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cleaning digital sensors

Duke73

Langley, CA
19 posts

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Duke73 Registered since 18th Nov 2006
Sat 21-Jul-12 06:24 AM

Hi there

I have a D700 and D300s and have, I suspect, typical issues with dust on the sensor. I've tried cleaning then myself with a blower brush and with swabs designed for this purpose. It seems I just rearrange the dust without removing it all. So far, my only effective solution has been to take it to a service centre and pay $50 to have it properly cleaned.

Would sure like to hear from others who have more cost effective solutions to this problem.

Thanks in advance,

Dennis

www.doubleexposure.ca

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SheriB

Southern York Co, US
1973 posts

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#1. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

SheriB Gold Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010
Sat 21-Jul-12 02:13 PM

I do not think there is any other solution.
I have both of those cameras.My 300s came with a dust(?) spot that I put up with for a year before I took it and my new/used D700 that was FILTHY, to be cleaned at the shop where I bought the D300s. They both came back worse than when I took them in. I had the 700 in 2X. I finally broke down and got the Eclipse solution and cleaning swabs ( two sizes, one for each sensor) It took me a lot of swabs and a lot of solution to get them clean the first time as a lot of that stuff seemed to be stuck like glue.And it took some practice.

Sheri Becker

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JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7074 posts

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#2. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Sat 21-Jul-12 02:38 PM

Doing a wet cleaning yourself takes time and patience. With practice you get better and quicker at it. I find that mounting the camera on a tripod helps so that I can use both hands.

Good products and tutorials can be found here:
http://www.copperhillimages.com/

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

KenLPhotos

Stewartstown, US
1910 posts

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#3. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 1

KenLPhotos Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Jul 2009
Sat 21-Jul-12 04:45 PM | edited Sat 21-Jul-12 07:12 PM by KenLPhotos

I had the same problem as Sheri - and probably at the same place. My D700 came back dirtier than before cleaning. I complained and sent pics of the dust spots to no avail. So, I will never go back there and I also bought the Eclipse kit.

KenL

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There are many 'photographs of beautiful objects' but not so many 'beautiful photographs of objects'.

grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#4. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Sat 21-Jul-12 06:33 PM | edited Sat 21-Jul-12 06:37 PM by grizzly200

Dennis,
It took me 10 repetitions with the Copper Hill kit to get my sensor clean. The main reason, I think, was that I was not getting enough of the cleaning fluid to the end of the swab on both cleaning sides. I ended up using 4 drops total. I put 2 on right near the end on one side, then 2 on the reverse. Then, it is important to wait a few seconds before swabbing. Also, I had to swab horizontally, then vertically, alternately. So I ended up swabbing 5 times horizontally, and 5 vertically, following the Copper Hill instructions exactly.

It is important not to use the dirty part of the swab more than once, so angle the swab as it says in the instructions. Here is a link to the tutorial page--it may help you:

http://www.copperhillimages.com/index.php?pr=Tutorials

James

expat

Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
532 posts

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#5. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 4

expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010
Sat 21-Jul-12 08:57 PM | edited Mon 23-Jul-12 05:56 AM by expat

I have all the same problems with my D700. D200 not so bad. I believe some sort of oil is thrown around the 700.
A recent big aid has been the (expensive) purchase of a delkin sensor scope which fits over the camera and allows you to properly see where the deposits are. Otherwise I found I had to make multiple attempts with swabs and eclipse. Very very disapointed with the D700 never expected anything like this, it only lasts a few shots before there are blobs on my images as viewed using NX2 View - Auto levels and zooming with Birds Eye while looking at for example a blue sky.

