[Survey] - Dust on DSLR sensor.

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Alan Browne, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    A survey to get a feel for the problem and the various solutions.

    Please reply to all questions.

    Please stick to the script.

    Please do not add rambling replies or opinions.

    If surveys like this are not your cup of tea, we understand, and you do
    not need to post.

    Yes, the first question is numbered "11."


    11. How long after you got your DSLR did dust evidence show up?
    [Reply in months preferred.
    If no dust then state months and NO DUST.]

    12. Do you do a deliberate test for dust?

    12a If yes, what technique?

    13. How often do you change lenses on your DSLR?




    -Often with each time I use the camera

    13a. If "Never", then is your lens a zoom?

    14. Where do you store your camera and lenses?

    15. Do you clean out your camera bag regularly with attention to dust


    21. How do you clean your dust from the sensor?

    Technique, product, links, etc.

    22. Are you satisfied that you can keep the sensor clean with
    reasobable results?

    23. Do you believe or have evidence that you've scratched the sensor?


    I'll decide on how I report the results according to the replies. But
    as they'll be 'part of the record', everyone can analyze them as they
    see fit.

    Alan Browne, Mar 14, 2005
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  2. Alan Browne

    Alan Adrian Guest

    Shot of white paper or sky at F22, auto-levels in PS
    Both a computrekker (backpack) and Toploader
    Regularly like every couple months (2 dozen uses of rig)
    In order of frequency:
    blow with Rocket blower (small),
    brush with a cleaned/charged nylon paintbrush, (not the expensive one)
    swipe with Eclipse and Sensor Swab
    Yes, though not completely clean, always a dot or two left over...
    Cleaning history after 4 months of ownership.
    Lots of blows (9 ish)... one Sensor Swap session that involved 2 swabs and
    multiple passes of the 2nd swab (3 or 4 passes), One brush session that
    involved 3 or 4 passes of the brush with a "charging" after the first pass.
    Alan Adrian, Mar 14, 2005
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  3. Alan Browne

    Stacey Guest

    3 months, no dust.
    Shoot a pure white image displayed on my monitor at f22 then load image and
    apply auto levels in PS.
    Multiple times with each use of the camera in the field.
    In a camera bag or on a shelf.
    Never done it.
    I don't.

    The olympus sensor buzzer works..
    Stacey, Mar 15, 2005
  4. Alan Browne

    Drifter Guest

    A survey to get a feel for the problem and the various solutions.
    1 month - a few specks
    Shoot a bright sky at f22 then and view in Photoshop.
    In one of several camera bags

    No though I'm pretty careful to keep the interior clean in general.

    Pec pad and eclipse fluid (I've only felt the need to do it about 4
    times in the year I've owned the camera)
    One of my favorite tricks (especially in a situation where there might
    be windblown dust) is to change the lens inside the camera bag I have.
    I've gotten pretty good at it.

    "I've been here, I've been there..."
    Drifter, Mar 15, 2005
  5. Alan Browne

    Skip M Guest

    Skip Middleton
    Camera delivered with dust. One "L" shaped mote seems resistant to any
    attempt to remove it, it is still there after7 months.
    Shot cloudless sky, wide open, then stopped down.
    Yes. Wedding photography, figure photography require at least one lens
    change per shoot. Or at least they do for me, since I don't have redundant
    bodies to keep lenses on.
    Skip M, Mar 15, 2005
  6. Around 5 months - about 5,000 pictures
    Only when I know I'll be shooting in dust revealing conditions
    Sky, equalise
    Extremely frequently, often rapidly in the dark
    Only about half of them are
    Camera in its Lowepro TLZ Mini or on a flat surface, lenses in a silver
    carrying box
    (...what's all this, then? :) )
    Giottos Rocket Air Blower

    I also have a specgrabber which I have never used
    Certainly: 21,642 pictures, nearly 18 months of use. Blower also great at
    removing Monument Valley windblown sand...
    No. Dust on the Pentax's viewfinder screen is more annoying and I dare
    not take that apart because of its known fragility.
    I also make sure I never leave the lenses with their rear elements
    upwards and exposed and that the camera's lens box is never upwards. I do
    not turn the camera off when changing lenses (there isn't time!).

