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Sensor dust on Sony A7 and A7ii


Angi_Wallace Plus
11 247 10 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2019 9:53AM
This last year or so Ive been having a nightmare with dust on my sensor firstly with my Sony A7 which was bought new and more recently a A7ii which was bought second hand.
The first year or so with my A7 wasnt so bad but the second year the dust was becoming a real problem. I do all things things we are supposed to do on changing lenses, ie switching camera off, keeping it pointed down, trying to avoid doing this outdoors or in a draughty environment, keeping camera and lens clean and free of dust on the outside as well.

This dust can appear literally between shots, and when the lens hasnt even been changed - following professional cleaning at a camera shop. ( Even he said they are a nightmare to get totally free of dust- he can clean it and by the time the lens is on it has dust again).

I use mostly the same lens almost all the time so dont change lenses often, and now only change indoors in case of a breeze. I keep my lenses clean and blow with a rocket blower prior to changing lenses. I do everything we are supposed to do on changing lenses, pointing down, keep camera switched off, avoid a dusty atmosphere, change over quickly - I dont even breath when giving the sensor a bow or dry wipe!

The dust spots are definately on sensor not lens, and most of the time can not be seen by eye.

Im sure most people would never notice them, but I do because I work in macro all the time and shoot mostly at F18 with a clean background. Thing is that I enter a lot of competitions and I like to get everything right in camera - one of the competitions is only straight out of camera and they do not allow removal of dustspots, so I need to get my sensors spotless.
I have noticed the blowing it with the giotto rocket blower makes it worse every single time ( yet the same blower works on my partners 3 cameras ( Nikon and one is mirrorless). A dry swab does help but I cant even get less than 20 dust spots. Note they move around all the time - so not stubborn dust stuck to the sensor.

I know Im not the only person experiencing this, I have a few friends with the same issue - but they dont shoot macro with clean backgrounds so its not as noticeable for them. I know I can shoot at a wider aperture say F8 and they are a lot less visible - but I need to shoot at F18 for my speciality.

I love my Sony mirrorless, but if I cant resolve this soon Im going to have to change and sell all my equipment.

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1 Dec 2019 1:28PM
It sounds to me to be more a problem with static build up, I'm not too familiar with the A7 but might be worth seeing if there is a way to demagnetize the sensor?
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
1 Dec 2019 7:00PM
If you change lenses frequently Nikon Z is much more dust prone than a DSLR.

It seems Sony are similar.

Canon R should be better as the lens throat is internally covered when a lens is removed.
JJGEE 14 7.6k 18 England
1 Dec 2019 8:06PM

Quote:but if I cant resolve this soon Im going to have to change and sell all my equipment.


but would you not have the same issue with any camera ?
Tianshi_angie 4 2.7k England
1 Dec 2019 9:27PM
Does the inbuilt 'cleaning mode' not clear it? I have found this works for me - but I don't have the confines of set-up that you do.
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
1 Dec 2019 10:58PM

Quote:Does the inbuilt 'cleaning mode' not clear it? I have found this works for me - but I don't have the confines of set-up that you do.

Image clean is not as good as I would like on Nikon Z.
Small drops of water in damp weather, or just breathing when changing lenses, can put tiny drop marks on a sensor - on which dust removal has no effect.
With ML a wet clean maybe as often as once a month may be needed.
Some of the medium priced swabs of the type which WEX and Speed Graphic sell cost about £1 each - a good enough endorsement for me. Visible dust work out at about £3 each. There are some very cheap ones on Ebay.
Wet cleaning ML is much easier than for a DSLR - because the sensor surface is very close to the body bayonet.
Angi_Wallace Plus
11 247 10 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2019 11:04PM

Quote:
Quote:but if I cant resolve this soon Im going to have to change and sell all my equipment.


but would you not have the same issue with any camera ?


