Dust on sensor, Sensor Brush = hogwash solution?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by MeMe, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. MeMe

    MeMe Guest

    I see the most recommended treatment /du jour/ for the vexing "dust
    specks on sensor" with digital SLRs is a brush that is charged up by
    spraying it with compressed air. Problem is, the company selling these
    brushes is extorting money from people, IMO, by charging around $100 for
    an item with a manufacture cost of pennies.

    Their website (http://www.visibledust.com) states that an ordinary nylon
    brush cannot be used for the following reasons:

    "Sensor Brushâ„¢ has been designed from the start specifically as a
    cleaning tool for delicate objects. There are many types of brushes in
    the market but they are not designed to be sensor-cleaning tools. For
    example, glues used in traditional brushes are quite destructive to the
    surface of the ND filter glass or cover glass. The polymers contained in
    many traditional brushes will cause a fatigued look on the glass due to
    the staining of the sensor. There are also many deformities in the
    brushes that are not visible by naked eyes. They can cause severe damage
    by creating microscopic scratches, which after accumulating overtime
    will create a fatigued look or catheter vision. We have done a lot of
    research in these brushes to bring the highest quality products made for
    the exact purpose of removing dust from delicate objects."

    I think this is absolute hogwash!

    - The glues used in synthetic brushes are in the ferrule, and will never
    contact the sensor surface.

    - Polymers (plastics) "staining" the sensor from an occasion light wipe
    on the surface? Balderdash! Maybe -- MAYBE -- if you let the brush rest
    for months against the sensor cover (also a plastic), some interaction
    may occur, but I doubt it.

    - Deformities in the brush not visible to the naked eye?! LOL! I have
    inspected a typical nylon artist's brush with a microscope and I see
    nary a "deformity" anywhere.

    This "Sensor Brush (TM)" product will surely go down in the history of
    photography as one of the worst scams of all time. How we are all going
    to laugh in years to come!

    I encourage everyone to go to an art supply store and buy a high quality
    nylon brush for a couple of dollars, and a can of compressed air. Voila!
    MeMe, Feb 10, 2005
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  2. MeMe

    RichA Guest

    The only brushes that ever worked in an anti-static capacity
    were for vinyl records and were treated with polonium.
    RichA, Feb 10, 2005
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  3. MeMe

    RichA Guest

    The photography market has always been rife with
    fraud. I once saw a darkroom faucet "adapter" that
    cost $50 and split one faucet output into two.
    Turns out, it was a hardware store hose splitter
    worth about $6.00.
    RichA, Feb 10, 2005
  4. MeMe

    Jason P. Guest

    Although you make good points about this product... I would never recommend
    using compressed air in the chamber of a digital camera. If you use an
    aerosol/compressed air it becomes very easy get liquid proplent on the CCD.
    I also usually recommend against using a brush of any kind... as the
    bristles can damage the extremely delicate filters that sit overtop of the
    sensor. Best idea - a blower... which you can get for a few bucks from any
    camera store.
    Jason P., Feb 10, 2005
  5. MeMe

    George Guest

    And those ionized the air around them (i.e., made the air electrically
    Now, since you have to have your dSLR POWERED to have the mirror up
    while cleaning the sensor, are you sure you want to introduce randomly
    electrical paths?

    George, Feb 10, 2005
  6. MeMe

    Alan Adrian Guest

    In the case of a Sensor Brush, the air is to charge and clean the brush ...
    it's used away from the camera.

    I myself view the Sensor Brush as a case of someone trying to capitilize on
    a bit of research into what works best, and some added value of clean room
    (I hope) techniques in packaging... But If I am looking forward to the day
    that the research gets into the public domain (someone else does some
    looking and reports it to the Internet),and a known source for the
    appropriate (clean) brush...

    So that we can pay the $3 worth of materials and shipping, instead of the
    gross amount currently charged.

    Alan Adrian, Feb 10, 2005
  7. MeMe

    Alan Browne Guest

    Better to vacuum. Blowers move things around and drive particles ever deeper
    into the camera to cause future problems or merely come back and repeat what
    they were doing. A very low pressure vacuum, mind you, with a light brushing to
    dislodge particles.
    Alan Browne, Feb 10, 2005
  8. MeMe

    Clyde Guest

    When you vacuum, where does the air come from? Yes, I know it comes from
    inside the camera. When you pull that air out, it gets replaced with air
    from somewhere else. i.e. You don't actually create a vacuum inside the
    camera. Why wouldn't this replacement air also contain dust? I would
    think it would, unless you were doing this in a dust free room.

    So, why is vacuuming any better than blowing?

    Clyde, Feb 10, 2005
  9. MeMe

    George Guest

    Not a bad idea BUT you might want to get one of those little ESD vacuums for
    use... Reason is that airflow past some materials (such as G10, circuit
    board material) will
    create a static charge. (ESD vacuums don't ionize the air, the nozzles and
    hoses are slightly
    conductive so that a charge can't build up.)