    Of course, my usage pattern of lots of wide open stage photography does
    mean that I am less disposed to worry about dust: at least half of the
    pictures are at f4 or wider. But theatres are dusty places, particularly
    for the tech run and I do use zooms some of the time which means the
    camera does inhale dust.
    You should have asked what camera people use and how many pictures per
    month they take.

    Sophie Wilson, Mar 15, 2005
  7. Alan Browne

    andrew29 Guest

    A few months
    Each time I use the camera
    In its bag, in a cupboard
    God, no
    Camera store does it
    It's annoying, but it's not a huge deal compared with the hassles of

    andrew29, Mar 15, 2005
  8. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Nah. That just ignites brand flames. Phots/month doesn't mean much if
    the lenses are not changed often. IAC, like you, those who feel it's
    important, include it in their replies. Thanks for playing, your prize
    is in the mail. (This month it's invitations to sign up for a new
    credit card with an incredibly low APR).

    Alan Browne, Mar 15, 2005
  9. Alan Browne

    Owamanga Guest

    6 Mo.
    Yes. Rub finger across sensor and check finger for dust.
    Okay, I lied. I photograph backlit translucent white blinds in
    daylight, unfocused wide open. Shoot RAW of course. Bugger about with
    levels sliders until spots show up. Spotted three Virgin Mary's and
    one Michael Jackson in the noise and one large blob.
    Often with each time I use the camera. Which means nothing because you
    don't ask how often that is. Probably 10 lens changes per week, 50%
    outside, 50% in air-conditioned relatively dust-free environment.
    Wife likes to keep it in the closet next to the master bathroom. I
    prefer under the window in the Florida room because it's closer to the
    front door. So it's usually located on the North East corner of the

    Oh, you mean the bag? Large padded camera bag. Black. About 2ft by 1ft
    by 1ft with a flip-top lid. It's not airtight, won't float, can't sit
    on it and can't withstand knifes or high-speed projectiles.
    No. There are probably small bits of chocolate in the seams somewhere,
    this helps trap the dust.
    I am armed with sensor swabs & eclipse from Adorama, plus a
    baby-snot-removal tool the hospital gave me that works like a
    Only one spot of dust, haven't bothered cleaning it yet.
    Tight briefs can be bad for your circulation.

    I always invert camera when changing lens, do it quickly. Have only
    done one lens change in a really dusty environment and that's when the
    spot appeared.
    Owamanga, Mar 15, 2005
  10. Alan Browne

    Sheldon Guest

    <1 month
    When I think about it, but usually I just see it.
    Backpack case - stores camera lens down.
    When it needs it.
    So far only with a blower, but I do have the PecPads and cleaner.
    Yes, so far.
    Sheldon, Mar 15, 2005
  11. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Next time, please inject some humor in your replies.
    Alan Browne, Mar 15, 2005
  12. Alan Browne

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    A month, but it was very minor (and portions of that month were spent
    in places like the desert and hiking in the Grand Canyon).
    Shoot brightly-lit white wall at minimum aperture.
    -Often with each time I use the camera
    In my camera bag.
    No. Good idea.
    CO2 blower with (weak) food-grade cartridges. Quick, light blow usually
    does the trick.

    When it doesn't, a soft cosmetics brush, a concealer brush (that has
    never actually been used with makeup, of course). I had a new one right
    when I needed to clean the sensor one time, and the $100 Sensor Brush
    can bite me. This is infrequent enough that I'll probably just end up
    using the brush for makeup next time I need to during a shoot, and it
    can wait till I have another new one.

