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cleaning your dslr

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  • #887
    prair
    Participant

    i just ordered a canon 30d, and they were trying to sell me an extended warranty with the promise that the yearly cleanings would more than make up for it.

    for those with dslr cameras, how often do you get it cleaned/clean it? do you take it somewhere, or do it yourself? what do you recommend?

    #8639
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    I haven’t cleaned mine, and I’m not sure if I will. I generally take a bulb blower (rocket type) to it when I notice stuff on it at high aperture, and for the most part, I don’t have too much of a problem with it. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to clean it myself or not. Just about any cleaning method beyond the blower runs some risk of scratching the sensor, though I know plenty of people who do it with some regularity and have had no problems. From what I understand, Canon’s 1 year warranty includes one cleaning by them, and I’m considering taking them up on it when my 30d’s year is nearly up. Course that means I have to part with my preciousss and send her back to them, but their turn-around time is pretty good if my experience with them in December is any indication (sent back my A620 for a warrantied repair and had it back less than 2 weeks after I sent it to them).

    I’m curious about this extended warranty, though. Is that through the shop you’re ordering through or through Canon itself? I don’t recall there being a Canon-issued extended warranty, so I’m wondering if (like Best Buy and their extended warranties) how much of a value it really is…

    #8640
    Curious
    Participant

    my konica/minolta maxxun 7D has instructions in the manual about cleaning the sensor and a special setting that will lock the mirror up. they recommend the bulb blower and provide one. it kinda pissy. a better blower is in the works.

    here is an article on cleaning http://www.peakoverload.com/blog/photography/sensor-cleaning.html that includes the “rocket” blower Elsinore mentioned. i’ve done it a couple of times without messing anything up. YMMV

    good luck.

    and personally i stay away from ALL extended warranties. but that’s me. again YMMV

    #8641
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    Yep, the 30D has a sensor cleaning mirror lock up mode, too (which is how I use the blower). Be sure your battery is on a fresh charge, though the camera will basically refuse to go into that mode if the battery is too low.

    Curious, are you using a cleaning method other than the blower?

    #8642
    Curious
    Participant

    i did do the brush once but need to get a better one of those also. the one that came with the camera left bristles behind the blower barely got off. i had two or three really noticeable dust spots when i first started using the camera. by cleaning twice i’ve been able to make those two almost not noticeable spots. the spots are both smaller now and in an area off the center of the frame.

    there isn’t a camera store here in town anymore and i haven’t made the trip to the next town west that has one.

    #8643
    staplermofo
    Participant

    there isn’t a camera store here in town anymore and i haven’t made the trip to the next town west that has one.

    All this time I thought “southeast LA” meant you were in the barrio.

    #8644
    Curious
    Participant

    for about 6 weeks in early 1967 i dated a woman who lived there. it was an interesting experience in many ways.

    that was roughly a year after getting to spend some time with folks from south central LA.

    all in all life enriching times.

    #8645
    prair
    Participant

    the extended warranty was through the company selling it to me, and as i am not a fan of them, i didn’t get it. i think it was around $250 for 2 years, and i didn’t know off the top of my head how much a cleaning would actually cost. good to know that a basic cleaning is something a person can do herself.

    #8646
    Curious
    Participant

    prair be sure you have the proper cleaning tools. read the link i provided BEFORE doing anything. it is possible to damage the sensor if you aren’t very careful.

    that said you made a good choice not getting the extended warranty.

    and good luck with your cleaning. i would recommend shooting some shots of the sky or a white background or something similar that will let you see just where and how bad any dust spots are. they will show up as black spots. or perhaps just faint light gray spots. it may be that any dust you have (or get) is not noticeable in your normal pictures. i got mine clean to the point that the remaining spots aren’t seen 95% of the time. and even when they show up it takes someone with a semi trained eye to see them.

    #8647
    renko
    Participant

    Forget the extended warranty. It is just a scam anyway.

    Besides, you’re going to want to be able to clean the sensor at your convenience and not wait for a shop. Dust particles get on the sensor at the most annoying times and you’re not going to want to wait for service. Instead do it yourself.

    That link Curious provides gives good instructions, specifically to set the camera to f/22, focus at infinity, and shoot a neutral continuous background like a cloudless (or smoothly overcast) sky. The dust particles are not actually on the sensor, they are on a piece of glass that is in front of the sensor, and so at f/22 and infinity focus the depth of field is such that you can actually SEE the dust.

    I use the Visible Dust “Arctic Butterfly model 724” and it works brilliantly. It is a hand-held brush system about the size of an electric toothbrush, it has batteries and an electric motor; you spin the brush for 15 seconds to fling off old dust and give the brush a static charge (the bristles are nylon of some kind so when the brush spins the bristles rub against each other and build up charge), and then lightly sweep the sensor (do NOT spin the brush on the sensor!).

    You can also buy solution and swabs if the sensor gets really filthy, but I think you’d need to leave the body cap off and walk around in a dusty attic for that to be necessary.

    #8648
    prair
    Participant

    thanks everyone. i bookmarked that link so i will be ready to clean my camera when i start noticing spots.

    #8649
    Analogy
    Participant

    I haven’t noticed any dust problems with my 30D under normal use (I pretty much always shoot faster than f/8) until one day I stopped down to f/32 to try to force a long exposure in bright light and my picture had all these hairs and dust spots in it… Well, the lens I was using was like 10 years old and you can see dust and hairs inside it when you look through it so I figured that was what was going on. Until I got the same problem with my brand new L lens. Yup, I’ve got sensor dust. Only had the camera for about 2 months!

    #8650
    anneb
    Participant

    i just ordered a canon 30d, and they were trying to sell me an extended warranty with the promise that the yearly cleanings would more than make up for it.

    for those with dslr cameras, how often do you get it cleaned/clean it? do you take it somewhere, or do it yourself? what do you recommend?

    I’ve only had my D70 sent out for cleaning, once. I give you “Exhibit A”:

    (http://www.flickr.com/photos/10558282@N00/397829099/)

    I think for the most part, it depends on how you’re going to use it. If you’re not swapping lenses very often, and if, when you are, you’re not doing so exposed, out in the wind, you may well not need it. I’m more likely to carry two bodies around with me now. I shoot a lot of prep sports, and I want both super long and tight range, sometimes within a few seconds of each other. When I do swap lenses out, it’s under reasonable shelter. Both before and after that episode at the kite festival- when I got careless in part because I hadn’t had problems up till then- I’ve not really had any problems with sensor dandruff.

    The helpful folks at Penn Camera stressed to me, though: no brush, no compressed air, only the little hand-sqeezed poofy blower. You don’t want to press the dust against the sensor with enough force to damage it, and bristles or forced air can potentially both do just that.

    #8651
    Curious
    Participant

    bought a super deluxe blower yesterday to clean my sensor. shot these two pictures one on the way to the camera store and one after getting home and using the blower. it looks like it worked just fine.

    these pictures are 1024 pixels wide. the dust is just right and above center. the first cleaning (see my feb 11 post) worked ok but as you can see when there is too much sky the spots showed.

    before http://farm1.static.flickr.com/243/522201778_4e1a80fe3a_b.jpg

    after http://farm1.static.flickr.com/248/522201792_fa58bc9fac_b.jpg

    #8652
    Analogy
    Participant

    I ran across this video on the Strobist blog. Seems like a good way to do it.

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