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Once again whilst checking some shots from my Canon EOS 300D I noticed obvious sensor dust on the images so I decided it was time to clean the sensor.
My standard procedure is to take a reference shot before cleaning, I do this by manually focusing on infinity, selecting the smallest aperture in aperture priority mode then taking a shot of a blank white screen on my monitor. When I view the image in Photoshop I use Autolevels to highlight any dust contamination.
As I expected I saw lots of contamination, out of curiosity I then decided to use the Canon approved method of cleaning the sensor, using a Hurricane blower. Result ... considerably more contamination visible on the sensor! To be honest I was not too surprised at this as I've had a sneaking feeling that using the Hurricane blower just blows more dust from inside the camera onto the sensor. I then used a Digi-Pad and Eclipse cleaning fluid to clean the sensor, using the method recommended by Digi-Pad of using one Digi-Pad, sweeping across the sensor in one direction then, turning it over to sweep back in the other direction. This removed most of the dust but left a few visible specks so I repeated the process which got rid of most of the remaining specks but left a fibre like speck on the sensor. I then tried the Hurricane blower which removed the fibre but added a lot more visible contamination again!
As I was now deeply into "nerd mode" I thought I'd see if I could check stories I'd also read about that dust gets onto the sensor via the Card and battery compartments. I removed and replaced both the card and battery 10 times with no visible increase in contamination (not a rigorous or exhaustive test I know). Finally I used what is now my standard cleaning procedure using 2 Digi-Pads. One is used to sweep in one direction with a second new pad then used to sweep back in the opposite direction. This left the sensor at its cleanest. I have kept examples of the test shots from each stage but I didn't know if I could insert them into this post.
So my conclusions:
- Avoid using a blower, it potentially can add more dust than it removes!
- Dust appears to be more likely to get in through the lens mount or as a result of air movement when the mirror and shutter actuate than through the card or battery compartments.
- Use 2 Digi-pads to clean the sensor. If you use just one and then turn it over I think the static charge built up the pad and/or the air movement can attract dust back onto the sensor.
I'd be very interested to hear anyone else's thoughts.
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If you clean the chamber as well, I'd expect the blower to be more effective! I always clean both (SensorBrush) - and only needed to a total of 3 times in a year (and I'm forever in some dusty spot, forever changing lenses!)
Think it would take time for dirt to work its slow way through from card/battery access
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