Keeping It Clean

It is very important to keep your camera’s sensor clean.

Dust shows at small apertures, like f/16:

f/16, and that looks OK until you look at the small

See those dark dots? That is sensor dust.

You can try to get it off with the self cleaning mechanism, see the top picture. Or with a blower (be careful – use a full battery). Or with pads and liquid, but that is potentially dangerous – one mistake and your camera is toast.

So the best way is to keep the dust off in the first place, and to minimize the effects

  • Use the self cleaning mechanism.
  • Avoid lens changes unless necessary
  • Shoot at larger apertures if it’s all the same to you 🙂
  • When changing lenses, try to do it in a safe dust-free place
  • Hold the camera upside down (-ish) when doing it, so that large dust falls out of, rather than intio, the camera

I regularly clean my sensors -looks like my 1Ds is ready for another cleaning, from that photo.

Bonus question: how do you know I was shooting at a small aperture?

Answer: because of the starburst from the street light. The smaller the aperture, the more starburst effect.


4 thoughts on “Keeping It Clean

  1. Hi Michael —

    Would you recommend getting it professionally cleaned by, let’s say, Canon? Does Vistek or Henry offer such services?


  2. I usually use Vistek service downtown Toronto since they offer sensor cleaning just for $40.00 while you wait-1hr.

  3. I started noticing dust spots when stopping down and I thought I had the problem with dust on my sensor and ran the in camera cleaning 3 times and it made no change. I own 2 crappy kits lenses one being 70-300 that was on the camera. Both are the ones that stretch out when zooming. I remembered reading some where that theses types of lenses act like vacuums when zoomed in and out so it got me thinking that the dirt is on the in side of the lens. Sure enough with a bright light and holding open the aperture there was dust inside of the lens. it’s long out of warranty and it would cost more to send them to be cleaned then to buy new ones (not that I would) taking it apart proved to be harder than I thought it would be. The camera end of these lenses is open around the glass and when you zoom the glass moves in and out so I used my shop vac on it to suck out the dirt and it worked on all but one tiny speck.
    Also the best way to see the dirt is use a white or near white wall and stop your lens down as far as it will go and take a photo. Every little speck shows up

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