Dirt on the camera’s sensor cannot be avoided. Sooner or later it catches everyone and then good advice is expensive. Where can I have my camera’s sensor cleaning ? How can I clean my camera’s sensor without damaging it? How can I avoid dirt on the sensor?
We will answer these questions about sensor cleaning in this article.
Has that happened to you? You’re traveling and taking photos.
Once back home, you sit down at your computer to select and edit the best images.
But what is it? There are spots on every picture! Always in the same place!
Clear case: The sensor is dirty. If you notice it too late, all you have to do is retouch it afterwards.
In order to avoid this in the future, we explain to you in this article in a compact way what you need to know about sensor cleaning.
How does dirt actually get on the sensor?
In your digital camera, the image sensor simply ensures that an image is created from light. So the image sensor does something like what the film used to take over.
Now a camera is not a closed system. Especially due to lens changes, it is inevitable that dust and dirt will get into the interior of the housing and become stuck on the image sensor.
Of course, you should always be careful when changing lenses and think twice in the desert, on the beach or in dusty surroundings. However, you can’t really prevent dirt from sat on the sensor at some point.
How do you find out if your sensor is dirty?
Most of the time, you can tell from your pictures that the sensor is dirty. The following picture of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon clearly shows what we mean.
In the area of the blue sky, several spots can be seen, some clear, others less clear. Unfortunately, this was all dirt on the sensor, so we were able to retouch these photos diligently.
To find out if and where dirt is on your sensor, it’s best to do the following:
Find a flat and smooth surface. Blue skies without clouds or a white wall are well suited for this.
Choose the smallest possible aperture, e.B. f/22 and a large focal length.
You probably need to turn off autofocus, because your camera has nothing to focus on because of the flat subject.
Now simply press down and check if there are any spots on the finished image.
If this is the case, you should urgently consider sensor cleaning.
Automatic sensor cleaning
Newer camera models have often integrated automatic sensor cleaning. Dust particles are shaken from the sensor by fast vibrations. Basically, that’s a good thing. If you have this option on your camera, of course you should use it.
However, automatic sensor cleaning quickly reaches its limits, so sooner or later you won’t be able to avoid manual cleaning.
Make sensor cleaning yourself
For a long time we did not dare to do the sensor cleaning of our camera ourselves. It’s not that hard and now we always do it ourselves.
But you can also do some damage, so you should definitely be very careful and if you’re not sure, put the camera in a specialty store
Our tip: If you want to do a sensor cleaning yourself for the first time, look for someone who has experience with it and does the cleaning with you the first time.
We found a good video guide on sensor cleaning by Nigel Danson. In a video, he shows you all the secrets of sensor cleaning.
The simpler option of manual sensor cleaning is dry cleaning with a blower. There are also supposed to have been photographers who, instead of using a blower, have pushed directly into the camera. That is a very bad idea!
It is not called dry cleaning for nothing. You can still make an effort so much, if you puss into the camera, a few damp spit particles always come into the interior of the case. So invest a few euros in a good blower.
When buying a blower make sure that it has a dust filter valve. With very cheap blowers, dust accumulates inside, which you then naturally puss ed into the camera. Our blowers have such a valve and we can highly recommend it.
Wet cleaning is the ultimate discipline of sensor cleaning. The sensor is wiped with a special cleaning liquid. So-called swaps are used for swiping.
You can imagine this like a puller for window cleaning. The swaps and the liquid can be purchased in a set that is available for different sensor sizes.
Depending on whether you have a full-frame sensor, AN APS-C sensor, or a Micro Four Thirds sensor, you’ll need different sized swaps. For full format you need 24 mm, for APS-C 16 mm and for Micro Four Thirds 12 mm swaps.
In addition to the swaps, there is also a special cleaning liquid in a sensor cleaning set. We use this set and can recommend it:
Let a professional clean the sensor
Photo shops usually also offer sensor cleaning. The cleaning costs between 29 and 49 euros depending on the sensor size and we were very satisfied with the result. If there isn’t a lot going on, the cleaning is even done on the same day.
When you put your camera there, the battery should be fully charged. Otherwise, the business does it for you overnight.
But then you definitely have to do without your camera for a working day. If you’re in a hurry, it’s best to call in advance and ask how fast it’s going.
What are your experiences and tips for sensor cleaning?
Have you ever cleaned your sensor yourself and still have tips for us? Then we look forward to your comment. Of course, we are also happy to receive hints on where you can have your sensor cleaned professionally and cheaply.