Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Sensor Dust

Sensor Cleaners

I know it’s annoying, it’s somewhat irritating, and it makes me uneasy just by seeing that tiny little spec when I look at my viewfinder. Dust is a common problem not just for dslrs, but also for other electronic devices. This gadgets including our DSLR’s are like magnets that attract dust and dust are every where and what’s worst is, even with the built-in sensor cleaning features of all new DSLRS, sensor dust is still a problem, it can still and will find a way to enter our camera will sometimes appear on our photos. It’s a fact of our daily life as a photographer and DSLR owner that dust can enter our camera and therefore land on our sensor. But why should’nt we worry too much about dust on our beloved DSLR sensors? Here’s why, there’s a big chance that dust on sensors won’t be at all be visible on our photos. Have a look at the series of photos below, they were taken with my old Canon EOS 20D with a EF 70-200mm F/4L IS USM. The Canon 20d as some of you may know doesn’t have the in camera self sensor cleaning features found on modern dslrs. (first, to do a test like this to check your camera for sensor dust, set your aperture to at least f22, sometimes even at f16, dust aren’t that visible, so f22 is good.)

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Sample 1. Taken at F22
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Sample 2. Taken at F16
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Sample 3. Taken at F11
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Sample 4. Taken at F8
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Sample 5. Taken at F6.3
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Sample 6. Taken at F5.6
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Sample 7. Taken at F4

As you can see on the sample photos, the spec of dusts are really visible from F22 to F11 but at f8 it starts to disappear and at f5 it’s hardly noticeable and at f4, it’s not at all visible. So provided, you notice a dust on your sensor, don’t panic, it’s normal to have a few dust on our sensors, it’s a fact of our daily life. Just keep on shooting and wait until you get to a safe place to clean your sensor. If you are worried that it will appear on your photos, there’s an easy solution to that, lightroom has a great feature called Spot Removal which will be my post for tomorrow, Adobe Photoshop also has an awesome Spot Healing feature that works equally well if not better.

If I notice that I have a few dust on my 20d’s sensor, I don’t mind it at all, I keep on shooting and I don’t even think of attempting to clean it, not until I get home where there is limited dust around me. You can do a lot of things to work with that dust on the sensor, I may change my framing since I know that the most prominent dust appears on the right, or I may use a wider aperture instead of stopping down. Cleaning a sensor outside is a bad idea, and can only make things worst.

Here are a few things that I do to minimize dust from ¬†entering my camera’s sensor:

  • I make sure that I clean my lenses, the front, the back (lens mount) and the lens body, especially zoom lenses, I have one, the tamron 28-75mm, most zoom lenses sucks dust which can eventually enter the camera body going to the sensor.
  • I make sure that all my camera bodies are all clean before I put them inside the cabinet where I keep them when I’m not using them.
  • I make sure I vacuum the inside of my bags after using them.
  • I don’t put my lens caps and filters ¬†inside my pockets (pants or clothes) ¬†because lint from clothes are a menace. I always put them inside my bag or outside pockets of my bag.
  • Always bring a rocket blower with you wherever you go, I recommend the Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large (Black). I use this to blow dust away of my camera body and area surrounding my lens if needed.

For cleaning sensor below are the few products that I use and find really effective:

I would love to hear form you, if you have any suggestions, inquiries or corrections, please let me know, feel free to post a comment below, you can also send me an email anytime.

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