Should have added that most spots can be removed by Capture NX2 provided I remember to do a search fo hem on each image the auto retouch brush can zap them

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SheriB

Southern York Co, US
1973 posts

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#6. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 3

SheriB Gold Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010
Sun 22-Jul-12 08:43 AM

LOL Well I will probably go back for SOME things.I like to support my local shop.I made sure they knew about it.I think I asked if they even CHECK teh camera after cleaning and emailed images. They didn't charge me for the 300s because I bought it there and they didn't charge me 2X for the 700. I sure wouldn't be recommending anyone take a camera there to be cleaned! Kind of like not buying meat from a WalMart grocery store..there are certain stores you go to for certain things..and certain stores where you avoid things. I will say, if there was another local shop ( Hanover used to have one years ago) nearer than Lancaster I would probably give them a try.

Sheri Becker

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reijo

CA
28 posts

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#7. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

reijo Registered since 14th Apr 2012
Sun 22-Jul-12 10:33 AM

I have a good shop and take my cameras in about 2-3 times a year depending on how much I am shooting.
I can clean my D300 but have some trouble with the full frame cameras.
One thing I do is to mount a lens on each camera and try to avoid changing them too often.
Usually I put up with the spots until I get thoroughly pissed. My shop charges around $40 per sensor.
I did twice go to a dealer who did a really thorough cleaning for $140. The cameras came back dirtier than I brought them in. I don't go there anymore.

Duke73

Langley, CA
19 posts

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#8. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 7

Duke73 Registered since 18th Nov 2006
Mon 23-Jul-12 03:24 AM

Thanks to everyone for your helpful replies. I'll be checking into Copper Hill.

Dennis

www.doubleexposure.ca

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hujiie

US
582 posts

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#9. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

hujiie Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2009
Mon 23-Jul-12 04:21 PM

It is a little pricy but I highly recommend "Visible Dust Sensor Loupe 7X". You can clearly see what you are doing with this.

For me this is one of must used gears.

www.hitoshiujiie.com/photography.html

rps1244

Orrtanna, US
146 posts

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#10. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

rps1244 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Aug 2002
Fri 27-Jul-12 04:19 PM

I also use an Arttic Butterfly and consider it a must have.

Bob

franco1

Athelstone, AU
72 posts

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#11. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 10

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Tue 31-Jul-12 12:18 PM

Hi Everyone,
I felt compelled to vent my frustrations in this forum in view of the fact that just today I took my recently purchased (off eBay D700) to my local (Adelaide, Australia) Nikon Service centre to get the sensor cleaned out of shear desperation. It cost me $110 cash - no cards accepted, which I thought was a little bit sus!! But I have to admit, it came back as new.

But the reason I relented was that I tried to clean this one pesky spot off my sensor myself - and that's where the fun began. I started with this pathetic blower brush I've had for years that has bristles incorporated into the nozzle. After a few attempts at just trying to blow the spot off, I decided in my wisdom to "brush" the spot away. After reviewing the image following that first attempt it became a "WTF have I done" moment. I thought I had destroyed the sensor on my newly acquired D700....and what was I going to tell my wife as to the reason I stopped using my camera.

I started researching the internet and compiled a whole heap of information about sensor cleaning to work out how I'm going to get this thing clean again.

Headed to Adorama on the internet and spent $243 on the Arctic Butterfly Pro kit with all the various brushes, a Giotto Rocket Airblaster and the Eclipse Sensor Swabs (couldn't buy the methanol liquid over the internet, nor did any photographic store in Adelaide carry either the Eclipse product or any methanol based liquid for sensor cleaning, so I resorted to getting it from a chemical supplier through a colleague). After a week my kit arrived and I went through the steps outlined by Thom Hogan in his article on "Cleaning your sensor". Seemed simple enough. Started with the blower - no luck. Used the Arctic Butterfly Brush - a complete disaster, dust and smear everywhere. Lord only knows what happened. Finally resorted to the Wet Swab - after reviewing the image I nearly passed out. I could not believe what I just did. The image was completely covered in spots and grime!!!! for a moment there all I could think of was how much would a new sensor cost me and how was I going to hide that little expense.

