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Sensor cleaning question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott Sherman, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. First let me say that my wife Marjorie and I want to wish for every single one of you the happiest of holidays and may peace and prosperity be with you for the coming year.

    There seems to be a nagy little spot in my images that is caused by dust on the sensor which I just can not blow away with my Rocket blower. So I have decided to take the plunge and buy a Sensor Brush from Visible Dust in Canada, but they are very expensive so I want to buy the right one. On their site, they say that you can use either the 1.6 or the 1.3 for the D2x. There is only $10 difference in price. I believe that some of you use the Sensor Brush, so I am asking from your experience which one to get. Also is there any advantage or disadvantage of the silver over the gold finish?

    Another question. Since I generally do not shoot under extreme conditions usually, (not that it couldn't happen), should I pop for the full kit (about $250) or just get the brush (about $100)? The kit includes both wet and dry cleaning materials and another brush to clean the chamber housing the mirror and sensor.

    I have researched cleaning methods, I am aware of the less expensive options but I have definetly decided on the Sensor Brush, so I don't really need to know of other cleaning tools. But I would be interested in any feedback you might care to offer with the Sensor Brush and which conmponents you might recommend purchasing. There are some pretty good holiday package deals being offered, but I don't know if I would be spending too much to buy things that I would probably not really need or if it is inevitable that I will use it some day and should get it now and store it for that rainy day.

    Thanks you guys.
  2. I strongly recommend the Copperhill kit. You can get the sensor brush, charging pad, sensor swab, PecPads, and cleaning solution all for $50 or less. His method of sensor cleaning is the gold standard among DSLR users.
  3. I concur.
  4. Thanks for the suggestions. Copperhill just makes me too nervous. I would rather pay the extra money up front for the safest (most highly recommended by Galbraith and others) cleaning tools available. A new sensor on the D2x has got to be more than the higher priced cleaning tools. To me peace of mind has great value.
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    If a glob is so stuck that a good Rocket blast won't remove it, an electrostatic brush may not either. Then you will have spent the money on the brush and will need to swab it afterall. You can always send the cam to Nikon for a sensor cleaning if doing it yourself makes you nervous.

    Sensor bushing makes me nervous, especially after reading a couple stories on DPR by people I trust. They claimed that a glob of <i>something</i> came from the canned air, landed on their cleaned brush and subsequently got smeared onto their sensors. This sounds reasonable to me. In both cases, they were able to repair the damage with a wet swab.

    I use the wet method with 'sensor swabs' from the makers of eclipse, very infrequently, and always without incident. Just follow the directions exactly. Sorry I didn't follow your directions and just talk about the brush, but ...
  6. Chris, I appreciate any advice anyone is willing to take time to offer. I don't think the dust spot is from a glob, I think it is just some persistent dust that came along during a humidity change when i went from and airconditioed lobby into a butterfly preserve where the humidity and temperture are controlled and very high.

    Also, one of the features I liked about the Sensor Brush is that they now have a new gadget that replaces the need for canned air and supposedly does a better job. It is a spinning device that twirls the brush at high speed to electrostatically charge and clean bits. No canned air is needed with this gadget, so no surprises on the brush. Looks pretty good.
  7. You don't clean the sensor; you clean the filter in front of the sensor. (IR or morie - can't remember exactly what it is there for...) There is a small gap between the sensor and the filter. Forced air can trap dust between the filter and the sensor. When that happens, you're totally screwed.
  8. I will be interested in seeing how the dust on the sensor issue evolves in the D200. I remember constantly haveing problems with dust on the CCD in my D1 and D1x and have seen from many sources that the CCD is a dust magnet compared to the CMOS. I must say, even though i have a spot on my D2x now, it has been almost 2 years since I have had to clean the sensor and there is only one spot that I haven't been able to blow out. This has been a very nice feature of the D2x that has not gotten much ink.
  9. RForshey

    RForshey Guest

    Hi Scott,

    I use the Visible Dust stuff and swear by it. I have the complete kit as well. I have never had a dust spot that didn't come off using the Visible Dust brush. Keep in mind that the majority of spots that end up on your sensor aren't dust! Every time you change a lens, small shavings are generated from the lens mount "scrubbing" against the body. If you take a strong flashlight and shine it right in the bottom of the mirror box directly behind the lens mount you will see the little shiny specks. First thing to do when you are attempting to clean, is use a Q-tip and remove these particles. Then open the shutter, hold the body with the lens opening pointed down, and use your hurricane blower. After that you are ready to use your sensor brush..
  10. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I've had my D70 sensor cleaned at the local Nikon Dealer for $30, and as long as the price stays that low, I'll have them clean my D200 too when it needs it.

