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Do you have dust on your DSLR sensor?

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Johndm, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. Johndm

    Johndm
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    With the increasing number of people here with DSLR cameras, have you all checked your pictures VERY closely for darkish spots, especially on a nice blue sky.. :eek:
    If the answer is no, your best course of action may be to ignore the rest of this post and be happy.
    However, if you have a digital SLR, then sooner or later you will probably feel the urge to clean the sensor, and after trying this little test with your pride and joy, you may well be horrified at all the rubbish on your sensor.. :D

    If you don't know if your sensor is clean and want to check, here is how to do it. Put a lens on your camera, set focus to infinity, set exposure compensation to +1, set the aperture to its smallest value (largest number), at least f22, f32 if you have it. Now hold the camera in front a uniformly illuminated target and take a shot. Look at the image. Do you see dark spots? If so you have dust. At wider apertures the dust specs will be much less visible. At f11 they may be very faint and at f8 or wider apertures they may be undetectable.

    Now comes the problem. If you're the sort of person who looked for dust, you're likely the sort of person who will be troubled by dust and want to remove it, even if you'd never seen it until you actually looked for it. This could get you into a lot of trouble.. :suicide:

    You now have two choices.

    Your first option is that you can send the camera back to Canon or your favorite repair shop. It will probably cost you £50+ and you'll probably be without your camera for 2-3 weeks, but there's a chance it will come back dust free. There's probably a bigger chance it will come back with less dust, but still a few specs. Then what do you do?

    Your second option is that you can try to swab clean it yourself. This would be great if it were not for a chance you could ruin the sensor and end up with a repair bill close to the original cost of the camera. Lots of people have cleaned their sensors themselves without running into this, but you may nor may not be one of them. I am not encouraging you to do this yourself. That's 100% your own decision. If you have doubts about whether you are qualified to do this, my advice is don't. However, a web search for 'sensor cleaning' will yeild much reading material.

    The third option (I know I said there were two, but I just though of this one) is to pretend you never did the test, forget about the dust spots you'd never actually seen until you looked for them, and live happily ever after.

    After the test on my 300D, I noticed one BIG dust bunny, and a couple of baby ones... :eek:

    I traced back through all my pictures from the day I bought the camera, and was able to identify EXACTLY when the sensor got dusty. It was on holiday eariler this year, while I was snapping away in Monument Valley Utah.
    For those who havn't been there, its a 15 mile dirt track around those famous rock formations, and whenever you stop or are passed by another car, clouds of very fine red dust fly up.
    Now, even though I closed the windows as dust rose up, by the end of the drive, the car was covered, and a thin layer was all over the dashboard.
    I changed lenses just once that day, and even though I was eversoooo careful, some dust got into the camera.

    After doing the test and some careful reading, I got a 'Giottos Rocket Blower' from a good camera shop, and a few puffs from that did the business for mine.. :smashin:

    I even got some of my pictures with dust spots accepted onto Airliners net,
    and they are really fussy about dirty sensors, and they normally reject even the faintest ones, but as I said earlier, they can be quite difficult to spot (no pun intended).. :D

    It was only through rejects by them that I even realised I had a problem in the first place.

    So come on chaps, get testing those new DSLR's, who will be the first to exclaim 'oh no......I've got Dust Bunnies'....
     
  2. seany

    seany
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    Only have one lense john at the mo, and i've taken the lense off only once since i've had it. Mine has a self cleaning function that i've never tried, i think the 300 has one to? If so, have you ever tried it and is it any good?

    I'll be trying your method for checking dust spots out ;)
     
  3. Johndm

    Johndm
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    Noo noo noo noo..

    Its not self cleaning at all mate, its just a cleaning mode that flips the mirror open to reveal the sensor/cover for cleaning.

    The menu says 'sensor clean' but its a bit misleading eh?

    READ THE MANUAL before you go anywhere near this one ok.. :lesson:
    One poke of the exposed sensor with a cotton bud or similar will KILL IT STONE DEAD......
     
  4. seany

    seany
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    Ahh, so by self cleaning they mean clean it yourself:laugh:

    I had a really good air blower to, but i gave it away as i never thought i'd end up with an dslr:(

    How much is that lens going to cost you john boy, and how much are those air blowers?
     
  5. Johndm

    Johndm
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    Giottos Rocket here..
    http://www.hiltonphotographic.co.uk/products/details/186.html

    Did you do the test yet? You can do it on a plain whiteish wall, switch flash off, and expect a long exposure under indoor lighting.
    It dosent matter if you move the camera during exposure, in fact if you move in slow circles while the shutter is open, any Dust Bunnies will not be blurred, cos they are on the sensor...

    My 100-400L is £1300 in Jessops, but had a quote from a guy on Ebay for £840 delivered! He takes the import risk, and imports to Scotland before sending out. I know he's genuine, as recently got a 550EX Speedlite flashgun off him for £200.
     

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  6. seany

    seany
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    Oh so you ended up getting a flashgun john:) I was looking at the 580. So how does the shot compare mate to the built in?

    Would be great if you could take two photos of the same subject for me mate to give me an idea of the result:)

    Not done the dust test yet john, let you know if i find anything;)
     
  7. tomson

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    There's an excellent source of information on sensor cleaning here:
    http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/ccd_cleaning
    It goes into detail about removing more stubborn sensor dust and dirt.

    As John mentioned above though - its a very delicate operation and should be done with care.
     
  8. paulc1

    paulc1
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    I wish that I had a sensor to clean,..you guys and your Dslr's,..does the ultra sonic cleaner work on the dslr's with the facility?
     
  9. minimad

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    I've looked and looked and looked, but can't see any dust bunnies at all. :thumbsup:

    That's cracking info - Thanks John!

    Who on eBay for the lens? Is it Hugo So? Interested as I am looking at the same lens.

    I'm also looking at the 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM. Do you know if it's a goodun or not?

    Collin
     
  10. Johndm

    Johndm
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    Would you like me to email you direct a couple of examples?
    PM me your email address if you do ok.. :hiya:
     
  11. Johndm

    Johndm
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    http://www.nutec.co.uk/liam/Equipment/Canon-70-200-L-Review.htm

    The Canon 2.8 70-200 zoom has been rated one of the top lenses Canon has produced. And since the new version with IS (Image Stabilization) has recently been released (Jessops £1449.90) , you might find a standard one a bit cheaper.. :smashin: The Ebay seller is 'kerso' Drop him an email with your requirements and he will give you a price.

    I need the extra reach of the 100-400L for my favorite subject, which as you might well know is Aircraft.. :smoke:
     
  12. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Hello Collin,

    I have the 70-200 f2.8 L IS, and it is an excellent lens ! My favourite.

    Expensive, but if you can afford it buy one.

    Just about every pro photographer using Canon has one.

    Looking at your website, you could probably use the lens at weddings.

    Great for indoors without flash as with the IS I can go down to 1/90s and less at 200mm hand held and still get razor sharp results. You could get some great candid shots inside the church during the wedding.

    Great for portraits also.

    A very heavy lens !!

    If you buy one you will want more 'L' lenses though :D

    Back on thread topic:

    Remember to use a fully charged battery before cleaning the LCD, if the battery goes flat during cleaning, the shutter will close while you are poking around with that blower bulb or sensor swab :eek:


    Mark.
     
  13. Johndm

    Johndm
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    Nobody checked those mucky sensors yet then.......go on, its scary.. :laugh:
     

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