Hence my decision to get the sensor cleaned professionally. My conclusion, and some of you already alluded to this, you need a lot of patience and time to clean your sensor and just having the right gear isn't going to help you any if you aren't prepared to spend that time. I guess I'm getting inpatient in my old age and prefer to be out there taking photo's so for me, I'd rather spend the money and get a professional to do what probably many do successfully. Considering what I spent on the gear I bought (and the stress I suffered), for me $110 is a bargain for a professional clean.

Cheers
Elio

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mcpianoca

Sherbrooke, CA
36 posts

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#12. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 2

mcpianoca Registered since 05th Jan 2011
Tue 31-Jul-12 07:56 PM

>Doing a wet cleaning yourself takes time and patience. With
>practice you get better and quicker at it. I find that
>mounting the camera on a tripod helps so that I can use both
>hands.
>
>Good products and tutorials can be found here:
>http://www.copperhillimages.com/


Thanks a million Joseph. The tripod use for sensor cleaning was my missing link I think. It will make things a lot easier.

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grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#13. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 11

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Wed 01-Aug-12 02:52 AM

Elio,
It is kind of a stressful experience. Now that I've done it successfully, I think I could replicate the process, but really, I'm not looking forward to it. I keep the 35/2 "O" on most of the time anyway, so it'll probably stay pretty clean.

I can completely understand your paying to have it done professionally.

James

reijo

CA
28 posts

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#14. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 11

reijo Registered since 14th Apr 2012
Wed 01-Aug-12 07:22 AM

I have heard when using the swipes on a sensor, that you should only use it once then throw it away. That seems expensive. I would like to hesr from those who are experienced about this.

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7074 posts

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#15. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 14

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Wed 01-Aug-12 01:38 PM

>I have heard when using the swipes on a sensor, that you
>should only use it once then throw it away. That seems
>expensive. I would like to hesr from those who are experienced
>about this.

After you get the pad dirty on the first pass, you do not want to drag the dirt back across the filter.

Normally this would not be something you do often enough to be costly.


---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#16. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 14

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Wed 01-Aug-12 05:17 PM

L to R on one side-edge of the quik-strip on the sensor's top half, then the opposite way on the other side-edge of the strip on the bottom half. Or you can go N to S, S to N.

True, a contaminated part of the strip does not touch the sensor more than once.

Not too expensive--I think a refill pack of 100 swipes is around $10 US.

I figure if I can get the sensor clean for around $5 a pop, that's a lot cheaper than having it professionally done. Also, I'm not spending money on film and developing any more!

James

reijo

CA
28 posts

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#17. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 16

reijo Registered since 14th Apr 2012
Wed 01-Aug-12 05:53 PM

What swipes can you get that cheaply? Does the brand name make any difference?
Mike

grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#18. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 17

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Thu 02-Aug-12 01:46 AM

Mike,
In an earlier post in this thread I posted a link to CopperHill Images--I got the basic kit which worked well for me along with a Rocket Blower as I said earlier.


Looks like the $9.95 refills are for the pec pads, which are the same material as the sensor strip. They can be trimmed to fit the sensor swipe that comes with the kit. $9.95 for 100 pads.

James

franco1

Athelstone, AU
72 posts

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#19. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 18

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Thu 02-Aug-12 05:22 AM | edited Thu 02-Aug-12 05:23 AM by franco1

James
I had a look at this site, and like Thom Hogan's explanation and the Professional Solutions YouTube video, it appears very simple to use the wet method, but I would like to see a photo before and after the cleaning. How clean is the sensor really after one has gone through this process.

I know having one shot at it doesn't make me an expert but I guess I've become a little sceptical now that I've actually tried this myself.

Also, with respect to the price of the swabs, these are a bargain compared to the Photographic Solutions swabs (I paid US32 for 12 plus shipping to Australia).

Cheers
Elio

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ctadin

St Louis, US
1360 posts

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#20. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 9

ctadin Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2008
Thu 02-Aug-12 10:29 AM

I would also recommend the Visible Dust Sensor Loupe. I also use their swabs and liquid.

