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Thread: Is the Sensor Salvageable?

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    Member FallingHorse's Avatar
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    Is the Sensor Salvageable?

    I have a Canon EOS 50D which I got for a bargain price. I did an initial inspection but was not able to check the sensor properly due to the location (and probably inexperience on my part.)
    The sensor is filthy - looking through the lens is like looking at my dog's bed - bits of hair, fluff and spots. The question is: Can this be fixed with a normal sensor clean by my camera store or am I likely to have to replace some expensive part? The camera itself still has the remainder of the original owners extended warranty though I am quite sure that does not extend to the camera rolling around a dogs bed

    I do have it booked in for a sensor clean tomorrow but was hoping that I could get your opinion on whether it can be cleaned or did I blow my dough.

    I am attaching a photograph I took of the blue sky when I returned home - dust Nazi's beware, you will find this image disturbing


    Jodie

    Gear - Canon EOS 7D, EOS 6D, 24-105 F4, 70-200 F2.8L IS, Canon EF 100mm 2.8 Macro, Sigma 10-20mm, nifty fifty, EF2xII, 580EX, 430EXII, EFx2 III and a long wishlist


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    Correct me if I am wrong but I think the 50D have a self sensor cleaning function that you can turn on, I am at work so I cannot remember exactly where it is but it's in the camera setup section (yellow) possibly the 2nd page.

    Run the "Clean Sensor Now" function repetitively for 3-5 times and I expect 1/2 the dirt would be gone. The rest probably need to be clean professionally.

    At a glance of your pic I don't see anything too out of ordinary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andylo View Post
    Correct me if I am wrong but I think the 50D have a self sensor cleaning function that you can turn on, I am at work so I cannot remember exactly where it is but it's in the camera setup section (yellow) possibly the 2nd page.

    Run the "Clean Sensor Now" function repetitively for 3-5 times and I expect 1/2 the dirt would be gone. The rest probably need to be clean professionally.

    At a glance of your pic I don't see anything too out of ordinary.
    Hi Andy - thanks, I used the Clean Sensor function 5 times but it hasn't made much of a difference to the dirt. Will get it cleaned professionally tomorrow and hope it's all good

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    It can be cleaned with no harm what so ever , I personnally would do it myself , It may take 3 or 4 swabs , What f stop did you take this image at ? , Also I'm not sure about the in camera sensor clean , I just cleaned my sons sensor on the weekend (50D) and it was dirtier than my old 30D , But alls good an easy fix
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    It can be cleaned with no harm what so ever , I personnally would do it myself , It may take 3 or 4 swabs , What f stop did you take this image at ? , Also I'm not sure about the in camera sensor clean , I just cleaned my sons sensor on the weekend (50D) and it was dirtier than my old 30D , But alls good an easy fix
    Thanks William - It was shot at f22 but they start to become visible around f8. I am not very steady handed when it comes to stuff like that. I have read about sensor cleaning but never tried it myself, I'd rather spend the $70 for the pro's to do it than completely write of the sensor but I am glad to hear that all is not lost

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    Unfortunately I am not as handy as William. I have tried to clean the sensor of my 1DIII and I have made it worst than ever!

    (but having say that I have been screwing up EVERY SINGLE THING I have touched for just trying to be handy or save a few bucks )

    So if you are not confident, get a pro to do it. But otherwise it is a relatively easy thing to do - unless you are just as bad as I do!

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    That will take a few swabs and alot of rocket blower work. I agree, just get it cleaned by a reputable shop, but make sure they get it all!!

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    Oh by the way, MAKE SURE you have checked before you pay for job.

    I have this 1 incident where I took my camera to do the clean up, pick up the next day and pay for it... but only found the sensor is dirty again 2 days later.

    But heck I didn't even change lens!

    Just point to a white wall and shoot for 2-4 seconds in f22 or smaller.... the dust move with you anyway so you don't even need IS

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    The first time is the hardest After that easy peasy, But I do have a mechanical background , (Well Automotive Engineer) is nearly a Camera Mechanic , Sort of !! The last time I cleaned my sensor was when the Bunnies were visable at f 9 Also they say if your not comfortable in doing it , Don't
    Last edited by William; 10-01-2012 at 5:50pm.

