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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Sensor time for a Clean...How often do you Clean your Sensor? I have a few really faint dust spots on my sensor but they ...
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:02   #1 (permalink)
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Sensor time for a Clean

How often do you Clean your Sensor? I have a few really faint dust spots on my sensor but they only show up on skies mainly and are quite easy to get rid of do you think they will stay that way or get worse? I read somewhere that you should get your sensor cleaned every 3 to 6 months but I am a bit reluctant to do that at the mo......
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:56   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

The theory is that the sensor should be cleaned around every three months. However, I guess that if you use the camera more or less often than average, this could be adjusted. There are three main issues.

1 Dust. Can be reduced with the new sensor cleaning systems, but eventually will need to be removed. If you use a blower the dust might just go into the camera only to re-appear later. Removal with an Arctic Butterfly or similar is best.
2 Pollen. This is more of a problem as it is sticky and if not removed fairly quickly can weld itself onto the sensor and make cleaning more difficult.
3 Oil. From the mirror mechanism. Full frame sensors are supposed to be more prone to this - I assume because it is bigger - and if not cleaned correctly will spread over the sensor and whatever you are using to clean it.

Dust can be removed with a dry system, the other two should be tackled with a wet system. Some cleaning fluids are designed for pollen or oil and some will do both.

Visible Dust (who make Arctic Butterfly) make a huge array of different cleaning products both wet and dry, but are very expensive.

There are several other makers of sensor cleaning kit and I use Eclipse fluid at about £10.50 for a bottle and Digipads that are about £2 each.

My New Year resolution is to clean my sensors 3 or 4 times a year
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:51   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

It depends whether your spots are detectable at say f/11 or wider - i.e. during normal use. If so then they are quite large and I would recommend a clean. If they only appear at f/16 or narrower then personally it is a matter of choice to leave until they become a nuisance. My experience so far is that Nikon do not set the auto-clean feature on by default, however I believe Canon do, so what is good for one should be OK for the other and I set my to auto-clean on startup. The delay is not really noticeable and is unlikely to cost a shot in my mind.

With auto-clean, it is then a matter of environment and common sense to prevent foreign matter ingress while changing lenses. At a little over 1k clicks a month and changing weather sealed or old unsealed lenses very regularly during a shoot, I find that the recommended 3-6 months is a good figure to work with.

Whether you pay for it to be done or do it yourself is just again a matter of choice, but I find DIY no problem - a couple of useful threads for those that haven't read them already...

http://www.pixalo.com/community/gene...sor-50038.html

http://www.pixalo.com/community/tuto...sor-11972.html
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:52   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

Sigma SD10: used to be every couple of months using Eclipse fluid and Pec-Pads
Canon 350D/30D: used to be every 4 months or so, same (Copperhill) method
Canon 7D: never! 3 years and over 50k pics and I've never had to clean. And to think I thought the autoclean was a gimmick!

Never been that concerned about cleaning - and the Sigma has a "naked" sensor (Bayer sensors have an toughened glass anti-alias filter bonded onto the sensor)
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Old 12-12-2012, 14:18   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

I used to need to clean my old EOS 20D about every 3 months using wet cleaning. Since I have owned a Canon EOS 5D Mk ii (nearly 3 years), I have never had to clean it. Surprisingly, the auto clean appears to work very well. I am sure eventually some stubborn pollen will get in and I will then have to clean it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 19:40   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

I get my sensor cleaned by the Sony guys here it is not a huge cost and most times its about an hours wait. I usually have a coffee some where . I know doing it this way that it is a professional job.and they do a quick check of the camera as well.
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Old 12-12-2012, 21:02   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

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I get my sensor cleaned by the Sony guys here it is not a huge cost and most times its about an hours wait. I usually have a coffee some where . I know doing it this way that it is a professional job.and they do a quick check of the camera as well.
Thats nice isnt it, thats what you call looking after ones customers! its such a pity those shops dont offer that service here!.........
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Old 13-12-2012, 06:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

I've never cleaned either of my Canon 1D MKIIV bodies or my Canon 1D MKIII.....as Dave Canon says above "the auto clean appears to work very well".
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Old 13-12-2012, 10:25   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

Looks like Canon have got something right!
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Old 14-12-2012, 09:36   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

Depends on what I get in my Photo's....

My Dad was fanatical about keeping the insides of his camera "that clean" that he would only change lenses inside a lint-free bag that he kept for such occasions, ALWAYS kept the caps on the lenses he wasnt using, and hardly ever changed lenses outside at all.

I have cleaned my sensor twice since I bought it.... and I have had my 350D since it was released in this country with the twin-pack lenses, so thats a few years now?....

But I have had no problems, and to be quite honest, when I HAD to clean the sensor, there was something on it (speck of dust) and I examined the sensor as best I could and found it to be otherwise clean on both occasions?....

In My opinion, clean when needed, and if that gets to be a regular thing, start thinking about how and where you change lenses and if you can do something about that?....

I dont expect everyone to be as "Clean room" fanatical as my Dad, or even as paranoid as I am having inherited that from Dad, but doing small sensible things like keeping a clean plastic (see through) bag you can swap lenses in if you are in a high dust area may help?....
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Old 14-12-2012, 10:34   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

Thanks guys for all your answers and suggestions, I think I will leave my sensor alone for a while but if it gets any worse then I will get it cleaned. I do keep my 28-300mm lens on as my standard lens, well it does cover almost anything, I did hope by not changing my lenses as often would help solve the problems of dust but this does not always happen, best wishes.........
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Old 14-12-2012, 16:26   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

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I did hope by not changing my lenses as often would help solve the problems of dust but this does not always happen, best wishes.........
This might be oil from the shutter/mirror mechanism then. I think that you would need some sort of magnifier to see properly. These are available hand held and some that mount onto the camera body. some even have LED illumination, but needless to say, they are not cheap.
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Old 14-12-2012, 21:54   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

Hi Graham, yes I do believe its is oil off the shutter/mirror mechanism the worst spot is on the right hand side and right on the lower edge of the sensor, the others are very tiny on the lower part of the sensor the spots are not really a problem yet!
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Old 16-12-2012, 09:50   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

The problem with leaving it, especially if it is oil,0 is that it gets warmed up as your sensor gets hot and basically cooks onto the sensor, I have a friend who let his sensor get filthy and although swabs improved it no end he simply cannot get all the marks off now.

Think about how much harder it is to clean the oven if you let the grease build up and bake on, same principle.
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Old 16-12-2012, 13:31   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Sensor time for a Clean

You have a valid point here,something to think about!
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