Is this a sign of a dirty sensor?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John H. Power, Sep 11, 2003.

  1. I consistently have several spots on my 10D photos in exactly the same
    place and with any lens I use. The best example is when I take a
    photo with a blue sky. The spots are in the upper left hand side of
    the photo and they look like someone has taken an eyedropper and
    dropped a few drops of water on the photo that dried out and left a
    water stain. The area in question is slightly darker than the rest of
    the sky.

    I could probably post a link to an example but I thought I would start
    with a description.

    I removed the lens and blew into the camera cavity to see if I could
    dislodge any stray dust, but the spots remain. I see the mirror and
    the sensor behind it but I am not sure how to clean either. I know
    the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor but I have not tried
    that. Can you just wipe off the mirror with a soft cloth? Maybe
    there is something on that...

    Thanks
     
    John H. Power, Sep 11, 2003
    #1
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  2. John H. Power

    Boomer Guest

    John H. Power wrote:

    > I consistently have several spots on my 10D photos
    > in exactly the same place and with any lens I use ....


    And suspect a dirty sensor, so you ...

    > ... could probably post a link to an example but I thought
    > I would start with a description.


    Since a hundred words are worth a picture?

    > I removed the lens and blew into the camera cavity ....


    Wow.

    > I know the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor
    > but I have not tried that ....


    That would be too simple.

    > Can you just wipe off the mirror with a soft cloth?
    > Maybe there is something on that ....


    Woof!

    Anyway, sorry for the sarcasm. You've just provided
    an easy target by ... well, by doing everything wrong
    you could possibly do.

    Your description fits a dirty sensor.

    NEVER take the lens off and "blow inside the cavity"
    unless you're a technician in a clean room who knows
    what he's doing and has verifiably clean air.

    Always provide sample images.

    Always follow manual instructions first.

    Mirror surface defects do not influence the final image.

    Wiping the mirror "with a soft cloth" will probably
    introduce even more dust into the "camera cavity."

    So aside from that, Mr. Lincoln, how did you enjoy
    the play?

    By the way, cleaning a sensor is NOT for the novice.
    With the skill level you've demonstrated (nothing
    wrong with being a novice -- we all started there)
    I'd get professional help. Take your camera to an
    authorized service center.
     
    Boomer, Sep 11, 2003
    #2
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  3. John H. Power

    reg-john Guest

    shutup knob


    "Boomer" <> wrote in message
    news:...
     
    reg-john, Sep 11, 2003
    #3
  4. John H. Power

    Guest

    On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 15:26:59 -0500, "Boomer"
    <> wrote:

    >John H. Power wrote:
    >
    >> I consistently have several spots on my 10D photos
    >> in exactly the same place and with any lens I use ....

    >
    >And suspect a dirty sensor, so you ...
    >
    >> ... could probably post a link to an example but I thought
    >> I would start with a description.

    >
    >Since a hundred words are worth a picture?
    >
    >> I removed the lens and blew into the camera cavity ....

    >
    >Wow.
    >
    >> I know the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor
    >> but I have not tried that ....

    >
    >That would be too simple.
    >
    >> Can you just wipe off the mirror with a soft cloth?
    >> Maybe there is something on that ....

    >
    >Woof!
    >
    >Anyway, sorry for the sarcasm. You've just provided
    >an easy target by ... well, by doing everything wrong
    >you could possibly do.
    >
    >Your description fits a dirty sensor.
    >
    >NEVER take the lens off and "blow inside the cavity"
    >unless you're a technician in a clean room who knows
    >what he's doing and has verifiably clean air.
    >
    >Always provide sample images.
    >
    >Always follow manual instructions first.
    >
    >Mirror surface defects do not influence the final image.
    >
    >Wiping the mirror "with a soft cloth" will probably
    >introduce even more dust into the "camera cavity."
    >
    >So aside from that, Mr. Lincoln, how did you enjoy
    >the play?
    >
    >By the way, cleaning a sensor is NOT for the novice.
    >With the skill level you've demonstrated (nothing
    >wrong with being a novice -- we all started there)
    >I'd get professional help. Take your camera to an
    >authorized service center.
    >
    >

    Thank you for nothing sir. Your condescending and patronizing attitude
    is unappreciated.

