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Author Topic: Sensor cleaning and scotch tape  (Read 11130 times)

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« on: September 25, 2006, 08:37 »
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Over on another photographers forum there is a discussion going on about cleaning dust of digital camera sensors.

All sorts of suggestions are being made, one of which is to use scotch tape.

It sounds a bit drastic to me, and I've asked the poster to describe how this is done, but I haven't had a reply yet.

Anyone on here know the scotch tape method? Is it any good? Safe to use?


dbvirago

« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2006, 08:50 »
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I haven't cleaned mine yet except with a blower. I will probably look at Eclpse at some point. I can't possibly imagine that scotch tape would be safe. I'd rather continue to clone spots out of images than take a chance on ruining the camera.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2006, 08:57 »
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I can't yell this loud enough:  DO NOT USE TAPE TO CLEAN YOUR SENSOR.  It will leave residue on the low-pass filter and could damage it permanently.  You risk damaging the coating, at the very least.

First, use a good blower like a Giotto Rocket Blower.  Always tilt your lens mount down toward the floor when you use a blower and make sure to turn off the power.  Never use a cheap blower or a blower brush.  You risk leaving a rubber residue on the low-pass filter.

If the blower doesn't work, then use a wet method like Copperhill or buy prepackaged Sensor Swabs.  Copperhill is cheaper, but Sensor Swabs are a bit more convenient.

« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2006, 09:02 »
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I would NEVER use any sort of tape on a sensor, since it might leave some of its sticky residue on the sensor itself.

In the same light, I have heard of using clear plastic wrap and could see this working if applied properly.

« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2006, 09:06 »
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well i didn't think i would ever, but today the tape method sounds kind of tempting :S.. i will try to hold off though.

« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006, 11:15 »
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Yes, I already use a rocket blower. But I'm beginning to get specks that won't shift with a good blast of air. That's why I asked about the tape method.

I'm not too sure I'm keen on using liquids, either. And the brushes they sell, that work by static electricity, are criminally expensive. I can't believe they cost that much to produce.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2006, 12:06 »
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I understand being nervous, but the amount of liquid you use is tiny--2 or 3 drops of cleaning solution on a pad.  It works wonders, and after the first time your sensor is really clean, you'll wonder why you waited.

I'm not too sure I'm keen on using liquids, either. And the brushes they sell, that work by static electricity, are criminally expensive. I can't believe they cost that much to produce.

« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2006, 12:10 »
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2006, 15:58 »
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The wet method has been proven by many people to be the best method.  I haven't heard of one single case of someone damaging their sensor by cleaning it with the wet method.  Many people worry about it, but it is safe, quick and easy.  Read up about it, buck up and do it.  It really isn't that big of a deal.  I use a Ecipse solution with pec pads. 

Good luck,
Mark

« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2006, 16:58 »
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I got a lenspen before our trip to Sanibel and the beach and i did some snooping around and everyone seemed to say it was safe so i've used it with success on both lenses and my sensor. Wouldn't go anywhere without it now!

« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2006, 19:01 »
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I got a lenspen before our trip to Sanibel and the beach and i did some snooping around and everyone seemed to say it was safe so i've used it with success on both lenses and my sensor. Wouldn't go anywhere without it now!
You use your lenspen on your sensor? Wow, rather you than me! I only use Sensor Swabs when I don't have time to take it back to Nikon to get it done properly. That's one of the advantages of living in Singapore, nothing is more than 45 minutes away and I appreciate that anyone probably living anywhere else doesn't have this luxury.

Last time I was buying a lenspen (just for cleaning lenses and LCD screens) I was offered a "speckgrabber", a sort of sticky toothpick thing, for pulling individual dust grains from a sensor. However, I just can't come to put anything sticky on the sensor. Especially not Sticky tape!!

« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2006, 08:21 »
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OMG....chills went up my spine when I saw the title of this thread. Sensors are DELICATE things...using tape.....is a HUGE no-no. I actually need to clean my sensor on my cam and I am a wimp at doing it. My local cam shop said they do it professionally for 55-/yr which entitles me to 4 cleanings. I think I trust them more than myself lol

« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2006, 08:52 »
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OMG....chills went up my spine when I saw the title of this thread. Sensors are DELICATE things...using tape.....is a HUGE no-no.

Yes the sensors are delicate but you aren't cleaning the sensor.  You are cleaning the AA filter in front of the sensor.  It is just a piece of coated glass and it is quite tough.  People fret over ruining their sensor or scratching it.  Actually it would be impossible to do either with pec pads and other similar devices.  The reason scotch tape is a no no, is because it will leave residue.  You are trying to clean the sensor not add more junk to it, and you can imagine that the residue tape will leave would be hard to remove.  Cleaning the sensor is really no big deal. The specgrabber is quite useless to.  The vast majority of the dust on your sensor comes from mechanical (ie shutter) wear and tear inside your camera.  The dust is in the micron range and can't be seen with the naked eye.  So how can you grab what you don't see?  The best way is the wet method and it really is quite safe.

55 years ago there was no such thing as a digital camera.  The world was struggling with simple punch cards on computers let alone a digital camera.  So how can your shop have that much experience.  Most likely they have been cleaning sensors for less than decade.  But your shop probably realized that cleaning sensor is extremely easy and they probably make a killing off the service.  It is quite safe and they have little fear of ruining your sensor.  Most likely they use the process everyone else does, with eclipse and pec pads.

