Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dirty little sensor!

Lovely house ... shame about the sensor dirt!

I'd been out taking some property shots and on looking through my images in my office kept seeing this VERY unattractive dirty mark on my images.  The camera is set to clean the sensor at power on and power off, but this dirt just wouldn't shift.  It was quite a significant spec too and was becoming increasingly irritating to remove from each image.  I knew there was a few specs on the sensor, but these weren't very obvious at all.  Not this dirt though!

I suppose, like many other folks, I was somewhat anxious about cleaning my sensor.  I was imagining all the things that could go wrong and how I could end up in a bigger mess than when I started.  I also realised that I wasn't going to be able to live with the sensor as it stood and I wouldn't be happy fixing the problem in Photoshop when a clean would resolve the problem.

A chat with Rod at Auckland Camera gave me the confidence to go along, run through the process and buy the necessary bits to enable me to keep my sensor in a clean condition.  The confidence gained by Rod from running through the process many times made the process seem less daunting and I soon had the necessary understanding and confidence to tackle the problem myself.
A dirty sensor ... lots of dirt all over the place!

I've attached a couple of photos for you so you can compare the before and after results of cleaning the sensor.  I knew there was a few spots of dirt, but really, when you look at the first image it's filthy!!  It really was in serious need of a clean.  Oh, the funny shadows you see in the image are just from the lens, it's not a faulty sensor.

You can definitely see the big piece of dirt and this explains the unpleasant smudge you see on the first image in this post.

The cleaned sensor :-)
Once the image was cleaned another image was taken to see if the sensor was clean.  As you can see from the third shot in this post, the black and grey dirty dots have all gone away!  I must admit to feeling stoked!  To be honest it felt like having a new camera again.  Also, the realisation that there'd be a significant reduction in time needed to correct dirty marks on the sensor was really good news.

So, what did I use?  Three things really.  First of all a blower to clean out the camera both with the mirror up and mirror down.  Then I used the "VisibleDust" swabs and sensor cleaning fluid.  It's a straightforward process and can yield, as you can see from the two shots above, some pleasing results.
Equipment used to clean my sensor.

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