Most of us are deathly afraid of even looking at our camera’s sensor, or more accurately, low pass filter.
We fastidiously clean our cameras and lenses. We try to clean dust from our sensors by using the camera’s sensor cleaning mode. Yet, way too many photographers don’t even know if their sensor has any dirt on it until the dust bunnies show up in their images. I (GASP!) inspect and clean my camera’s sensors after every shooting session. Yeah, and I live to tell about it.
Kelby Online training has a really comprehensive lesson on sensor cleaning. I use the $24.95 plan because I don’t always have time for training so I save money by opting out when I feel I need to take some time off. Works for me.
Laurie Excell gives an excellent training session on cleaning your camera and lists the equipment you will need. The start up cost is a bit high (about $300.00) but you can spread your cost over a few months by purchasing the most important items first.
Here is my entire checklist for the complete kit and how to use it.
1. Use DeWitt Brush (B&H #VIDB) to clean the external camera.
2. Micro fiber cleaning cloth and lens cleaner to clean lens front and back.
spray lens cleaner on cloth and not the lens
Clean the LCD panels as well.
3. use q-tip to clean metal mounts on lens and camera
4. Use goose neck flash light to inspect the bottom of the mirror box
5. Use sensor loupe (B&H # VISL7X) to inspect the rest of the mirror box.
6. Use chamber clean and swab to clean the mirror box
B&H #VICCCK for the kit.
7 make sure you have a fresh battery in the camera
Place camera in the sensor cleaning mode
Inspect sensor with sensor loupe
if you find any dust activate the camera sensor cleaning mode
if that does not work use the Giotto Rocket blower to blow dust away – You can also use one of those spray cans full of air that everyone tells you not to use. If you use the spray can, keep the nozzle about a foot away from the camera and go for short bursts. I have done this many times but I also use the rocket blower because it never runs out of air and is easy to take along on trips.
Re-inspect sensor with sensor loupe
The above items are probably the most important steps. You can do a good job with just the above steps and items.
The following steps and items will help you do a really good job cleaning your camera.
8. If there is still some dirt on the sensor use the arctic butterfly
Swipe across sensor gently one time
Re-inspect with the loupe
9 If you still have some dirt on the senor use sensor clean solution and green
swab (B&H # VIS1516G) with sensor clean solution (VISCL)
gently give one swipe in each direction and then toss the swab Use the swabs only one time and then throw them away.
10 Use smear away to get rid of oily residue (VISAW)
You might get some smearing so use step 9 again
11 Sensor brush wash VISBC
The upshot of frequently cleaning your camera inside and out is that you will feel more confident that your sensor is indeed as clean as the lenses. It does little good to have ultra clean lenses and a dirty sensor. I have always been paranoid about changing lenses when out in the desert. Yes, I still change lenses inside my vehicle whenever possible. But by using the above equipment and steps outlined, I know that I am starting each shooting session with a clean camera inside and out.
I highly recommend (I do not receive any money from Kelby training) signing up for at least one month of training and watch Laurie’s course a few times. You won’t regret it.
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