The transition from film to digital eliminated problems that plagued many photographers. Things like reciprocity failure were now a thing of the past. But, it presented a few new challenges, too. The biggest of those is dust. Things have gotten better over the years. We’ve made the shift from CCD to CMOS sensors, which seem to attract less dust. We’ve got automatic dust cleaning features in most DSLRs now, too.
These days, I’ve found the majority of dust can be gotten rid of with a good blast or two from a rocket blower. It’s rare I have to take a swab to a sensor any more. Sometimes, though, you get those stubborn bits that just don’t seem to shift, and you don’t have time to send it off or clean it properly. They’re fairly easy to fix in post, though. This video from Sleeklens shows you how to quickly and easily remove sensor dust in Lightroom.
Of course, it can be a tedious and time consuming process to eliminate the dust from all your images. Sure, you could just process one, and then sync up the settings to the other images. But, they may not be sampling and cloning from a suitable area in each of the other images. So, you’ll still want to go through and tweak manually.
The best option is just to clean your sensor. As mentioned above, a rocket blower is a perfect tool to keep in your bag. You’ll want to cut the fins off if you’re planning to fly with them, though. They’re cheap enough that you can have a couple. I keep one in my main bag, one in my cables bag, and a spare one on a shelf.
If the rocket blower can’t do the job, the tried and trusted Wendy’s knife/Pecpad/Eclipse fluid combo was my favourite method for years before more useful options started hitting the market. These days, I keep a couple of packs of Sensor Swabs (one full frame, and one crop) and a bottle of Eclipse cleaning solution around, just in case. I mostly shoot on location, and change lenses regularly while out there. I still only need to use the sensor swabs once every couple of years or so.
You could just send your camera off to have the sensor cleaned, but it works out much more expensive, and you have to be without your camera while it’s gone. So, it’s worth learning how to clean your own.
Do you clean your sensor yourself? What methods do you use? Or do you send it out to be cleaned for you? Do you just clean it up in post? Do you even worry about it at all? Let us know in the comments.