I just spent the past two weeks in Utah and have managed to get quite a bit of crap inside my D100, some of it relatively large, if anyone could provide advice on cleaning the CCD it would be really appreciated.
I understand that there are some parts inside the CCD chamber that are quite delicate and that using a compressed air blower is definitely not recommended. Is a hand blower a better option? Also does anyone know where I can get hold of the sensor swabs in the UK or Ireland. I have phoned around a number of camera stores and no-one seems to have any idea about these items. The only recommendation so far is that I send it back to Nikon for a clean, which I don't think is a reasonable answer for a number of reasons, such as the need to clean in the field when in very dusty areas, the excessive cost and the loss of camera for a couple of weeks at a time.
If anyone has any experience cleaning the CCD in the field I would be really interested to hear about it and any recommendations would be cool.
Thanks in advance.
#1. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 0AlanC Basic MemberMon 02-Sep-02 02:28 PM
I was able to purchase Sensor Swabs and the Eclipse cleaning fluid direct from the UK distributor Crown Photo Systems Ltd who were really helpful when I explained I'd been unable to find anyone who stocked the products.
Even better, it looks like you can now buy these items online from their Crown Digital subsidiary.
On the subject of cleaning the CCD, there was a post on the subject on the Repair Shops conference; note that I seem to be a lot more cautious than some folks! Sensor Swabs and the Eclipse cleaner aren't cheap, but they are the absolute safest option for cleaning the camera yourself if a bulb type blower (without a brush) won't shift the dust.
#2. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 0Tue 03-Sep-02 12:41 AM
i have the d1x...yep its a pain in the butt to clean the sensor...i cannot remove completely all the dust...1st i tried the air blower...the hand one...doesn't do !@#@#....this i used the sensor swab with the eclipse solution that help...but need to do it over and over and over...i think i will send it to nikon
#3. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 2Tue 03-Sep-02 07:19 AM
I certainly understand your frustration, I've been there. I found that the "sensor swabs" would remove some of the dust, but, mainly, only moved the dust to the perimeter of the CCD. I sent it to Nikon for cleaning (Melville, NY), and they did a 10 day turnaround, and that's not including shipping time. On return, after about 2 days of shooting, I had just as much dust as I did before I sent it to Nikon.
For an $X,000 camera, I HAD to come up with a better procedure. I made my own swab similar to Thom's "Wendy's" plastic swab. That and the Eclipse is the only method I use to clean the CCD now. Thom has also covered the hazards of MOST forced air methods, and, actually, the air may also make stuck particles even harder to remove.
As I have said in (too) many posts, once you get the hang of swabbing, it really is a piece-of-cake. After a cleaning, I wind up with ZERO dust on the CCD.
Best of luck,
#5. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 4desdrury Registered since 02nd Sep 2002Tue 03-Sep-02 11:53 AM
Thanks for the info. Sounds like a real pain to get it clean. I guess I'll get an air blower and the swabs/eclipse fluid.
One thing I was wondering though is that rather than buying the AC adapter to lock the mirror up, could I use bulb and a remote cable? That way I would not have to worry about the mirror coming down whilst cleaning.
#15. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 4darrellyoung Registered since 21st Apr 2006Sun 08-Sep-02 12:34 PM
I just blew a small piece of dust off of my CCD using an ear bulb. I do not have the wall power unit. I simply put my D100 in manual mode, then selected "bulb," and held the shutter button down. The mirror and shutter moves out of the way, and voila, there is the CCD in all its glory (and tenderness). You could use a cable release to lock the shutter open in BULB mode.
#7. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 3Tue 03-Sep-02 01:13 PM
nicholas, with your wendys homemade swab...how hard do you push down on the ccd?...i know little pressure doesn't do much...also is your homemade swab made of the pecpads?...i think that the same thing as the sensor swab right?
#8. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 7Tue 03-Sep-02 08:50 PM
I have a D1X, but the CCD is similar.
