Cleaning the camera sensor

Cleaning the matrix is ​​a vital necessity. Below are examples of a dirty matrix not for the faint of heart who suffer from heart disease, please do not read further.

Matrix cleaning. Article from Radozhiva.

Matrix cleaning. Article from Radozhiva.

One of the disadvantages of modern digital SLR cameras compared to film, is that camera sensor gets dirty over time. In film cameras, a new piece of film is allocated for each frame, so there is simply no problem with pollution for the film.

How to check the matrix of the camera for contamination?
Very simple. For this you need take a picture on the closed diaphragm of a plain background... The easiest way to do this is to put the camera in aperture priority mode (mode A or Av on the mode dial). Set the minimum allowable aperture value, this means that the F number should become the maximum, most often F16, F22, F32, F36. Turn off auto ISO and set the minimum allowable ISO value: most often it is ISO 50, ISO 100, ISO 200. After that, just take a picture.

Please note that the focal length of the lens does not affect the check of the dirtiness of the matrix. A solid background should be photographed only to make it easier to notice dirt on the matrix. When the aperture is closed, it will be long excerptIt’s best to mount the camera on a tripod or on a stationary object. Length excerpts does not affect validation. If there is no tripod, you can simply take off the blue sky.

Dirt on the matrix

Dirt on the matrix

In the photo above, I made the settings ISO 100, F16, 50mm. In order to more clearly see all the fear and horror of a dirty matrix, you can set the maximum image contrast in the program editor. See below.

Dirt on the matrix

Dirt on the matrix

By arrows I showed the dirt that I had on Nikon D200, my camera Nikon D200 not cleaned for more than a year.

Attention: Do not be afraid of a dirty matrix. At open apertures (at apertures up to F / 8.0), dirt will hardly affect the quality of pictures. You can shoot your whole life on F1.4-F4.0 and not worry at all about the cleanliness of the sensor.

Contrast enhancement to see dirt

Contrast enhancement to see dirt

Do I need to clean the matrix?

Everyone decides for himself. I need a clean matrix, as I earn money for a living by photography. I often have to shoot scenes with a closed aperture (group portrait, landscape, photo for reviews), so I monitor the cleanliness of the matrix and try to take my cameras every 6 months to clean the matrix. Cleaning the matrix costs from 40 to 100 cu and takes 1-2 days. It is quite expensive, and the cleaning result does not always suit me. Therefore, I decided to do this business myself. For a more or less reasonable price of 60 cu I came across the Green Clear Sensor Cleaning System (Non full frame Size) for DSLR Cameras. The system allows cleaning about 80 times with a bottle and 3 times with special cleaning mop brushes.

Integrated matrix cleaning systems

Now it has become very popular to install matrix cleaning systems in CZK (digital-mirror cameras). My practice shows that such systems cannot completely protect the matrix from dirt. Basically, cleaning systems are based on the fact that the matrix vibrates and shakes off the dust. But dirt is not only dust, it can be streaks from condensation or something else. Cleaning systems simply cannot cope with this. On my Nikon D90 with the cleaning system I had to take it to the service after a year of use and the active cleaning function. I often fall into the hands of cameras with cleaning and I always see dirt on the matrix. So, cleaning systems for 2012 cannot provide the quality of cleaning that is so strongly advertised by manufacturers.

For owners of CZK Nikon will be useful article about the software method of combating dust and dirt on the matrix.

Matrix Cleaning System

Green Clear Sensor Cleaning System (Non full frame Size) for DSLR

How I cleaned the matrix:

The Green Clear Sensor kit includes a can of some kind of gas, three dust suction tips and three sets of mops for cleaning. You need to read the instructions for the Green Clear Sensor or watch the training video. I also had a small Russian-language instruction in the kit. Most of all, it was difficult for me to install the valve on the cylinder - you first need to strangle it, and then tighten it.

  1. I collected a vacuum pump. By simply attaching a valve to the cylinder, to the valve an extension tube, to the tube one of the cleaning tips.
  2. Set up the camera in order to clean it.
  3. With the help of a pump, I sucked up dirt.
  4. Using a mop, I cleaned the sensor.

In fact, it’s a little scary to go to the matrix of the camera, but when you do this often, all fear disappears.