Cheryl

grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#21. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 19

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Thu 02-Aug-12 05:45 PM | edited Thu 02-Aug-12 06:02 PM by grizzly200

Elio,
I have posted two shots in my gallery album--"Before" and "After."

Same camera--D300, same lens--35mm f2, set at f16, same subject--sky, and set at closest focus setting.

I think you will see the difference.

Took me a few tries to get it right, buy by following the Copper Hill instructions, I did.

James

franco1

Athelstone, AU
72 posts

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#22. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 21

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Mon 06-Aug-12 05:58 AM

James,
That's impressive! When you say it took you a few goes, how many? Also, can I assume you used the Eclipse solution?

Cheers
Elio

Cheers
Elio

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grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#23. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 22

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Mon 06-Aug-12 06:49 AM

Elio,
Ten. It took 2 or 3 just to get the sensor swipe right. Then a couple more to get the right amount of Eclipse fluid on correctly. Once I got that all figured out and I relaxed, it actually took about five turns. I followed the instructions in the Copper Hill tutorial exactly, but I learned to use 2 drops of fluid on each edge of the end of the swipe, and let the fluid soak into the paper for 5-10 seconds before swabbing. I alternated horizontal and vertical turns.

I'm sure that my next cleaning will not take nearly as long.

I may also get a sensor brush, which I don't yet have. But the Rocket Blower is an important part of the process, too. I used before starting the cleaning attempts, and between each attempt.

James

franco1

Athelstone, AU
72 posts

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#24. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 23

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Tue 07-Aug-12 01:10 AM

James,
Thanks again for that. I'm arriving to the conclusion that patience is an absolute virtue with sensor cleaning (along with nerves of steel). In view of the fact that I can always get a professional to fix up my mess, I will have to give this another go - especially since I have all the gear now.

Cheers
Elio

Cheers
Elio

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mzortman

York, US
56 posts

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#25. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 10

mzortman Registered since 26th Feb 2009
Wed 08-Aug-12 08:16 AM

I use the arctic butterfly as well and consider it a must have tool for photography. It takes a few tries but I usually get my sensor spotless.

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TUKWILAGORILLA2

Tukwila (Seattle), US
153 posts

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#26. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 25

TUKWILAGORILLA2 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2007
Thu 09-Aug-12 10:27 PM

Elio, your first post (above)) made me LOL. I'm sorry for all your frustration but I have to thank you for your great story.

Pam

jgould2

Fort Pierce, US
4584 posts

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#27. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

jgould2 Gold Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 13th Oct 2007
Fri 10-Aug-12 07:25 PM

Hi Dennis.

Like many have stated, I clean my own sensors. There was certainly a learning curve involved but it was not too steep. The items I consider essential are the Arctic Butterfly, the Visible Dust 7x Sensor Loupe, and the Data Vac Computer Vacuum model MS-4c. Instead of using my Rocket Blower to blow the loose dust around inside the camera I use the vacuum to suck it out. It has a small brush on the end but I do not touch the sensor with that, just get it close.

If you get a pack of Sensor Swabs, you can reload them with Pec Pads. I am currently using the Eclipse E2 solution since that is what I have on hand. Most seem to be recommending the original version but I have had no problems. The precise number of drops and the waiting period are both regimes I follow.

Since I am getting ready for a week long trip to Bishop, CA area I was just locating my cleaning supplies to clean all my sensors when I spotted this post. My D2x took a little bit of work, several passes with the sensor swabs followed by several passes with the Arctic Butterfly. My D700 was perfect and my D3s had one speck which I picked up with the Arctic Butterfly in one pass. I have automatic sensor cleaning enabled at both startup and shutdown for all my cameras that have that capability.

I never worry about changing lenses when needed but try to avoid it when in dusty conditions. For a primarily landscape trip like this one, I usually have my 24-120 f/4 lens on the D3s and the Sigma 12-24 on the D700 with the 70-200 f/2.8 on my D2x or D300 (the D300 is currently out on loan). Those combinations give me 12mm to 300mm capability with no gaps. I will probably only change lenses to put on a macro lens if I find something interesting or my 200-400 if I find some birds or other wildlife.

