If you’re like me, taking your camera with you anywhere you go, it’s bound to get dirty from time to time. And of course, you want a clean camera, or at least a clean lens and sensor, so that the dirt doesn’t get in the way of the picture.
So here’s how I do it:
Here’s a list of the things you’ll need:
- an air blower (like this one*)
- two lint-free microfiber cloths (like these*)
- sensor swabs for your camera’s sensor size (like these*)
First I take an air blower to blow any dust off the camera. Then I take a lint-free microfiber cloth to clean the front element of the lens. Make sure the cloth is clean and dust free. Also never use the lens cloth for the LCD and the viewfinder lens or your eyeglasses, as those tend to be greasy from your skin.
In the next step, I clean the LCD and the viewfinder with a different cloth, for the reasons mentioned above.
The rest only applies to people with interchangeable lens cameras, like SLRs or mirrorless cameras (SLMs).
To find out if there is any dust on your sensor, take a test shot of a very bright thing, for example, a clean sheet of paper will do. Then have a look at the image either on the camera’s LCD or in Lightroom to see if there is any dust. In Lightroom, you can use the spot removal tool and check the ‘visualize spots’ checkbox. That will show you all the spots of dust that might be there.
If there are any spots visible, that means your camera’s sensor is dirty and should be cleaned. Go to the sensor cleaning menu in the settings of your camera and hit ‘clean now’, if your camera has a self-cleaning mode. It’s a good idea to turn on auto-cleaning.
Check if it did enough, if not, proceed to step two.
In the same menu hit the ‘clean manually’. You’ll now need to remove your lens. When you look inside your camera, you should now see it’s sensor exposed. If not check if you accidentally switched off your camera. Now use your air blower, and, without touching the sensor, blow off any dust. Use a flashlight and a loupe to inspect the sensor.
NOTE: Never use compressed air, as you might damage the sensor. Canned air might even spray a liquid if used in the wrong angle. You don’t want that to happen.
There are also static brushes for sensor cleaning, but I’ve never used one.
Take another test shot to see if you were successful. If not, proceed to step three.
Following the same procedure as in step two to enable your cameras manual cleaning mode. Use the sensor swabs that you bought according to your sensor size and use them as described in their manual. Take yet another test shot to see if you were successful. If yes, you’re done. If not, do it again.
If you’re unsure or uneasy about cleaning the sensor of your camera, you can bring it to your local camera store and get it cleaned. That might take some time though, and it’s pricier than the do it yourself version. But you’re protected against damages by the camera store.
Or just watch this video from PhotoRec TV. I learned sensor cleaning with it, so why shouldn’t you. They show it on a Sony SLM, but it’s similar for SLR cameras.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not responsible for what you do to your camera.
*I’m not paid to provide you this links. There just there to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.