No matter how careful you are with your camera there will come a time when you get dust and dirt on the sensor, resulting in dust spots on your photos. You may be fortunate and not be affected too badly, i.e. the dust spots are few and small and you can clone them out using photo editing software, however you may be unlucky and get some really nasty dust issues.
Dust and dust spots is all part and parcel of digital photography, and even if you take all the preventative action possible you will suffer the effects of dust sooner or later and your camera’s sensor will need cleaning. The camera’s sensor is fragile and cleaning it takes a steady and careful hand to make sure it doesn’t get damaged in the process.
When I started suffering issues with dust in my photos, I instantly knew it was a dirty sensor and that I needed to get the problem sorted. My local camera shop has a sensor cleaning service so I thought I would give them a call to see how much I was looking at. When I got the cost of a sensor clean I nearly had a coronary, so I thought I would have a look at the internet to see how big a job it was to clean the sensor myself.
I found loads of photography forum posts dedicated to sensor cleaning and I found loads of Youtube tutorials too. From what I could tell, there seemed to be two distinct camps. One group claimed cleaning a sensor was easy and all you needed was the swab and the lotion, and the other group claimed cleaning a sensor was extremely difficult and only a fool would attempt it.
After reading how to clean a sensor and watching a couple of Youtube tutorials I decided it didn’t look too bad so I thought I would give it a go myself. I researched the tools I needed, which comprised a swab and lotion, and ordered them from Amazon. When I received my sensor cleaning kit I was all good to go and read the instructions once more. I was all good to go when I suddenly started questioning myself and my ability to do the job. If I used too much cleaning fluid I could damage the sensor beyond repair. If I was too heavy handed (and I am inherently heavy handed) I could damage the sensor beyond repair. If the room I cleaned the sensor was too dusty I could put even more dust on the sensor. Here I was going to clean the sensor and risk doing irreversible damage to a camera costing over a grand to try and save myself forty quid, and there were loads of things that could go wrong. What on earth was I thinking?!?
At that point I put down the sensor cleaning kit, put the camera in its case and called my local camera shop to book a sensor clean.
When I took my camera for its sensor clean I asked the bloke at the camera shop how big a job it was and I have to say that I was stunned by the answer. I casually mentioned that I was going to have a go myself and the bloke behind the counter said it was a damn good job I stopped myself, saw sense and booked it in. The bloke who dealt with me said he tried cleaning his own sensor, after seeing how easy it was on a Youtbe video, and ran in to a few problems. The bloke said he didn’t damage is sensor but the cleaning lotion introduced a new marks and even more dust. Hmmmmm………. After hearing this I was ready to take my camera back and walk out the shop when he said that the sensor cleaning team did a great job on his camera and they will do a great job with mine too.
It appears that cleaning a sensor is more difficult than the Youtube tutorials show, and from what the bloke at the local camera shops said it appears many people have a go at doing it themselves. It also seems that many of the people who have a go at cleaning their own sensor, fail miserably and end up taking their camera to a professional to sort the mess out, and there are times when this has ended up costing a lot of money.
When you start to suffer with dust issues by all means have a look at the Youtube footage on sensor cleaning but don’t be fooled in to thinking it’s a quick and easy task, as it is very involved, you could really damage the sensor and you’re more than likely to end up taking it to a professional to get it sorted out anyway.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
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