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Thread started 12 Aug 2013 (Monday) 09:34
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Are compressed air cans OK for sensor cleaning?

 
Canon_Shoe
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Aug 12, 2013 09:34 |  #1

I've seen people use them before to blow dust off of the sensor.....I just bought a couple of cans last night and it says "Never use on camera mirrors" I'm cleaning a sensor and not a mirror, but could it damage something? My only thought is that if you leave it open for too long, the air gets very cold and could damage the sensor, or is it just a bad idea all around?


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Aug 12, 2013 09:43 |  #2

Canon_Shoe wrote in post #16200889 (external link)
I've seen people use them before to blow dust off of the sensor.....I just bought a couple of cans last night and it says "Never use on camera mirrors" I'm cleaning a sensor and not a mirror, but could it damage something?

"Compressed air" contains propellant (external link) that can leave its residue on sensors. It's not suitable for use on cameras.




  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Aug 12, 2013 09:44 |  #3

Compressed air is not generally recommended. The sensor blower is generally recommend as the first approach. Quoting from Cambridge

Sensor Blower. This carries the least risk of harm because it never comes into direct contact with the sensor, but it's unfortunately also the least effective — especially if your dust adheres to the sensor's surface. This tool also has a high chance of just moving all of the dust around — potentially making the problem appear even worse. Only use blowers specifically designated for camera sensors; standard compressed air blowers may release a damaging coolant liquid.

For the full writeup on sensor cleaning go to http://www.cambridgein​colour.com …amera-sensor-cleaning.htm (external link)




  
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Aug 12, 2013 10:08 as a reply to  @ John from PA's post |  #4

In addition to what was mentioned, I would also worry that it can be too forceful.


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Aug 12, 2013 10:14 as a reply to  @ Gregg.Siam's post |  #5

This guy's pretty clued up;

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=pesZUj78S6s (external link)

As with most things, know what you're using and reap the benefits.

A more subtle alternative is a Giottos rocket blower.


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Aug 12, 2013 10:27 |  #6

Canon_Shoe wrote in post #16200889 (external link)
I've seen people use them before to blow dust off of the sensor.....I just bought a couple of cans last night and it says "Never use on camera mirrors" I'm cleaning a sensor and not a mirror, but could it damage something? My only thought is that if you leave it open for too long, the air gets very cold and could damage the sensor, or is it just a bad idea all around?

DC Fan wrote in post #16200913 (external link)
"Compressed air" contains propellant (external link) that can leave its residue on sensors. It's not suitable for use on cameras.

There is actually NO AIR AT ALL in the cans of stuff like "Dust Off". What is in them is a solvent (typically something like difluoroethane) that evaporates fairly easily and acts as its own propellant. If any of that stuff gets into the camera as liquid droplets, it can do permanent damage to the mirror and plastic components.

I, too, recommend something like the Giotto's Rocket Blower. However, if there's dust floating in the air around your workspace, that dust will get sucked into the blower and then blown into your camera. The solution is to work in a dust-free environment.


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UKmitch86
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Aug 12, 2013 10:30 |  #7

SkipD wrote in post #16201043 (external link)
There is actually NO AIR AT ALL in the cans of stuff like "Dust Off". What is in them is a solvent that evaporates fairly easily and acts as its own propellant. If any of that stuff gets into the camera as liquid droplets, it can do permanent damage to the mirror and plastic components.

The only way it comes out is if you spray the can upside down - keep it upright, give it a quick blast into open space before you fire it into the camera and use it in short bursts.

Watch the video in my other post.


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Aug 12, 2013 10:33 |  #8

UKmitch86 wrote in post #16201051 (external link)
The only way it comes out is if you spray the can upside down....

Not quite true. If one keeps the can upright and blasts for too long a time, droplets can come out with the stream of gas. That's because the can and contents cool while blowing and if there's not enough heat in the contents it won't fully convert to gas.


