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posted by pixelbase, Jan 26, 2007 11:46 AM — 3 comments

Dust can get into your digital SLR anytime you change lenses. So, it is important that you are careful when you do so. Since is can be fairly difficult to actually clean a sensor, I would recommend focusing on preventing dust from getting on the sensor in the first place. Here are a few suggestions for minimizing dust:

1) Make sure your camera is turned off when you change lenses. (When the camera is powered up, the sensor may have a static charge that may attract dust.)

2) Try to be aware of where you are when you feel the need to change lenses. If you are in a dusty, dirty, or windy environment, consider waiting until you are not (or move inside your car, SUV, apartment, office, motor home, etc.).

3) Make it quick. When you change lenses, have everything ready so that you minimize the time the camera body is open.

4) Make sure the back of your lenses and lens caps are clean. It's also a great idea to make sure your camera bag is clean (vacuum it out on a regular basis). Also, use body and lens caps whenever possible.

5) Use gravity to keep dust from entering your digital SLR. When you change lenses, keep the camera body opening pointed down.

If you should get dust on your sensor, it may show up in your photos. Following are some tips on what to do to keep your photos looking sharp:

1) If your camera does not have the technology to "shake" the dust off of your sensor, you are correct in assuming that you should not use compressed air inside your camera. Instead, check your camera manual. It should outline the common cleaning methods.

2) All digital SLR models have a sensor cleaning mode. While you might think that this setting would actually clean the sensor, in reality, all it does is lock up the mirror and expose the sensor for cleaning. (Prior to cleaning, make sure your battery has enough charge to last through the cleaning so that the mirror doesn't close during the process.)

3) Just as with changing lenses, point the camera body down. Then, use a blower bulb to gently blow dust off the sensor. The Giottos Rocket Blower is a good one to use (however, an ear syringe can work, also). Make sure the tip doesn't get too close to the sensor (there is just too much that can go wrong if the tip touches the inner workings of the camera). Then, just turn off the camera to bring the mirror back into position.

The above is often enough. If it isn't, there are two options: send you camera in to have it professionally cleaned, or try methods using cleaning tools on the sensor.

The former is recommended by all manufacturers, the latter is not.

I've successfully cleaned a sensor using commercial cleaning kits (they can be expensive). It is not an easy process. However, if you have a bit of a skilled hand, and a bit of patience, you may get results that you are happy with.

Comments | RSS

1. posted by ugaldew, Jan 29, 2007 7:57 PM

Hi , thanks for the info , I hope someone could post a visual tut of how clean the sensor

Ive heard is not that difficult and is a normal procedure but still I don't dare :S

2. posted by zweettooth, Feb 27, 2007 4:22 PM

I just got my Canon Eos 400D, if you dont like dust, try it. It has good systems to keep the sensor clean.

3. posted by kwenwan, Apr 4, 2007 3:30 PM

SLR's built in dust cleaning systems don't work

Blower brush and wipes are here to stay
Check out this review of dust cleaning systems - shocking

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