It will be unlikely that I will need to clean a sensor while on this trip but I will be taking my sensor cleaning equipment along anyway (except for the little vacuum) because it is a very small amount of gear.

The sensor covering that we clean is a lot tougher than you would think. Once you get it really clean I think your experiences will be more like mine with minimal effort required.

JIM

Zareeba

Stockton-on-Tees, UK
174 posts

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#28. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 27

Zareeba Gold Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2008
Sat 11-Aug-12 09:00 AM

I recently (well, a couple of days ago) cleaned the sensors on all 3 of our DSLRS (D700, D300 - mine; D200 hubby's). Used the Visible Dust Sensor loupe to check the sensor. Then the Kenair vacuum kit to get as much out as possible. Then sensor wipes with Eclipse solution - 2 drops each side of a wipe, wait till soaked in, then one pass with one side of the pad, another pass with the other side. Check with sensor loupe and repeat as necessary using a clean pad. Retain used pads so I can replace the pad part with PEC pads and save a bit of money (sensor cleaning pads can be quite expenisve here in the UK for some reason!). Repeat procedure with remaining 2 cameras. Job done!

PS: I really wouldn't recommend trying this as I did, after a glass or two (or maybe 3) of wine!

D4, D800, D600

It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so.

Why is this thus? What is the reason of this thusness?

- Artemus Ward

grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#29. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 28

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Sat 11-Aug-12 10:49 PM

Lesley,
Completely understand re: the wine--my problem was not depressant, it was stimulant--I think I drank too much of my strong morning coffee before I cleaned!!!

James

SheriB

Southern York Co, US
1973 posts

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#30. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 19

SheriB Gold Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010
Sun 12-Aug-12 09:13 AM

"with respect to the price of the swabs, these are a bargain compared to the Photographic Solutions swabs "

With the Photographic Solutions swabs , each is a complete swab with the 'wand' and pec pad already on it.Especially for someone who is new to sensor cleaning, I would recommend this route so they knew they had a good foundation to their cleaning.It's sometimes scary and hard enough to do it the first time, much less making your own swab. When taking a pec pad and cutting it down to size and wrapping the wand I worry wbout adding my skin oils and other extraneous dirt. For me personally I will happly pay extra for 'premade' swabs. Maybe as I get a little more practiced I will start making my own

Sheri Becker

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franco1

Athelstone, AU
72 posts

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#31. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 30

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Mon 13-Aug-12 06:52 AM

Hi Sheri,
Thanks for clearing that up. I just assumed that the Eclipse and the PEC pads were the same, that is, I thought both were a complete swab. That seems to make more sense with respect to the price difference. I also agree, particularly with the stress surrounding my first attempt at cleaning the sensor on my D700, I really didn't need to add to it by making up the swab.

Also, the risk of contaminating the swab with your own skin oils is something that needs serious consideration in the "make your own" versus "buy already made" type. You really have to make sure you've scrubbed properly before you attempt this.

Thanks again.

Cheers
Elio

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reijo

CA
28 posts

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#32. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 29

reijo Registered since 14th Apr 2012
Mon 13-Aug-12 10:45 AM

I have checked out the copper hill website and I have a question.
What is the difference between pec pads and Quikstrips?

DAJolley

US
1300 posts

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#33. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 32

DAJolley Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Dec 2007
Mon 13-Aug-12 06:57 PM

Pec Pads are 4 x 4" square, quick strips are narrow strips pre-cut to the width of the sensor swab.
Dave Jolley

David Jolley
Pickerington, Ohio
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TDF

Southern California, US
9 posts

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#34. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 33

TDF Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jul 2009
Sun 02-Sep-12 12:04 AM

I've been following this thread closely since I have a three and a half year old D700 that has never had the sensor cleaned. I watched the Copper Hill video and ordered a Universal kit since I also have a D200 that can use some attention. I picked up an Arctic Butterfly last week which did an excellent job of cleaning the dust from the D700 sensor, but there is evidence of lubricant on the sensor so I'll deal with that next.