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    Gday Jodie I cant get any censor cleaning equipment in my area so I had a go with what ever I could find, tissue wrapped around a cut peace of ice cream container was one thing that I can remember using and I left visible scratches on the censor, what stupid things I do after a few beers, but there is no visible dust bunny's nor scratches on the images after
    So have a go with the wright equipment.
    PS I did it on my old 450d
    Canon 7d efs 15-85mm, Sigma 150-500mm. Nicon coolpix 5400


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    We only have 1 camera store left in Darwin so I will make sure it is done properly before I leave the store. I will make sure I tell them that it needs a really good clean too. I would like to practice doing a sensor clean but perhaps on a camera that is already dead lol - like an autopsy, at least I couldn't kill it any further. Thanks again too William, the articles I have read have STRESSED the importance on getting it right and not even trying if you aren't comfortable or don't have a steady enough hand, they have put the fear of the Sensor Gods into me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Pipe View Post
    Gday Jodie I cant get any censor cleaning equipment in my area so I had a go with what ever I could find, tissue wrapped around a cut peace of ice cream container was one thing that I can remember using and I left visible scratches on the censor, what stupid things I do after a few beers, but there is no visible dust bunny's nor scratches on the images after
    So have a go with the wright equipment.
    PS I did it on my old 450d
    Eeeek Don't know if I'd try that method lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by FallingHorse View Post
    Eeeek Don't know if I'd try that method lol
    I have no idea how I got away with that!

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    Jodie I think they make it sound harder than it really is , Get yourself while in town for an APS-C type sensor , Type 2 Sensor cleaning swabs , You can get the pre Moistioned ones or a cleaning kit where you just have to put several drops of fluid on the swab , I use "Eclipse" , Go into the camera menu select sensor clean , Make sure the battery is fully charged , Put the drops on the swab and follow the destructions Make sure you use enough pressure to bend the shaft of the swab , Do one pass on one side of the swab, Reverse the swab and go back the other way , Take a shot at f22 and recheck , If needed do it again , They say change swabs once used , It's that easy , If you have the proper swabs and fluid it's really hard to stuff up - Bill
    Last edited by William; 10-01-2012 at 7:09pm.

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    Thanks William You make it sound easy. I wasn't sure how much pressure was enough, they make it sound like anything more than a feather touch will destroy the sensor. I will get some swabs/cleaning fluid while I am in town and will try it out on my 1000D at worst I'll kill it ... but at best it will nice and clean too
    Last edited by FallingHorse; 10-01-2012 at 7:16pm.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Just looked at your pic Jodie.

    Looks like a dust bunny warren.

    I have a little blower that gets most dust off. Handy bit of kit for the future.

    PS. I've been to Adelaide River. Interesting Pub and I even have a photo of 'Charlie' the buffalo of Crocodile Dundee fame.
    Last edited by Cage; 10-01-2012 at 7:43pm.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Never do a dry clean on a sensor this dirty! .. ever!!!

    As already said, the sensor is easily cleanable, and as William particularly mentioned, any degree of competency in everyday life problem solving will be sufficient to help you DIY!!

    A degree, diploma, doctorate, masters .... or other pseudo edumacational excellence certificate in applied common sense is enough to help you.
    If you've cleaned your glasses, then you're half way there. If you've brushed your teeth, you're 3/4 of the way there.
    if your lenses are still clean(and usable ) you're 99% of the way there.

    I have a tute posted in a forum somewhere that helps to show just how easy it is to do a wet clean.

    For about the price of a single 'professional' wet clean from a service agent, you will have almost a lifetime of cleaning products to keep your cameras clean into the future.

    I wouldn't use a rocket blower on a sensor, unless the rocket blower is of a filtered air type.
    What these bunnies are, consist of tiny specks of dust that sit over your sensors light gathering pixels, and create a shadow over them.
    If you use an unfiltered blower(whether Rocket type of Missile type) is simply blowing more of them onto your sensor.
    The filter also needs to be at the outlet end of the blower's nozzle otherwise it simply blows in dust that has entered from it while at rest.

    Canned air is much more effective, but for a sensor like this, any air blowing is still a futile adventure .. even a massive burst of compressed air from a 300Psi industrial compressor!
    These bunnies are baked on, and they're baked on due to static electricity.

    you can try to remove them in this manner, but I believe that they won't budge.
    A rocket blower is useful for removing large worm like hairs or dust that completely ruin an image, with their associated curled up demeanour.

    I think in my tute, I may have posted before and after images of what works well and what makes things worse.
    That is, the difference between blown air, canned air, and a wet clean.
    I got a lot more dust specs in using a blower on a not so badly covered sensor, which made it hard to wet clean.
    The dust that the rocket blower added to the sensor blew off easily with the canned air, but other baked on dust wouldn't budge.
    Only a few swipes with a coppehill wet clean removed it all.. completely!

