Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sensor Cleaning

My dSLR sensor was dirty. (Technically, the filter over the sensor, but whatever.) It had a lot of "schmutz" on it - that's a technical term that I share with all my students. Here, take this photo as an example: here's an unedited photo from my gallery documentation from the "Reverberations" show at Form+Content and Traffic Zone galleries earlier this year:

An overall photo.

Cropped in on some of the schmutz on the upper right.

(Click here to see all the fixed up photos from the "Reverberation" show of CVA Alumni.)

So I had to do a lot of cloning to fix up all those images. That was stupid. It was time to clean my sensor. I picked up the Eyelead SCK-1 kit online:

It's all in this tiny box.

The directions on the box. There were more detailed instructions inside, but it's basically "stamp the sticky bar on
your sensor, then stamp it on the sticky paper to remove any debris; then repeat on other parts of the sensor."

Inside the case. The white sheets under the handle are the viscous paper
used to clean the sticky bar after each use.

Close up of the sticky bar in it's little plastic case.

I was so nervous using this. I was always told never to mess with your sensor, but mine needed to be cleaned. I had tried gentle air-blown methods, but I never tried anything that was meant to TOUCH the sensor. I opened my camera, stamped the sensor, pulled it out, and stamped it on the viscous paper. The paper is REALLY sticky, and I really had to pull the sticky bar off it (but that makes sense - it needs to be stickier than the sticky bar so it can pull the schmutz off the sticky bar).

Honestly, the process was very nerve-wracking. I was afraid I was hurting my sensor. It was time for a test: I put the lens back on and took a photo of a white wall in my porch. I zoomed in on the photo and looked all around it. Most of the schmutz was gone! I saw a few more pieces, so I cleaned a few areas once more (remembering that schumtz in the upper right of the image means it's on the lower left on the sensor).

All done. A few pieces of viscous paper used, but plenty more left for future cleanings.

Overall, I'm really happy with the job this did. I'll use this again when schmutz starts to appear. Check it out here.


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