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Sensor Cleaning

Disclaimer! When you clean your own Sensor you do so at your own risk. The information provided here is how I clean my sensor's, but I can not be held liable for what you do with the information supplied on this page. Use the information provided here at your own risk!

Dslr sensor


Before you start, find a clean place that is as dust free as possible. Preferably a place with good lighting and no draft. Set up your cleaning products so they are all in reach, and so you don't have to get up to get anything while you clean the sensor. Dry cleaning is what I always start with, and this does the job 90% of the time. For the dry cleaning the best product for the job is VisibleDust's Arctic Butterfly 724, and the Sensor Loupe(also made by VisibleDust)

Products I use For sensor Cleaning is as follows:

Arctic Butterfly 724
Sensor Loupe
Sensor Cleaning Swab
Sensor Clean
VDust Plus

Life Pixel Infrared Conversion

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
Step 1. Prepare the camera for cleaning, set the camera to cleaning mode and remove the lens, then press the shutter button to engage the cleaning mode. Put the Sensor Loupe onto the camera mount, or use the loupe hand held above the lens chamber, you can then easily orient the loupe to look into any part of the sensor, and check where the dust is. Using the Loupe hand held is a unique feature of the Sensor Loupe, and it will also prevent contaminants from the loupe transferring onto the sensor. You can also take a test picture to check if you have dust on the sensor. If you don't know how to take a test picture click here. After doing that remember where the dust is. What I find doing it that way is that it takes a lot longer to clean the sensor, as you have to take test shots and keep checking the pictures to see if you removed the dust from the sensor. With the Loupe you can clearly see where the dust is, so I find that the Sensor Loupe is the best product you can get for both dry and wet cleaning. The loupe will save you money in the long run, especially when it comes to wet cleaning, as the swabs do cost a bit of money. VisibleDust Sensor Loupe
Step 2. Charge the Arctic butterfly. "Turn the device on and spin the brush 3 times for 5 seconds. This will enhance the fiber charges and dislodge any particles within the fibers via centripetal force." (taken from the Instruction manual) VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly
Step 3. When the brush is charged, brush over the sensor once, then spin the brush to charge it again and dislodge any particles picked up by the first sweep. At this point I reattach the Loupe to see if I have removed all the dust. If necessary I repeat this step until all the dust is gone. When looking through the Loupe it sometimes helps to move your head slowly back and forth to see dust clearly, this is often the case with small particles that's stuck to the sensor like welded dust(this is not needed if you use the Loupe hand held). If you can still see dust on the sensor, but it won't come off / or you can't see dust, but it shows up in a test picture, it is time for plan B. Butterfly in action
Plan B. Wet cleaning. Only do wet cleaning if there is spots that won't come of with dry cleaning. Get all the Cleaning products ready. Only break the seal of the Swabs when you are going to start using them. Start the same way as in step 1. Get the Sensor Loupe out and locate the dust. When you have found the dust, open the seal on the Sensor Cleaning Swab and apply liquid to the swab. I usually use 2-3 drops of fluid. Be careful not to apply too much liquid to the swab, but make sure there is enough fluid on the swab to cover the whole edge of the swab(outlined in the picture to the right-->). wait a few seconds for the liquid to saturate the swab. swab
Step 2. Insert the swab onto the outside of the sensor, either at the left or right side. Apply firm pressure and make sure you get the whole sensor in one sweep, holding the swab at a slight angle (like in the picture to the right -->) helps preventing a jagged movement over the sensor. turn the swab over and repeat in the opposite direction. sensorcleaning

Step 3. Check the sensor with the Sensor Loupe, or take a test picture to make sure all the dust is gone. If there is still dust on the sensor repeat step 2 until the dust is gone. When done, go out and take some dust free pictures:)

I usually clean my cameras and lenses once a week, or the day before I go to a photo-shoot. Getting into the habit of doing this will save you a lot of time in post processing.


VisibleDust has excellent instructions on their site as well, if you are still in doubt about sensor cleaning. Their instructions can be found here. The dry cleaning instructions can be found here.


VisibleDust Sensor Loupe
© 2009 Fredrik A. Rasmussen. All rights reserved.