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Thread: clean sensor with compressed air?

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    Account Closed reaction's Avatar
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    clean sensor with compressed air?

    clean sensor with compressed air? Is it a good idea?

    I have some visible dust wet wipes, but they
    1) leave particles from the wipes
    2) leave streaks from the fluid

    I'm never touching them again cuz I don't want to spend 5hrs each time.

    rocket blowers can't get some stuck dust, But compressed air usually supercools the area which causes some condensation.

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    Ive always understod its an extremely bad idea
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    not 100% sure on your post reaction, so I'm going to assume that I don't understand the problems at all and just reply as though you;re asking about sensor cleaning from scratch.

    wet cleaning the sensor using Eclipse fluid should leave no streaks.. at all! the only time it ever has for me, is when I didn't shake the bottle before use. I didn't know this and no one ever mentioned it anywhere. I just used it once (after half a million previously successful uses) and it left very obvious streaks on the sensor, which were visible in the images.
    So I shook the bottle vigorously and the next clean(a minute later had the streaks totally gone )

    I don't know what 'visible dust wet wipes are' but if they leave streaks, it may be best not to use them.

    if you;re talking about dust spots such as the small dustbunnies that accumulate after a while on your sensor due to the static charge buildup that the sensor inherently produces.. blowing them off completely is nigh on impossible at best.

    I always use canned air to start the cleaning process. my main use for it initially was to only clean out the mirror box as best as I could(and also the prism/matte screen) but then I found that it worked well on the sensor too.
    Canned air shouldn't supercool anything. I've tried a few brands and while the air can come out quite cool, it's certainly not cold.. or anything like a freeze spray(mechanics use them to free rusted bolts too!)
    if you get a white residue when using canned air, you've either shaken the can(very bad) or using a not so reliable brand(that expels too much propellant).
    Never shake the can before use and give the can a small 2sec burst into thin air to be sure you clean out any residual stuff from the canned air's system.

    I once tried to use a rocket blower directly onto the sensor and while it can remove a hair like dust particle, it peppers the sensor with so much dust bunnies it's not funny(at all!).. looks like machine gun fire.
    Luckily tho they were only just sprayed on and not baked on(by electrostatic charge) and the canned air blew them off easily.

    It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to properly clean your sensor, and I think the longest stint I ever took was about 10-20mins or so.. but this was a seriously silly attempt to clean a clean sensor.
    I wanted to see how clean the sensor could get, so I set myself the task of using only f/32 and extreme processing of the image with massive contrast adjustment to see any dust spots that were simply not visible even at f/32 on an ordinary image. In the end I gave up as the dust bunnies I could see with extreme contrast adjustment were not really visible to the naked eye.

    basically it should take about 5mins if you can get the sensor clean with two or three swipes(using the copperhill system)..and that includes a snapshot of a solid coloured scene to reveal any dust spots.. shot at f/16 or smaller.

    you really only want to remove the dust spots visible to the eye in a situation you shoot on a regular basis. so if you shoot landscapes at f/22 a lot, then do the exposure testing at f/29 or something like that.
    if you regularly shoot portraits at f/2.8 then your exposure testing at f/8 is going to be pretty extreme.

    what I do is:

    take exposure of flat cloudless sky at f/22(or f/29)
    come back to the PC and check for severity of dust. if dust is acceptable, i pack it all away. If dust is unacceptable I decide on what course of action to take.
    if there is one or two dust spots very visible, I use the canned air and sensor brush method first. This generally works well if the dust spot is large and massively obvious.
    If the dust spots don't budge, or if there is a lot of dust spots(visible at f/220) I then still do the canned air first blowing out the mirrorbox, vf screen and sensor but forget the sensor brush and head straight to the Eclipse fluid. I usually get it 100% clean after two swipes.

    I did THIS quick help guide a while back if you want to have a peek.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Here is what I think the most definative study on sensor cleaning options

    http://www.sensorcleaning.com/what.php

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    I use the "Dust-Aid" cleaning kit and could not be happier.
    So far the Dust-Aid has done a beautiful job of cleaning my sensors every time.

    See this site for more information. http://www.cameracheckpoint.com.au/s.../dust-aid.html
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    READ THIS!!!
    http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/ and http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/methods.html

    Then read them again. All will be revealed!
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Here is what I think the most definative study on sensor cleaning options

    http://www.sensorcleaning.com/what.php
    Excellent link.

