Watch: The best and worst ways to clean your camera sensor

May 2, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Watch: The best and worst ways to clean your camera sensor

May 2, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When I first started shooting DSLRs back in 2002 there were really only two options for cleaning my sensor. Either I had to box everything up, ship it to Nikon, pay like a $80 fee (plus shipping both ways) and in three or four weeks I’d get my camera back with a maybe clean sensor or I had to learn to do it myself. Back then, we didn’t have the array of sensor cleaning tools available today, either. Oh no, we used a sawn-off Wendy’s knife with Pec-Pads and Eclipse fluid!

Now, we have far more options available to us when it comes to cleaning our sensors. But for many photographers, cleaning one’s own sensor can still feel pretty intimidating if you’ve never done it before. So, in this video, Chris Niccolls at DPReview TV shows us several ways to clean our sensors and a few methods we most definitely absolutely shouldn’t be using to clean our sensors!

Chris begins by showing us how we can even identify that we even have a dust problem on our camera’s sensor. After this, things do start to get a little silly with just almost every camera cleaning meme we’ve ever seen condensed down into one video. Seriously, he does everything short of throwing it in the dishwasher. But Chris also does talk about the serious options for cleaning our sensors, too.

For me, my regular “daily” maintenance routine is a rocket blower (they make a smaller one, too). If I spot some dust on my sensor, that’s where I go first. Between the anti-dust and “self cleaning” features contained in many cameras today and the rocket blower, that takes care of about 98% of dust for me. After this, I’ll have at it with the LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit – if I’m somewhere relatively dust-free in which to do it without adding more dust to the sensor. That usually takes care of another 1.999%. For the final 0.001%, I’ll do a full clean with a sensor swab and Eclipse fluid once or twice a year.

How do you clean your sensor? Or do you just pay somebody else to do it?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “Watch: The best and worst ways to clean your camera sensor”

  1. John Beatty Avatar
    John Beatty

    OK, I didn’t have a flame thrower but I do have a butane torch. I think it worked but now there are bubbles on the sensor. I tried water to wipe them off but they cracked and chipped off. Note sure it that will effect photo because I went to mount my lens but the mount was a little, well a lot, melted from the butane torch. I used duct tape to hold the lens on but now it won’t turn on, I have a fully charged battery, can’t believe the luck I’m having. I’m sending it back to manufacture for warrantee work.