My understanding is that Copper Hill's "Quick Strips" are cut from Pec Pads?? I researched Pec Pads on Photographic Solutions website and under "To learn more about Pec*Pads"...I came across the following warning, "Pec*Pads are NOT recommended for cleaning CCD sensors. Pec*Pads are not made from the same materials that are used in Sensor Swabs. Photographic Solutions does not approve or warranty the CCD or any camera part from any damage caused by using non approved products." Does anyone have any thoughts on this? It appears that Pec*Pads are being widely used for sensor cleaning yet contrary to the recommendations of the manufacturer.

Doug

jgould2

Fort Pierce, US
4584 posts

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#35. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 34

jgould2 Gold Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 13th Oct 2007
Sun 02-Sep-12 12:33 AM

Hi Doug.

I don't think anyone will ever know how big a difference there is between the Sensor Swab material and the PecPad material. I am sure that they wouldn't sell many Sensor Swabs if they couldn't create some fear. I wouldn't be surprised if the Sensor Swab material were indeed superior for cleaning sensors. However, the PecPads work just fine.

The important aspect of sensor cleaning is to remove all gritty particles before wet cleaning.

Thanks for digging up the manufacturer's statement. Certainly food for thought.

JIM

TDF

Southern California, US
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#36. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 35

TDF Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jul 2009
Sun 02-Sep-12 03:50 PM

Thanks Jim, your input is appreciated. I agree with you, if there was a problem with using Pec Pads we should have certainly heard about it by now.

Doug

reggen

NL
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#37. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

reggen Registered since 02nd Jul 2012
Sun 02-Sep-12 08:38 PM | edited Sun 02-Sep-12 08:41 PM by reggen

Hi,
I've had "the spots" too. First gave it a try with Giottos blower.
Then used the Arctic Butterfly.. a bit careless however resulting in an oil smudge on the filter. You realy need to be carefull with that brush, just touch the sensor filter very lightly and absolutely do not touch any other parts inside the camera.
And, sticky dust particals wil not come off.

So how to get rid of this oil stripe? Nobody is mentioning the Lenspen SensorKlear. Which is strange, because it works very well.

Beware and blow away the loose dust first. Them gently wipe the sensorfilter with the SensorKlear tip and Bob is your uncle.
It took me 2 cleanings to get rid of all (yes all) spots and stripes.
No messing around with fluids, pads (to wet, to dry).

And... easy to allways have it in the bag ready to use 'in the field'.
I wil not ever be leaving home without it anymore.

Best regards, Reg

GaryMorrison

Bloomington, US
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#38. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

GaryMorrison Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2008
Mon 03-Sep-12 04:49 PM

I have used a blower and Arctic Butterfly brush for several years now on my D300. This past week, my 10 month old D700 was showing spots. I tried the blower with particles still there according to the loupe viewer, then I tried the brush. It seemed to have worked. Then, I found smears on the sensor. I tried the wet method using the Visible Dust swabs and VDust plus. It left a terrible smear on the sensor.

I ordered some of Visible Dust's Smear Away on Saturday. Today, I called Visible Dust and found that I needed the RED bottle of smear away. I created a new order. The individual at Visible Dust stated that if you have a Nikon, then you MUST have the RED smear away to use after a wet cleaning.

In the meantime, I ordered one of the Copper Hill Images sensor kits. There seem to be some photo stores that are "cleaning centers" listed on their website.

Also, Visible Dust tech support said you can/should clean your Arctic Butterfly brush and the cap in 99% Iso alcohol (rubbing alcohol?). Dip the brush in alcohol in a clean glass. Gently press against the side to remove some of the alcohol. Spin and let it dry. He suggested this cleaning something you should do frequently, especially with a Nikon as they have oil/grease near the sensor.

