Photography Tutorials and Articles

Clean the Camera Sensor

How to Clean the Camera Sensor, Automatically and Manually

We learned what a dust spot looks like, how it gets inside our camera, and how to detect it. Now it is the time to learn how we can get rid of it! This article is mainly about how to clean the camera sensor. There are several different ways to clean the camera sensor, and I am going to discuss three methods, which are very popular.

Disclaimer: In sever dusty sensor cases that none of these methods help, you need to send out the camera to a camera repair shop for cleaning professionally.

In Camera Sensor Cleaning

Most new DSLR and Mirrorless cameras come with some sort of “Sensor Cleaning” function. Although camera manufacturers use different terms for this function, but more or less it is the same technology.

Navigate through the camera menu and you will find this function (as I mentioned before each manufacturer names this function a little different). When you activate it the camera shakes the sensor very rapidly which can cause the dust drops off the sensor. Here is the tip for you, repeat the cleaning three times in a row. The three times in a row is the magic number.

In camera sensor cleaning

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Most new cameras have some sort of built in sensor cleaning feature
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Activate the sensor cleaning 3 times in a row

In mild dust infected sensor after three times in camera cleaning, usually you get a clean sensor again. If the dust particles are very stubborn, that they are in many cases, you need to do a manual cleaning. There many different tools and approaches for clean the sensor manually. In this article I will cover two method, dry and wet cleaning.

Manually Clean the camera sensor (Dry method)

To clean the sensor manually in this method you need a fully charged battery and a large size blower like the one in the photo below.

Warning: Do not use any compressed air as it is strong and contains condensation.

A good size blower

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A good size blower is an important tool for your camera maintenance

Steps to clean the camera sensor manually

1- Turn on the camera. Go to Menu and navigate to find the option which says something like “MIRROR LOCKUP FOR CLEANING”. Each manufacturer uses slightly different terms.

This option will lock the mirror and open the shutter, so you have access to the sensor


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Manufacturers use different names for the same feature!

2- Activate the Mirror lockup, remove the lens and press the shutter button. The camera mirror locks up and the shutter opens. Now you have access to the Low Pass Filter (Sensor) of the camera.

This the sensor of a digital camera

3- Start blowing the air using the air blower on the sensor, while holding the camera face down.  You may need to apply the air several times to get rid of all the dust.

Blow the air several times to remove dusts from the sensor.

4- Check the sensor with the technique that I describe in the pervious article and make sure all dust spots are removed. If needed apply these steps again.

Manually Clean the camera sensor (Wet method)

To clean the sensor manually in this method you need a fully charged battery and a cleaning kit. The cleaning kit usually contains special swaps and cleaning solution. You need to select the swap size according to your camera sensor. Please note that you need to buy the kit from a reputable manufacturer to avoid damage to the sensor. I have been using Visible Dust for years. They are a little pricey but very high quality. They also have videos on their website to show cleaning steps for different camera makes in details.

The procedures are the same as dry method and you just apply the cleaning solution to the swap and clean the sensor. Please follow the instructions from cleaning kit manufacturers to avoid any damage to the camera.

That is all for now. Stay tuned for upcoming articles as I am going to discuss how to o clean the sensor automatically and manually, and how to use Lightroom or Photoshop to remove the dust from photos, and as always feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for new tutorials and tips.

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