Before and after cleaning

Before and after cleaning

Attention: I advise you to read the instructions for your camera. In order to clean the matrix of the camera, you need to raise the mirror in front of the matrix. There is a special function for this, usually called “mirror up” or “mirror up for cleaning”. On Nikon, when this function is activated, when you press the shutter button, the camera raises the mirror and remains in this position until the camera is turned off. If the battery charge is less than 60%, the mirror up function will be disabled. Do not use slow shutter speed to clean the sensor. My friend was cleaning the matrix on shutter speed at 30s and got carried away, the camera lowered the curtains and the mirror - nothing good came of it. Also, in the specialized mode, the camera does not take a picture - no voltage is supplied to the matrix, which also reduces the risk of damaging something.


Sometimes you need to check the camera matrix for contamination and take the camera to a service, or clean the matrix yourself. Self-cleaning is 3-4 times cheaper for after-sales service. Built-in systems for cleaning the matrix from dirt can only postpone serious cleaning of the matrix in time.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 213, on the topic: Cleaning the camera matrix

  • Alexey

    have to clean anyway ... either today or tomorrow. dust from frequent changing glasses, from sharp turns of the rings on the lens (for example, the telephoto lens strongly pushes the front part and gains air), natural wear of materials. wear is the first reason why I got to the matrix. there is a noticeable piece of plastic from the lens, and in the lens itself there are chips between the lenses. blown through the glass with a compressor - part of the shavings is blown out, and part of it comes out over time again.

  • Oleg

    I’ll add another article on this topic:

  • Anatoly Snezhan, the city of Gomel.

    I’ve gotten into trouble five times during my life.
    Once I cleaned my huge marine binoculars (optics) with alcohol 96 degrees. Then he cleaned the "glass" in the MFP (copier-printer) with medical ether. I also cleaned the lens (a kind of speck formed with a poppy seed) with nail polish remover ...
    After these terrible tests, I - even with water - do not rinse, I do not clean my glasses (there is a special napkin).

  • sergpoch

    Good day. Mayu Pentax K-50. Decіlka tіzhnіv pomіt pomіt drank on the matrix. In my mind, sorry, in services I saw clean up. At a zyazku zim virishiv rzikknuti і to carry out procedure independently. For the whole, having added a photo-pear, a photo photo and a photo of the LENSPEN SensorKlear II SK-1A. With this set I was even able to reach the result, but the group sawed (pieces 5-7) into the cut and I can’t do it.
    Nutrition, what is the number for my matrix Photol Eclipse (new) can you add it in Ukraine?

    • Lynx

      સામાન્ય રીતે MOPS સમૂહ, અથવા બદલે "એક દાંડી પર Velcro સ્પોન્જ" શું તમારી પાસે પૂરતી હશે.
      Ebee અથવા dialekstrime

      • sergpoch

        Did you try to read it yourself, did you write? :-)

        • Lynx

          ya, itu adalah bahasa yang sederhana

          • sergpoch

            Mauger is simple and simple, but I don’t want him

            • Lynx

              Ir jūs išmoksite rusų kalbą - gyvenime praversti

              • Star boring. Igor

                right - pravers

              • sergpoch

                Shannovy, in my opinion, don’t carry you. Mi in Ukrainian resource, that is why I mayn’t have the right to join my Ukrainian language (I want to be in Russia)

            • Yarkiy

              Dear sergpoch, of course you have the right to write in any language, but if you plan to get clear and efficient advice as an answer to your question, do not hesitate to write in the language of this blog. I also don’t live in Russia and speak different languages, but since the author of this site leads it in Russian, we don’t worry about that.

            • Lynx

              դու ռեսուրսի ինչը obschatsya ռուսերեն. Աայն բանից գետո, գալիս է անգլերեն լեզվի ֆորումի, Դուք գեք գրել այդ քայլին, եւ օգտագործել անգլերեն լեզվով: Հեեւաարեն եզվով: Հետեւաչարն աարլե անգլերեն լեզվով: Հետեւաչարեն աեւաչարեն

              • Arkady Shapoval

                Flood, stop it.