    When travelling it would be a horse of a different color.....
  11. Thanks Randy,
    I assume you are using it for a 1.5x sensor like the D2x. Which size do you recommend I get, they say either the 1.6 or 1.3 will work with Nikons. Also any preference for silver or gold color brush handle, is there a difference beside the obvious color?

    That sounds like a good endorsement for buying the whole kit and caboodle instead of just the brush.
  12. RForshey

    RForshey Guest

    Yes, I use it on my D2xs. I have both brushes (I'm not sure why, the must have come in the kit) but I use the gold 1.6 when cleaning the sensor.
  13. According to Visible Dust, if i understand, the 1.6 brush is for the sensor (filter) the 20 brush is for the mirror and the 8 is for the chamber. The swabs are for when the brushes don't work. They recommend that you don't use the same brush for the mirror as for the sensor or the chamber. I guess to keep contamination down (or maybe profits up). It makes sense, but I can't help but be a little skeptical if I need all that they are selling.
  14. I have a DSLR since the D100 came out (summer of '02). Following my D100, I have a D1x since almost 2 years now. I have always cleaned my sensor myself - no big deal! Be sure to get an AC adapter (after spending a small fortune on your DSLR, what is a few bucks more?? It is not worth the risk to go the "Bulb" road, in my opinion that is). I use Pec Pads (about $5 for a quantity to last you a lifetime (in my case anyway :biggrin: :biggrin: ). Spend another $ 10 or so on Eclipse fluid and you're all set. I clean the sensor when I notice a dustbunny. Sometimes a month or two between cleanings and sometimes a couple of weeks.

    Some folks are making a killing thinking up all kinds of gadgets for outrageous prices. Gimme the $ 15 solution (Pec Pads & Eclipse) anytime. No-brainer routine.
  15. RForshey

    RForshey Guest

    Oh yeah, I actually had to use one of the swabs and their cleaning solution to clean my mirror one time a few months back. Sure glad I had all of the stuff with me, as I was in Monument Valley. There was like a drop of something on my mirror, so bad it was affecting exposure!
  16. So you think the $250 cost of the whole kit is justified. I can imagine how happy you were that you could fix the spot on the spot. its a lot of money but I like that idea
  17. RForshey

    RForshey Guest

    I completely think the purchase is worthwhile. I will have and use the kit probably well past the life of the D2x, and will still be using it with the D3x (or whatever the next one will be). When you think of it that way, it is pretty darn cheap..
  18. You can count me among the nervous nellies when it comes to sensor cleaning. I have avoided it as long as I can. That is to say I have never cleaned one, until two days ago when I installed an IR filter in my D70.

    And I can say that cleaning a sensor while out of the camera body is really quite easy. :biggrin:

    Seriously, I have never needed to clean one. And I think one reason for that is I follow the guidelines Thom and Ron suggest. Such as how to change lenses, storing cameras face down so the dust doesn't settle on the sensor, etc.
  19. Well I bit the bullet and ordered the 1.6mm Sensor Brush kit for my D2x. I figured I might as well have the whole kit since it covers about any conceivable type of dust accumulation. $250 + shipping from Canada... oh my oh my that's a lot of money for what it is. I know there are cheaper solutions out there, but on occassion, when I have cut corners to save money, it has cost me more in the end. so with such a tender little (and expensive) thing as a sensor, I decided to spend a bit more to be safe. Many very respected and well known reviewers seem to feel it is worth the extra. I'll let you know my impressions when it arrives next week. Hope it was worth it. There is a lot of things that I could do with that much money.
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