digital camera, specifically an EOS20D. I see lots of cleaning kits around, or is it best left to a service agent.
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Old 11-06-2006, 14:08   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Hi Chris

I have a 20D and would recommend using the 'copperhill' method or sensor cleaning. This involves using a special type of lint free pad, a special ulta clean version of Methyl Alcohol marketed under the brand of 'Eclipse' and a suitible size swab. You can buy each of these items individually or as kit to get you started.

Warehouse Express is a good place to start your search or this place sell the complete kits.

For full instructions do a serch of google for 'copperhill' + 'sensor cleaning'

Hope that helps
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Old 11-06-2006, 14:10   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

In fact the url you need is

http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/image/15473243

It has very detailed instructions, just read them properly and take your time when you do it first, but there really is nothing to worry about.

Shout again if you have any questions
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Old 11-06-2006, 17:09   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Must clean mine at some stage...great blob to one corner of all my images at the mo. I've had the cleaning kit for a month now. Anyone fancy doing a tutorial on how to clean a sensor.... would help me for sure
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Old 13-06-2006, 07:10   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

I use the Copperhill too and bought my pack from Chillipix. First time is a bit daunting but then it's like falling off a log. Just follow the instructions in Steve's link.

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Old 13-06-2006, 11:30   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Thansk for the info guys.

I'll order up a kit.

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Old 13-06-2006, 11:45   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

You're welcome

Take your time when you first do it and let us know how you get on
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Old 14-06-2006, 11:55   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Won't be for a while, payday next week.

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Old 18-06-2006, 00:29   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Ive wet cleaned my Canon 10D five times with eclipse/pec pad combo ...and still have muck on the sensor..........aaarrrhhhh!!!

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Old 18-06-2006, 08:25   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Sometimes you need to apply a little more pressure and we are all very cautious of damaging anything that we are too careful. The amount of pressure I use is similar to what I would apply when writing with a pen. Is the dirt in the same place after cleaning asd?

Remember that you are not actually cleaning the sensor but in fact a small piece of glass in front of it, if you apply even pressure you should be ok.
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Old 19-06-2006, 17:56   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

even if a sensor is cleaned properly. Does the camera quality de-grade e.g more nosie appearing in images or does something like that get worse the more photographs you take?
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Old 19-06-2006, 19:07   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

I've never know a manufacturer speak in terms of the life of a sensor. They do quote number of shutter actuations. For example the 20D is quoted at 100,000 sutter clicks so I would expect the sensor to last at least that long. I don't think you need worry about wear and tear only damage or a faulty sensor.

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Old 20-06-2006, 08:52   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Although I've heard of this life expectancy thing of the photographer

Wonder what age we'll get to before our photography degrades
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Old 20-06-2006, 09:14   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

When you are cleaning your sensor, how many stabs at it do you normaly take? I've done 3 and it's still not clean although all the dirt has move to the rhs of the frame
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Old 20-06-2006, 10:20   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

It takes as many goes as it needs to shift the muck , Seriously - I usually do two or three passes, take a photo, check and if need be do again until all gone. I've got into the habit of cleaning every 2-3 weeks. Really dried on muck can take a while to shift.

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Old 20-06-2006, 10:42   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Ah ok, just wondering what the norm was - ie was I doing something wrong coz I had to keep repeating... #4 here i come!
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Old 20-06-2006, 11:09   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

If you have never cleaned it before it is likely that the dirt has had time to become firmly fixed to the sensor, that in turn will require either more pressure (risky) or more passes to shift it. Once it is clean if you clean it regularly in the future it is likely that th muck will be shifted on the first pass.

All this assumes that you are doing it correctly in the first place
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Old 20-06-2006, 11:12   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

I've changed my approach to sensor cleaning in the last few months. Not sure if any of this will help or appeal, but here's my take on it....

1. Up to a few months ago I used the 'Copperhill' method exclusively - Eclipse fluid on a PecPad wrapped around a flexible spatula. This works subject to a few caveats (see below) and is still my preferred method for any sticky dust like pollen grains. However, it can cause smearing if you use too much fluid, or leave fibres behind if you use too little and don't get into all the corners, and it isn't a 'travel' system in that you can't take Eclipse fluid on a plane.

2. There is a risk of leaving dust and fibres at the edges of the sensor if you don't sweep the full way across. That can be a little tricky because there isn't much spare room inside the sensor housing (mirror box). I find it better to sweep from top to bottom (and then bottom to top) rather than side to side, although you have to make two passes in each direction to cover the full width of the sensor.

3. I know that PecPads are supposed to be lint free etc, but I don't really like them. They are furry! The fibres may be attached to start with, but I suspect that it doesn't take much for them to come off and be deposited on the sensor. Try cleaning a filter with a Pec Pad and see if you can do it without smearing or leaving bits behind. The methanol (Eclipse) is needed not only to dissolve any gunge, but also to 'stick' the dust to the pad.

4. Most dust isn't sticky, and can be removed without fluids. This also avoids the risk of smearing.

5. The first stage is to clean the lens mount, the mirror box, the mirror itself and the underside of the focusing screen at the top of the box. All this should be done before the sensor is exposed. If there is dust inside the camera, it is likely to get onto the sensor when the shutter is opened. The lens mount collects dust from outside, and also very fine particles of metal or plastic from the abrasion caused by fitting and removing lenses.

6. There are various fancy and expensive brushes sold for sensor cleaning, but I see no evidence that these are anything other than fine-filament nylon brushes. You can probably buy similar ones from an art shop, or else from this eBay supplier where I got mine. You get two identical brushes so you can use one for the sensor and the other for the mirror box etc.

