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Sensor Cleaning Method
Old 11-17-2007, 01:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Over the last couple years as we made the total transition to digital I've come up with this method of cleaning sensors. Much of this was picked up in the last few months. The best thing I've found related to sensor cleaning has been the illuminated sensor loupe. This thing will let you see every single speck of anything including any possible streaks left by wet cleaners and you don't have to take a test shot after every pass to check your work.
  1. Use one of these brushes first creating a static charge in brush to attract and dust out as much unattached dust as possible.
Arctic Butterfly Budget Brush and Sensor Loupe
or Arctic Butterfly Pro Brush and Sensor Loupe

2. Next use the lighted loupe to look over sensor and see where embedded particles or smears etc remain.

3. Then use one of these swabs with a couple drops of the cleaning solution to clean the remaining particles from the sensor:
Sensor Swabs to use for cleaning stuck on dust particles
Cleaning Solution to use with Sensor Swabs I've found this solution to work better than the Eclipse solution made by Photographic Solutions.
4. Use the sensor loupe to look over the sensor again for remaining particles or streaks left by cleaning solution. If necessary go over sensor again with swab (don’t use too much solution)

5. Finally, look over sensor again with loupe and use the Lenspen sensor cleaning tool as a final step to touch up sensor corners and any other areas not totally cleaned by Arctic Butterfly brush or swabs.
This process really seems to get the job done. Of course you want to make sure and do all this in as dust free an environment as possible.

NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT TOUCH THE SIDE AREAS OF THE SENSOR CHAMBER (FLAT BLACK PAINTED AREA) AND ESPECIALLY THE JOINT/PIVOT POINTS WITH THE BRUSHES OR SWABS – ONLY THE SENSOR. Apparently lubricants may get onto the brushes and can streak across your sensor when brushing it afterward.

Hope this helps. It's been a lot of trial and error using everything from air bulb blowers to vacuum systems to paying out the arse to have it done in various repair shops. If anybody has any tweaks I'd love to hear them.DP Ellis
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Re: Sensor Cleaning Method
Old 11-17-2007, 10:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tips. I might have streaked my sensor with the Arctic Butterfly®

Which vacuum systems did you use? There is a miniature vacuum brush by
Edmund Optics Which I might get. http://www.edmundoptics.com/onlineca...productid=1766

Do you have any tips on how to get dust out of a Canon "L" lens? There is dust in my 24-105 F4-L.
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Re: Sensor Cleaning Method
Old 11-19-2007, 10:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've tried the Green Clean system which uses canned air to create a vacuum and the Delkin Digital Duster. Neither seemed to do much. The Delkin thing seemed to collect dust in the bristles of the brush tip - after using it 4 or 5 times the sensor seemed worse after using it than before. I imagine there is a place for them - just not in my camera bag.

As for dust in your lens, L series lenses are supposed to be weatherproofed to avoid such things. Most lens dust doesn't cause much of a problem from what I've seen anyway. I have seen situations where a couple of our shooters left camera equipment in their cars in the middle of summer and over time caused the shots to gradually lose more and more contrast. According to the repair guy who fixed those lenses they can accumulate a fine coating of lubricants which have evaporated inside the lens from the focusing/zooming mechanism. After I got these lenses cleaned up -- and raised hell with those guys about leaving camera equipment in their cars in extreme hot or cold temperatures -- it never happened again.

DP Ellis
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Re: Sensor Cleaning Method
Old 11-21-2007, 12:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply/info. I think it's suction dust which happens when (it's) zoomed in very fast. the dust is on the 3rd element from the back (nothing on the front). The 24-105 is NOT completely sealed as dust can still get inside (while zooming). Canon even states that not all L series lenses are sealed.

As for sun related issues, you could use a UV resistant cloth to protect your equipment (while shooting).
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