    Note there are also other cleaning methods available and if you don't want to much around with wrapping a spatula with a soft cloth and then add two drops of a cleaning fluid, there are available for sale a ready made wet wipe, use once swap that come in pre packaged form.
    And also, I've seen good results(from others) with this sticky pad type cleaners, where you have a pad of a stick, and apply it to the sensor. The sticky nature of the pad grabs a lot of dust specks better than they have a hold of the sensor's surface.
    Also note that to be pedantic about it, you're not actually cleaning an expensive sensor's surface, but in fact a filter over the sensor. The filter is actually quite hardy and in six years of trying, I've never damaged either of mine!

    my thread here: Sensor cleaning the Copperhill way
    (it think it contained bit unrelated to your problem with stuff about viewfinder cleaning and changing too, but disregard that section)

    if you think that wet sensor cleaning is hard, I can tell you that's not the case. it's kind of like mopping, or cleaning dust from around your house(that's something I can't seem to do effectively! )
    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
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    {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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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FallingHorse View Post
    .... I wasn't sure how much pressure was enough, .....
    That's where most people get confused. You can't really apply too much pressure(unless you're hell bent on cracking through the Earth's crust), but the way you hold a copperhill spatula(and that's really all it is), is towards the end of the handle, and a cm or so from the end.
    The handle is flexible and really doesn't allow you to place a lot of pressure anyhow.
    Pressure doesn't help, say as it does with scrubbing a cooking pot. What does the work is the Eclipse fluid. It's a strong cleaning solution, that dries close to instantly.
    it wets the dust and allows them to move freely.
    What you want to watch for with baked on dust is that as it gets wet, sometimes what happens is that it becomes loosened by the fluid, and you simply slide it across the sensor.

    This is another point of contention that many become fearful of. This doesn't scratch the sensor as these people assume. It's wet and hence lubricated. Dragging dry dust is what scratches a sensor's filter surface . .not the dust itself.

    As already mentioned too .. you will have to do a few swipes(eg. 4 or 5 new pec pads) to remove as much dust as is humanly possible.

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    Wow - thanks very much for this useful post. I have also put the link to Sensor cleaning the Copperhill Way to my favourites. It is a well written and easy to understand tutorial

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    Also note: I went back through that thread and noticed another member had posted about a second type of Eclipse fluid available.
    I think this E II type fluid is no longer available, and only the original fluid is.

    I have both, because when I ordered my second bottle of fluid, only the E II was available.
    if you see it anywhere for sale, it's less efficient.

    Eclipse have tested the issue of Tin Oxide sensors, and announced that the original fluid is safe for these Tin Oxide sensors(modern Nikon's use them that I know of).

    This E II seems to be more 'watery' in that it must be shaken before every use, otherwise you may see a streaking effect(posted in my thread) on your sensor.
    That streaking effect is easily avoided as long as you shake the bottle well before use. This is also true of the original Eclipse fluid if it's been standing for a long time(months).

    Also note a very important part of using canned air(if you try it). NEVER shake the can before use.

    What I do is to use canned air to blow out the mirror box inside the camera, holding the camera facing downwards and using the straw on the canned air.
    Give the sensor a few seconds of canned air blast, and shut down cleaning mode on the camera as I set up the sensor swab.
    (canned air is not necessary.. just helpful in removing any loose dust particles, which in turn means less dust to move from one side to the other of the sensor).
    Let it settle a bit(seconds) and then do the sensor swipes.
    You don't really need a clean room, but if it's a hot day and you have a fan to cool the room, switch it off. You don't want unnecessary air movement around the room to throw dust around that may settle in the camera.
    With every new pec pad change, leave the lens off the camera, but make sure cleaning mode(where the mirror and shutter are active) is shut down too.
    It may be annoying to have to re activate the mode with every clean attempt, but you don't have an exposed sensor for dust to gravitate towards.
    A close shutter is as good a dust seal as anything else. Just leave the camera face down on a table with the lens off in between changing pec pads on the spatula.

    The only reason I started using canned air, was because it was there. It's not really required to totally clean your camera.
    I used to have it handy to clean out keyboards and PC CPU heatsinks and fans and stuff like that. I first used it to clean out the mucked up viewfinder and then tried it on the sensor.
    Worked a treat, and have used it ever since.

    Also! Coppehill have a sensor brush product available too. I Got one of those too, and it works well on a regularly cleaned sensor(but definitely not one as dusty as yours seems to be!!)
    Because you can't carry Eclipse fluid onto a plane, I got it 'just in case'.
    But even though I've never used it due to this air travel limitation, I still keep it in my camera bag. I've only used it to see how well it works, as I always clean my camera at home.
    Takes up almost no room and is just as effective as canned air can be if you find one of those annoying curled up worms on your sensor one day .... whilst travelling around the world

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