Both websites have several tutorials on cleaning, I would suggest reading/viewing both multiple times to become familiar with the process. Moose Peterson (http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/about/moose-video-guide/) has a four part guide for cleaning including sensor cleaning with Visible Dust and Copperhill.

Last, if you cause damage then you can have the low pass filter replaced by www.LifePixel.com. It is around $650. (Not there yet....)

Gary

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Allen A Hale

Udonthani, TH
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#39. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 38

Allen A Hale Registered since 26th May 2012
Tue 04-Sep-12 02:01 AM

Do not use Rubbing Alcohol - it often contains ingredients other than alcohol and water, items such as perfume OILs and coloring. A substitute that is available in many states of the USA is "Everclear", pure ethanol - so pure that you can drink it but I recommend drinking only after you have finished any sensor cleaning.

GaryMorrison

Bloomington, US
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#40. "RE: cleaning digital sensors--UPDATE :-)" | In response to Reply # 38

GaryMorrison Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2008
Sat 08-Sep-12 11:09 AM

This past week, I received the Smear Away liquid and swabs from Visible Dust. I also ordered a kit from Copper Hill Images as a backup. Today was the first chance I have had to to get my D700 back to working order.

First, I tried the Smear Away to clear the smears on the sensor left when I cleaned it last week with the Visible Dust product. I went through two swabs and it was only marginally better. I had this knot in my stomach and fear (actually anxiety) thinking I would have an excuse to buy a D800e.

Second, I tried the Copper Hill swab with their Eclipse sensor cleaning solution. It took two tries, but the sensor is clean and smear free (I did use the blower after cleaning as there were still a few particles). I just shot a test shot and everything looks fine.

Copper Hill (http://www.copperhillimages.com/) sells a complete kit. I would suggest evaluating what is included to see if you need everything. Personally, I could have purchased just the sensor cleaning equipment and received all that I needed.

I need to check on the type of alcohol to clean the Visible Dust brush. Their tech support guy told me to use 99% pure isopropyl alcohol (Amazon and Walmart appear to sell it). I'll ask the pharmacist and a couple of chemist to see what they say.

And, as Alan stated, save the alcohol until you are done! Although, I could have used something to steady my hand....


Gary

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MaRiJonas

Kaufbeuren, DE
3205 posts

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#41. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

MaRiJonas Moderator Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography. Nikonian since 11th Mar 2010
Sat 08-Sep-12 04:14 PM | edited Sat 08-Sep-12 04:14 PM by MaRiJonas

Hi Dennis,

I´m used to clean my sensors with www.sensor-film.com .

It´s a little bit unusual to "paint" a glue on the sensor and need a little bit practice, for example on lens surfaces.

But the result is perfect. But be sure the battery is full before cleaning.

Richard

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franco1

Athelstone, AU
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#42. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 0

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Fri 21-Sep-12 03:23 AM

Couldn't help myself and bought a Visible Dust sensor loupe the other day(somehow I have this other spot smack in the middle of my D700 sensor that has appeared and I can't blow it off! Too afraid to try anything else just yet but I wanted to see what it was). I used it for the first time yesterday and found it amazing and yet somewhat depressing at the same time.

It was amazing how clearly you could see whats on the sensor. It was incredible how well it lit up the inside of the chamber allowing you to see everything that's going on in there.

Hence the reason it was also depressing, because looking through the loupe inside the chamber there appeared to be all sorts of foreign matter stuck to the walls - fibres, dust, etc, and lots of it.

Question: is there anything that can be done about this, say, a miniature vacuum cleaner? Has anyone tried this? Anyone seen the same thing when they clean their sensors. It appears to me that if you can't get rid of the dust off the chamber walls then you always run the risk of something falling onto your sensor soon after cleaning it.

Cheers
Elio

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reggen

NL
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#43. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 42

reggen Registered since 02nd Jul 2012
Fri 21-Sep-12 06:21 AM

>Question: is there anything that can be done about this, say,
>a miniature vacuum cleaner?

