At which point do I need to clean my sensor?


TPF Noob!
Dec 19, 2006
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Hi all,

Haven't been here for a while, but I have a question:

Recently I've been reading up on cleaning sensors (I know it's not really the sensor which is cleaned). I bought a sensor swab and some Eclipse E2 last week. Now I wonder at which stage I should clean the sensor. I have my camera for about 9 months now and haven't done anything else than use the rocket air blower twice. I always try to change lenses as quickly as possible and put the covers on them quickly too.

Here are some test pictures of the sky, would you think it's cleaning time when they look like this? I circled the worst dust in the f/45 picture and copied those circles to the other ones. These are all cropped to show a part of the picture at 100%. As you can see at f/8 the dust is not visible, while at f/16 you really have to look good to see them.

Sky at f/45

Sky at f/22

Sky at f/16

Sky at f/8

Thanks in advance!
well, if you often shoot above f/16, then I would clean it. If you mainly shoot around f/8 .. why bother?
I clean the sensor when I see a dust spot on a photo.

I can't get E2 here and was worried when I got my camera a year ago. Apparently, the new coatings shed dust easier because in the last year, I haven't needed to use anything but my Giotto Rocket Blower.
libeco: Are you making sure to do the mirror-lock-up when you use your blower? You do actually have to blow the dust off of the sensor (technically just the coatings over it) not just the mirror. Make sure you're pointing the body downward in a room with pretty still air for the best results. Avoid using the wipes or doing any other cleaning on it until it's absolutely necessary.

As Alex_B said, if you don't usually shoot above f/16, don't worry about it.
Thanks for the replies! That's what I was hoping for. I don't really go over f/8 so I'll wait with my first sensor cleaning job until the dust gets visible at lower f numbers...
Throw the camera into cleaning mode turn it upside down and gently blow into it. Chances are the dust will disappear and you're clean. If not then you need to start considering at what point you should seriously clean the sensor. Like with wipes and what not.
I already did that. But since there's not really that much light this time of year I probably won't go over f/8. So I'll wait a while before I unwrap a swab and open the E2 bottle. Thanks!

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