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Digital SLR Cleaning Methods

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Rocket Blower

A quick blast of air will often dislodge the loose dust from a sensor. The only problem is that this technique will not always remove the dust from the camera. If the dust remains in the camera, it can fall back onto the sensor. However, it’s a technique that works for many people. Just make sure you use the right kind of air….

Blowing on the sensor yourself is not recommended. You will almost definitely put some (body) fluid onto the sensor, which may prove harder to remove.

A compressor and airline is not suitable either, unless it has some very comprehensive filtering on the airline. Most compressors introduce microscopic particles of oil into the air, which will make the problem worse. They often have very high pressures too, which again may cause damage.

Most Aerosol ‘canned’ air products should be avoided as they use a chemical propellant rather than air. It is possible for the propellant to escape without very careful use, which can lead to sensor contamination. There are some air blasters that use only CO2 canisters as the propellant. Generally these are suitable for use on sensors.

The best type to use is a dedicated rubber bulb blower (with no brush) and a reasonable sized bulb. Look for the type with a non-return valve as these generally have a bit more ‘puff’. Remember, that these can splat the sensor with debris from inside the bulb. So, always squeeze the bulb several times in a safe direction, before using it on the sensor, to ensure any debris has been expelled. Keep the blower, inside a zip-lock polythene bag when not in use, so that it can’t suck up any debris from the bottom of your camera bag.

Good Points – Cheap; Easy to use; Effective; Doesn’t touch the sensor surface.
Bad Points – Only works on Loose Dust; Moves rather than removes contamination; Can ‘splat’ the sensor.

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