Sensor Cleaning - Common Questions & Answers
(Q) How often should I clean my sensor?
(A) I personally inspect my sensor before every important shoot. When I'm out on location doing a shoot, I inspect my sensor every night and if I find any dust, I clean it. It takes longer to download 32GB of images to Lightroom than it does for me to clean my sensor Since I shoot mirrorless, I have to clean my sensor about every other time that I inspect it.
(Q) How long does it take to clean a sensor?
(A) In most cases less than 5 minutes. A whole lot less time than it takes to take out the dust spots in post.
(Q) Why should I clean my own sensor?
(A) There are many reason for this.
- I want a clean sensor every time I go out to shoot and not just after the last time I paid to have it done.
- If I clean it myself, I know the quality of my work and I know it is clean. Just because someone charges for cleaning doesn't mean that they are going to do a good job. Yes I have seen some very dirty sensors that were just cleaned the day before for a fee.
- The average price to get your sensor cleaned these days is $70. For twice that, you can buy our biggest kit that will last you for many many cleanings.
(Q) Do I need to use two different sized swabs if I have a camera with a 1.6x sensor and one with a full frame sensor?
(A) It is best to use the appropriate sized swab for each sensor. You can’t use a large swab on a small sensor because it won’t fit. If you use a small swab on a large sensor, it isn’t going to cover the entire width of the sensor, making it a much tougher job to clean.
(Q) Do you make kits to cover both my APS-C camera and my Full Frame camera?
(A) The short answer is no, but you can accomplish this by buying a kit for your APS-C camera then just buying some Full Frame swabs, as the rest of the products in the kit will work on both.
(Q) Why don't all camera manufacturers support/recommend the consumer cleaning their own sensor?
(A) It all comes down to liability and sometimes if it wasn't a procedure developed by their corporate R & D it can't be used. In Japan, Nikon and Canon both use to sell sensor cleaning kits to the local market only.
(Q) Do I need to use the wet method for every cleaning?
(A) No, if you clean your camera often, you will find that it is much easier to clean. This is because you are not leaving the dust on their to get baked on. I find that I can get my sensor clean 9 out of 10 time with the dry method only (no swabs or solution).