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lens and sensor cleaning

I take good care of my stuff but every now and then I need to clean my lenses and sometimes the sensor. I am shooting a wedding tomorrow and I discovered some nasty spots on my recent images. The only become visible when working quite a bit on the image so they are not dramatic. However I decided to do something about them. You can see in the below image the round spots. They can either come dust or oil on the lens or from the sensor. I usually start crying when its because of the sensor…
 
 
Here is a crop of the upper right edge, where most of the spots are destroying the image.

First check the lens

The first thing I do is checking the lens and its filter. I am using a lenspen for many years and it does its job quite well. Cleaning the filter is easy but be careful when cleaning the glass of the lens. I usually use the brush to move away all the dust and then the soft part to clean the lens from finger prints or other pollution.

Check the sensor

This is the scary part. I hate touching the sensor and try to avoid this as much as possible as it is very delicate. The first thing I try is to use the clean image sensor camera option as this sometimes does the trick already – it vibrates the sensor and dust hopefully will fall of by its own. After trying that I took a shot towards the sky and checked the image again. You still can see spots on the image – so we need to touch the sensor. OH NO.

As cleaning the sensor is my only option now, the first thing I do is replace the battery with a fully loaded one. The reason why I do this is, that the camera wont allow me to lock up the mirror in case the battery is not fully charged. Once the mirror is locked up, I first check for dust on the sensor – but since we tried the sensor clean option already, we likely wont find anything. Therefore I need to make use of the sensor swab and fluid. It is a terrible feeling every time I touch the sensor with the swab but usually it does the job. You can find tons of videos online on how to best do it.

Test if the cleaning was successful

Once cleaned the sensor, its always a good idea to test whether you were successful or not. I usually shoot a few images towards the sky and play around with the files a bit to see if still spots are visible. As you can see below, most of the spots (if not all) have disappeared – and most important, the sensor still is alive 😉

Let me know your thoughts

I hope this article was helpful for you. If there is anything you are looking for, please let me know and I try to find examples to discuss.

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