  • Yarkiy

    On the topic of cleaning the sensor, I can say one thing, anyway, no one takes other people's advice, especially since there is no consensus about who is in the forest for firewood, some say that you can clean it yourself like two fingers on the asphalt, others say only in the workshop. From my own experience I will say that I got burned, at first I got even more stained with the help of a “clever” device - a column brush on a vacuum cleaner, then I tried to erase all the filth with a soot pencil, round for lenses, I achieved only that I dispersed all the dirt in the corners, I bought “ miracle ”mops, wet and razvazyukat all the dirt again throughout the matrix. From the liquid soaking the fabric on the mops, there are dried stains. Again he cleaned it with soot as best he could, and then, OH MIRACLE, I bought what I needed - professional cleaning sticks, pictured below, with their help I removed all the shit from the matrix. They are not cheap, but the result is appropriate, brought the camera (and myself) back to life.

    • sergpoch

      Thanks for the answer! Where can I buy such sticks? Unfortunately, I didn’t find Photosol Eclipse in Ukraine.

      • Evgeny Slobodenyuk

        Sergei, judging by the photo, these are ordinary ear sticks, sold in any Moidodyr store.

        • Anna

          They walk on mine only at first glance

  • sergpoch

    Yarkiy you mean those ?

  • Vladislav

    Nowhere can I find on the Internet anything about my problem, maybe someone knows how to treat these terrible spots around the edges and yellowing of the image

    • wolffserg

      What are you photographing? Is it a blank sheet of paper?

  • wolffserg

    Arkady, when photographing a light or gray background in order to detect dust on the matrix, it is not at all necessary to put the camera on a tripod, since the background photo should not be sharp at all (we photograph dust on the matrix, not dust on the background)), I recommended it on the contrary to set the shutter speed to 2-3 seconds. and while releasing the shutter, turn the camera in a circular motion relative to the background being photographed (provided that you do not go beyond the borders of the background itself) to exclude details on the background itself. Then only dust on the matrix itself will be visible in the image. Well, or the background can be defocused to the veil, and the dust that is on the matrix will still remain sharp and visible.

  • Nika

    Good evening!
    Your article has been over 4 years old. Is there anything to add today about matrix cleaning?
    The other day I checked a Canon 600 - in 4 years the dust collected about as much as you have in the photo example! On the Web I read DIFFERENT articles on cleaning the matrix: these were from the pros, and from experimenters and from services.
    My findings:
    1. The option you proposed is exclusively for professionals who know what and how to do and who have their hands from the right place. I would compare it with a surgical operation in the field, the 40s, when there is no electronics at hand, the anamnesis is scanty and, according to the victim, the instruments are “relatively sterile”, and the doctor has just experience and, perhaps, even something -what knowledge.
    Simply, few photographers can accurately determine what is there with the device, what type of pollution (not always dust) and how to correctly remove it. And, yes, it is not advised to carry out blowing with a pear, tk. there is a risk of “blowing out” even further, what was next.
    2. the service assures that it takes about an hour to clean, where cleaning the matrix itself is about 10 minutes, and the rest of the time is spent on mirrors, etc. This is done only with the client. A guarantee is issued.
    3. they also assure that a person simply will not be able to see ALL dust particles, contaminants, as can be seen through a microscope and cannot be reached with his tools, which will eventually worsen the situation (dirt will accumulate in inaccessible places).
    4. Well, the cleaning conditions - both at home (even in the best ones) and at the service - are different.
    5. yes, you should always pay attention to “camera repair” and “service center”. These are two big differences. :)
    As a result, I choose the service.
    Firstly, I will get quality and guarantees (I VERY hope so!).
    Secondly, the money spent is an excellent reason to use the technique carefully in the future :) It will no longer be: “Oh, anyway, I'll come home right now, blow a pear, wave a brush and it will be clean!” or changing lenses frequently in poor conditions.
    Thirdly, you don’t get much money, considering that you can do this procedure once a year or less.
    Fourthly, you don’t have to worry whether you did everything right. Nobody will forbid to check the work right on the spot and ask questions.

    • Borja

      Service is certainly good. But they just do not exist, these services, in most of the territory of the post-Soviet space. For example, I live in a city with a population of half a million, a regional center - and I have never heard of any services that work with cameras. What can we say about some regional centers - and there, too, people live and want to take pictures.

