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Do you clean your sensor?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott Sherman, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. I have been scanning the Thom Hogan D2x Guide. I noticed that he recommends cleaning the sensor on a regular basis. I must admit, i am kind of a chicken when it comes to cleaning such a delicate, expensive ilntegrated part that if scratched even microscopically, could nutralized my D2x.

    My questions are, do you clean your sensor beyond blowing it out? If so, how often? Also, if you do, what method or equipment do you use. Can you recomend from personal use any kits or brushes you know work with little chance of damage? Maybe you have a tip from your experience. I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes. There have been some swabs and kits discussed by some, but I am very concerned about dragging a brush across the sensor surface especially one coated with chemicals. I already have the poser cable for the D2x to flip the mirror up. I understand that this is required to reduce the static

    I apologize for bringing up a much discussed topic but it is evolving as need and demand rise.

    Thank you
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    I am really afraid to clean mine.
  3. Larry Gleason

    Larry Gleason

    Jan 26, 2005
    Yes. I cleaned the D1X 2-3 times a year when dust spots started showing. Have yet to clean D2X since it has not been needed but I will when the time comes.

    I use Sensor Swabs type 2 and Eclipse. I also use an AC adapter.

    Tip. Use very little Eclipse on tip of swab (1-2 drops). Sweep across sensor with moderate pressure in one direction and then flip swab and sweep in opposite direction. Throw the swab away when done. Don't try to save money by reusing it. If more cleaning is necessary use a new swab. I had never let mine get so dirty where a second swab was needed.

    Many shortcuts discussed over and over. Not using AC adapter, home made swabs, alternative cleaning methods, etc. Just not my preference to use shortcuts to save money on some things.
  4. I will clean my D1x when I notice dustbunnies. Sometimes a few months will pass and sometimes only two or three weeks since the last time.
    It is no big deal, just be systematic about it.
    AC adapter is a must (for me). Then, Eclipse and Pec-Pads.
  5. GaryW

    GaryW Guest

    I've done it once for my D100. It took me 6 months to get the nerve to do it. No big thing. I also use pec-pads and eclipse and the AC adapter.

    As recommended by the site I found the procedure on, I use a filed down Wendy's knife to hold the pec pads.

    Go for it.

  6. kccheers


    May 2, 2005
    Liberty, Mo
    All this talk about gettin' your sensor cleaned and dustbunnies, heck, I thought you were gonna talk about skidmarks!
  7. Hi Scott,

    Yes, I've cleaned my sensors, for both the D2H and D2X. I've used the rocket blower and when that didn't work used the art brush (non-animal hairs) and finally the swab. I used the swab because I apparently got a drop of salt water on the sensor and blowing and brushing didn't remove it.

    When I first swabbed it nothing happened...and I thought "ka-ching" $600; so I thought I'd try a few passes with successive clean swabs. It started to come off and, with patience I was back in business.

    The secret is it's a piece of precision equioment and you don't "press" hard.

  8. I'm a fan o f the "static" brush technique. As long as you keep the brush clean and dry, blow it with compressed air to build up a charge it cleans really well.

    I'm brushing the sensor about once a month, or whenever I see dust in the photos, as a sort of regular maintenance.
  9. JamesMor


    Jun 28, 2005
    New York

    I blow my sensor between major jobs. I purchased a can of ReAir (A can that you have to fill with air yourself, so there are no propellants in it) for when I have extra worrisome spots. However, in normal use, this is rare unless I step down to F22...even then, it is rare. I have always had anxiety about being more of an interventionist than this.

  10. I tried to clean my sensor with tape once as seen on DPreview. It didn't work too well. There was much more dirt on low pass filter than there was before I started. I thought about trying again but chickened out. I had to clone and clone and clone the **** out of my images until I was able to find a place in Beijing, China, that could clean it.

    I haven't tried the swabs and eclipse because:

    1. I don't have a credit card to order online, and,
    2. The places online I've looked at don't deliver to China.

    If I could get my hands on some Eclipse and swabs then I'd definitely give it a go.

    I suggest not using the tape method.
  11. Exactly! Works like a charm.

  12. I blow it clean it when I have to. But with the D2x there seem to be a lot less need for it. I have one of these big squeeze balls that look like an old water jet rocket from my childhood. You squeeze on it hard and blow it clean while leaning the camera downwards so all the dust moves out of there hopefully falling downwards (or so the theory says) Has worked fine for me. The D100 and D2H I had to do it pretty often, and use swabs and eclipse to clean the surface which was a mess. I have yet to use the swabs on the D2x, will swallow very hard and be very careful if I have to do it :0)
  13. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    I clean with a Giotos Air rocket (air bulb blower) per recommendation in the Nikon Manual.

    I do it before every session now, because you can have dirt/dust trapped up in your camera's chamber that might dislodge mid-way even if you didn't change your lens.

    I was really angry when I got a HUGE dirt spot on abuot 100 shots of mine. Never again.

    So, before every major shoot, I slap the camera on the tripod, face it down, undo the lens, and blast it with the air rocket. However, I would not swap it yet.

    I'd go
    air rocket bulb blower -> sensor brush -> sensor swabs.

    I only used the bulb blower for now though.

    Instead of buying the sensor brush from visibledust, try reading this:


    Then buying it from here


    It's only $24 dollars compared to visibledust's $70ish+ dollars. On top of that, NEITHER party guarantees anything, so you might as well get the cheaper one. At least that is what I will do if my bulb blower fails to clean my sensor one day.
  14. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I'm going to have to get a bulb-blower - the "Rocket" seems to get the most positive comments.

    But for cleaning, I'll continue to have the local Nikon Dealer do it. They charge less than $30 per cleaning, and that's a bargain! I suppose if they charge $60, I would have to consider doing myself.
  15. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I use the Rocket bulb regularly on my D100 as well. And yes, shooting in the fog by the sea did cause me to swab - twice. In fact every time I go right down by the ocean I need to swab, but that's where the pix are, so ...

    I do not use the sensor brush however. There were several reports (on another forum) of grease coming from canned air, onto the brush, then being transferred to the sensor while brushing. Then they needed to swab anyway, so I figure, why not just swab to begin with.

    I use only 1 drop of Eclipse on a type II Sensor Swab - one pass does it!
  16. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    Grease? I have heard of the actual sensor brush itself distributing glue (apparently they use glue to hold the brushes in and it can come off sometimes). The actual canned air should never deliver "grease" as there isn't anything greasy in it! However, canned air might spit out condensation which could contaminate the brush and thus, add more contaminants to the glass by the sensor. Or maybe the canned air forces the hairs out of the brush, thus revealing the glue.

    As a side note, the sensor itself is protected by some antialiasing/glass filter and that is what you are really cleaning, not the sensor itself.
  17. I have used the "Copperhill" method with Pec Pads, Eclipse, and a cut down spatula. I put a piece of tape on the handle of the spatula to hold the pad before folding it, kind of like you would tape the wraping paper to a box while wraping it. That makes for a neat fold. I use two drops on the pad and one swipe each direction per pad.

    It is a little scary the first time, you need to press a bit, but not hard. It is all done in 10 seconds!. Try on a wall mirror till you feel comfortable.

    The second time it is a lot easier!

  18. Yes, Giottos Rocket works for me.
  19. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    I've yet to clean the any sensors on my cameras.... I won't clean it unless I notice bunnies in my photos. I did one time, think I had to clean it, bought all the cleaning solution and all, but while waiting for it to arrive, I tried some air, and it was gone.
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