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amfoto1
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Aug 12, 2013 10:35 |  #9

It is extremely risky to use "canned air" inside a camera... not recommended. All it takes is one drop of the propellant to ruin a sensor or mirror and lead to an expensive repair.


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Aug 12, 2013 11:05 |  #10

SkipD wrote in post #16201043 (external link)
...I, too, recommend something like the Giotto's Rocket Blower. However, if there's dust floating in the air around your workspace, that dust will get sucked into the blower and then blown into your camera. The solution is to work in a dust-free environment.

The Rocket Blower has an internal intake filter and check valve. Air is filtered as it's drawn in the rear. When you squeeze it, the rear check valve closes and the filtered air is blown out the nozzle.

There is no check valve on the nozzle, so in theory some non-filtered air could be sucked in there, but due to the larger size and much lower restriction, most of the air is pulled in from the rear and is filtered.

If you're fanatical I suppose you could put your finger over the nozzle when releasing the body, which would insure that no unfiltered air (however tiny) is pulled in the nozzle. In actuality I don't think it's a problem.

The rocket blower is much safer than canned compressed "dust off" products.




  
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SkipD
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Aug 12, 2013 11:17 |  #11

joema2 wrote in post #16201160 (external link)
The Rocket Blower has an internal intake filter and check valve. Air is filtered as it's drawn in the rear. When you squeeze it, the rear check valve closes and the filtered air is blown out the nozzle.

There is no check valve on the nozzle, so in theory some non-filtered air could be sucked in there, but due to the larger size and much lower restriction, most of the air is pulled in from the rear and is filtered.

If you're fanatical I suppose you could put your finger over the nozzle when releasing the body, which would insure that no unfiltered air (however tiny) is pulled in the nozzle. In actuality I don't think it's a problem.

The rocket blower is much safer than canned compressed "dust off" products.

There is absolutely no filter in either my Rocket Blowers. At the rear is simply a rubber flap-type check valve.

In addition, the nozzle does not present much resistance to air entering the bulb when releasing pressure on the bulb. I have not measured the flow, but sound tells me that about as much air enters via the nozzle as through the check valve.

I've tried adding a small filter at the rear as an experiment, but unless you block off the nozzle when sucking air in, the air would take the path of least resistance and be sucked in through the nozzle, bypassing the filter.

Just for the record, my 39-year career (now retired) in industrial process control systems (all sorts of instrumentation) involved working on a LOT of air handling systems, some parts of which were as simple as the Rocket Blower.


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steve75
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Aug 12, 2013 11:27 |  #12

SkipD wrote in post #16201185 (external link)
There is absolutely no filter in either my Rocket Blowers. At the rear is simply a rubber flap-type check valve

You can get one of these hepajet rocket blower (external link) bit pricey for what it is but I might try one at some point.....


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Aug 12, 2013 11:33 |  #13

steve75 wrote in post #16201214 (external link)
You can get one of these hepajet rocket blower (external link) bit pricey for what it is but I might try one at some point.....

I like that. It's a very good idea and $25 surely isn't a barrier for most of us.


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Aug 12, 2013 12:10 |  #14

In the uk they are £39.80 at amazon.... so about $60! US.... would you be as happy to pay $60? As you say, I think with the amount of money we pay on our gear its a small price, but still 60 is a lot for a rocket blower....


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Aug 12, 2013 12:24 |  #15

steve75 wrote in post #16201400 (external link)
In the uk they are £39.80 at amazon.... so about $60! US.... would you be as happy to pay $60? As you say, I think with the amount of money we pay on our gear its a small price, but still 60 is a lot for a rocket blower....

That is a bit pricey. Our price, directly from the manufacturer, is shown at about $25 US on their web site. I'm going to buy one.

In addition, I'm letting some of my old friends who still work for my former employer, working on super-fine optical systems (particle size analyzers), know about this because it could be just what they need to save time and get better results when cleaning the analyzers.


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Are compressed air cans OK for sensor cleaning?
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