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Photography Question 
Simon A. Velu
 

Is my camera damaged??


 
 
Hello! I have a Nikon D50. Recently, I've noticed that there is a small black line in the same spot on almost evey picture I've taken regardless of which lens I use. This black mark is located on the middle right hand side of my photos and is very noticable. I though it was dust so I cleaned it over and over but it still remains. I uploaded a picture to give a better idea. Can you please tell me if my camera has a defect or if it's probably someting that is easy to fix
Thanks


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12/30/2007 7:03:38 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Simon - your image did not load; however, have you tried cleaning your sensor? You said that you cleaned "it" over and over, but what is "it"? If you are just cleaning your lenses, then it may be a spot on your sensor. If you have dusted the sensor, but not used cleaning fluid, you might have a "welded" piece of dust on the sensor. Try cleaning your sensor again and see if the spot remains. There are a number of cleaning fluids specfic to sensors - I use Sensor Clean from Visible Dust and it works quite well.

Irene


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12/30/2007 7:13:50 AM

 
Simon A. Velu  
 
  Damage or dust??
Damage or dust??
© Simon A. Velu
Nikon D50 Digital ...
 
 
I cleaned the mirror on the inside and the object that looks like a flash ontop of it...not camera savvy as you can see. I don't want to be charged $400 to repair so I'm hoping it need just a cleaning


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12/30/2007 7:16:29 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Simon,

That's dust on your sensor.


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12/30/2007 7:30:33 AM

 
Simon A. Velu   So how should I clean it??


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12/30/2007 7:34:52 AM

 
Simon A. Velu   So how should I clean it?? Are you sure there is no crack anywhere?


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12/30/2007 7:36:06 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  There are kits out there you can buy if you feel you can do this otherwise you need to take it to a camera shop. I use the a kit from Copper Hill Images.


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12/30/2007 7:37:47 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  You've got a lot of dust on it. A spot on the left side near the edge a third of the way up from the bottom, one at the top near the edge about a third of the way from the right side. And no, I can't be absolutely sure there isn't a crack because I have no way to inspect your gear.


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12/30/2007 7:41:35 AM

 
Simon A. Velu   Thanks, I'll try to use a kit first but if it doesn't work, how much would a camera shop charge for something like that? Thank you again


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12/30/2007 7:41:42 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  I don't know. I've never taken one to the shop to have the sensor cleaned. I must stress you need to be very, very, careful when cleaning the sensor. Read the directions very carefully. Copper Hill, I believe has their directions on how to perform the procedure on their site. Check it out first before you order the kit to see if you feel you can do this.


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12/30/2007 7:46:05 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi Simon,

The streaks or lines seem quite wide. Maybe the sensor is soiled, could be a foreign object like lint (thread) or spider web etc.

Shoot a few pictures using manual mode. If the sensor is soiled, the defect will be more pronounced if the aperture is quite large. Conversely at f/22 (tiny aperture) the blemishes may not be visible.

The foreign objects are not on the mirror. The mirror is only in the optical path when you are viewing and composing. The mirror flips out of the way for the exposure.

Thus you must clean the sensor at the rear of the camera. You will need to lock-up the mirror to gain access to the senor. The sensor (CCD chip) is covered with a protective glass that is also a filter. You need to check your manual as to how to lock-up the mirror.

Most use expensive cleaning kits. Generally these contain special clearing swabs and a solution of alcohol. Most kits contain methanol (wood alcohol). Itís cheaper. You can get this at the drug store as injection grade alcohol. You can use grain alcohol (ethyl). This is available at the liquor store in some states; itís 190 proof. You can use vodka; itís 40 or 50 proof ethyl.

Look on the web for detailed instructions on cleaning.

Best of luck, happy New Year.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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12/30/2007 7:53:28 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Simon Ė as Todd and Alan correctly point out that is dirt on your sensor. Alan makes a good point about the hoopla concerning sensor cleaning. Many people seem to believe that cleaning the sensor requires lots of expertise, expensive supplies and nerves of steel. Personally, the first time I cleaned the sensor on my Canon 5D my heard was in my throat; however, after the first time I have learned just how easy it can be and that anyone can do it with care. I use the system made by Visible Dust because it seems to meet my needs. Knowing his level of expertise and knowledge, I am sure that Alanís suggestion about using ethyl alcohol; however, I am chicken so I have stayed with the sensor fluid. Regardless of what you use (as long as it is approved for sensor cleaning and all the current suggestions meet these criteria) you will get the desired results without too much effort. You can, if you wish, take the camera to a good camera shop and ask for their help. But, you should understand that this is something you might want to learn how to do yourself. Many shops will insist on sending your camera back to Nikon and this can take weeks or longer. Also, if you do any amount of outdoor photography you will be cleaning your sensor fairly often and taking it to the shop can become expensive. Finally, like me, you might not want to be without your camera for days or weeks. One final warning: if after you have used the kit or made your own kit and still have an issue with debris on the sensor, it IS then time to take the camera to the shop! Oh, and one other word: you said something about having cleaned the mirror: that is generally not advised since it is so easy to scratch that surface or worse, jamming the mirror out of place.

