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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 24 Jun 2006 (Saturday) 14:10
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Some personal views on Sensor cleaning.

 
PhotosGuy
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Post edited over 2 years ago by PhotosGuy with reason 'more'. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 24, 2006 14:10 |  #1

I hadn't cleaned my sensor in months & change lenses a lot. I've seldom been troubled by dust spots & wondered if I was missing something.

I tried seeing what was there using Auto-Levels as most people do, went out & shot the blue sky, used Auto-Levels & it was filthy!
(In PS, Image> Adjustments / Levels & click on the Auto button.)

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So I cleaned it again & got rid of the big piece of crud (Film-shooter technical term!) at mid-right. ;)

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Then I wondered ... what will the pic look like if I just brighten it up a bit without Auto-Levels, which can be pretty extreme, & had a revelation! I did use the gray picker to change the blue to gray, raised the black & white points some to get more contrast, & sharpened these a touch (About 100/0.6/0) after resizing. The difference was...

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...not much dust showing at all! I can still see some, but thats at f/29.

Here's one shot at f/11, which is usually as far as I ever stop down.

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Finally, here's an f/11 shot of a house across the street I'm including to show dust at "normal" PS levels. I only found one very cloneable speck at 100% view.

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I'll continue to blow the sensor off if I see a large piece of crud, but I'm just going to ignore the tiny ones.
I'm sure that someone will be willing to "measurebate" this. But for my usual f/11 & below, and for the 12" X 18" prints I usually make, I've never seen any dust on them & that's good enough for me.

Bonus: Depth of Field/Focus is much larger at long distances than it is close up, so if you've been shooting something like flying aircraft at f/22 & open up to f/11, the trade-off is you can gain two stops of ISO or shutter speed without affecting the apparent sharpness of the subject.
Depth-of-field (external link)

What I used: "Rocket Blower"? No. I picked up an ear syringe at the local drug store. Rite-Aid @ $5.99.

Did I use pads or a brush?
No. Just blew it off about 10 times, being careful to avoid touching the sensor.

Hint #1: Turn the cam OFF first before you change lenses! It's always a good habit, especially if you use IS lenses.

EDIT: It's pointed out below that the power to the sensor is turned off when you remove the lens. Still, with an IS lens, Cannon says to turn it off in the book that comes with the lens. They must have a good reason for including that, so I'll get in the habit of doing it every time.
More, from JWright below: "On page E-9 of my manual for the 100-400 under Tips on Using the Image Stabilizer: "The image stabilizer continues to operate after you release the shutter button, as long as the metering timer displays the exposure value. Never remove the lens while the image stabilizer is operating (emphasis mine), or you could damage the lens."

HINT #2:
What did I do then? I put the syringe back in the box, not in the bottom of a filthy camera case. Get the picture? When's the last time you cleaned your case out & vacuumed it? (Me, either!) ;)

HINT #3: Before you put that lens back on the camera, take a look at the rear element. Is it nice & clean too?

HINT #4: You might notice that your images are actually sharper at f/11 than at f/22. That's because smaller f-stops are getting into the realm of diffraction.
[Fstoppers Original] What Is Lens Diffraction And When Does Diffraction Happen? (external link)

So try it for yourselves & see what you can personally live with. There are limits to everything and, outside of checking with a test shot every once in a while, I've found mine regarding sensor cleaning.

; )

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tommykjensen
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Jun 24, 2006 14:19 |  #2

Nice tips.

I have not cleaned my 20D since I bought it and I have not been bothered too much about dust on the sensor. Usually there have just been a few spots if I had photographed a blue skye.

But yesterday when I was out shooting and did some tests with Tv and got apertures around f/8,9,11 etc I noticed on some of the photos with blue that I have a lot of dust on the sensor so it may soon be time to clean it.


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crn3371
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Jun 24, 2006 14:21 |  #3

Good common sense post! I sometimes think we go to extremes in order to try and find flaws that in most cases would never be seen or noticed.