    I will wait and hope someone with a bit more civility makes a
    suggestion. And I am nowhere close to a an authorized service center.
     
    , Sep 11, 2003
    #4
  5. John H. Power

    Tom Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 15:26:59 -0500, "Boomer"
    > <> wrote:
    > >By the way, cleaning a sensor is NOT for the novice.
    > >With the skill level you've demonstrated (nothing
    > >wrong with being a novice -- we all started there)
    > >I'd get professional help. Take your camera to an
    > >authorized service center.
    > >
    > >

    > Thank you for nothing sir. Your condescending and patronizing attitude
    > is unappreciated.


    And your response is moronic.


    > I will wait and hope someone with a bit more civility makes a
    > suggestion. And I am nowhere close to a an authorized service center.



    Jesus, he didn't tell you to WALK to the damn service center. Ever heard of
    the Postal Service? What WILL old Ben come up with next?

    You ring in here admitting you are too lazy to read the instructions that
    came with your camera and are surprised to be subjected to a bit of leg
    pulling?

    Read the instructions.

    Or better yet, go ahead and spit into your camera. That'll do it. Rub it
    around good with your shirt tail when you are done.

    Tom
     
    Tom, Sep 11, 2003
    #5
  6. John H. Power

    Jim Townsend Guest

    John H. Power wrote:

    > I consistently have several spots on my 10D photos in exactly the same
    > place and with any lens I use. The best example is when I take a
    > photo with a blue sky. The spots are in the upper left hand side of
    > the photo and they look like someone has taken an eyedropper and
    > dropped a few drops of water on the photo that dried out and left a
    > water stain. The area in question is slightly darker than the rest of
    > the sky.
    >
    > I could probably post a link to an example but I thought I would start
    > with a description.
    >
    > I removed the lens and blew into the camera cavity to see if I could
    > dislodge any stray dust, but the spots remain. I see the mirror and
    > the sensor behind it but I am not sure how to clean either. I know
    > the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor but I have not tried
    > that. Can you just wipe off the mirror with a soft cloth? Maybe
    > there is something on that...



    Sounds just like sensor dust..

    DO NOT TOUCH THE MIRROR WITH ANYTHING.. That's what does the focusing.. A bit
    of visible dust on the mirror will make no difference. Get a bulb blower
    without the brush tip. (Don't touch the sensor with a dry brush and never use
    your breath).

    Set the camera in sensor clean mode and GENTLY blow off the sensor with the
    bulb blower. If things are really bad, you might have to wet clean with a
    swab.

    Canon does not endorse wet cleaning the sensor. But.. actually you can if
    you're careful. The sensor has a protective coating over top of it. I think
    Canon tells you not to wet clean because they don't want to open themselves to
    claims by ham-handed users who've mangled the sensor following a procedure
    Canon endorsed. It also costs them business at their service centers.

    Here's some reading.. You can decide the best course of action on your own:

    http://www.bythom.com/cleaning.htm

    http://www.rogercavanagh.com/helpinfo/09_cleaning.htm

    http://luminous-landscape.com/essays/sensor-cleaning.shtml
     
    Jim Townsend, Sep 12, 2003
    #6
  7. John H. Power

    jriegle Guest

    The mirror reflects the light up onto the focusing screen. The mirror pivots
    up out of the light path during exposure therefore, is not involved in the
    image process during exposure. It is the reason the viewfinder goes dark
    during the exposure on SLRs. Tiny bits of dust on the mirror will likely not
    show in the viewfinder because they will not be in focus. OTOH, Dust on the
    focussing screen will be visible in the viewfinder, but not in the images
    either.

    The mirror is front silvered and is quite delicate. There are special fluids
    and lint free materials for proper cleaning. Be carefull when using.

