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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Gretchen Berquam

member since: 3/26/2005
 

Cleaning a Digital Sensor


I've had my Digital Rebel for a little over a year and just recently had to have the sensor cleaned because I had some major spots on it. It has been approximately 2 months and I have spots back in the same place. What gives? I change my lenses very rapidly, so I don't think I'm letting in any dirt or dust. However, I am currently traveling the East Coast and it is quite humid here. Could that be the problem? How do I keep the sensor clean? Is there anything I can use to clean it myself? It is quite pricy (and quite hard to locate a camera store that can clean the sensor) to have somebody else clean it for me.

6/19/2005 1:35:36 PM

 
Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member
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DonnaraePhotography.com

member since: 11/23/2000
  Take it to a Canon rep. There must be a photography store in your area that sells and repairs Canon cameras. They will clean it for you for a minimal cost. Check around and see what they charge there. Another option is to send it to the canon factory in New Jersey, and they'll do it for you for free. I take mine in every few months for a routine cleaning of the CCD.
Don't ever try to touch the CCD yourself. You will most likely damage it and end up with an extremely costly repair job. The CCD is an expensive part.
The Canon factory is in the central part of the state. If you personally bring the camera in with all of your proof of ownership, they'll clean it within minutes for nothing. I'm usually out of there in less than 20 minutes. Good luck, and have fun on your trip.
P.S.:-Don't worry about the humidity. It's not the tropics. Regarding dust, it's a common problem with digital cameras wherever you live. Just care for camera as you normally would and have fun making new images.

6/19/2005 6:33:50 PM

 
Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 11/23/2000
  Oops I Thought that you said you were traveling to the east coast.
Regarding dust, it's a common problem with digital cameras wherever you live.

6/19/2005 6:36:54 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Gretchen.
I use my digital cameras for 90 percent of all my assignments now and have learned the hard way that I need to clean the sensor after every assignment. That means daily sometimes. I use the Eclipse cleaning kit, and it works fine and you can easily learn as well. It is very easy, despite your/my efforts, for dust to get in on the sensor from changing lenses. It really doesn't take much to get in there, and I have spent way to many hours retouching images before delivering them to the client. Get the kit and clean it yourself, then before putting the lens back on the body, set the camera to A (auto) and take one quick exposure of a plain white wall. Download that image to the computer and blow it up to 200 percent so you can inspect. If there is still dust, then you will see dark blobs. I have never found a spot right after cleaning with the kit. Good Luck.

6/19/2005 8:33:29 PM

 
Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member
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DonnaraePhotography.com

member since: 11/23/2000
  Wow, thanks for that info, Charlie. That sounds like a priceless piece of equipment. I wish that I knew about that years ago!! Thank you!

6/20/2005 2:30:25 AM

 
Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Gretchen,
I know this is going to sound like one of those, "My equipment is better than your equipment" type responses, however I own an Olympus E-1 which I use professionally for wedding, portraits, events, etc. -- I have never had a sensor dust issue. The reason being that both the Olympus E-1, and the consumer level Olympus E-300 have an automatic sensor dust removal system that actually works! I've not heard of any cases of owners of these DSLR's having dust on their sensors. In addition, they're great cameras! You might want to consider Olympus for your next camera. This is from a former Canon diehard!

God Bless,
Greg

6/28/2005 6:07:47 AM

 
Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Donna
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DonnaraePhotography.com

member since: 11/23/2000
  C'mon Greg,
Getting a different camera won't solve her issue..It's not easy for some people like myself to go out and buy a new camera just because there are a few dots on an image that can be removed very easily in minuites. That's irrational..

6/28/2005 9:21:42 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Well folks - with thanks to Charlie (Thanks very much Charlie) I decided that I would give cleaning the sensor on my Konica Minolta 7D a try. I have to admit that as a newbie to digital I was a little worried about the process. However, I did as Charlie suggests and purchased the Eclipse kit. Following the fairly simple directions in my manual and the directions that come with the kit, I was able to clean the dirt/dust from my sensor in about 5 minutes. It was much easier than I thought it would be. Now I can make images without those pesky spots! Oh, the kit cost me $50 at my local camera store and includes 12 sensor sticks, an 8oz bottle of eclispe lens and sensor cleaner and 100 sheets of ped-pads for cleaning lenses. Don't pay for someone else to do what you can do yourself.

6/28/2005 9:47:50 AM

 
Joseph Dlhopolsky

member since: 1/28/2005
  If you have dust in exactly the same spots, then consider that it might be your lenses. And I'm not talking about dust only on the front and rear elements. I was quite dismayed to find that both of my new Canon EF lenses have dust on the INSIDE of the lens barrel. I had thought that Canon's production techniques were better than this. Some of the specks are big enough to show up on images. You can tell the difference between dust on/in the lens and on the sensor because the lens dust will be out of focus in the image. Dust on the sensor will be clear. However, if you stop the lens aperature way down, the dust will be clear in the resulting image. Alas, I don't think there's a solution except to clone it out in Photoshop. I think if I brought the lens in to be thoroughly cleaned, it would come back with the dust rearranged. I doubt camera repair centers maintain clear room standards.

6/28/2005 10:52:27 AM

 
Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Donnarae,
In response to your response --
It's not 'irrational' to suggest that Gretchen consider Olympus for her next camera. I realize that right now she owns a Digital Rebel, and is not liklely to unload all her Canon gear in favor of the E-1 or E-300. But your earlier comment that dust is "a common problem with digital cameras wherever you live" does not apply to the two Olympus models I mentioned.

God Bless,
Greg

6/28/2005 1:57:52 PM

 
Gretchen Berquam

member since: 3/26/2005
  Thanks for all the input. We did go to the Canon office in New Jersey and they cleaned it for me while we waited. No original receipt was required - just my canon camera. The advise they did give is to turn off your camera before changing the lens. Hopefully this will help. As for buying an Olympus - the camera I have I intend to grow old with, or another canon, but I don't think anyone could pull me away from Canon, but thanks for the input.

7/31/2005 12:37:32 PM

 

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