  
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René ­ Damkot
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Jun 25, 2006 16:42 |  #4

PhotosGuy wrote:
That's what a charged sensor does with particles of dust in the air. It likes them!

The sensor that's behind the shutter you mean :rolleyes:

Apart from that, I couldn't agree more... Good post!!


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Jun 25, 2006 23:41 |  #5

I'd been doing OK for dust but then ended up taking photos at a really dusty, windy opening ceremony. I had to change lenses a few times and knew that no matter how careful I was I was pretty much screwed. The photos from that day are covered in black blurs, but a rocket blower (It's only $11) seemed to clear most of it off.

Tommy, the opening ceremony was for the largest wind turbines in the US. Made by Vestas, a company from your neck of the woods. We've had you Environment Minister and Prime Minister come visit, as well as the president of Vestas. I got to say hello to the Environment Minister and chat to a bunch of her entourage. The Prime Minister though was a different matter. The secret service (or whatever they are called in Denmark) asked most of us to leave well before he arrived.


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tim
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Jun 26, 2006 03:53 |  #6

I check my sensor for significant dust specs before every wedding, and clean them as needed. Copperhill has worked well for me.

I'm not sure if the charged sensor thing is true or an urban legend. A CRT and a sensor are very different animals. I never turn my camera off when I change lenses, and I rarely have a significant amount of dust on my sensor. There is of course an AA filter in front of the sensor as well.


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PhotosGuy
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Jun 26, 2006 06:14 |  #7

I never turn my camera off when I change lenses,

It's always a good habit, especially if you use IS lenses. That could be expensive someday. Cannon warns about changing IS lenses while the cam is powered up.


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Jun 26, 2006 06:20 |  #8

I'll keep that in mind, thanks. I wouldn't change an IS lens without letting it spin down at least.


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Jun 26, 2006 07:23 |  #9

without letting it spin down at least

"The less I learn, the more equipment I need to replace? :D


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tim
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Jun 26, 2006 07:33 |  #10

Luckily the only thing i've broken so far is a couple of umbrellas! This gear is tough enough to handle me :p


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Jun 26, 2006 09:49 |  #11

I've only resorted to something other than a bulb blower twice since my first DSLR.

Both times when a sizeable chunk of stubborn "crud" refused to move via the blower.

In both cases the lens pen worked a charm.


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Jun 26, 2006 09:53 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #12

tim wrote:
I check my sensor for significant dust specs before every wedding, and clean them as needed. Copperhill has worked well for me.

I'm not sure if the charged sensor thing is true or an urban legend. A CRT and a sensor are very different animals. I never turn my camera off when I change lenses, and I rarely have a significant amount of dust on my sensor. There is of course an AA filter in front of the sensor as well.

And Canon says the camera itself de-energizes the sensor when there is no lens mounted.


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Jun 26, 2006 10:10 |  #13

And Canon says the camera itself de-energizes the sensor when there is no lens mounted.

OK, don't get into the habit. Cannon will also be happy to charge you for fixing your IS lens when you forget to turn the cam off. ;)

EDIT: Just a thought, maybe the sensor is no longer charged, but maybe the dust in there still is?


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tommykjensen
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Jun 26, 2006 15:40 as a reply to  @ Citizensmith's post |  #14

Citizensmith wrote:
Tommy, the opening ceremony was for the largest wind turbines in the US. Made by Vestas, a company from your neck of the woods. We've had you Environment Minister and Prime Minister come visit, as well as the president of Vestas. I got to say hello to the Environment Minister and chat to a bunch of her entourage. The Prime Minister though was a different matter. The secret service (or whatever they are called in Denmark) asked most of us to leave well before he arrived.

Yep Vestas is big. Great You got to meet our Environment Minister.


Though I wonder why You posted this in this thread ?


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tommykjensen
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Jun 26, 2006 15:41 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #15

PhotosGuy wrote:
It's always a good habit, especially if you use IS lenses. That could be expensive someday. Cannon warns about changing IS lenses while the cam is powered up.

Better make a note of this. I rarely turn of my 20D when changing lens.


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Some personal views on Sensor cleaning.
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