    The image sensor in yours and other cameras have a glass plate covering the
    actual sensor field. Since it is not in a the plane of focus, dust may look
    like water spots on it. The plate usually will have an anti-reflective
    coating on it and perhaps an infrared radiation filter integrated. The AR
    coating is fairly durable, such as on the lenses, but you must be careful
    and not damage it because (unless Canon is doing something different) the
    plate is a integral part of the imaging chip. If you damage it, the whole
    thing has to get replaced.

    John

    "John H. Power" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I consistently have several spots on my 10D photos in exactly the same
    > place and with any lens I use. The best example is when I take a
    > photo with a blue sky. The spots are in the upper left hand side of
    > the photo and they look like someone has taken an eyedropper and
    > dropped a few drops of water on the photo that dried out and left a
    > water stain. The area in question is slightly darker than the rest of
    > the sky.
    >
    > I could probably post a link to an example but I thought I would start
    > with a description.
    >
    > I removed the lens and blew into the camera cavity to see if I could
    > dislodge any stray dust, but the spots remain. I see the mirror and
    > the sensor behind it but I am not sure how to clean either. I know
    > the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor but I have not tried
    > that. Can you just wipe off the mirror with a soft cloth? Maybe
    > there is something on that...
    >
    > Thanks
     
    jriegle, Sep 12, 2003
    #7
  8. John H. Power

    Guest

    On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 22:16:17 GMT, "Tom"
    <> wrote:

    >
    ><> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 15:26:59 -0500, "Boomer"
    >> <> wrote:
    >> >By the way, cleaning a sensor is NOT for the novice.
    >> >With the skill level you've demonstrated (nothing
    >> >wrong with being a novice -- we all started there)
    >> >I'd get professional help. Take your camera to an
    >> >authorized service center.
    >> >
    >> >

    >> Thank you for nothing sir. Your condescending and patronizing attitude
    >> is unappreciated.

    >
    >And your response is moronic.
    >
    >
    >> I will wait and hope someone with a bit more civility makes a
    >> suggestion. And I am nowhere close to a an authorized service center.

    >
    >
    >Jesus, he didn't tell you to WALK to the damn service center. Ever heard of
    >the Postal Service? What WILL old Ben come up with next?
    >
    >You ring in here admitting you are too lazy to read the instructions that
    >came with your camera and are surprised to be subjected to a bit of leg
    >pulling?
    >
    >Read the instructions.
    >
    >Or better yet, go ahead and spit into your camera. That'll do it. Rub it
    >around good with your shirt tail when you are done.
    >
    >Tom
    >


    Yet another jerk
     
    , Sep 12, 2003
    #8
  9. John H. Power

    Guest

    On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 22:46:00 GMT, Todd Walker <>
    wrote:

    >In article <>,
    > says...
    >> I consistently have several spots on my 10D photos in exactly the same
    >> place and with any lens I use. The best example is when I take a
    >> photo with a blue sky. The spots are in the upper left hand side of
    >> the photo and they look like someone has taken an eyedropper and
    >> dropped a few drops of water on the photo that dried out and left a
    >> water stain. The area in question is slightly darker than the rest of
    >> the sky.
    >>
    >> I could probably post a link to an example but I thought I would start
    >> with a description.
    >>
    >> I removed the lens and blew into the camera cavity to see if I could
    >> dislodge any stray dust, but the spots remain. I see the mirror and
    >> the sensor behind it but I am not sure how to clean either. I know
    >> the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor but I have not tried
    >> that. Can you just wipe off the mirror with a soft cloth? Maybe
    >> there is something on that...
    >>
    >> Thanks
    >>

