CCD cleaning is not for the faint hearted

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by Dave Ello, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Dave Ello

    Dave Ello Guest

    I cleaned my mate's D100 CCD today (as I do regularly to mine) and it was a
    lengthy affair. The big guy was very patient as I swabbed, hurricane
    blasted, tested and repeated the process for an interminable period of time
    until we got the result we were after. On the way all spots would be gone
    but a giant hair would be left visible. Next round all hair would be gone
    but spots would miraculously appear again. Next attempt and the evaporative
    substance would leave huge crater marks on the (expensive) surface.

    I've done it many times and know that persistance will be rewarded, and of
    course we finally got the bugger clean (other than a single little spot
    which would only be a minor problem (hit "j" in PS) stopped right down).

    Given the regular cleaning requirements of our D100s (especially if you
    shoot from a chopper, low over dirt/grassed areas) it's great to be able to
    do it yourself. Nikon wants $80 per clean (OK, it does take a while) but
    told me it would need my body (errr.... camera) for a week. A week? Of
    course I could hire another one while I waited - which would pay for a new
    D100 after a few cleans...

    Anyway, it can be done and I learned all about it at Thom Hogan's site - . The first time around I almost had an acute myocardial
    infarction when it seemed the camera had just become my most expensive
    paper-weight. Gladly, someone told me to keep trying... carefully! If
    you're interested, I use the Digiclean product from Resolution Technology -
    normally used for med/lge digital backs. No commission for me, just happy
    to be able to do it whenever I need to and hope this helps anyone who is
    suffering the speckled sensor blues.

    Dave Ello, Jan 26, 2004
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  2. Dave Ello

    Lionel Guest

    Thanks for the tip, Dave. I looked at that site, but couldn't find any
    reference to sensor cleaning. Could you post the exact URL, please?
    Where do you buy it?
    Lionel, Jan 26, 2004
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  3. Dave Ello

    Adam F Guest


    Makes that sensor shaker in the Olympus E1 sound like a good idea...

    Adam F
    Adam F, Jan 26, 2004
  4. Dave Ello

    Dave Ello Guest

    Sure - it's at:

    This article really just educates the reader about the whole issue of CCD
    cleaning and the first part covers the bits and pieces that are required to
    do the job. If you buy the kit I mentioned (about $60), you'll have
    everything you need other than a Hurricane blower (but you should have that
    already of course...). So read the whole thing if you like but the
    technique is described after the paragraph... "And so is the technique:".
    (In fact, the technique is also pretty much covered in the kit itself).
    Where Hogan mentions "methanol", the Digiclean kit has 2 liquids named A and
    B (very creative people at Resolution Technology). Blow the sensor clean
    first to get rid of larger stuff and prevent scratching, and then you first
    make a pass with the soapy stuff (item A) and then quickly pass over the CCD
    with a fresh cloth using the methanol-ish stuff (item B) to dry it properly.
    This is the liquid I use multiple times to get it right.

    It's likely you'll have to cut/narrow the bottom of the scraper a little to
    match your CCD width but this is easily done with scissors. Cut the
    lint-free sheets into 3rds to match normal CCDs (such as the D100). You
    will (unless you are lucky) need to use liquid B a number of times before
    you get it right. I suggest you do it away from dust, moving air etc. I
    use my wife's bathroom (usually more 'dust-free' than mine!).

    Another thing - it is not recommended to do this on bulb setting - after
    all, the very first "C" in CCD represents "Charged" and open like this it
    will attract dust like flies to a camel's naughty bits!
    I bought my kit from L&P in Artarmon and you should be able to get them
    anywhere med/lge format digital backs are sold. There are others around but
    I'm told this brand has been designed to handle the $100k CCDs so my measly
    $3k one is no sweat.

    So take a deep breath, find a very clean space and bravely go forward. Of
    course I can only say that I've been pleased with the process and haven't
    had any issues so make sure you are aware of the potential downside and be
    very careful indeed. Ie - of course you do this at your own risk (as the
    camera dealer will say...).

    P.S. I take the kit wherever I travel. In a few weeks I'm heading back to
    Cambodia and Vietnam for a month (where I will have to embrace
    vegetarianism) and will be trapsing around with a ton of gear through very
    dusty places indeed. I'll have to clean the CCD numerous times I suspect
    and would hate to have to rely on having to have it done for me over there!
    Dave Ello, Jan 26, 2004
  5. Dave Ello

    stanb Guest

    Do you have a link for these people ? sound much better that nulab's $154
    for 10 swabs... or 75 at fletchers!
    stanb, Jan 26, 2004
  6. Dave Ello

    Dave Ello Guest

    Their site is but a quick look now hasn't revealed
    anything about this particular product. They make accessories (I'm told)
    for Phase One gear and so it could be worth calling around the pro shops
    (Baltronics, L&P etc.) to see if they sell the product. Incidentally, the
    package contains something like 2 sets of 50 sheets, cut into 3rds makes for
    about approx 300 swabs + the scraper. Great stuff and used by the big end
    of town.

    I'm sure you'll find it - otherwise, call L&P in Sydney (02-9906-2733) and
    they'll probably be able to help you one way or another if you're from out
    of town.

    Dave Ello, Jan 26, 2004
  7. Dave Ello

    stanb Guest

    Thanks - i'll give em a call.... fletchers ( canberra ) charged $75 when the
    10d got dustitus at xmas ....
    stanb, Jan 26, 2004
  8. Dave Ello

    Dave Ello Guest


    Good luck.

    Dave Ello, Jan 26, 2004
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