Dust Spots – How Do I Clean The Sensor?

Dust Spots – How Do I Clean The Sensor?


It’s a problem we all eventually have no matter how careful you try and be with your equipment. I’m talking about those annoying dust spots that show up in your DSLR photos. They can be a slight issue or a real problem depending on how bad the situation is. I’ve seen some very very terribly dirty sensors, like a shovel of dirt was tossed into camera. It’s really amazing at how poor some people are in their efforts in camera care and/or cleaning. A little effort goes a long way, and I’ll be showing you in the video below. The process of committing to physically touching your sensor to clean it is not a task that should be taken lightly, as you can really damage the sensor, but if you execute with care and use the right tools, it will turn out just fine. We’ll be covering how dust gets there, how to look for it, and how to clean it.

This is the first of what I hope to be many little video tips I put together. It’s nothing fancy, and I really tried to keep it simple. There are too many people trying to sound smart and/or experience when giving advice, using terms or situations that go right over newer photographer’s heads. The whole point of this video is education, so I try to make it as easy to follow as possible, and speak English in relative terms. When I think I cover material that is not exactly general knowledge, I step you through it or give you some kind of visual.

I was also extremely surprised to see how much misinformation there is floating around out there, especially from folks trying to tell you how to do it, and doing it wrong. Rest assured, the methods I discuss in this video are repeated with other legit professionals that actually know what they are doing.

Enjoy the video, and please leave your questions in the comment block below. I’m sure you are not the only one with questions, and it may help improve the video in the future. Even leave a comment about a short video tip you’d like to see. I really want to see you guys get the right knowledge in your hands and have a fun, easy learning experience. Let me know how I can help!
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  1. If you suspect dust spots, take test photo (as described in the video).
  2. Check problem areas, starting with the front element of the lens.
  3. If determined that the sensor is dirty, follow these next steps in order to rid sensor of dust.
  4. Remember – always hold the camera body pointing down as much as you can to keep dust from falling in.
  5. Use air puffer, then take another test image. If that fails to work, move to brush.
  6. Carefully use sensor brush (only brushes designed to do this, don’t go cheap), test with another image.
  7. If the problem dirt can’t be brushed, you’ll have to go to the swabs (again, use products designed specifically for this).

Remember to always start with the least invasive methods first. I was able to use just an air puffer on a camera for a couple years before having to touch the sensor with a brush. Only clean the sensor when dust gets noticeable.

Sensor Brush Covered in detail in this video: Arctic Butterfly 788