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Photography Question 
Steven W. Lepak
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2006
 

Canon 20D Sensor Cleaning


My Canon 20D is about 1.5 yrs old and is in need of a cleaning. It is a bit curious to me that the camera can pick up significant dust when I have never had my sole lens (the "kit lens") off the body since the day it came.

I would prefer to learn how to get this done myself. I have checked out the various postings and associated links at this forum and on the web and I must say that my head is spinning. While there is a lot of great information out there, I have not come across any concise information on recommended materials and methods that I can place my confidence in. I find it a bit troubling that the Canon people say not to touch the sensor with anything, yet there are all of these commercial swabs and brushes out there for the purpose.

HELP. I would appreciate some no-nonsense guidance.

Thanks and Best Regards,
Steven


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1/25/2007 10:24:56 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Steven – there are many people on this forum who know a great deal more about this issue; however, since no one has answered yet, I’ll share what works for me. I own a Canon 5D, but, I cannot see that make of camera would matter much. My favorite tool for cleaning my sensor is the Artic Butterfly brush manufactured by Visible Dust. http://www.visibledust.com/products.php I find it very easy to use and often all that I need to do in order to clean my sensor. I do switch lenses frequently and also work in some pretty nasty (to the sensor) conditions so I end up cleaning my sensor frequently. When I need something more, I like the Eclipse fluid which is made by Photographic Solutions. I also love their Pec Pads for cleaning lenses using the same fluid. You can buy both at a good camera shop – unfortunately, you cannot (at least to the best of my knowledge) buy the fluid through the Internet/Mail because of shipping regulations (it’s a hazardous material). Photographic Solutions also make sensor wipes that can be used to clean your sensor. I used them for a long time, but now prefer the Butterfly. http://www.photosol.com/

BTW: NEVER EVER use canned air on your sensor! Also, do not be intimidated by this process. I have been cleaning my sensors all along and have yet to have an problem. I do, sometimes, have the sensor cleaned at my favorite camera shop when it gets really nasty. I hope that this helps.

Irene


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1/25/2007 12:39:21 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Steven – somewhere in the middle of what I was doing, I realized that my answer is really confusing and that I left out some important info, So, here is both a clarification and some steps for cleaning your sensor:

1. Have everything laid out in front of you BEFORE you open the sensor
2. Make sure that you are working in a clean environment – no pets around, no dust that you can avoid and no moisture that you can avoid
3. Open the sensor
4. Using a bulb blower (similar to what is used to clean a babies ears) carefully blow the sensor clean of dust – hold the camera at a down angle so that the blow particles blow out of the camera
5. If you use the Butterfly – again holding the camera at a down angle – turn the butterfly on and softly run it over the sensor following the directions that will come with your tool
6. Shut off the camera and this will close the sensor cover
7. View the sensor through the view finder – WITHOUT a lens on so that you see the sensor and not dirt on a lens
8. If there is still dirt on your sensor you can use the Eclipse fluid on the properly sized swab – Photographic Solutions sells swabs sized to the individual camera, you can see what size you need by checking their website, or ask at your camera shop. Make sure that you read, understand and follow the directions that come with the swabs
9. If, after doing all of this you still have dirt, you may need to seek help from a camera shop that knows your camera.

I hope this makes it a little clearer.

Irene


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1/26/2007 7:49:29 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  The only thing I would add to what Irene has mentioned is the Copper Hill Images kits. A much less expensive alternative to Sensor Dust. The site gives you detailed instructions on how to use as well.

Copper Hill Images


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1/26/2007 8:20:36 AM

 
Steven W. Lepak
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2006
  Thanks so much Irene & Sharon. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to guide me along. You have boosted my comfort level with this task a great deal.

Best Regards,

Steve


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1/26/2007 9:55:02 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You can't view the sensor through the view finder.


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1/26/2007 11:28:52 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Gregory is right. I didn't read it all carefully enough to notice that and I might not have noticed it even if I had taken the time to read carefully LOL.

Take a shot of a white sheet of paper or blue sky afterwards at f/22 and if there's dust you'll see it.


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1/26/2007 11:35:33 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Oops...didn't catch that! Gregory and Sharon are of-course, correct. I am not sure what I originally meant; however, the technique of taking a shot of white paper after cleaning the sensor is very helpful and one that I have done. Sorry about the bad info before - I think my brain is a little fried these days -lol


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1/26/2007 12:09:24 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  That's okay, just playin' wit ya.


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1/26/2007 9:14:05 PM

 
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