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Dust to Dust


Wethersfield, US
7735 posts

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jbloom Gold Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments in several forums. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004
Sat 23-Feb-13 01:53 PM

Some good friends of ours have been suffering with a problem in their 4- or 5-year old Canon DSLR. It developed black spots on the pictures. Now, most of you reading this will know immediately that the cause of the problem was dust on the sensor. But they didn't know, and they had had this problem for a couple of years! They were considering buying a new camera because of it. They were otherwise perfectly satisfied with the camera. (No NAS, or CAS, afflicts them. They just want to take photos.)

A couple of evenings ago I went over to their house with my whole sensor-cleaning kit: Quasar Sensor Loupe, Rocket Blower, Arctic Butterfly, and Sensor Swabs plus Eclipse solution. I figured that considering how long those dust blobs had been there, surely it would take a wet cleaning to remove them. Once I got the camera opened up and inspected the sensor, yeah, there was a lot of dust on it, as expected. So, I first used the Rocket Blower as stage one of the cleaning process. To my surprise, it removed all but a few tiny specks of dust. Those were removed using the Arctic Butterfly. I never had to break out the wet-cleaning materials. Really, if I had just come over with nothing but the Rocket Blower, I could have cleaned it well enough to make them happy. The few tiny specks remaining wouldn't have bothered them. (My friend does know how to use the clone tool in PS Elements.)

All of that is leading up to this: Camera manufacturers do explain in the manual about cleaning with a blower. (They generally recommend that cleaning that involves contact with the sensor be left to a service shop, even though most of us ignore that recommendation.) But of course, a lot of things are explained in the manual that the average user doesn't read, or doesn't remember. So, people who aren't avid photographers don't have the tools to do the job and are leery of doing it.

I have a simple fix to suggest: DSLR manufacturers should include a small Rocket Blower with each camera kit. Not with every body, but with those body-plus-lens kits that most people get when they buy their first DSLR. Having the tool in the kit should encourage people to think of sensor cleaning as a normal maintenance activity (which it is) rather than something exotic. And the blower will be sufficient for many users for the life of the camera.

What do you all think?

-- Jon
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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