At the risk of being laughed at (again), I took a small kitchen spatula (cost - $1.50) and cut the end down with a very sharp razor to about 5/8" width, which is a little smaller than the height of the CCD. I also shaved the tip to look like an A from the side. Next, I ran it through the dishwasher cycle twice which Thom recommends. I take a pec-pad, being careful not to touch the area that will wipe the CCD, and swaddle the end of the swab, fastening it with tape. Two or three drops of Eclipse on the tip and I wipe the CCD twice using light to moderate pressure. Go back to normal mode, shoot the sky at 22, view actual pixels, and see how I've done. If I only have one or two specks of dust, I may go back in with a brand new pec-pad; if they are on the edges, I may just leave them.
This little investment works great because the rubber will give a little but will also be firm with more pressure. I tried a plastic Wendy's knife but did not get the good results that most self-swabbers get. The rubber gave me added confidence that moderate pressure to dislodge the stuck particles was not going to hurt the CCD filter.
Sorry to be so wordy, but we are dealing with a huge investment in our love for photography, and I found a lot of comfort reading and foruming about the dust.
Keep me posted,
#9. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 8Wed 04-Sep-02 04:17 PM
As a fellow D1X user, I appreciate your information. Any possibility of showing a picture of your spatula so that I (and others) can duplicate your successful technique correctly?
"RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD"
I just threw together this little montage which should give you a better idea how this swab works.
#1 - In this view, I hope you can see where the tip has been given a
chiseled A shape. I probably cut off about 1" of the tip to get
it to this point which is around 1/8" in thichness (or ply).
This is important because the thicker it is at this point,
the more rigid it is.
I also cut off much of the rubber that
attaches to the handle to make it easier to use.
If you are especially obsessive, you
can wear non-powdered latex gloves from here on in, which is
not a bad idea.
#2 - I fold the pad at the midpoint then fold over the doubled end
over the swab at about 10 to 20 degrees.
#3 - Fold the other side over in the other direction, secure with
tape and you're good to go!
Keeping an angled fold, kind of like the ends of an Xmas
present, gives a nice pointed edge which works great at the
#4 - Drum roll.......... the finished swab.
Hank, I really hope this is of help to you and anyone else. Like I've said, I tried just about every way of ridding the dust and this is the one. The best part is that $1.50 beats the heck out of
$4.00 per swab!
I'll try to come up with some better shots when I can find some time.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
#10. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 05-Sep-02 09:12 AM
Now my biggest challenge is to find a spatula like that. Is that a Rubbermaid? And does it have a product number on it? It would make my search easier. The only small spatula I found is 1/16th of an inch thick, and you indicated that 1/8" is preferrable.
Thanks again. You've been a great help in the never-ending war against dust!
#11. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 0
#12. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 11Thu 05-Sep-02 06:40 PM
mrdinh & Hank,
On a routine basis, I clean the CCD once a week and more often the more I shoot with zooms outdoors.
Working better than the Sensor Swabs? For me, yes. If you have a
$4 swab handy - you have to angle the hard inner part to be able to get enough pressure to clean the surface and when you get a stubborn one, forget it. I went through $48 worth of Sensor swabs and still had dust, mainly on the edges. I would be remiss if I didn't say that most of the Nikonians are probably using the fabricated plastic knives or the Sensor Swabs and are getting satisfactory results.
I didn't reinvent the wheel here, but Thom's implement gave me the idea to come up with a sort of squeegee to use like you would use on a window. Hank, as far as the thickness goes, I started by trimming off just a little of the spatula to about 1/16" thickness. Even at that spec,I was removing most of the dust because of the perfect texture of the rubber. That ply should work just fine. Just hold your width to about 9/16" to 5/8" (the part that will touch the CCD).
The other point I should explain is the chiseled tip. When you go in to clean, you want to swipe in one direction, then, using the other side of the swab, go in the opposite direction. I guess the rubber would work with a square edge, but I liked the idea of the squeegee where dust would collect on one edge and then use the other clean side to finish. PLEASE read Thom's CCD cleaning which covers this well.