7. The technique is to use a powerful bulb blower (not canned air) to blow through the brush. This helps to remove any dust on the brush, and may also generate a slight electrostatic charge which helps any new dust to stick to it.

8. Then sweep the brush gently across the sensor, blowing air through it after each pass. Make sure you get right into the edges and corners. It only takes a few seconds, and you can do as many passes as you like.

9. The brush filaments are very fine and cannot possibly damage the sensor (or rather the filter on top of it) unless it's made of jelly. Try the brush on a lens or filter first if you want to convince yourself.

10. If necessary, the brush(es) can be cleaned with a detergent (washing-up liquid) and rinsed under running water, then shaken to remove as much water as possible, and left to air-dry. Obviously you don't touch the brush during rinsing or drying.

11. I've used the brush technique at least 6 times so far on my 30D, and have not needed to resort to wet cleaning. You can keep the brush (in its plastic bag) in your camera bag, so it's there if you get dust on the sensor while away from home. The whole operation takes just a few seconds and is very simple. I also think that the brush gets into nooks, crannies and corners better than the PecPad and spatula.

OK.... those are just my thoughts and findings, and I'm not saying that everyone should do the same. However, if you are having a problem with other methods, it may be worth a go.
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Old 20-06-2006, 11:18   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

It's nice to see you drop by.

Thanks for the information Silky, very useful and informative post

Have some reputation points from me
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Old 20-06-2006, 11:34   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Thanks Steve. BTW if anyone is struggling with sensor cleaning and would like a demo, they're welcome to drop in if they're near jn 37 of the M1.
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Old 20-06-2006, 13:32   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Quote:
Originally Posted by silkstone
may also generate a slight electrostatic charge which helps any new dust to stick to it.
I got my cleaning kit from chili-pix.ch and one of the bits you got was a sensor brush. However the readme says it's specificly anti-static

osCommerce

Quote:
The SensorSweep is constructed with anti-static fibers. Neutralizing the static charges releases clinging specks for easy removal.
I understand the lack of charge attracting the dust when the dust itself is charged however I was also under the impression another reason for wanting an anti-static brush was any charge on it could damage the fine electronics of the sensor.

is this just bish?
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Old 20-06-2006, 13:37   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Thanks Silkstone for posting in such detail.

Will have to divulge everyones advice before attempting my clean for 1st time
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Old 20-06-2006, 14:45   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Peel - I reckon there's more top-grade BS talked about this than anything! If you read the blurb on the Visible Dust website.... well, go on, take a look. They're charging a huge amount for these 'special' brushes.

Make up your own mind, but as I see it they can't have it both ways. If the brush acquires a static charge so it attracts dust from the sensor, it will be difficult to blow the dust off. If it's antistatic, it may just sweep the dust around rather than lifting it off.

I think it's possible that blowing air through a nylon brush *may* induce a small charge which *may* help it to remove the dust. The charge will dissipate fairly quickly and will not be high enough to cause any damage to the sensor.

All I know for sure is that the cheapo brushes I got through the eBay link in my earlier post seem to do the job - and no snake-oil required.
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Old 20-06-2006, 15:25   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

It's not the first time we've been sold something based on fear and I'm sure it won't be the last

With that in mind, what I ended up doing is boiling a kettle of water, swilling that around inside the mirror chamber. I can see that it's nice and clean but for some reason it makes little sparky noises when I try to turn the camera on.
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Old 20-06-2006, 16:34   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

It's OK - you can soak up any moisture with a dry Brillo Pad.

Slightly OT, but there's another thing you may like to try for cleaning filters - NOT the sensor! Use the sticky part of a Post-It note. :eek: Yes, really. Just dab it on a few times and it lifts off the dust without leaving a residue.

Then.... try dragging it across the surface so it does leave a smear.... and then dab it a few times and the smear will go.

I'm waiting for someone to advertise special sooper-dooper lens cleaning sticky papers at only 20 a pack.
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Old 20-06-2006, 16:35   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

omg this is sooooooo frustrating... It's about as clean as I can be bothered messing with. However got a question...

What is the orientation of the sensor with respect to the final image?

Is the left of the sensor as you look at it with the lens removed the right of the image shot? (if ye get me drift) or is flipped like what happens with refracting telescopes?
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Old 20-06-2006, 16:40   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

AFAIK it is inverted (top to bottom).
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Old 20-06-2006, 21:17   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Quote:
Originally Posted by silkstone
AFAIK it is inverted (top to bottom).
That is my understanding as well

If you do check out the link to the copperhill method of cleaning I am pretty sure that it tells you exactly where the dirt will be on the sensor in relation to what you see on your screen.
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Old 24-06-2006, 13:01   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

After some frustration purchasing the Eclipse/Copperhill stuff, I purchased Green Clean from Speed Graphic. It comes in packs of 5 wet and dry spatulas.

You swab off the sensor with the wet spatula first, then polish the sensor with the dry one.

Seems to do the trick.

Details from:-

*** GREEN CLEAN Airpower & Dusting Tools
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Old 24-06-2006, 21:50   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Cleaning Sensor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave
Although I've heard of this life expectancy thing of the photographer

Wonder what age we'll get to before our photography degrades
I've been taking photographs for about 55years and still learning and improving. have an 84 yr Pal (ex pro on 5x4 sheet film) still taking stunning images on his old pentax with 19mm lens and ASA 400 fim to combat shakes and does wonders in Photoshop 7 - likes what he knows and won't upgrade.

I found a great difference (no more UFO's in the sky) as had my first "blow-job" on my 350D sensor. Always try and remember to point the camera down when changing lenses and keeping the 18-200 on most of thee time helps.
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