Sensor Cleaning

I recently joined Canon CPS at the urging of Kelli Nicole because I’ve never had my gear fine tuned and cleaned before, which is a very bad choice. Like driving a car for two years without doing any maintenance on it!

I called Canon for something a few months back, and the guy I talked to gave me some advice for ways I can clean my sensor myself. I thought those of you who own a dSLR might like to give them a try as well. The sensor is absolutely the most important part of your camera. It looks like this:


You should never, ever leave that part of your camera exposed to the elements. When I take my lens off, I very quickly put another lens on, or put the cap on that came with my body. If it’s windy or dusty I turn my back to the wind and try to use my body to shield the sensor if I’m going to switch lenses. Keep that sensor safe!

As I said a nice man at Canon gave me a few tips regarding sensor cleaning at home.

Before I give them to you, read this next sentence. Google sensor cleaning and read up on things yourself before you try any of these! You could void your warranty/ruin your camera if you do things wrong.

If you’re willing to take a chance like I did, try these suggestions:

1. Take a reference shot of the sky at f16 or f22. You are taking a shot of the sky because you want to have a white/light blue/blank slate to look for spots  in the picture, indicating you have dust on the lens. You want to use the sky because you’re going to need a lot of light when shooting at f22!

2. Initiate manual cleaning mode in the menu under sensor clean

3. Take a second reference shot of the sky at f16 or f22

4. Find a rubber squeeze bulb (like for infants, an unused one, not one full of ear wax or snot)

5. Take off the lens and hold camera up over head and turn upside down, take rubber squeeze bulb and shoot into the sensor

6. NO CANNED AIR. Never spray canned air toward your sensor.

If that doesn’t work (it didn’t work for me) you’re going to have to turn to Canon/Nikon/Sony/Olympus/Etc, or a reputable local camera store to clean your camera up so you don’t have to spend time Photoshopping black spots off your subject’s faces like I did for one of my weddings last year!

6 thoughts on “Sensor Cleaning

  1. That is likely the problem with our wedding pictures. Lots of little black dots. So frustrating! Wishing we had hired a photographer!

  2. I really need to clean my sensor – I have a weird little sticky tool from pentax that picks up dust and then you deposit it on a piece of special paper. I’ve cleaned the mirror and the part of the camera where the light is directed up to the eye piece, but never the sensor. I should probably do it one of these days as I have some lovely black spots that don’t seem to go away with just cleaning my lens. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  3. You can buy a sensor cleaning kit as well that uses some cleaning cloths and cleaning fluid. Once you get over the fear of touching the sensor like I did, it’s actually pretty easy and effective.

  4. I used to own a digital SLR when they first came out, it is pretty scary to say the least when you do take the lens off and clean it for the first time. Glad to know things are ok and your camera is alright. Love your pictures

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