Irene


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12/30/2007 9:39:43 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   The best swab you can make yourself. A common Q-tip will work just fine but could leave behind lint or cotton threads. I take an ordinary Q-tip and wrap the swab end with a tiny square of cloth. The cloth is a well-washed T-shirt. Use a rubber band to hold the cloth on the swab. Use a camel hair brush and canned air. Remove the lens, lock-up the mirror. Hold the camera lens side down. Use canned air and blow into the cameraís interior. Holding the camera upside down (lens side down) allows windblown particles and junk to escape as you blow.

After blowing out the camera, check by making an image or two with the lens wide open (smaller f/numbers). Likely the offending foreign object is gone. If the sensor cover remains soiled, you need to clean. Moisten the T-shirt material covering the Q-tip with vodka. Swab the sensor cover, center to edges using a circular motion. Swab again with dry clean T-shirt material. Blow out camera interior.

You will be OK with this.

Happy New Year

Alan Marcus


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12/30/2007 10:02:40 AM

 
Simon A. Velu   Thank you and have a very Happy New Year Alan, Todd and Irene!!! BTW, I fixed the problem


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12/30/2007 3:59:34 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Thatís great, Simon!

Alan Ė I have always read and been told that you should never use canned air on your sensor or anywhere inside the camera. I assume that your idea is that by holding the camera so that the sensor area is pointed downward you will keep the pressurized air from gathering and causing problems, is this correct? BTW: an improvement on the Q-tip is using a medical swab. These are lent free and can be found in any real drugstore (not your local drug-food-everything under the sun type ďdrugstoreĒ). I use them all the time for everything from cleaning dirt on the camera/lens body to cleaning my dogís ears! They do not leave lint/cotton, do not shred, leave any debris and tend not to streak.

Irene


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12/30/2007 4:12:12 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Irene,

Canned air has propellants in it and, if held too close to the surface of glass will, when sprayed, collect on the surface. They ruined a filter of mine before I quit using UV filters. Never use canned air to dust off a lens and I would never even consider the idea of using it to blow off a sensor.


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12/30/2007 6:22:40 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery
  Simon, I'm glad to hear you fixed it. I assume it was a dirty sensor then and not a crack? I have a similar line on my D70 and assumed it was dirt. It's overdue for a cleaning. I use the Coppherhill supplies as well. A crack never even occurred to me.


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12/30/2007 6:58:39 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi All,
I am positive with maybe 98% confidence that canned air is safe to use as it is free of moisture and particles. That being said; anytime you release high pressure air into a cavity you cause existing foreign particles swirl about. Holding the camera upside down lessens but does not eliminate the possibility that existing dust might swirl and land on an undesirable surface. I might add that the possibility is likely the same if you use a camelís hair brush which mainly moves stuff about. One might cause harm if the high pressure air stream is allowed to play on fragile things. As to canned air harming filters or lenses or CCD cover filters, I doubt that the canned air itself is responsible. The propellant used is liquid that reverts to a gas immediately as it exits the nozzle. However, a fast moving high pressure gas stream cools as the gas expands. Maybe under some odd circumstance some moisture condensed. I donít doubt that coincidently a filter was somehow injured. I can only tell you that I would not hesitate to use canned air most anywhere.

Ethyl alcohol is used my opticians as they assemble lenses. Ethyl is the drinkable stuff. It is know as ďspiritsĒ because the alchemist of the Middle Ages observed this chemical evaporated leaving no residue thus it must have entered the spirit worlds. By US law, vodka is Ethyl alcohol diluted with purified water. Itís good stuff for lens and filter cleaning. I make a liter, 50% vodka + 50% distilled water. The cheapest brand is OK both for cleaning and drinking.

Happy New Year All,

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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12/30/2007 8:23:01 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  After Alan posted I decided to do a little more research. I did a Google search for "should I use canned air to clean my camera" and the hits I got were mostly things posted in forums or from photogs blogs. Most of the responders to these questions said "No." So I decided to go to Nikon's site and see what they had to say. Here is an exerpt from their site and the link is a link to page it is located on:

"Remove dirt and dust from the filter with a blower (Image 2). The use of a blower-brush is not recommended as the bristles may damage the filter. Dirt that can not be removed with a blower can only be removed by a Nikon-authorized service center. Under no circumstances should the filter be touched or wiped. If attempting to use an compressed air please take great care to hold the can upright to prevent liquid propellant from falling on the CCD."

http://support.nikontech.com/cgi-bin/nikonusa.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=7348

It may be safe; but, I don't think I'm going to chance it.


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12/31/2007 10:33:21 AM

 
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