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Old 10-12-2008, 00:49   #1 (permalink)
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How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

A friend asked me today how to clean his economically. I replied, but it begged the question: How do you clean your sensor?
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:42   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

Soapbox time!

You can pay loads of money for special brushes and other gizmos with silly names from firms like Visible Dust, and they generally work very well.

So do other things that are a lot cheaper.

It does depend on what sort of dirt/dust is on the sensor. If it is loose, dry dust, brushing with a very fine nylon-bristle brush should remove it. The Daler-Rowey SY21 artists' brush is a good choice, but you have to wash it (in dishwashing liquid) first, rinse very thoroughly and let it air dry. Don't dry it on anything or it will pick up dust from that! Use a powerful blower like the Giottos Rocket to blow air through it, and with a bit of luck the nylon bristles will pick up a slight static charge that will attract the dust on the sensor.

For sticky dust such as pollen or tiny oil specks from the shutter mechanism, that won't work. There is the 'Copperhill' method using Eclipse fluid, Pecpads and a spatula, and that works really well but you need to practise on something first. You can also buy ready-made swabs but these are more expensive.

My favourite method at the moment it the SensorKlear pen, which is rather like the Lenspen but smaller and a triangular shape.

7dayshop.com - Online Store

Unfortunately they don't have them in stock right now. These seem to work pretty well even on sticky deposits with a little persistence, and are a lot less hassle than most of the wet cleaning methods. Given the price of some cleaning systems, you can also afford to buy a few and throw them away after a few uses.

So SensorKlear gets my vote at the moment.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:45   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

I've never cleaned any of my sensors other than a blow once with a rocket blower. I would imagine they are quite dirty
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:44   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

i dont clean mine either....... the 400D has a self clean, and the 30D has not, but thats what friends are for! serioulsy , i got Rob to clean it for me when we were down and it probably wont have another clean unless i put it into a shop to do it.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:27   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

I've used a SensorKlear on my D70s when it had a large dust bunny. Worked really well. At 4.99 from 7day shop, great value.
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Old 10-12-2008, 13:24   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

I've always used the Visible Dust swabs and fluid and generally prefer it over the brushes.

I do also have the Arctic butterfly kit with all three sensor size brushes.

Oh and PE I dread to think what your sensor(s) must be like
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Old 10-12-2008, 15:22   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

I get my whippets to clean mine, they have long noses and tongues. So I smear some dog food on the sensor and then they lick it clean for me







Ok, sorry, I use the arctic butterfly
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Old 10-12-2008, 16:27   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

I clean my 20D sensor about twice a year. I first use the Rocket Blower and occassionally this is enough. Most of the time I need Digipad swabs with eclipse fluid and if really bad (pollen), I may have to clean it twice but you must use a clean swab each time.

So one kit from warehouse Express (about 15) has kept me going for a couple of years and will last another 2 or 3.

Dave
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Old 10-12-2008, 18:19   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How do you ..... Clean your sensor ?

Good to see some of you using the "Arctic Butterfly"

Anyway - I told my friend the following:

Quote:
Sensor Cleaning - tricky subject to recommend the lowest cost method of cleaning. The reason I say this is: if done correctly the low cost sensor swaps can be very successful but if used incorrectly you could be looking at a new camera. On the EOS models I own the sensors are 80% of the cost of the camera and I'm sure you'll be in a similar position.

Up to the beginning of this year I sent them away and the cost varied from 20 to 150. 20 for a sensor clean and 150 with a complete body service. However I read a book by Andy Rouse in which he recommends the Arctic Butterfly and the associated swaps. They work well but are costly.

So first I open the shutter and holding the camera with the sensor looking at the floor I use a blower to remove the loose dust.

Then I open the shutter and use the Arctic Butterfly to remove dust which is held onto the sensor due static electricity.

Then I open the shutter and use the swabs to remove the dust which is stuck onto the sensor. This could take several swabs dependant on the amount of dust.

Before, in-between and after each the above stages I'll look at the dust on the sensor. This I do by sticking a large piece of white paper to the wall. Then I set the aperture to f22 a 24-70mm lens and the shutter speed to 1 sec or more. I activate the shutter pointing the camera at the white paper and at approx 300-400mm away from paper. Whilst the shutter is open I move the camera in a circular motion keeping it at the same distance from the paper. The resulting image will clearly indicate the dust on the sensor - you'll be amazed at the amount actually on the sensor. Another way to view the dust on the sensor is to hold the camera up to a bright blue sky on very sunny day, set the aperture to f22 or higher and release the shutter at a high speed, the dust will be clearly indicate on the sensor.

Hopefully the sensor info above will be of use. Only thing with doing it yourself is you've got be very careful and patient with yourself.
I currently use 2 EOS 1D mkII N's and 1 EOS 1D mkIII. The latter has the "self cleaning" mode which is only useful for getting rid of none sticky dust. I use the cameras mainly for sport and change the lenses a lot so you can imagine the amount of dust which can accumulate.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Richard

Last edited by rhodopsin; 11-12-2008 at 00:13.
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