Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Digital SLR Image Sensor Cleaning Nightmare

Photograph @ Rick Sammon
Cleaning the image sensor in your digital SLR is easy. Many products are available to help you do it, including:

Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly:
Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly 724 Brite Sensor Brush

Sensor Swabs:
Sensor Swab Type 2 (Box of 12)

Eclipse Cleaning System
Eclipse Cleaning System Solution

Blower Brush
Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large (Black)


Built-in sensor cleaning systems also help.


Because dust spots show up mostly in the sky, it's important to keep your sensor clean especially when the sky is in your photograph.


Well my friends, here is an image cleaning nightmare. Originally, I was going to title this post: Nice Guys Finish Last.

Four years ago, I was on a trip and one of the participants asked me to clean the sensor in her digital SLR. I said sure. I used my trusty liquid/swab cleaning system, which I had used many times before with excellent results.

Well my friends, I actually made it worse. I was shocked. I wondered why.

Here's why (or Now You Tell Me!): The day before, the same photographer asked another person on the trip to clean the sensor. In the cleaning process, the person cleaning the sensor blew on the sensor - after eating a bag of pretzels. When I used the swab on the sensor (actually the low-pass filter that is placed over the sensor), I moved microscopic grains of salt across the sensor and created noticeable streaks.

As you may imagine, I don't clean other photographer's sensors any longer.

Just a word to the wise . . .

Explore the light,
Rick

8 comments:

Gary Arndt said...

Cleaning my sensor scares the hell out of me. I always let a professional do it.

Brad Mangas said...

Your right Rick what a nightmare, I can't images actually blowing into my camera to clean the sensor and after eating pretzels! Wow.

Gary Simmons said...

Ack! I don't like to clean my own even (I'll do it, but I just find the job so fiddly)... I don't think I'd ever do it for someone else!

Mark Coons said...

I've had 'professionals' put streaks on my sensor, so I do it myself now. And no one else's either! Thanks Rick.

Jack said...

Haven't stepped up to clean my own sensor yet but even if I was experienced to do it I just could never do someone else's.

I don't think this incident was your fault though…

devildog said...

Rick I remember you telling me this story while we were in Alaska. I still shudder when I hear it.

Dan

kwmcb said...

My nightmare was shooting an airshow last summer. During a lens change a nat flew into the body and died on the sensor. Of course all of the photos had sky! The little fellow stuck to the sensor and his remains smeared making the cleaning job interesting. Photoshop had a good workout on those buggy images.

kwmcb said...

My nightmare was shooting an airshow last summer. During a lens change a nat flew into the body and died on the sensor. Of course all of the photos had sky! The little fellow stuck to the sensor and his remains smeared making the cleaning job interesting. Photoshop had a good workout on those buggy images.