The Digital Photo Guy

Video – Clean Your dSLR Sensor

This 30-minute video will show you how to inspect and clean the sensor of your digital SLR. Once you have the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to inspect your sensor for “dust bunnis” and clean it in less than 3 minutes.

Three Sensor Cleaning Methods

The first method was developed during the early days of dSLR and involves methanol, aka the wet method. It was, and still is, highly effective but some issues have surfaced along the way. First, methanol is highly hygroscopic meaning it attracts and retains water from the environment. This means it must be replaced regularly or the water can leave a smear on the sensor. Second, there have been instances where adhesives used in the manufacture of sensors have been dissolved by methanol, resulting in damage to cameras. Third, methanol is highly flammable and is banned from airplanes by TSA (Transportation Security Administration.)

The second method is what most newbies and amateurs do: clone out the dust spots in post-processing. This is fine if you’re working on a few dozen photos from Grandma’s birthday party. Unfortunately, most advanced enthusiasts and professional photographers make hundreds or thousands of photos per session. Then, it becomes totally impractical.

Third is the “dry method.” Numerous tools and gadgets have been developed for this market. Some cost over $100 and can best be described as “interesting.” To date, I’ve discovered just one dry method that is relatively effective (gets it done) and efficient (gets it done quickly) using OTS (off the shelf) tools. You can buy the tools from Artie Morris, arguably the best bird photographer in the world today.

Why Pay $5 to View the Video?

To quote an old Chinese proverb, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” Although cleaning a sensor is simple, it’s fraught with fears for the first-timer. In this video, you see what I’m doing and hear me explain instructions like, “Gently press against the sensor.” It’s as if you are sitting next to me as I clean a sensor, watching everything I do. Watching the video gives you the confidence to buy the correct tools and do it yourself, saving $50 or more to have it cleaned at a shop.



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