Seems to me that vacuuming wil not solve this problem. By sucking air out of the chamber, you introduce new air into the chamber. New air, new dust, unless you have an absolute dust free environment to work in.

KolinP

Weston-super-Mare, UK
248 posts

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#44. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 41

KolinP Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 13th May 2006
Sat 22-Sep-12 12:47 PM

This was new to me ...

So far I've been able to avoid this scary task, and I've always been very nervous about what will be (eventually) my first-ever sensor cleaning session, but this beautiful scheme (paint it on, let it dry then peel it off) looks like one I'm prepared to try for myself

Thanks for the link Richard.

(Frankly also, the infeasibly high cost of some of the "usual" sensor-cleaning kits gives me a distinct feeling of being treated by the makers as "a mug in a crisis", and their cost has been a real barrier for me. The value-for-money in this Sensor-Film scheme is blissful sanity in comparison!)

Colin P.

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hithere

Melbourne, AU
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#45. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 44

hithere Registered since 07th Sep 2006
Sat 22-Sep-12 10:02 PM

You are all braver then I. I have been shooting for more than 10 years with digital SLR but never once cleaned my own sensor. Fortunately, as a member of Nikon Professional Services, I get free sensor clean from Nikon authorised repairers so that helps but there is no way I will try that myself.

GaryMorrison

Bloomington, US
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#46. "RE: cleaning digital sensors--UPDATE :-)" | In response to Reply # 40

GaryMorrison Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2008
Thu 27-Sep-12 08:49 PM

After much trying, I gave up and took mine to ProCamera. Initially, it looked like they missed a spot but a 150 mile drive either knocked it loose or it was my imagination.


Gary

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GaryMorrison

Bloomington, US
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#47. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 43

GaryMorrison Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2008
Tue 02-Oct-12 04:06 PM

After doing more shooting, I discovered that my sensor was not clean. It still had several smears/spots.

I just sent it off to an authorized repair center for routine maintenance that includes sensor cleaning. If it comes back still dirty, I guess I have an excuse to buy a new camera....

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franco1

Athelstone, AU
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#48. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 47

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Tue 02-Oct-12 11:55 PM

So can I assume that the sensor cleaning you did earlier was not successful?

Seems like a similar experience to my own attempt at cleaning the sensor.

Cheers
Elio

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jgould2

Fort Pierce, US
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#49. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 42

jgould2 Gold Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 13th Oct 2007
Wed 03-Oct-12 01:14 AM

Hi Elio.

There are sticky areas for just that purpose, capturing dust to keep it away from your sensor.

I have learned how to clean my camera sensors and find it to be quite easy. Just don't touch the sides of the box with any brush you might be using. Going beyond the glass area is what causes people to pick up lubricant and smear it on their sensor. When this happens six or more wet cleanings might be necessary. Once you get your sensor really clean it is very easy to keep it that way. Remember that while we call it sensor cleaning, you are not really cleaning your sensor but rather the Bayer filter that is on top of it. It is just like cleaning a piece of glass. If you follow the directions you will not harm the surface.

Personally I do use a miniature vacuum cleaner but do not touch anything inside the camera with it. The one I use is the "Datavac PC Personal Cleaner Model MS-4C". If you just use a Giottos Rocket Blower the dust will eventually end up on one of the sticky strips but I like to save a little time.

I really like the 'Arctic Butterfly' by Visible Dust but it has to be used correctly where the static charge picks up the dust on your sensor while barely touching it.

Best of luck in your future endeavors at sensor cleaning.

JIM

franco1

Athelstone, AU
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#50. "RE: cleaning digital sensors" | In response to Reply # 49

franco1 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Mar 2009
Thu 04-Oct-12 03:13 AM

Hi Jim,
Thanks for that. It makes sense now and theoretically dust shouldn't fall off the sides onto the sensor.

I am going to give the sensor cleaning caper another go, particularly since I now have all the gear and a strategy to recover from any mistakes I make (use the professional Nikon Service agent 20 minutes up the road).

Cheers
Elio

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