Sensor Cleaning: I found my solution I believe!

inTempus

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I've struggled with sensor cleaning for some time. I prefer to do it myself vs. sending my camera to someone else to do it. It's really not technically difficult and you really run very little risk of damaging your sensor if you can follow very simple instructions.

The problem, I've found, it actually getting all of the dust off the sensor! I use the Sensor Swabs from Photographic Solutions (the PEC*PAD people) usually. These swabs cost $4 each and you can only use them once. But I've found that it takes several tries to get all of the dust off of your sensor. It's a time consuming task of swabbing, going outside and shooting the sky, loading the images into Lighroom and looking for dust, swabbing again, shooting against, you get the idea.

There had to be an easier way.

I found the Delkin Sensor Scope online though Google. I thought it might be a bit hokey but I found several reviews that gave it favorable marks. So I ask for it for Christmas. :)

Today I talked the wife into opening one present each... I'm good at that. The package I got to open was this new tool.

I grabbed the 5D because I knew from a photoshoot last week that it had some pesky dust on the sensor (despite being cleaned just before the shoot). I dropped the Sensor Scope on the camera body and was I ever amazed. I could see the dust speck!!!

The kit comes with a bunch of sealed sensor swabs and cleaning solution. I opened one, hit the sensor, took a peek, saw the dust was still there, hit it again and poof it was gone. Wow. Was that simple!

The device comes with the sensor scope, cleaning solution, swabs and this little vacuum. I tried the vacuum on the dust spot first and honestly, it's useless. Neat idea, but it not only didn't get the original dust spot but after using it I found that two new dust spots were present.

I don't mind, I didn't want the kit for the vacuum anyway. The scope is made of plastic and isn't what I would call super high quality. It's of good quality and the view it gives you of the sensor is amazing. Sharp, clear and in focus. It has a built in LED light system that perfectly illuminates the sensor. It's calibrated to be in focus on Canon and Nikon bodies. On other bodies it may not be perfectly in focus, but you can lift it ever so slightly and bring the sensor into focus pretty easily.

Here's a quick shot I took of the device after I opened it.

IMG_8277-Version2-Version2.jpg


Here's a shot of what you see through the scope. This isn't my sensor, this is the simulated sensor that's on the packaging (box) that the device comes it. It's the same size and a real sensor so it worked well for this demonstration.

IMG_8279-Version3.jpg


Sorry for the crumby pictures, but I didn't have time to take studio shots tonight. :)

I would say that for the $80 the system costs at Amazon.com it seems to be worth it. I can't tell you how valuable it is to actually see your sensor when you're cleaning it.
 

Garbz

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Looks pretty neat.

One thing I must say though, going outside to photograph the sky and then looking at your pictures in lightroom is madness!
Why not just photograph a piece of paper, out of focus, no need to worry about motion blur, and then look on the LCD preview with the zoom function. At f/22 any dust really is plainly obvious.
 
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inTempus

inTempus

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Looks pretty neat.

One thing I must say though, going outside to photograph the sky and then looking at your pictures in lightroom is madness!
Why not just photograph a piece of paper, out of focus, no need to worry about motion blur, and then look on the LCD preview with the zoom function. At f/22 any dust really is plainly obvious.
I have a very good reason for never having done that.

I never had heard of the method before. :) I would say I would give it a try, but now I have my handy little tool that doesn't require me to take any pictures.
 

Inst!nct

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that looks neat, id love to see how it looks attached to you camera and all o_O, andyea, we are leaving to switzerland on wednesday, so christmas is today for us :)
 

camz

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I use the giotto rocket blower. Beyond the blower I then escalate it to using Dust-Aid and it's been working well for me...$29 at B&H

The way I check for dust is I wrap a white napkin over the front elements of the lense and I shoot at f18-f22. Proper expose it in PP then increase your contrast and sometimes black...the dust should pop out in your screen if you have some.
 
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inTempus

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The way I check for dust is I wrap a white napkin over the front elements of the lense and I shoot at f18-f22. Proper expose it in PP then increase your contrast and sometimes black...the dust should pop out in your screen if you have some.
Again, too much work. Now that I've found this device, it's a breeze and I don't have to clean, shoot, clean, shoot. I can just sit down and clean and be done with it in a couple of minutes.

Let's see how it works out for me over the course of the next couple of months. Right now though, this thing is the cats meow.
 

camz

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The way I check for dust is I wrap a white napkin over the front elements of the lense and I shoot at f18-f22. Proper expose it in PP then increase your contrast and sometimes black...the dust should pop out in your screen if you have some.
Again, too much work. Now that I've found this device, it's a breeze and I don't have to clean, shoot, clean, shoot. I can just sit down and clean and be done with it in a couple of minutes.

Let's see how it works out for me over the course of the next couple of months. Right now though, this thing is the cats meow.

That's exactly what I'm saying. Once I've seen dust on my sensors I don't have to clean shoot clean shoot. With dust-aid you just have to clean and then you're done. It's pretty much a one pass through if dust is what's in the sensor.
 

FrankLamont

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Looks good... Arctic Butterflies are also rather effective.
 

Inst!nct

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I use the giotto rocket blower. Beyond the blower I then escalate it to using Dust-Aid and it's been working well for me...$29 at B&H

The way I check for dust is I wrap a white napkin over the front elements of the lense and I shoot at f18-f22. Proper expose it in PP then increase your contrast and sometimes black...the dust should pop out in your screen if you have some.
how do YOU use the rocket blower? I have it too but i just blow on the sensor, is that all needed?
 

Big Mike

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I've seen these before and thought they were a neat idea. I don't know if I'd ever spend $80 on it though.
 

epp_b

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This is a way better deal:

Amazon.com: Digital Survival KIT - Sensor Swab Type 2 (w/Eclipse): Electronics


The cleaning solution lasts forever, so you only need to buy extra swabs when you need them. I never need to use more than one pass with with one swab per cleaning, so that $20 goes a long ways. I wouldn't pay an extra $60 just to be able to see it with a loupe instead of taking a test photo at a small aperture.

If I could find the before/after samples from cleaning my friend's XTi, I'd post them. It went from "dust storm" to "practically brand new" after just one cleaning.
 

camz

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how do YOU use the rocket blower? I have it too but i just blow on the sensor, is that all needed?

Yeah you pretty much just blow all over the sensor with the camera pointing down. Sometimes it clears all of it out. I try to avoid touching the sensor as much as possible so I find this handy.
 

Garbz

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Looks good... Arctic Butterflies are also rather effective.

Do you crank the volume to 11, turn on the sensor cleaning function, and then hold the camera to the loudspeakers to shake the dust off? I liked that band before, but they can clean cameras too? Wow! :)
 

DubDeez.

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I have a Nikon D5000 and have it set to clean the Image Sensor on startup and shutdown. Does the built in cleaning mechanism do enough to where I won't need to clean it as much? Or is it just a little help?
 

Montana

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I have shot many a rodeo and horse race with my 40D over the last two years. Throw in some demolition derby, motocross, and wildlife shooting with tons of lens changes and I have never had to clean the sensor on my 40D. "knock on wood"
 

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