I never had this issue with any of my Canon dslrs
Angi_Wallace Plus
11 247 10 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2019 11:05PM

Quote:Does the inbuilt 'cleaning mode' not clear it? I have found this works for me - but I don't have the confines of set-up that you do.

It doesn’t help at all
Chris_L 5 5.3k United Kingdom
2 Dec 2019 3:33AM
I put those double-sided sticky pads inside lens rear caps and body caps, they catch a lot of dust that would end up elsewhere. Have you got a loupe Angi? Essential all dust can be seen for cleaning and blowing accurately
JJGEE 14 7.6k 18 England
2 Dec 2019 7:42AM
I agree with Chris_L a loupe is an useful " gadget " too have but you need one with lights ( torch )
I have one from a company called, Visible Dust and also use their swabs & cleaning fluid.

Maybe, if it is not too late, you could drop an hint to Santa Wink
Angi_Wallace Plus
11 247 10 United Kingdom
2 Dec 2019 10:27PM

Quote:I put those double-sided sticky pads inside lens rear caps and body caps, they catch a lot of dust that would end up elsewhere. Have you got a loupe Angi? Essential all dust can be seen for cleaning and blowing accurately


A friend brought his loupe round last week along with his arctic butterfly.He thought the sensor was spotless after one sweep but on looking at the raw image and using the visible spots tool in camera RAW it was actually worse - the spots were not visible through the loupe. My friend has cleaned cameras for years and he was astounded by what showed up and how nothing worked.
Chris_L 5 5.3k United Kingdom
3 Dec 2019 2:18AM
The visible spots tool in Camera Raw isn't foolproof and can be triggered by dust in the air, landscape features, dirt on a backdrop, lens dust.

If you can't see dust through the loupe then you need a better loupe. If you see dust on an image and look at what seems to be the corresponding part of the sensor you won't see it there as the sensor image is inverted and you have to take that into consideration.

Don't give up, sure you can find them.
Angi_Wallace Plus
11 247 10 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2019 3:59AM

Quote:The visible spots tool in Camera Raw isn't foolproof and can be triggered by dust in the air, landscape features, dirt on a backdrop, lens dust.

If you can't see dust through the loupe then you need a better loupe. If you see dust on an image and look at what seems to be the corresponding part of the sensor you won't see it there as the sensor image is inverted and you have to take that into consideration.

Don't give up, sure you can find them.


Thanks, Ive ensured the dust isnt on a lens by swapping lenses, and also tried different backdrops ( my backdrops are deliberately out of focus photographs printed for placing behind my close up subjects). I am solely photographing close up studio images at present. Regardless of getting a better loupe which I agree could be necessary, nothing used is working.
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
3 Dec 2019 9:07AM
One way to check for sensor dust is to first photograph thick white paper at the smallest aperture on the lens. The histogram for the white paper should be well to the right - which may require overexposure.

If you have Lightroom move the clarity slider fully to the right - or other software equivalent.

Zooming in on your computer monitor will show dust, droplets and (on mirrorless) sometimes a circle lighter in the centre. Lighter in the centre marks can be dust on the back of a lens.
ML is more prone to showing rear element dust as the rear element can be much closer to the sensor than on a DSLR.

The image on the sensor is a reversed mirror image, corrected by in camera to appear the right way round in the viewfinder or on the rear monitor. Where marks show on a computer monitor they are in a different place on the sensor.

A possible beginners mistake - make sure your computer monitor is clean before you start - no amount of sensor cleaning can eliminate marks on the computer monitor Grin
Tianshi_angie 4 2.7k England
3 Dec 2019 9:35AM
I am ignoring the worry that I am going to make a complete ass of myself but - are you sure that what you are seeing is dust and not noise? I have always used Sony cameras and have found them to be rather prone to noise. It might be worth trying a really good noise reduction programme to see if this works. Personally I use Topaz DeNoise but I am sure there are others. In fact if you popped an image on here I think there will be some folk who could give you much better advice when an image has been examined.Tongue


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