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Thread: LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit (Sensor Cleaner)

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    Member Edgar's Avatar
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    LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit (Sensor Cleaner)

    I have been sending my DSLR bodies to my regular camera store to have the sensor cleaned, and each time, it costs me around $120 and a day (or two) without the camera. Sensor dust is a bitch to avoid, it is virtually unavoidable no matter how careful you are when you handle lens changes.

    I've tried the Dust-AID Platinum sticky system but it is not as easy as it looks. In some cases it has actually made it worse because when you make your first contact to the sensor, you are picking up dirt which sticks on the entire surface. As you move around the sensor, you are essentially sticking the dirty sticky surface back to your sensor. It works really well, but only on the first contact, unless you can afford to only use 1 stick per contact, so on average around 4 contacts are needed to clean 1 sensor.

    I've considered getting the Visible Dust Sensor Cleaning Swabs which looks very promising but they didn't have it in-store. So I gave it a pass.

    Sick of paying so much money each time to have it cleaned, I said to the boss, that I cannot afford to pay $120 each time and there must be other feasible solution to my problem. So he recommended me the LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit.



    The RRP is $129 but you can definitely get it for a much cheaper price. It says on the packaging that it is "Approved by NASA for use on the Space Station" with an image of an astronaut holding a Nikon telephoto camera kit. Not sure if they actually use it up there, otherwise the tag is pretty pointless.



    Inside the box, contains a kit of tools:
    1) Rubber blower
    2) Illuminated Magnifying Tube kit
    3) LensPen
    4) Batteries for the LED lights
    5) Carrying pouch
    6) Instruction manual



    The most important tool from the kit is of course the LensPen itself, which has the ability to bend at an angle between 60-90 degrees, but the section where it bends is too close to the tip, because when the tip touches the sensor inside your DSLR, you want it to bend in the middle, so you can easily work your way around from the outside.



    The other piece of tools is the magnifying tube with light illumination. It has a side access where you can insert the LensPen to clean the sensor while looking through the illuminated magnifying glass.



    The tool you see below is not part of the kit but when I had the 50D previously, I replaced the focusing screen. So it comes with a clipper that holds the screen + the ability to unclip the locking mechanism. This is good for when dust are trapped on top of the focus screen and you need to be able to use the blower to blow through it.



    First I blow the inside of my camera. Be sure to point the blower upwards when blowing while the camera is facing down. Then place your DSLR flat on its back with the front facing up. Using your finger or clipper tool, unclip the latch.



    Make sure the camera always lies on its back. I lift this up just so that I can take the picture of what it looks like when the focusing screen is dropped down. It should stay in place if you have your DSLR lying flat on its back. Use the blower to blow through it. Be sure not to use your fingers to touch any of the internal parts because they are really fragile and scratches easily.



    When you are done, push it back into the locking mechanism, again always make sure you do not touch any other parts of the internal components, as for this, you can touch on the steel frame that holds the focus screen in place.

    Now with a charged battery, switch to Sensor Cleaning (Manual) mode on your camera. The mirror will lock up and plane lifted to show the sensor. This is not the actual sensor, what you are seeing is the sensor sitting behind the low pass filter. The low-pass filter is there to protect the sensor.

    Place the tube onto the lens mount, turn on the illuminated LED light (provided batteries are already inserted). You should see the dust fairly easy, if not, turn the tube in a circle to change the position of the lighting.

    Once you know where your dust spots are, remove the tube, turn your camera facing down and blow using the blower. And check and see if the dust is gone. If it is gone at this point, then it's good, switch off the camera and put the cap back on and you're done.

    If it doesn't go away, it is likely that the dust specks are stuck to the low-pass filter from electric charge in the air. What you need now is to insert the LensPen through the side access of the tube and slowly swipe it off.



    Remember that you need to constantly pull the LensPen out to get it cleaned, either by cloth or blower to remove any dirt that has been picked up. This is what it looks like with the illuminated magnifying glass tube on top of the mount (this is not a lens )



    Now repeat this process over and over again until it is really clean. What I tend to do is to switch the camera off, turn it back on, go to the sensor cleaning menu, and let the camera do its own sensor cleaning twice, before switch it back to manual sensor cleaning. I re-check the sensor for any dust the camera's cleaning system may have generated, and often I find a few more coming up.

    What you want to essentially do is remove all dusts that resides inside your camera, so the more you can get rid of, the cleaner your camera will be. This is by all means, no easy task, it takes a lot of time, effort and patience to thoroughly clean it, and I can see why the job itself is not cheap at all if you were to pay someone to do it.

    I repeated for about 10-15 times before it is clean. I don't dare to call it 100% cleaned, but close, maybe 98%? as dust are bound to drop right back in as soon as you pull the thing away from the camera. Dust is in the air, you just cannot avoid it.

    To check if the dust specks are gone, take a picture of a white background/blue at small aperture, around 18-22, and it should show you the results. Check also for black patches as this can be cause by a collection of tiny dusts particles in a spot.

    Now let me remind you, if you don't feel comfortable doing this, don't do it. Take it to the professionals and do it for a fee. I will not be responsible for any damaged caused when using this cleaning method.

    The reason why I like this is because of its illuminated magnifying tube, if not because of this, no matter what other method you use, you can't really see the dusts with your naked eyes.

