80 — Clean your camera’s sensor — cleaning camera lenses

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #80 talks about how to clean your DSLR camera’s sen­sor. It describes the wet tech­nique and the dry tech­nique and it’s not as scary as it seems. We also talk about how to clean your camera’s mir­ror as well as clean­ing cam­era lenses and gen­eral cam­era care.

Cleaning cameras lenses and camera sensors

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

Orig­i­nal sug­ges­tion thread for this pod­cast from our pho­tog­ra­phy forum
The vis­i­ble dust web­site — Cam­era and cam­era sen­sor clean­ing prod­ucts
The Cop­per­hill Method of sen­sor clean­ing — They sell clean­ing kits and prod­ucts as well
Sen­sorKlear by Lenspen demo on Youtube
Cam­era and cam­era sen­sor clean­ing sup­plies at B&H
Lenspen Sen­sorKlear to clean cam­era sen­sors at B&H
Air blower at B&H
March 2010’s Light and Shadow assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum
Hat tip to pho­tog­ra­pher Dominic Fuiz­zotto for his insight on sen­sor cleaning.

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Thanks to Jimmy Brown,  Wicked­dark, jack label, Fortytwo and Zenon5940 who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

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  1. Fortytwo says:

    Tnx for the pod­cast Marko. Again you’ve man­aged to put together a very com­pri­hen­sive pod­cast. Nice work!

    I’m used to clean­ing my gear myself. But I’m a lucky guy, I’ve got my own lab­o­ra­tory includ­ing some fancy stuff as a clean air hood, fil­tered pres­surised air, vac­u­um­lines, lint free wipes a plenty, latex sur­gi­cal gloves and clean, fil­tered alco­hol. I just want to com­ment that even though you should be really care­full with your sen­sor, it’s not made of sugar. Basi­cally, you’re clean­ing a piece of plas­tic. It doesn’t dam­age that eas­ily. Thank God! So, have a go at the wet stuff, it isn’t that hard to do. :)


  2. MrTim says:

    Hi Marco,

    I’m also a fan of the lenspens, at least for clean­ing lenses. I’ve mostly just used the blower on my sen­sor, although I have the cop­per hill kit and used it once to remove a really stub­born blob. I may pick up a Sen­sorKlear, as the cop­per hill process made me a lit­tle ner­vous — the first time I tried it I got a big smear that was worse than the blob, so I had to do it again. Then it was fine, but my blood pres­sure shot up for a while there!

    For the lenspen and the sen­sorklear: do you ever worry about it get­ting dirty, and then scratch­ing your lens/sensor? That has been my only con­cern with them. I could envi­sion pick­ing up a bit of cruft and then push­ing it around over the opti­cal sur­face (shud­der). I always blow before try­ing any of these other tech­niques, but I’d be inter­ested to hear your thoughts.

    - Tim

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the com­ments again everyone!

      Mr. Tim — I think I men­tioned in the pod­cast that after each pass from left to right with the sen­sorKlear, I take the sen­soK­lear out of the cam­era cham­ber and use my blower (NEVER my fin­gers) to blow off any stray dust off the sen­sorKlear. Then I’ll go back into the cham­ber for another pass.

      Hope that makes sense,


  3. Jason says:

    Marco, just lis­tened to the pod­cast this morn­ing. It was full of won­der­ful, com­mon sense tips, that are so easy to neglect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve swapped lenses out and neglected to put the sec­ond lens cap on.

  4. WickedDark says:

    After 5+ years with Olym­pus and that famous dust removal mech­a­nism, I have never had the need to clean my sen­sor. Good to know that this pod­cast is here though…maybe dur­ing the next five years I’ll need it. : P

  5. admin says:

    My plea­sure guys! Thx for the comments!

    Sean — I agree that the 40 bucks is well spent and I myself paid 40ish dol­lars a cou­ple of times dur­ing the life of my last DSLR to have its sen­sor cleaned by a pro.
    …now I feel totally com­fort­able to do it myself but until you do, don’t stress out just let a pro shop/dealer clean it.

  6. Sean G says:

    Great pod­cast, as always.

    I recently took my cam­era in for a sen­sor clean­ing, and it was well worth the $40. A local shop was rec­om­mended, and they did a great job and cleaned my filthy sen­sor and I was able to pick it up the next day! It’s great to be able to shoot at higher f/stops again with­out all those spots.

    Those lens pens sound like a good deal, I’ll have to pick one up.

    Thanks again for the great resource you pro­vide us.

  7. Richard says:

    Thanks for another great pod­cast, I’ve put in an order this morn­ing for an ‘air blower’, I’ve not got a dust prob­lem yet but I want to be pre­pared for the future, and your pod­cast has inspired me to take some basic pre­cau­tions, like keep­ing the lens back free from dust.

    Keep up the good work!

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