Cleaning the DSLR Sensor

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At some stage, you will get foreign matter such as specks of dust on the low-pass filter that protects the sensor in your digital SLR camera. Annoying spots will appear on your images, especially in clear areas such as sky, so the sensor will have to be cleaned.You can send the camera to the manufacturer or an appointed tech rep; take it to a pro camera store that offers a cleaning service; or do it yourself. In the field, the DIY option is the most practical and you should learn how to do basic cleaning.Your camera's manual will have instructions on holding the mirror up to give you access to the filter and other advice. This is a very fragile component of the digital camera, and it should be cleaned very carefully.

Using a large blower brush is a common cleaning method. While this will remove the dust from the filter, it might not clear it from the camera. Point the camera downwards during the cleaning operation. Make sure the brush bristles are clean and dry, and not contaminated, even with something like oil from your fingers.

Some photographers use a blower brush as a small vacuum—remove the brush, depress the bulb, and suck the offending particles out. Special small vacuums are also made for this task. Other methods include swab and liquid cleaners such as methanol; this is popular with professional cleaning facilities.

If you feel uncomfortable cleaning the filter, have it done professionally. Excellent online resources for advice on cleaning digital sensors—and what not to do—are

www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com and www.micro-tools.com.

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