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Geek Squad to clean your camera sensor?


TPF Noob!
Apr 27, 2010
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South Jersey
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Hi All,

I have had a Canon 50 D for a year now. There has always been a spot on all of my pics regardless of which lens I use. I assume that the spot is something on my sensor. I do have the Geek Squad protection which I think allows me to have the camera cleaned annually.
Would you all trust the Geek Squad to clean your camera's sensor? I was going to buy a sensor cleaning kit, but thought I have already paid for the protection plan, I might as well use it.
Also, where would you send a lens to be cleaned or serviced? My older son accidentally dropped one of my telephoto lenses off an 8ft boulder into a stream. Luckily it was in a padded pouch. The glass looked good, but the interior of the lens got some moisture in it. I can see spots inside the lens on the glass that I would like to get cleaned.


Send the lens to Canon, take the camera to a reputable camera store.
Cleaning a camera's sensor is very straight-forward and is something that, IMO, every camera owner should know how to do. There are two methods, wet and dry. Dry is the preferable method and the one to be used first.

For dry-cleaning, remove the lens, and hold the camera with the lens opening pointed down at about a 45 angle and use a good quality blower to clean out the mirror chamber. I like the Giottos Rocket . DO NOT use one of those cheap blowers with the built in brush!! They simply redistribute dust.

Once the mirror chamber is clean, lock your mirror up or put the camera in cleaning mode (See your manual, this varies by make and model) and starting with your dry-cleaning tool, carefully clean off the sensor. This should remove 99.9% of dust, and in the rare cases it doesn't, then move on to wet cleaning. Again, I rely on Visible Dust's line of products (and no, I'm not affiliated in anyway, but their products work).

When wet cleaning ensure that you follow the directions carefully as bad wet-cleaning can leave your sensor in worse shape than it was before. Also note that in almost all cases you're not actually cleaning the sensor, but a high-pass filter in front of it which is often made of mineral glass or similar material and in reality is very hard to damage (permanently).

My preference for all sensor cleaning is Visible Dust products They're pricey, but I find they're worth it. For dry cleaning, I use the Arctic Butterfly. This has always done an excellent job.

All that to say that sensor cleaning isn't difficult and definitely NOT something to be feared.

Edited to add: I would NOT trust any Big Box Store(TM) employee to clean my camera. They might know how, but I wouldn't bet on it. If you absolutely don't want to do it yourself, as mentioned above, a reputable camera store.
I don't recommend trying to clean it yourself. Locking up the mirror and blowing it with a blower is a good idea on your own but those swab kits are a tad bit frustrating. I ended up with more spots on the sensor all along the edge when I tried it. Take it to a camera store. Let your fingers do the walking in the phone book first find a store that guaranties their cleaning for 30 days or something a long those lines. I agree about the lens send it to canon. There is one more approach you can try. Packets of silica. Those little desiccant pouches included with electronic devices. I keep them and put them in a plastic bag, you can microwave them for about 30 seconds to reactivate them.
Putting the lens in a plastic bag getting as much of the air out as possible and putting a few of those silica packets might help remove moisture from things like lenses however any particulates that were dissolved in that water will stay where the water was and may cause premature corrosion. This approach is mostly only any-good if the lens was just foged by being in too much of a humid environment.
If you never clean it yourself, wet or dry, you'll never learn how to do it.

There are videos and written tutorials all over the Internet about, "How To Clean Your Image Sensor."
I also noticed spots on my sensor. I change my lenses quite regularly. I read up on the procedure, purchased the necessary products and did it myself. It took me 15 minutes moving cautiously. When I was finished and tested the camera, I was surprised at how easy it actually is to do.
Follow the instructions, buy the right products and away you go.
There is nothing wrong with cleaning your sensor yourself, just make sure you know what your doing. It's not like the guy at the camera store is some sort of technical genius or something.

Cleaning your sensor yourself is like fixing your car yourself, if you know what your doing you'll get it done cheaper, and usually better. But if you screw it up there is no one to blame other then yourself.
I just take it to my local camera repair store. 5$ and about 5 minutes and its done. I cant clean it myself for less than that.
The first time I cleaned my sensor, I was terrified that I'd screw up (I had spent mucho $$ in the past for 'professional' cleaning and I was tired of that). I bought myelf an arctic butterfly sensor cleaner and jumped in. It's actually very easy and quick. I'm kicking myself for not doing it myself earlier (my local camera store charges $45). With the 7D, it's not a very frequent event as the built-in cleaner works well, but on my 30D I needed to do it often.

As for lenses, they are easy to clean too on the outside. It's not really much different than cleaning your glasses. Just don't think about cleaning the inside of them.
only time I had to clean my sensor is when a buddy tried to blow a piece a dust off the sensor and he blew spit onto it instead.....:er:
Cleaning the sensor is trivial, mundane, and there's a lot of resources out there to make you become an expert in a matter of minutes.

So no I wouldn't trust geek squad with it. I wouldn't trust them with anything worth more than $30. Even then I think I'd rather spare my poor $30 item than subject them to geeksquad abuse.
The sensor actually has a lens/filter over the front of it, which is what you're cleaning. So really, all you have to do, is clean a tiny window...it's nothing to be afraid of.
i use a massive air pump that came with my camping matress, IT BLOWS! i cleaned my sensor a couple time with it and it worked perfectly.

just lock up your mirroir, blow some air in it and your should be good

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