    I had to use methanol on lens tissue one time when things got really
    bad after a morning in 100% humidity at the beach.
    Dust really isn't as big a deal as you'd think, given the amount of time
    we spend talking about it. I probably spend 1 minute per month even
    thinking about it, outside this newsgroup.
    Jeremy Nixon, Mar 15, 2005
  13. 0. I saw dust within a day or so.
    Stop down camera, shoot light, featureless area (wall, sky, etc).
    Yeah, often.
    Camera bag.
    It doesn't seem to get much in there. No.
    Sensor swabs.
    Dust is a pretty minor issue if you do most of your shooting under f/11
    or so. People should be afraid to clean their sensor as long as they
    are following one of the sensible (ha!) cleaning methods.
    Brian C. Baird, Mar 15, 2005
  14. Alan Browne

    Owamanga Guest

    You are the second person to say this. Can someone explain to me why
    the aperture choice makes sensor dust any less of an issue?
    Owamanga, Mar 15, 2005
  15. Alan Browne

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    I'll state my speculation on that. Start with the fact that the
    dust *cannot* actually reach the sensor, but instead rests on a low-pass
    filter and protective layer above the sensor.

    Now, the sensors are what actually produces the pixels.

    Picture a piece of dust just the size of a single pixel. If it
    were on the sensor itself, it would block one pixel, or part of two or
    four adjacent pixels, depending on precise location.

    Now raise it a little above the pixels, to the top surface of
    the filter.

    With a lens stopped down to the maximum, the incoming light for
    that one pixel is close to what you would get with a pinhole camera that
    is a single narrow beam. So -- a dust particle can block that beam, and
    blank out the pixel which it is above.

    However -- at larger apertures, the light reaching a single
    pixel forms a cone -- how much of one depends on the current aperture.
    This means that only some of the light to that pixel is blocked by the
    dust particle. Thus, it is dimmed slightly, not totally blocked. It
    also dims adjacent pixels as well, as it is blocking part of their cone
    of light at the same time.

    If I knew the thickness of the filter, I could calculate how big
    a dust particle would have to be to totally block a pixel at different
    apertures. But -- it apparently is at least thick enough so that at
    many common apertures, a small piece of dust is not a problem.

    I hope that this helps,
    DoN. Nichols, Mar 15, 2005
  16. Alan Browne

    Ken Ellis Guest

    Remove lense, Lock-up mirror, Ball "aspirator" (blows air).
    The camera (20d) seems to suck dust. I change lenses ALOT while
    Ken Ellis, Mar 16, 2005
  17. You're posting to this newsgroup why exactly?

    In case you haven't experienced this in your own travels:

    Dust is really only noticeable when you stop down. There is probably
    some technical optical explanation one could give, but I'll just leave
    it at "you see more past f/11".
    Brian C. Baird, Mar 16, 2005
  18. Alan Browne

    Frank ess Guest

    ..75 months (point seven five)
    Shoot clear sky @ narrow aperture, inspect in Photo Shop
    Lenses in their pouches in a padded camera bag;
    Camera and one lens in arm's reach, covered by a
    Martha Stewart dishtowel
    No (t so regularly)
    Nice blue syringe squeeze bulb of unknown provenance.
    I am equipped to Expensive Brush and Not Quite So
    Expensive Pads-And-Paddle; not needed yet
    Yes ( I think you mean "reasonable efforts" ? )
    Until I have occasion to brush, swab, scrape or mow the dust, it seems
    like a lesser problem than the time spent on it in NGs; however, I have
    yet to change a lens in a horsey or car-racy environment. Of course the
    act is like sex: lots of nervous anticipation until it becomes a
    familiar act; then comes the reality. It will never be unemotional, in
    one way or another (risky business, always) but with practice it becomes
    second-nature and pleasurable beyond its capacity to stimulate
    (Did I really say that?)
    Sometimes a Dust Bunny is just a Dust Bunny ...
    -Sigmund Daguerre
    Frank ess, Mar 16, 2005
  19. Alan Browne

    Basic Wedge Guest

    New camera. No dust to start with. None has appeared in the short time since
    Visual check. Blue sky-white paper.
    Camera bag.
    Yes. I vacuum out the interior every couple of months, and spray the bag's
    exterior shell with a garden hose a couple of times a year.
    Built in dust removal system.
    Yes. So far, so good.
    Olympus dust filter system seems effective. This was a major aspect of my
    purchase decision

    Basic Wedge, Mar 16, 2005
  20. Alan Browne

    Bubbabob Guest

    Where does the dust go after the sensor shakes it off? Does it just sit
    around inside the camera waiting for its turn back on the sensor?
    Bubbabob, Mar 16, 2005
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