    George, Feb 10, 2005
  10. MeMe

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's a good question, but think about it. If you 'blow' then as I said, you
    just move things around, usually deeper in the camera. Further, if you blow
    something out, then something has to replace it (no different than a vacuum).

    Some time ago I described in detail how to make a simple low pressure vacuum
    system that would also reduce ambient dust from entering the camera. (Note that
    dist does not settle easilly when there is airflow).


    Alan Browne, Feb 10, 2005
  11. MeMe

    MeMe Guest

    A simple experiment you could do at home is take a dusty surface and
    lightly brush it once with a grounded nylon brush (ground it by touching
    it to a bare metal source) from an art store, then visually ascertain
    the amount of dust remaining after the stroke.

    Then repeat the experiment with the same brush in another area, but this
    time "charge" the brush electrostatically with a long blast of air from
    a can of compressed air.

    Theoretically, the "charged" brush should do a better job of lifting
    dust by attracting dust particles.

    Let us know the outcome ...
    MeMe, Feb 10, 2005
  12. MeMe

    Alan Browne Guest

    Good point. See also http://tinyurl.com/66epq which I wrote some time ago.

    Alan Browne, Feb 10, 2005
  13. SNIP
    Nobody is forcing you to buy their brushes. They work as promised on
    my sensors.
    Why don't you take your own advice?

    Bart van der Wolf, Feb 10, 2005
  14. MeMe

    Jason P. Guest

    What I was referring to was not the Sensor Brush, but the alternative he
    posted. Low pass filters are extremely fragile brush bristles of any kind
    can damage the surface.
    Jason P., Feb 10, 2005
  15. MeMe

    MeMe Guest

    I see you are posting from Canada, which just coincidentally is the home
    of visibledust.com. I'm not implying that you are a sock puppet for that
    company, but it /is/ an interesting coincidence.

    You say that "bristle brushes" can damage low pass sensors. You are
    spreading FUD, aren't you? A hog's hair bristle brush used for oil
    painting is indeed a harsh item, but we are not discussing that sort of
    "bristle" brush here. We are taking about soft nylon hairs, such as may
    be found in synthetic brushes.

    So, now, on what basis do you state that soft nylon hairs can "damage" a
    plastic filter? I'm just tickled pink that you are here, saying these
    things. Please continue ...
    MeMe, Feb 10, 2005
  16. MeMe

    eawckyegcy Guest

    What points? It was just a rant; there was no substantiation of his
    claims. If I "encouraged" you to stick your foot into a wood chipper,
    would you do it?
    Oh no!
    The people who make these cans of air usually take the time to print a
    set of instructions on their sides. Have you read them? In addition
    to being told not to stick the nozzle into your ear, or allow young,
    impressionable children or otherwise clueless professional
    photographers unsupervised use, there is the important one: "Do not
    shake the can."

    To this I add, if it is not obvious: do not aim-and-blow. Instead,
    blow and bring the object into the flow. This serves the "do not
    shake" rule, as well as cleaning out the nozzle of whatever condensates
    that may have gathered there.

    Compare hardness of typical plastics and glass. Short of using the
    brush as a chisel, or brushing really hard knowing there is further
    (harder) crap on the surface, there is basically nothing to worry
    It is essential to remove dangerous stuff from the surface -- things
    that can scratch it if dragged across pressure of a cleaning. But as a
    full sensor clean, it simply doesn't work. Next suggestion?
    eawckyegcy, Feb 10, 2005
  17. MeMe

    MeMe Guest

    Guess which asshole spent $100 on a $2 brush? LOL!
    MeMe, Feb 11, 2005
  18. MeMe

    Ken Davey Guest

    And that would make someone who stuck a two dollar brush into a two thousand
    dollar camera a......?
    Ken Davey, Feb 11, 2005
  19. MeMe

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Even more rife with fraud is the high-end audiophile
    marketplace. There are companies charging several hundred US dollars
    *each* for wooden knobs for your preamp and amplifier, with the claim
    that the wood makes them *sound* better. :)

    And the amazingly expensive power outlet strips, wall sockets,
    and plugs, which claim to affect the sound output (without bothering to
    replace all the wiring from the outlet back to the power transformer on
    the street with silver wire of heavier gauge, which might have a *tiny*
    effect on the sound, if only by providing more stable voltage, isolating
    it from the varying loads in the house (but still no protection from
    *external* variations. :)

    And the magic crystals which simply have to be put somewhere
    between the amplifier and the speakers (not really *connected* to

    When you pay enough (e.g. too much) for something, you are more
    willing to believe that it did something beneficial than to believe
    that you are a fool. :)

    DoN. Nichols, Feb 11, 2005
  20. MeMe

    m II Guest

    Oh...*NOW* you tell me!

    What's that? Speak up lad...

    m II, Feb 11, 2005
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