Yes, it's a Rubbermaid. No I don't have a number for it. I hope you noticed that I removed most of the rubber making it look nothing like the original spatula but more stubby in appearance.
Mrdinh, once you have the implement exactly the way you want, then you can proceed with the Pec-pads. Be VERY careful attaching the pad; do not let the area that will contact the CCD get any ambient dust or particles on it and DO NOT touch this area with your bare fingers. Also, the folding of the pad is important; it should be snug at the tip and the corners should be crisp.
And finally (HOORAH!), be deliberate and use common sense and the rest will come. Open the chamber and look at the CCD; it looks like a piece of glass in a recessed box. You would have to press awfully hard to damage it using a clean Pec-pad over a maleable piece of rubber. It will probably take a few goes to get used to it, but once you do, DONE.
#13. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 12w4npx Registered since 10th Aug 2002Fri 06-Sep-02 01:25 AM
Nicholas, where does one purchase PEC Pads and Eclipse fluid in the USA? Have asked a couple of people, including camera store and nobody seems to have any idea. Haven't done my first D-100 cleaning yet, but will feel more comfortable now having read your great instructions.
#14. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 13Fri 06-Sep-02 07:25 AM
PhotographicSolutions at www.photosol.com.
Just an addendum:
Obviously, working conditions need to be as sterile as possible. There should be as little movement (be it drafts or people) as possible.
DO NOT just wipe the CCD with a swab and Pec-pad.
You MUST use 2 to 3 drops of Eclipse methanol. A DRY wipe will do nothing but move the dust particles around.
The whole procedure starts with about 5 minutes set-up time; hook up the AC adapter and prepare the Pec-pad. The next step - lock up, removing the lens, Eclipse, swab, returning the lens - takes me between 10 to 15 SECONDS. You'll definitely get faster the more you do it.
It's hard to explain how much pressure to apply, but, start with a gliding light pressure, check your results, then increase the force a little at a time until you're satisfied. The only analogy I can use would be about like spreading a pat of butter on a piece of toast. Just proceed at YOUR OWN PACE - it took me several spatulas to come up with the one I have shown, and it took many swabbings to know exactly how to get maximum results.
As Thom has explained, the dust you see on your computer screen, is a mirror inverse of where it is on the CCD. In other words, if your shot of the sky shows dust on the upper left of the image, then, looking straight at your camera into the CCD, the dust is actually on the lower right of the CCD. This is important when you get a really stuck particle, you can apply a little extra nudge in the exact area of the speck.
Hank, about the thickness - 1/8"th. allowed me to make the chiseled edge easier than 1/16"th. will. Whatever size you use, use an extremely sharp razor for all the cuts. I used a mat-cutting razor.
As I have said previously, my Spatu-swab (patent pending) (just kidding) works great for me. But if you or anyone else has a problem with it, don't hesitate for a minute to go back to a "Sensor Swab" by Photosol or make a swab as per Thom Hogan. Thom's web-site provided me with so much critical info about our D-series cameras, I must give all the credit in the world to his knowledge of photography and expertise with Nikon equipment.
Some of you may be very leery of swabbing, so it makes perfect sense to me for you to use a bulb blower regularly and then send it to Nikon Tech for them to clean. The only other thing you could do would be to avoid stops from 14 to 22, and use the healing brush in PS.
I love NIKON EQUIPMENT but I really wish they could come up with a hardware solution to the dust problem. Maybe one day they will.
But until that occurs, they would be WELL SERVED to design their own swab, maybe similar to mine, and also PROVIDE a videotape or a Quick- time movie of a Nikon endorsed method of this whole swab-cleaning procedure. Spending these kinds of dollars on a camera, I don't think that is asking too much.
#16. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 0Mon 09-Sep-02 03:55 PM
Thnks for the level of detail you've supplied, Nicholas. I will now go to my not so local Walmart and get the specified spatula.
I, and I'm sure many others, appreciate the time you took to present all this extremely helpful information!
