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How to Clean Your Camera Sensor


When was the last time you cleaned your sensor? Even with weather-sealed equipment, dust particles can eventually make their way inside your camera. Peter McKinnon runs through how to clean the sensor and lenses in this 13-minute video.

The tools McKinnon uses are:

McKinnon notes that you should only clean your sensor if you really have to, as you want to expose it as infrequently as possible. If you’ve started noticing dust spots in your images regardless of which lens you’re using, then it’s a good time to clean it up!

You may think to reach for the compressed air, which you might have lying around to use for cleaning out gunky computer keyboards. The problem with compressed air is that it can push dirt and grime further into the camera. Instead, McKinnon recommends the rocket blower.

The rocket blower tool is much more gentle than compressed air. McKinnon says that he uses it every time he changes lenses. After taking the lens off, he holds the camera upside down and gives it a couple of blasts. Make sure you keep a lens or the lens cap on and minimize the time that your sensor is exposed.

For the sensor cleaning, the best tool for the job is sensor swabs. These are single-use swabs that you apply a cleaning fluid to and then swab your sensor. The loupe linked above can be used to examine the sensor to check for any dust.

A clever way to create a “clean room” in your own house is to run your shower hot for 5 minutes so the bathroom steams up. This will weigh down dust particles and allow you to clean your sensor without it getting dust in it from the room.