learning hub

Dirty Sensor

Got Sensor Dust?

Are you getting frustrated with seeing small dark spots in your images that seem to show up in every image? If you see them consistently in the same location (the size and darkness of the spots can vary depending on aperture), you are most likely dealing with dust particles on your camera’s sensor.

Most dust particles will not show up at very wide apertures like f/1.8 against bright backgrounds.  Dust may be less noticeable in images with a lot of detail, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone.

If you see spots when you look through the viewfinder don’t panic – these have no impact on your images.

 

If your camera has dust on its sensor, you can quickly spot it by doing the following: 

  • Set your camera on Aperture Priority Mode and the aperture to the highest number available for your lens.
  • Set your camera ISO to the lowest number such as ISO 100 or 200.
  • Turn off autofocus and set your lens to manual focus.
  • If you are outside, point your camera up at the clear blue sky and take a picture. If you are indoors, find plain white paper or a white wall, zoom in all the way so that the paper/wall fits the whole frame, then make sure that the lens is completely out of focus and take a picture.
  • Playback the image and scroll from left to right and top to bottom all over the image to see if you can find any dark spots.
  • If you cannot see any, your sensor is clean. If you see dark spots then your sensor has dust and needs to be cleaned

 

How to clean your sensor if your camera has a mirror 

  • Find an area that is as free of dust and wind a possible.
  • With a full battery look for the menu option to manually clean your camera. Check your manual if you can’t find this option.
  • When you select this mode, you will hear the mirror lock back and reveal the sensor. Note that you just need to power off your camera to release the mirror back to its usual place in front of the camera.
  • Remove the lens from the body.
  • Holding the camera upside down so the LCD screen is facing the ceiling, use a hurricane blower to blow air into the camera onto the sensor. Be extremely careful NOT to touch the sensor with the tip of the blower. Best practice is not to put the tip of the blower inside the camera at all. Do not use compressed air.
  • After a few blasts of air, turn off the camera and replace the lens. You should take another test shot (as above) to see if this has removed the dust or dirt that was on the sensor. If it has then there is no need to take any further steps.
  • If it remains, then you will likely need to proceed to a ‘wet’ clean of the sensor. Snapshot has staff that can do this for you or we can sell you the tools to do it yourself.

 

How to clean your sensor if you have a mirrorless camera

Follow steps 1 to 7 but omit steps 2 and 3!

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