#21. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 16
You're very welcome!
This last (YIPPEE) picture illustrates the problem I have with Photosol's swab. I removed the pec-pad and you can see the inner spine. Now remember the CCD lays in an approximately 1 1/16" by 11/16" box. Look at my swab (and the Wendy's swab) and imagine going into a rectangular box. The actual surface that will "squeegee" the CCD seems to me more efficient with the fabricated swabs. I found that the Sensor Swab does pretty good with routine dust but that I just couldn't get enough pressure to dislodge very stuck particles, especially at the inner perimeter. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend starting with the "Sensor-Swabs" and see how you do.
I urge everybody with a D-series to educate themselves AD NAUSEUM BEFORE you dive in there and swab. Again, weigh all the information and then make your decision.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
#17. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 0
I just wanted to say thanks for sharing with us all you have learned about cleaning our cameras CCD. I know it had to take you quite a while to get it all together and post it here for us to read and absorb. I really do appreciate it.
More about me and the team on the Team page
#18. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 17Mon 09-Sep-02 10:35 PM
You're more than welcome. Positive feedback like yours makes all of my ramblings seem worthwhile.
To be honest with you, I kind of went into a state of shock about 10 months ago; finally getting the "ultimate" digital cam, the D1X, and having to send it back to Nikon Tech after 3 weeks for a cleaning. I knew there was a dust problem, but was I pretty nervous about self-swabbing, not having any first hand experience with electronic equipment. What I tried to share is that it's not the "Hope Diamond",
it's just a CCD that needs a cleaning periodically.
This has been quite a lengthy tangent and I apologize for going on and on in this area. My brother Nikonians probably think all I do is clean my CCD. I am actually a semi-pro, making decent enough money with my D1X, but not enough to quit my day job. I specialize in nature photography on a personal level, but have begun to pick up quite a few new clients with a need for quality photos for their web-sites and general advertising purposes.
I would be ecstatic is any of you wrote me and said Photosol's swab worked great, or Thom's swab worked great, or my Spat-U-Swab worked great. When all the talking is done, you'll see that the once-dreaded dust bunny problem is addressed by 10 - 15 minutes cleaning a week, leaving the rest of the time free to shoot our Nikons.
#19. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 18AlanC Basic MemberTue 10-Sep-02 08:56 AM
I'd like to echo Rick's thanks for the time you've spent explaining how to deal with dust on the CCD.
My own experience with my D1 has been that the Photosol swabs certainly do the job, but if you have any stubborn dirt on the CCD then you can end up using a lot of them. A case in point was the first time I attempted to clean the camera - I accidentally sprayed the filter with propellant from an aerosol blower and subsequently went through one and a half boxes of Sensor Swabs before I got rid of all the residue - that's about £60 worth! I reckon your Spat-U-Swab could have done the job more easily, and cost a heck of a lot less.
#20. "RE: Cleaning the D100 CCD" | In response to Reply # 19Tue 10-Sep-02 06:19 PM
That's my point exactly!
Maybe some Nikonians aren't aware that you only get ONE double swipe per "Sensor Swab". You CANNOT use the same swab again because you will put the dust back on the CCD if you do. My first cleaning was similar to your expensive experience. I used 3 Sen. swabs, and I removed maybe 80% of the dust at a cost of $12. Sooner or later you WILL have stuck dust particles on the CCD, no matter how obsessively clean you work and shoot. I have nothing against Photosol. Their swabs look good at the tip, but there is nothing to support the cleaning edge like the home-made swabs. As I said, I tried every type of pressure with Photosol's swabs on stuck dust, to no avail.
As the real experts will tell you - limit as much as possible exposing the camera's chamber. With my swab, I go in one time, and the worst I've done is, maybe 2 or 3 particles; mostly, I get them all (IN ONE ATTEMPT).
Again, what I have done is taken Thom Hogan's Wendy's "swab", and modified the medium from hard plastic to firm, but yielding rubber.