Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This weeks discussion is on cleaning the sensor of your camera. First a disclaimer. Before attempting to clean your sensor read your manual on the procedures to clean to your camera and if you don't feel comfortable doing it, don't. Take it somewhere you trust to get it cleaned. That said cleaning your sensor is very easy especially if you have a mirrorless camera. So why do we need to clean the sensor? When your camera is on an electrical current goes through the sensor making it somewhat of a magnet for dust and dirt. When changing lenses sometimes dust can get in. Some cameras aren't sealed as well as others and dust and dirt can still get in. So cleaning your sensor from time to time may be needed. A dirty sensor will show spots and specks on your photo's especially if you are stopped down to f22 or so and usually shows up in scenes with blank backgrounds like the sky or a white wall. So let me go through how I keep my sensor clean.
Prevention. The first step in keeping your sensor clean from dirt and dust is prevention. Don't leave your camera laying around without a lens or body cap on the camera. The less your sensor is exposed to the elements the better. So quickly changing my lenses is the first thing I do. Some times I hold the camera body sensor side down and blow out the inside of my camera with a blower bulb to dislodge any dust that might be in the camera body then put on my lens. I don't do this all of the time but try to do often. Try to keep the camera side of your lenses clean so not to accidentally insert dust and dirt when attaching a lens. Keeping your camera and equipment clean is a must.
Cleaning. Most modern camera's have some sort of cleaning function on them. This basically de-magnifies the sensor and vibrates it to let dust fall off. This is worth a try but I haven't had too much success. The next step will involve touching your sensor. Never touch with your fingers! The dirt and oil from your hands can harm your sensor. The only thing that touches your sensor is something that was made to touch your sensor! These products were made to touch your sensor and not to harm your sensor. First you should have access to your sensor. If you have a DSLR camera you will have to get your shutter out of the way. (Read Your MANUAL!) Usually some sort of shutter lockup or cleaning mode will let you see your sensor. Most mirrorless cameras when you take off of the lens your sensor is there is in full view. Some newer mirrorless cameras have some sort of shield that goes over the sensor but this is not the rule but the exception. Know your camera and read your manual! The first thing that you want to touch your sensor with is a sensor brush. These are soft and specially made not to harm your sensor. Some of them have a negative charge on them to collect dust and the dirt that will cling to the brush. Make sure you follow the instructions and be gentle with the sensor. If you had to go this far to get your lens clean the brush usually does the trick for stubborn dust and dirt. If you have a spot on your sensor you may have to use a solution with a special swab to wipe the sensor to clean it. You can get swabs that already has the solution on it or you can buy dry swabs and solution and then add a few drops to the swabs then use. I have used both. I keep one of the pre-moistened ones in my camera bag especially when I travel for emergency cleaning. The swabs are shaped like a little paddle that is the exact size of the sensor. You will wipe with one side then the other side and discard the swab. If you still need to clean you use a new swab. Again follow the directions of the equipment you are using. There are different types of solutions and your camera company may have a use this solution only. For my Sony they recommend "Aero-Clipse" cleaning solution.
Cleaning your sensor does not have to be scary and can be done easily just follow your camera manual instructions and the instructions of the cleaning tools and you will have a clean sensor making editing quicker not having to remove spots.
So until next week, with a clean sensor, get out and shoot!