    JJ

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    SHOULD we be cleaning the sensor at all?
    Is sensor cleaning something you do on a regular basis, or do you only clean it after dust becomes apparent in your images?
    I have had a Canon 400D and now a 550D over a period of 4 to 5 years, have never cleaned the sensors, and have never had any issues that weren't easily resolved in PP.
    Mark

    Canon 70D w/Grip l Canon 60D w/Grip l EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM l EF 70-200 f4L IS USM l EF-S 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM l EF 100 f2.8 USM Macro l EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS STM l EF 50 f1.8 II l Canon EF-S 10-22 f3.5-4.5 USM l 430 EX II Flash l Rode Stereo VideoMic l Manfrotto 055XPROB + 498RC2 Tripod l Benro MP-96 M8 Monopod l Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack l Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW Backpack l PS CS5 Extended l Lightroom 4.3

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    Mark,
    The sensor should be cleaned "Only when Necessary". You are lucky that yours has not needed to be done.

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban Tatts's Avatar
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    I have some dust on my focus screen and i can see it through my viewfinder. Does anyone have any good links that show how to clean it?
    I found a video for a 40d (how to remove it) but can't find one for the xxxd series, is it the same?
    I rang Camera Clinic in melbourne but the woman kept telling me i needed a sensor clean. Is this something you guys would do yourself and would you use the same method/products as the sensor to clean it?

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    Tatts, I wouldn't even bother trying to remove dust on the focus screen; it doesn't affect images and most likely will be back in a few days anyway

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    thanks for all the links and info

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban Tatts's Avatar
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    There are quite a few small pieces that are easy to ignore, but there is one big dark piece that is frustrating me. I can leave it there, but it would be awesome if i could remove it :

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatts View Post
    I have some dust on my focus screen and i can see it through my viewfinder. Does anyone have any good links that show how to clean it?
    I found a video for a 40d (how to remove it) but can't find one for the xxxd series, is it the same?
    I rang Camera Clinic in melbourne but the woman kept telling me i needed a sensor clean. Is this something you guys would do yourself and would you use the same method/products as the sensor to clean it?
    Gday Tatts are you trying to clean the view finder or the mirror... The mirror is in front of the sensor and is what shows you the image in the view finder
    Last edited by Duane Pipe; 14-10-2010 at 5:46pm.
    Canon 7d efs 15-85mm, Sigma 150-500mm. Nicon coolpix 5400


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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    any dust visible through the vf can be either on the mirror(less likely) or on the matte screen itself. I know of the annoyance all too well, and it irritates me to distraction.

    I regularly use canned air to blow out both the mirror and matte screen areas and it usually works well. More than likely it'll be on the matte screen itself, and an even more annoying aspect is that it can be on the inside of the matte screen, that is, in the prism housing!. In this case you could try to hold the camera so that the matte screen is vertical.. ie camera face down or up... and bang the camera with the palm of your hand on one of the sides fairly briskly and firmly. The idea is that if there is a dust hair gravity can help you to remove it off the inside of the matte screen but it needs a firm helping.

    I usually remove the matte screen and blow the area out with air.

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    arthurking83 I haven't looked yet but where is canned air usually sold??

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    It's not on the mirror or the view finder. I think it's called the focus screen. If you turn the camera upside down with the lens cap off there is a clear piece of plastic there. there is a clip behind the foam that i think will release it and allow it to be removed. i'm not sure which side the dust is on so think it will need to be removed to clean it.
    I will try your idea arthur, see if that fixes it.
    Sorry to hijack the thread, my question seemed to fit so thought it better than starting a new thread.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    caned air is easily found in places like DSE(DickSmith) or Jaycar. I'm pretty sure Bursons and Repco also sell them too.

    I've tried different brands and even though it's the most expensive, CRC brand is one of the best.
    I'm currently trying a brand called HILMAR Dust Away, and you can get two cans for less than the price of the CRC can, but the CRC can has more pressure. It's not a lot of pressure, so it's not like using an air compressor at 100psi!! ... using the supplied straw and concentrating the air into specific areas is the trick to getting it to work.

    as for vf removal ... I did a post a while back on that .... HERE too.

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    Thanks for the link arthur, looks like exactly the thing i was looking for

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    I've heard that the propellant in canned air can be bad for the inside of your camera.

    When I sent my 5d into Canon to have the mirror fixed it came back full of dust, so I'd now think twice about sending it to them to have it cleaned.
    Jayde

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