    >
    >John,
    >
    >Yes you have a dirty sensor. Don't bother trying to clean the mirror --
    >if there is something on it, it wouldn't effect the final images that
    >come out of your camera, you would just see the "dirt" through the
    >viewfinder.
    >
    >Since we have established that it's your sensor that's dirty, let's talk
    >about cleaning it. First of all, it is VERY easy to damge the sensor by
    >trying to clean it and if you do this, Canon will not repair it under
    >warranty. Here is a link to a page that outlines in excellent detail
    >exactly how to clean the sensor:
    >
    >http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/ccd_cleaning
    >
    >If you attempt this, follow his instructions TO THE LETTER. Only use Pec
    >Pads to clean it -- not Kleenex, Q-Tips, or anything else. Just Pec
    >Pads. Only use Eclipse cleaning solution -- not alcohol (PLEASE not
    >alcohol,) or anything else. Just Eclipse.
    >
    >You have to be ***VERY*** careful as one wrong move will render your
    >$1500 camera useless. If you decide to try this and mess it up, don't
    >say I didn't warn ya :)


    Thanks Todd. I was reluctant to try and clean the sensor via the
    manual's instruction because it makes the whole process sound
    dangerous. That's why I posted my question

    Thanks to you and the others who made constructive comments. Having
    participated in NGs for sometimes, this group is no exception to the
    general rule that there is always a small minority of jerks in every
    group.
     
    , Sep 12, 2003
    #9
  10. John H. Power

    Todd Walker Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > Thanks to you and the others who made constructive comments. Having
    > participated in NGs for sometimes, this group is no exception to the
    > general rule that there is always a small minority of jerks in every
    > group.
    >


    Yep. Thankfully we have a pretty good ratio of helpful people to jerks
    around here :)

    --
    ________________________________
    Todd Walker
    http://twalker.d2g.com
    Canon 10D:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/canon10d
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/dpblog.htm
    _________________________________
     
    Todd Walker, Sep 12, 2003
    #10
  11. John H. Power

    JohnO Guest

    John H. Power <> wrote:

    > I know
    > the manual has a section on cleaning the sensor but I have not tried
    > that.


    Read the manual, carefully! They warn you.

    I had a speck on my sensor last week and was a little nervous about it
    (it was either a speck of dust or a ghost :)

    Get a blower brush ... remove the brush. Remove lens, find the "CLEAN
    SENSOR" setting on your menu. That will move the mirror up and ***
    without touching *** the sensor blow it using the blower brush (w/o
    brush). If I remember, when you shut the camera off, the mirror drops
    back to position. Be sure to read the instructions first (in case I
    got it wrong).

    It worked for me ... here's hoping!
     
    JohnO, Sep 12, 2003
    #11
  12. John H. Power

    Rafe B. Guest

    On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 21:10:38 -0400, wrote:


    >Thanks Todd. I was reluctant to try and clean the sensor via the
    >manual's instruction because it makes the whole process sound
    >dangerous. That's why I posted my question
    >
    >Thanks to you and the others who made constructive comments. Having
    >participated in NGs for sometimes, this group is no exception to the
    >general rule that there is always a small minority of jerks in every
    >group.




    You have discovered the achilles heel of digital SLRs.

    On the one hand you have a system that's guaranteed
    to get dirty over time. Heck, my 10D was less than a week
    old before I first noticed those spots.

    On the other hand, you've got Canon saying officially not
    to touch the sensor under any circumstances. The only
    tool or procedure they'll officially allow is a blower bulb.

    On the other hand you've got several websites describing
    a procedure involving Pec Wipes and a certain kind of
    cleaning fluid. But the guys posting this stuff won't
    buy you a new 10D if you screw yours up while attempting
    the procedures they describe. (Nor will I...)

    What to do?

    So far, for me, the dust spots aren't bad enough to warrant
    the risk of the Pec-wipe procedure.

    Personally, I've been making do with a short, careful, well-
    aimed blast from a can of dust-off (Kensington "Duster II")
    taking care to ensure that no liquid propellant can come
    out. (It won't, if you're the least bit careful.)

    Before aiming this at the camera, aim several short blasts
    onto your hand or wrist to make sure that only gas is coming
    out of the can. NEVER invert the can -- before, during, or
    after the CCD-cleaning blast.

