How to Clean the Camera Sensor, Automatically and Manually
Previously, I discussed what a dust spot looks like, how it gets inside our camera, and how to detect it. Now 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 will discuss three prevalent methods.
Disclaimer: In severe 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 a “Sensor Cleaning” function. Camera manufacturers use different terms for this function. However, 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 differently). When you activate it, the camera shakes the sensor very rapidly, which can cause the dust to drop 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
In mild dust-infected sensors, after three times in camera cleaning, you usually get a clean sensor again. If the dust particles are very stubborn and are, in many cases, you need to do manual cleaning. Here are some tips on how to clean the camera’s sensor manually. In this article, I will cover two methods, 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 I used in the photo below.
Warning: Do not use any compressed air as it is strong and contains condensation.
A good size blower
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.
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.
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.
4- Check the sensor with the technique that I describe in the previous article and make sure it is clean. 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 unique swaps and cleaning solutions. 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 the sensor’s damage. 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 the different camera makes in detail.
The procedures are the same as the dry method, and you 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.
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Ted and the Omnilargess Team