Last week’s meeting: Sensor cleaning with Peter Brogden of Just and Robert from Imagex Bicester

Last week’s meeting: Sensor cleaning with Peter Brogden of Just and Robert from Imagex Bicester


Peter gave a very entertaining and instructive talk about why and how to clean that all important camera sensor. He started by showing us a house of horrors of poor or no existent care of camera and lens, a sort of Darwin Awards for photographic equipment maintenance.


Cameras are not hermetically sealed boxes and dust will get inside. If you are using a zoom lens each time you zoom in and out you are forcing air, and therefore dust, into the camera. Each time you change a lens then dust is more than likely to enter the camera. That dust will settle on, not necessarily the sensor, but on the Low Pass filter that sits in front of the sensor. See diagram below.


Peter ran through the sequence of cleaning, starting with how to discover there is dust on the sensor (it’s actually on the Low-pass filter but for the purpose of he talk he used sensor all the time).


First, take a photo of a blue sky or a piece paper using a small aperture, say f22. Then in your photo editing software bring down the whites and blacks and the dust will appear as blotches in the image.


If you have a DSLR then make sure your batteries are fully charged. Then remove the lens and lock up your mirror. You’ll have to consult your camera manual to find out how to do this. Don’t touch the mirror and never touch the shutter blades. With mirrorless cameras the sensor is usually visible once the lens is removed. Dust is everywhere so keep everything near the camera clean while you have the camera lens off.


Then on to the dry-cleaning stage. You need to remove any debris on the sensor and use a ‘blower’ for this, never use canned and compressed air. Never use a blower on a micro 4/3 camera as it will blow debris behind the low pass filter and on to the sensor.


Once the blower stage is over then use a silicone pad and dab it on the sensor four times, once in each corner. Peter recommends Dust Air Platinum, other makes are available.


Take some test shots after this to see how clean the sensor is.


Next and final stage is the wet clean using swabs and cleaning solution. Squeeze a few drops of the solution on the end of the swab, insert it into the camera, start one side of the sensor, swipe across the sensor to the other end, reverse the swab and swipe back to the start. That’s it.


Take another test shot. If there is only a couple of dust marks then consider it done. Avoid using multiple swabs to get rid of elusive spots. If you want further instructions see link here:


Robert of Imagex had various camera, lens and sensor cleaning equipment available in the Band Hall and said that he has a studio available at a special rate for camera clubs. He can set up three areas of the studio with lights for an evening’s hire. If a number of members are interested in having a studio session, following on from our studio lighting evening with Brian and Emma a couple of weeks ago, the please do let me know and we’ll look at organising a session, or maybe a number of sessions.


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Oxford Photographic Society