    Be very careful where you aim the straw and don't let
    the straw get too close to the surface of the CCD. Hold
    the can steady and always upright.

    YMMV and use any of this "advice" at your own risk.


    rafe b.
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Rafe B., Sep 12, 2003
    #12
  13. John H. Power

    Todd Walker Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > Personally, I've been making do with a short, careful, well-
    > aimed blast from a can of dust-off (Kensington "Duster II")
    > taking care to ensure that no liquid propellant can come
    > out. (It won't, if you're the least bit careful.)
    >


    I'd be a lot more comfortable with the PecPad method. I haven't had to
    clean mine yet but when I do, that's the route I'll go. The spray air
    seems too risky to me.

    --
    ________________________________
    Todd Walker
    http://twalker.d2g.com
    Canon 10D:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/canon10d
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/dpblog.htm
    _________________________________
     
    Todd Walker, Sep 12, 2003
    #13
  14. John H. Power

    Rafe B. Guest

    On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 04:18:29 GMT, Todd Walker <>
    wrote:

    >In article <>,
    > says...
    >> Personally, I've been making do with a short, careful, well-
    >> aimed blast from a can of dust-off (Kensington "Duster II")
    >> taking care to ensure that no liquid propellant can come
    >> out. (It won't, if you're the least bit careful.)
    >>

    >
    >I'd be a lot more comfortable with the PecPad method. I haven't had to
    >clean mine yet but when I do, that's the route I'll go. The spray air
    >seems too risky to me.



    It's your camera, do what you gotta do. I feel the same way
    about the Pec wipes.

    Unfortunately this is a situation that the manufacturers have
    put us in. The "approved" cleaning procedure is rather
    ineffective, and the really effective procedures each have
    some element of risk involved.

    Of course the other option is to send your camera in to an
    "official" Nikon/Canon/Fuji service center for cleaning...
    frankly, that would be my last option, for any number of
    reasons.



    rafe b.
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Rafe B., Sep 12, 2003
    #14
  15. John H. Power

    Todd Walker Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > Of course the other option is to send your camera in to an
    > "official" Nikon/Canon/Fuji service center for cleaning...
    > frankly, that would be my last option, for any number of
    > reasons.
    >


    I'm with ya there Rafe :)

    --
    ________________________________
    Todd Walker
    http://twalker.d2g.com
    Canon 10D:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/canon10d
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/dpblog.htm
    _________________________________
     
    Todd Walker, Sep 12, 2003
    #15
  16. John H. Power

    Max Burke Guest

    > Todd Walker scribbled:

    Dont the sensors in these cameras have a protective high quality optical
    glass cover on the sensor?
    Is cleaning the sensor cleaning the actual surface of the sensor?

    I can understand why they may not have due to the possibility of image
    degradation with an extra piece of glass in the light path, but I would
    have thought that it is technically possible to design a protective
    cover into such a camera....

    snip.


    --
    mlvburke@#%&*.net.nz
    Replace the obvious with paradise to email me.
    See Found Images at:
    http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/~mlvburke
     
    Max Burke, Sep 12, 2003
    #16
  17. John H. Power

    Todd Walker Guest

    In article <Cue8b.783$>, mlvburke@%$%# says...
    > > Todd Walker scribbled:

    >
    > Dont the sensors in these cameras have a protective high quality optical
    > glass cover on the sensor?
    > Is cleaning the sensor cleaning the actual surface of the sensor?
    >
    > I can understand why they may not have due to the possibility of image
    > degradation with an extra piece of glass in the light path, but I would
    > have thought that it is technically possible to design a protective
    > cover into such a camera....
    >
    > snip.


    Actually what you are cleaning is the anti-aliasing filter. But it is
    fragile as well (although not as fragile as the sensor itself) and must
    be treated with great care.

    --
    ________________________________
    Todd Walker
    http://twalker.d2g.com
    Canon 10D:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/canon10d
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/dpblog.htm
    _________________________________
     
    Todd Walker, Sep 12, 2003
    #17
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