Sensor cleaning is a daunting task, but a necessary one. You can go the expensive route of taking it in to have it done by a professional, ignore it until you no longer can ignore it anymore or figure out how to safely and carefully do it yourself. In any case, sensor cleaning is a must for your DSLR or mirrorless camera, as the sensor will collect dust and will plague your images with unwanted spots.
In addition, anyone migrating to or adding a mirrorless system will be confronted by the reality that every lens change leaves your beloved sensor immediately and perilously exposed to the elements.
Video 1 | Clean Your Sensor by Tony Northrup
Buying a Panasonic GH5, a Fuji X-H1, or a Sony A7 III means that you no longer have a mirror as the first line of defense against an unseen horde of floating particle invaders seeking to ruin your images and strand you in front your computer screen cloning and healing them out.
But fear not, the ever-informative Tony Northrup has some tips and accessories to help you avoid the frustration of a dozens or even hundreds of images ruined by a dirty sensor.
There are of course more conservative approaches to cleaning your sensor.
- Send it to the manufacturer for a fee.
- Built-in sensor cleaning in your camera’s menu.
But, if you want a more thorough and DIY method, take a look at the VSGO Camera cleaning kits. Apply their cleaning solution to their custom sized swabs to gently wipe your sensor of dust, pollen, spit, or whatever else you manage to get in there. The entire process is simple and clearly demonstrated in the less than six-minute video below.
Note: VSGO advises, as Tony notes, that their customers use their product in a more thorough fashion that Mr. Northrup displays in the video below.
Video 2 | Sensor Cleaning by Doug MaKinlay (AdoramaTV)
In the following video from AdoramaTV, photographer Doug McKinlay shows us how to clean your camera’s sensor – or rather the low-pass filter in front of the sensor.
The tools you need:
- Statically charged cleaning brush
- Cleaning fluid
- Cleaning swabs
- A lens cloth
- A small light (headlamp or flashlight)
- A bright white surface or clear blue sky
- A small zoom or 50mm lens, like the Canon 50mm f/1.4 shown in the video
Doug talks about two methods of cleaning your sensor – the dry method and the wet method. (Personally, the wet method is too scary for me to even fathom, but I’m a wimp). Even watching him stick the cleaning brush in the sensor makes me uneasy, but I do admit that this video was helpful to me to see him break it down step by step.
He warns that before you begin cleaning, make sure your camera’s battery is fully charged otherwise you run the risk of the mirror dropping and shutter closing while you’re in the middle of cleaning. The video is full of small common sense tips that I personally never thought of.
There are many methods regarding how to properly clean your sensor, and this is only one way. How do you clean your sensors?