Mark

« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2006, 09:19 »
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Striker - I think he meant they charge 55 per year (ie you pay up front but get upto 4 cleans.

Similar topic - I saw somewhere that recommended putting double sided tape inside your lens cap so that it grabs the dust when you have your lens cap on (in theory but I think I would have issues getting the lens cap back out of my pocket once I have finished using my camera.

« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2006, 09:31 »
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Striker - I think he meant they charge 55 per year (ie you pay up front but get upto 4 cleans.

Ok, I'm an idiot.  Thanks for pointing that out :)

Mark

« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2006, 12:10 »
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Similar topic - I saw somewhere that recommended putting double sided tape inside your lens cap so that it grabs the dust when you have your lens cap on...

LOL.   ;D

That is hilarious.

How would putting tape on a lens cap work???   ::)

The dust mostly comes when you change lenses and the cap would be on the lens.

« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2006, 12:15 »
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Similar topic - I saw somewhere that recommended putting double sided tape inside your lens cap so that it grabs the dust when you have your lens cap on...
How would putting tape on a lens cap work??? ::)

The dust mostly comes when you change lenses and the cap would be on the lens.
Should explain better - this was to keep dust of the front and back of the lens, not the sensor.

« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2006, 12:23 »
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Similar topic - I saw somewhere that recommended putting double sided tape inside your lens cap so that it grabs the dust when you have your lens cap on...


LOL. ;D

That is hilarious.

How would putting tape on a lens cap work??? ::)

The dust mostly comes when you change lenses and the cap would be on the lens.


I agree, putting double sided stotch tape on the lens cap to keep the sensor clean is hilarious.  Of course it was probably originally thought of to keep dust off the end of the lens and not the sensor. Somebody just got confused along the way. :)

Dust mostly comes from moving parts within camera and not from changing lens.  At least the dust that adheres to the sensor.  The small micron sized particles are pulled in by the static pull of the sensor.  The wear and tear of the shutter probably creates the most dust.  That is why Canon announced it made changes to the shutter and mirror box of its new 400D to reduce sensor dust.  You can read more about it on
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/canoneos400d/

That is why people who never change their lens still get the same amount of dust on their sensors as those who change their lenses all the time.  Of course if you are changing lenses in a blowing dust bowl that might be another story.

Mark

« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2006, 13:14 »
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I'll second what Striker says.  A lot of the "dust" comes from wearing/debris from internal camera parts.  I have an FZ30 and have little bits of debris showing up inside the lens, and a couple of specs on the sensor (that weren't there when I bought the camera).  Unfortunately I can't just remove the lens and clean my camera out :(

« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2006, 17:12 »
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The other thing that people forget is that every time you change the focal length of a zoom lens you are pumping air, and ever-present dust, into or out of the camera body.

« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2006, 22:24 »
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Striker - I think he meant they charge 55 per year (ie you pay up front but get upto 4 cleans.

Similar topic - I saw somewhere that recommended putting double sided tape inside your lens cap so that it grabs the dust when you have your lens cap on (in theory but I think I would have issues getting the lens cap back out of my pocket once I have finished using my camera.

Yep! $55 for 4 cleanings total in the year. NOT 55- each

« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2006, 06:48 »
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I can't yell this loud enough:  DO NOT USE TAPE TO CLEAN YOUR SENSOR.  It will leave residue on the low-pass filter and could damage it permanently.  You risk damaging the coating, at the very least.

First, use a good blower like a Giotto Rocket Blower.  Always tilt your lens mount down toward the floor when you use a blower and make sure to turn off the power.  Never use a cheap blower or a blower brush.  You risk leaving a rubber residue on the low-pass filter.

If the blower doesn't work, then use a wet method like Copperhill or buy prepackaged Sensor Swabs.  Copperhill is cheaper, but Sensor Swabs are a bit more convenient.


what do you use professorgb?

I just checked out the copper hill things at B&H are realized they are just a fancy blower brush.  I had an old lens blower brush from the old days sitting around and a camera that really needed a clean, so gave it a whirl.. First trial - little dust spots greatly reduced, but the big blobs increased.  2x more with the bush and it looks better but still quite a few bigger black blobs, and very few small dust spots... so conclusion.  considerably better, but there is still blobs.

Does the copperhill brush do better than this?  Is there a wet method for copper hill as well or just sensor swabs?

« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2006, 08:13 »
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I thought the copperchil method was the wet method.  Just like sensor swabs but you make your own for a lot cheaper.

The brushes are a different method and are "special" brushs.  They are a rip of as a make-up brush maybe identical but you are paying for the fact that it is a clean brush taht is suitable (I think you need abrush with synthetic hairs but I cant remember the detail).  You then charge it up with compressed air or a spinning motor to give it static electricity.

« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2006, 08:40 »
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well that is what i thought, too, but at B&H the copper hill cleaning sets are just a static brush (the static comes from air being pumped through the bristles)

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2006, 08:53 »
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The Copperhill Method is a wet method.  This is his Web site: http://www.copperhillimages.com/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=3

It works beautifully.  However, my poor old 10D has now developed dust behind the lowpass filter and so has a few small permanent spots.  And, dang it, I also have one hot pixel right where the sky usually is in my landscapes.

The brush is a static brush he developed after he began marketing the wet method.  The wet method is more effective, I believe, but is probably not necessarily for standard dust bunnies.

well that is what i thought, too, but at B&H the copper hill cleaning sets are just a static brush (the static comes from air being pumped through the bristles)
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 08:57 by Professorgb »


 

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