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Photography Question 
Pamela H. Shumate
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/10/2005
 

Spot On Pictures


I have noticed a spot on my pictures recently. It appears either as a black spot or a blurred spot. I have swapped lenses and it is still there. Any suggestions? Thanks!


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9/30/2008 10:08:47 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi Pamela,

Looking at your gallery, I see you own a Canon EOS. I presume it is a 20D. Anyway, this and other digital SLR models feature interchangeable lenses. Likely, you have another lens that you sometimes mount, or if not, likely you have removed your lens because you are inquisitive (thatís good).
In the process of lens removal, we run the risk of dust and the like getting into the interior of our camera. This can also happen even if we never dismount the lens. Exposing the interior runs the risk that dust will settle on the surface of the digital imaging chip at the rear of the camera. This chip has a protective cover glass, likely it is speckled with a dust flake or two or three. You can have the chipís surface cleaned or you can do it yourself.
Read the camera manual looking of chip cleaning. You will need some supplies if you attempt this yourself. It sounds daunting but it's actually not that difficult. First get, at a camera shop, a blower, and try and clear the dust off. Likely a friendly clerk at the camera store will help, but if not, search this Web site for tips on how to do it.
Best of luck.


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9/30/2008 11:34:28 AM

 
Pamela H. Shumate
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/10/2005
  Thanks for the advice. This was the assumption I had, just wanted a little verification. I'm actually making a trip to the camera store today. Thanks again!


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9/30/2008 11:41:27 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
cammphoto.com
  Dust on the sensor is a recurrent problem but is easily remedied as Alan described. A simple software program (like Paint) can easily zapp out those pesky specks your cleaning might have missed.
Note: Never use compressed air canisters to clean your sensor. Use a blower-bulb (...without the brush).


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10/2/2008 8:38:50 AM

 
Bruce A. Dart   HI Pamela,
Most camera stores would advise you properly to NEVER use a can of compressed air to clean your sensor, although it might sound like an easy solution. The angle to use it is never right and it would leave a film on the sensor and damage it. The hand squeeze bulb works very well in most cases -- putting your shutter on "bulb" and holding it so where the lens attaches faces down. The theory is to loosen any dust and let it "fall" out. I'm convinced Shakespeare must have been a photographer with the famous line from Hamlet "Out, out damned spot!!" LOL.
Good luck.
Bruce


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10/7/2008 5:03:10 AM

 
Pamela H. Shumate
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/10/2005
  When I went to the camera store they said I would have to get it professionally cleaned. That would be $65 & two weeks without my camera. I'm going to check the manual first, to see if I can do it myself and get a blower brush. I can't give up my camera for two weeks. Also, I have been fixing the spot in photoshop,but when you have 100 or so pictures to fix it gets a little annoying. Again, thanks for all the info.


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10/8/2008 5:41:34 AM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Pamela,
Sending the camera out is ONE option. A blower bulb is around $10 (plus or minus) and is a necessary part of your gear. I keep one in my camera bag at all times. The "rocket bulb" or whatever the particular company dubs it, works well in most situations and is certainly worth the small investment to try BEFORE sending the camera out. Most pros have a second camera, largely because of that (if you have to send one out you aren't totally dead in the water in the meantime.) Sometimes that takes a little bit before you can afford the second body but it's worth it on the long run. Nikon just had one of my D200 bodies for a month and that was the "speedy" service! Another important note that has yet to be mentioned and sometimes we take it for granted...every time you change lenses, you MUST turn off the camera. The sensor is a CCD, a charged couping device. As such, if your camera is on, it ATTRACTS DUST like a magnet!!
Good luck.
Bruce


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10/8/2008 6:02:16 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
cammphoto.com
  Thanks Bruce, for that great tip about turning off the camera when changing lenses.
I for one, change lenses quite often and have never paid attention to whether my camera was on or off (...until now).

Another tip I've heard rocommended is to get a spare body-cap and drill a hole in the center the same diameter as the plastic nozzle on your blower bulb. This will (supposedly) direct the full blast of air onto the center or the sensor and scatter the dust toward the edges.


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10/8/2008 11:00:14 AM

 
Pamela H. Shumate
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/10/2005
  I'm pretty good about making sure my camera is turned off when changing my lenses. Alot of my pictures are taking outside, so I tend to change lenses out doors & I'm not so good about keeping it pointed down when doing this. Are there anymore suggestions about what kind of cleaning supplies I should keep handy. Thanks again.


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10/8/2008 11:24:18 AM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Pam,
As much as it sounds like a good idea, when you are "working in the field" you don't always have time to make sure the camera is pointed down when you change lenses. The second camera body with a different lens really helps here so that perhaps you don't have to change at all. It is more important to get the shot and know you have a blower bulb that can loosen the small dust. Only in extreme situations will dust lodge on your sensor and a hand blower won't be able to clear it off. THEN you can send it in. Until then, clean your sensor with the blower and go back to happy shooting. There are, on the market, a wet swab designed to clean sensors but I have not been brave enough to try that. If you ruin the sensor in the process it's about $1,000 to replace it. I for one don't want to chance it!! I'll stick to the squeeze bulb.
Bruce


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10/8/2008 12:29:22 PM

 
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