    Good luck.
    Canon 5D MKII, 7D
    Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II | EF 24-70mm F2.8L | EF 16-35mm F2.8L II | EF 180mm F3L Macro | EF 85mm F1.8

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    Nice to see someone enjoying that kit. Just as a side note with all lenspen products, when you replace the cap on the pen, give it a little twist, as this will replenish the carbon cleaning top. Also, you can buy those pens on their own when the one in the kit gets a bit long in the tooth
    Canon stuff 5Dmk1 w/ 24-70 f2.8L, Canon 5Dmk1 w/70-200f2.8L, 100mm f2.8 macro, 50mm f1.4, 580exII
    Alienbees B800, Lumopro 160, Manfrotto 155XPROB w/ 498RC2, Lowepro ProRunner X450AW
    Phew!

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    Thanks for this great review Edgar. The other think I noticed using a lenspen was that the carbon itself could remain and appear as a dust bunny. Once I have used a sensorpen, I tend to get onto the sensor with a good blower to ensure any loose carbon is removed.
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    can i ask a question. i just have one lens and it is attached to my camera. do i still have to clean the sensor even if i don't remove the lens?

    cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scpleta View Post
    can i ask a question. i just have one lens and it is attached to my camera. do i still have to clean the sensor even if i don't remove the lens?

    cheers.
    Generally no, unless you get dust bunnies on your images.

    If your camera/lens is sealed (eg my Pentax K-7, and if I were using a sealed lens) probably never.

    But most DSLR users will need to clean from time to time, at first JUST use a blower, that deals with 98% of it.

    The above technique is for hard to remove dust sometimes referred to as welded dust.

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    "Approved by NASA for use on the Space Station" Surely dust is easier to remove in 0 gravity, unless space dust is nasty

    Hey where did you get it from in Adelaide, or internet purchase?
    PM if you like...
    Cheers

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    Great little tutorial.

    I have been using a SensorKlear pen without the loupe for a while. It is generally fine but I do have one stubbourn spot that won't go away. I guess that is the 'welded' dust that Kym mentioned.

    Unfortunately my sensor has a sharp mounting around the edge and this tends to hack up the tip and the bits then need to be blown out. Not a huge problem but it does mean that the tips don't last very long for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZedEx View Post
    Nice to see someone enjoying that kit. Just as a side note with all lenspen products, when you replace the cap on the pen, give it a little twist, as this will replenish the carbon cleaning top. Also, you can buy those pens on their own when the one in the kit gets a bit long in the tooth
    Hey, thanks for the advice. I notice that now, it wasn't even mention in the instruction ha ha

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Thanks for this great review Edgar. The other think I noticed using a lenspen was that the carbon itself could remain and appear as a dust bunny. Once I have used a sensorpen, I tend to get onto the sensor with a good blower to ensure any loose carbon is removed.
    That's really true Rick, like any cleaning method, as soon as they made contact with the dust (picks up the dust) it stays there and it is important to remove it from the camera and give it a good blow to clean it before putting it back.

    The reason why I wouldn't recommend the Dust-Aid Platinum sticky system is for this very reasons. As soon as you made your first contact to the sensor, the sticky patch have already created a dirty layer of surface.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scpleta View Post
    can i ask a question. i just have one lens and it is attached to my camera. do i still have to clean the sensor even if i don't remove the lens?

    cheers.
    Most likely not, unless you see some dust spots appearing on your photo. Do a test shot of a plain white surface, set your WB to so your photos comes up in a blue-ish colour (depending on your lighting, I would normally set it to "Tungsten" but in some cases may need to manually set the Kelvin colour). Set the aperture to around F18-22.

    If you see any spots on the picture, make sure you clean the front element of your lens first, and repeat the test. If it continues to appear, there may be dust on the rear-elements or the worst case scenario, it is on the sensor.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sans2012 View Post
    "Approved by NASA for use on the Space Station" Surely dust is easier to remove in 0 gravity, unless space dust is nasty

    Hey where did you get it from in Adelaide, or internet purchase?
    PM if you like...
    Cheers
    Got it from Camera House @ Grenfell St in the city.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb666 View Post
    Great little tutorial.

    I have been using a SensorKlear pen without the loupe for a while. It is generally fine but I do have one stubbourn spot that won't go away. I guess that is the 'welded' dust that Kym mentioned.

    Unfortunately my sensor has a sharp mounting around the edge and this tends to hack up the tip and the bits then need to be blown out. Not a huge problem but it does mean that the tips don't last very long for me.
    If you have the loupe kit, it really helps when you can see dusts where you would not have been able to previously.

    It provides magnification + illumination that helps to identify any dirt on the surface of the low-pass really easily.

    But as I have mentioned in my post, sensor cleaning is by all means not an easy job. After I wrote the post, I went back and spent another 2 hours cleaning it.

    What's happened is that the dust from around the camera internals are still lingering around, and I just have to keep cleaning whenever I see one until all the dust is almost gone.

    I also did a burst shot series to flap the mirror multiple times and hoping that this would bring all the hidden dust out so I can clean it out.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    The other thing is that your sensor is an electronic/electrically charged device, and guess what, electricity attracts, so dust that is loose inside the chamber and not on the sensor, soon can be once your start shooting. Sensor cleaning is not hard, but it is another skill to be learnt as part of owning a DSLR (unless you have auto sensor cleaning). No matter how well you do it, you will need to repeat it, in the not to distant future.

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