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Photo Safaris - Cleaning Your Digital Sensor With a SensorKlear

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Cleaning your digital single lens reflex camera sensor with a SensorKlear pen is a relatively simple process. When you are removing dust from the sensor, you are actually cleaning an optical glass plate or a glass filter that covers the electronic sensor, and not actually the sensor itself. Unfortunately, the sensor is in an awkward location situated behind the mirror and shutter. Working here, you must exercise care not to damage the shutter with the SensorKlear pen (or any other sensor cleaning products.) Read your camera manual carefully and follow the manufacturers directions to make sure you know how to raise the mirror and lock it up and the shutter open before attempting to clean the sensor. Be sure to use fresh batteries or a freshly recharged battery pack to keep the mirror and shutter from closing prematurely. After using your digital single lens reflex camera for some time you will begin to notice annoying spots, squiggly hairs and blobs on your digital images when viewed in Photoshop or other photo browsers when viewing them at 100% (actual pixels). If there are only a few small spots on your image, these can easily be cloned away in Photoshop. The best cleaning technique for eliminating a few dust specks on the sensor is to simply blow them off with a rubber blower ball (sometimes called a rocket ball.) Be judicious with your sensor cleaning beyond simply blowing dust of the sensor periodically. Avoid compulsive cleaning of the sensor (like some photographers do to their lenses) and wait until the sensor is relatively dirty before cleaning with a SensorKlear (or any other cleaning tool.) Use these following steps to determine how dirty your sensor actually is, and then decide if it is time for a more thorough cleaning other than simply blowing the dust off the sensor with the blower ball.
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Photo Safaris - Cleaning Your Digital Sensor With a SensorKlear

1. Take a test shot of a full-frame featureless sky or a full-frame plain white sheet of paper using the following method: Place a lens on the camera, turn off the autofocus, and set the aperture to f/11 or f/16. Set the exposure compensation to +2 (or two stops more than the cameras reading.) (or 2 stops over exposed) Take your test shot of the sky or white paperfocusing is not necessary. You want to create a bright blank image to determine the location of the dark dust spots on your sensor. 2. Plug your flash card into your computer, download the blank "image" and open it in Photoshop. You can do this working in RAW or Jpeg format. Click on "Actual Pixels" or 100% magnification and examine the image. Use the Hand Tool to move around on the enlarged image to see all quadrants. You will likely see an unsettling amount of dust in several locations.

If you have a lot of dust spots on the image it may be time for you to clean the sensor. But here is something helpful to know in advance: The image you see on your computer screen in Photoshop is a flipped and inverted representation of where the dust particles actually are on the sensor. So if you see spots on the upper left side of the image on your computer, in actuality the dust spots are on the lower right side of your sensor as you look into it from the lens mount side. To clean the sensor with your SensorKlear use the following procedure: Tools needed to clean sensor: blower ball, micro fiber cloth and SensorKlear pen

1. Remove the lens or camera body cap. 2. Raise the mirror so you can access the sensor using the camera manufacturers directions found in your camera manual. Remember to use fresh batteries! 3. Hold the camera firmly in your nonLift camera mirror for sensor access using instructions in your dominant hand and point it so the opening camera manual on the camera faces downward 1530 degrees. By doing this any dislodged dust particles will fall out of the camera during step 4. 4. Use a large blower ball to thoroughly and

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Photo Safaris - Cleaning Your Digital Sensor With a SensorKlear

carefully blow loose dust off the sensor. Do not insert the tip of the blower ball into the front opening of the camera and do not jab inside of the camera with the tip of the blower ball. 5. Remove the cap from the SensorKlear to reveal the triangular cleaning tip. (There is a relatively useless brush on the other end Tilt camera downward and blow out dust using blower ball

of the pen that should never be used on the sensor or inside the camera.) 6. Since part of the cleaning compound is graphite, flick the barrel of the SensorKlear pen a couple of times near the triangular tip to dislodge any loose graphite particles that may be present on the tip OR dab the tip a couple of times into a clean micro fiber cloth to eliminate loose graphite particles. (The pen manufacturer says this step is not necessary as any graphite particles will be blown out of the camera in step 9 of this procedure.) 7. Hold the camera, again, in your non-dominant hand about 12 inches (30cm) away from your body at about chest height. The opening in front of the camera should be facing you. Do not hold the camera close to you where loose clothing fibers, flaking skin, eyelashes or hair could fall into the camera. 8. Insert the triangular tip of the SensorKlear into the camera and place it in the center of the sensor. Begin to rub the tip of the SensorKlear back and forth on the sensor. A little pressure is fine, but do not scrub. The glass over the sensor is not delicate. Work from the center to the edges paying attention to those areas where dust spots were prevalent on your test shot. (Remember the photo is flipped and inverted.) Finish by going around the edges and into the corners with the specially shaped tip. Insert SensorKlear and clean sensor using instructions in this article Remove cap from SensorKlear and tap excess cleaning compound into the micro fiber cloth

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Photo Safaris - Cleaning Your Digital Sensor With a SensorKlear

9. Repeat step 4 using the blower ball. Replace the lens or body cap and turn off the camera. You may wish to repeat the test shot to see if you successfully removed all the spots from the sensor, but usually this is not necessary. Repeat blower ball procedure to remove dislodged particles from sensor. Turn off camera and replace lens or body cap

If the sensor is still very dirty after your use of the SensorKlear or if you have one or two prominent and stubborn dust spots that resist your best

efforts, it is most likely that you have neglected cleaning your sensor for too long and the dust has become welded to the sensor. In this case use an approved wet cleaning method or send the camera to the manufacturers service center for cleaning. SensorKlear is a highly recommended tool for cleaning CCD/CMOS sensors, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and Parkside Optical assume no responsibility for any damage to the camera and sensor during the cleaning process.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. P.O. Box 655, Vashon Island, Washington USA 98070 Phone: (206) 463-5383 Fax: (206) 463-5484 Email: info@photosafaris.com Copyright 2007, Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.

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