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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?...My Nikon D3000 performs an automatic sensor cleaning each time I shut it down / power it on. I reckon ...
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Old 30-12-2010, 11:58   #1 (permalink)
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Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

My Nikon D3000 performs an automatic sensor cleaning each time I shut it down / power it on. I reckon this can be switched to manual operation inside the camera settings.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of each approach (manually vs. automatically)?
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Old 30-12-2010, 12:25   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

Automatic as a matter of preventative routine.

Manual if you see dust spot on your photos.
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Old 30-12-2010, 12:32   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

I have checked my Camera manual Canon EOS 5D2 and sensor cleaning is normally automatic as you describe but it can be turned off. References to manual cleaning are about locking up the mirror to allow wet cleaning with a swab. I cannot imagine that the Nikon is very different but you could check in your manual. My recommendation is that you leave auto cleaning on, this has kept my sensor clear of dust for 20 months now. Manually cleaning with a swab should only be undertaken if stubborn dust is not removed by the auto-clean. You need the correct swabs and cleaning fluid and to follow the instructions supplied.

Before attempting any sensor cleaning, you should first establish that you have dust on the sensor which should be visible if you take a shot of a piece of white paper at f11 then process in Elements/Photoshop using Auto-levels.
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Old 30-12-2010, 12:38   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

Dave - I think Mosh is referring to the ability to manually activate the built in sensor vibration cleaning method - in addition to having it automatically run at startup and shutdown.

Good info on the wet clean though

I find a plain sky (lots about at the moment alas) but focused on a close object gives me the best indication of sensor dust.
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Old 30-12-2010, 14:27   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

I tried switching auto off and then found I wasn't cleaning it very often so have switched it back on! I guess that there's some impact on battery life and potentially the clean mechanism (being a mechanical operation) but batteries last very well nowadays anyway and I reckon the shutter will cause probs well before the cleaning system!

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Originally Posted by -Oy- View Post
I find a plain sky (lots about at the moment alas) but focused on a close object gives me the best indication of sensor dust.
I use my computer screen - doesn't matter if there's anything being displayed as long as the exposure is lengthy and you handhold and move camera around! Then process, maximising the contrast (way over the top!) to bring out every last speck!
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Old 30-12-2010, 15:06   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Oy- View Post
Dave - I think Mosh is referring to the ability to manually activate the built in sensor vibration cleaning method - in addition to having it automatically run at startup and shutdown.
Indeed, I was asking about the vibration cleaning method.
Thanks for your responses; I think I will leave then the automated method as is, since I couldn't find in your responses so far any big advantages of doing it manually.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:15   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor cleaning functionality: is it better to do it manually or automatically?

If it does it Auto, then leave the auto on....
I am sure it wont cause any damage will it?...

Manual, (Do-it-yourself with mirror lock up and a soft brush type thing) I have just had to do that on mine, its not that easy, and however sensitive you are, you always worry about damage, so manual is best done only when you think you have a problem.
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