That’s my typical answer when a customer asks how often they should have their sensor cleaned on their digital camera. Sensor cleaning is not something needed on a regular basis. When you start seeing dark spots showing up in the same place on each image (typically in the sky or solid color area of an image), then it is time!
Spots occur when dust or dirt find its way into the camera body, and eventually onto the surface of the protective glass screen in front of the sensor. These specks block the light hitting the sensor during exposure, and end up leaving a spot on the recorded image.
How can you tell if it’s time for a cleaning? Set your camera to Aperture Priority (A), set your lens to Manual Focus (MF), stop down your aperture to f/22, and take a picture of a solid blue section of the sky. When you preview the image, you should notice dark spots if dust is present.
Sensors can be cleaned, however it is best left to the professionals, because it is very easy to damage or scratch the sensor, resulting in expensive repairs. That is where Harold’s Photo Experts comes to the rescue. For $80, we will clean your sensor, mirror box, mirror and focusing screen, and also spruce up the camera’s exterior. We will provide before and after images of your sensor, so you can see the results first-hand. We will also clean the exterior of your lens and attached filters. Think of it as a “spa-day” for your camera!
If you bring your camera in for a sensor cleaning, please provide a lens, freshly charged battery and an empty formatted memory card.
Afterward, there are a couple things you can do to minimize dust spots. Try not to change your lenses outside in the wind and elements. Take it inside or into a car. Always turn your camera OFF and face it down to change the lens. Invest in a rubber bulb-type blower to use to blow out the mirror compartment and camera exterior. Keep your camera stored in a protective bag or case when not in use.
Better yet, invest in a great Tamron “all-in-one” lens so you won’t need to change lenses! See our Photo Experts for a demonstration of what’s available!
Please note that our sensor cleaning service is only for DSLR (digital single lens reflex) or mirrorless cameras. Smaller pocket size “point-and-shoot” cameras (those without removable lenses) must be sent in for service, because the cleaning requires disassembly of the camera.
By Guest Blogger Marty DeWitt