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Sensor cleaning--HOW??

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pbenedic, May 17, 2005.

  1. pbenedic


    Mar 9, 2005
    So that I don't have to repeatedly keep sending my DSLRs to Nikon which is expensive and inconvenient, can you all help me out??
    How does one SAFELY, EFFECTIVELY, and RELIABLY clean their dSLR sensors?
    Searched here (not DP yet), but didn't hit much. Even willing to pay a little bit if someone has effective tools to do this.
    What do you all do, and what are the plusses and minuses of your methods?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tosh


    May 6, 2005

    Somehow, I've been spared the agony of a sensor cleaning. It's probably due more to luck than to care on my part. But, I have been collecting the cleaning materials and how-to articles for that inevitable day. Here are some sites to view to get you started:


    The above is just some of what is out there. Maybe those who have cleaned their sensors will chime in.

    Good luck!

  3. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
  4. I've successfully cleaned both dust bunnies and, later a spot.

    1. Dust bunnies
    - buy a Rocket blower (yes, it is the shape of a 1950's spaceship.) I hold the mirror open, face down and blow several times. (There are several ways to keep the mirror up...you can read up on that)
    - Next in order of concern is a persistent dust or fuzz. I bought a NON-ANIMAL paint brush from an art store 3/4" and flat. You wash it with liquid soap several times, rince very thoroughly then blow dry. It takes a lot of blowing to dry it out. You do this to ensure any gunk from packing, stocking or just sitting around waiting to be sold get cleaned off. Then store it in a tooth brush holder. You can test dryness on an old filter to make sure there are no moisture streaks.

    Blow some compressed air (from the rocket or canned air) across the synthetic brush creating a charge; hold the mirror up and swipeacross the sensor lightly and remove the brush. Remember this is to pick up the dust with the charge. Doing it twice will just push the dust around (if you didn't get it all) like a mop. Repeat the process till clean. NEVER spray from the can onto the sensor surface. Ice from condensation/expansion of the compressed air could damage the sensor.

    Finally I did have a mark which would not move. I bought the pec pads and the cleaning fluid. (I can't rememeber the name, I'm at work) It took three pads to finally clear the mark off. I'm guessing it was salt residue. I was photographing near salt water.

  5. For light spots I am just using a Giotto Rocket Blower...as Rich describes above...works great most of the time.

    for heavier stuff I tried the Copperhill method and it was absolutely miserable for me...others disagree of course, and have good luck, but each time I did it I seemed to make matters worse. I really didn't like having to use a liquid cleaner...I usually ended up with streaks and it would take me five, ten times till it was better. I was about to take my camera into a local service shop who does CCD cleaning...when I thought i'd try one more thing...

    ...and I swear I am not the type to gush over a product, but the Sensor Brush system... www.visibledust.com truly worked for me, with ease, I was absolutely amazed how spotless the sensor was after ONE pass and using NO liquid. I will never go back! Yes they are outrageously overpriced, and as Rich notes, you can "do it yourself" with a brush from an art store, but didn't want to go through the hassle of finding the right brush, and the potential risk if I ended up with the wrong one. Probably over-cautious. But I figure the Sensor brush is a one-time purchase, unless I lose it!
  6. Rob G.

    Rob G. Guest

    For me the following works great:
    Rocket blower and if that doesn't work the copperhill method.
    It works great. At first I was extremly nervous. But in the end it wasn't that difficult.


  7. IxLr8

    IxLr8 Guest

    I clean my CCD regularly on all my bodies. It's easy as long as you follow instructions. I primarily use Sensor SWAB by Photographic Solutions along with Eclipse optical cleaning system liquid. For the easy stuff I use Sensor Brush by www.visibledust.com but by far the Sensor SWAB's do the best job. On the light stuff I use a blower.

    If you plan on using the Swabs, get "Type 2" as it's measured for Nikon size CCD's.

    For the D70 & D2H, I can clean it without an AC adapter since I can lock up the mirror and open the shutter from the menu. On the D2X they no longer support the option so you have to get the AC adapter to do it. There are way's you can trick the mirror and shutter into cleaning mode like putting it on bulb but you stand the chance of stuff closing on you and possibly scratching somthing. Also, I do believe that the CCD get's statically charged when it's activated so dust will stick to that.
  8. look in the pBase Magazine, Great Info on Sensor Cleaning!

    I use the copperhill Method also (Still a little complicated to wrap the cloth around the stick ':roll:'),

    but recently I have read interresting facts about "sensor brushing" in the pbase magazine:


    But I still have to search for a decent Brush!

    Hope I could help!
  9. pbenedic


    Mar 9, 2005

    Thanks for all the advice. Will give these methods a try. Sure beats spending a lot of $$ for shipping (PLUS insurance of course), and WAITING for Nikon.
  10. I have tried a number of methods: then I saw that Rich G used a Giotto Rocket Blower. Bought one from the states and have had no trouble removing the flecks of dust since. Funnily enough the D70 seems more prone to them than my D2H. Cheap method and very effective.

    BW. Bob F.
  11. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey

    - Prevent dust from getting in the first place. (keep body facing down, make sure there is no dust on lens when changing it)

    - Use Giottos Rocket Blowers if dust does get in.

    - Use Sensor Brush per Thom Hogan

    - Use Sensor Swab per Thom Hogan

    I would go with the purchased solutions instead of any home grown stuff, but it is up to you.

    For the record, I only have a Giottos Rocket blower. Only try to clean when you start seeing it in your pictures.
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