  • Oleg

    People, what do you say about isopropanol? Can they be cleaned, alcohol seems to be as pure as 99,7%. Tell me, but the stains on the matrix are even light from alcohol, will they immediately be visible in the photo? How will this be seen? Does Eclipse really leave no stains? But there is alcohol in it, though I don’t remember which, but not 99%. So there must be divorces.

    • Vitaly N

      In addition to solvents, surfactants can also be there. I’m not risking the matrix, but I tried to clean dirty lenses with a universal Liqumoli cleaner (such as carb). Not caustic, does not dissolve anything, evaporates without streaks. But this is at your own peril and risk.
      The same isopropyl still leaves streaks - they need to be washed off, not wetted.

    • Antip

      99,7% isopropanol can be cleaned. Stains may appear after the first cleaning of the matrix.
      due to the dirt that was on it. After subsequent cleaning they will disappear, it is important to apply
      no more than 3 drops of alcohol, then it instantly evaporates.

  • taron

    I sent the camera to the service
    They said that the dot on the matrix is ​​smashed and there is no chance to remove it.
    What should I do?

    • zengarden

      If this is not a drop of molten resin that has fallen on the matrix and burned it, but it is quite possible to remove. There is glass, a filter. I came across a used Nikon D70s, killed in the trash, with a completely crap matrix; so he cleaned it with “improvised means” in a couple of hours (although this is not recommended at all).

  • Novel

    I cleaned the matrix of my camera with gasoline (probably already mentioned here) for lighters is better than alcohol.
    I cut a strip of soft cardboard (a box from under something, sweets for example) with a matrix width (15 mm in my case) with cardboard, you will not scratch the matrix. then in a couple of layers I folded a napkin (lint-free or fiber) cut out with a 15mm strip and grabbed it with tape. I dug gasoline on the mop and held it a couple of times. Then I blew it with a pear. There is nothing up to 16 diaphragms. But you need to do this if there is dirt, condensation.
    for starters, just blow it well with a pear (with a plastic long tip) - this is enough in 80% of cases there is basically just dust, pile.
    it can be done even by a girl (if she knows how to raise a mirror))

  • Cliff

    Here is the best way to clean the matrix with your own hands:

    • BB

      God, what a nudotina, more like an advertisement ...

  • Antip

    After 10 times cleaning with isopropanol, 99,7% did not notice any effect on the matrix.
    Camera Nikon D90.

    • Victor

      So do I. I bought more dry mops and go.

      • Viktor2

        He simply wrapped the back of the pencil with a napkin and fpered. 1 time wet with glass cleaner. 2nd dry and in a circular motion to collect dirt from the corner.

  • anonym

    Has anyone tried to clean with triple cologne or Chyprom? In short, cheap domestic. Will there be problems from such a cleaning?

    • Denis

      don't translate a valuable product. it is for oral use only

      • Pokemon

        Denis, Thank you :-) You would have offered the hawthorn from the pharmacy inside))

    • Alexander

      It is impossible. Cologne has oils and various perfumes.

  • Uncle Fedor

    You are deceiving, you are all Arkady - you clean yourself, photographers of your level, they clean themselves for a long time, you do not need to use a mop on the matrix and you don’t need to pay, they do it in the service as well: in the right hand (if not left-handed), they take a mop, you can buy it on Ali Express, soak it in alcohol, if you bought a dry one, but not an alcohol one, and go back and forth. Don't la-la!

    • BB

      Yeah, and then stains on the matrix, which will be more expensive to remove than just cleaning.
      People, read the reviews of those who 'soaps' matrices themselves: not all liquids are suitable for all matrices. Liquid 'stains' are a common problem after wet cleaning.

  • Ivanych

    On most cameras, we do not clean the matrix itself, but the anti-muir filter, and therefore it’s not scary to push harder. And what about cameras without this filter, for example, the D7100, driving with mops right on the matrix?

    • Vitaly N

      You will not be able to drive directly on the matrix. They still have several layers of coatings.

    • Andreykr

      Most cameras have a hotmirror, where it is not there, these are usually infrared cameras or modified cameras, and then an anti-pass filter is already installed. It is glued on top of a CFA (Bayer color filter). But the color filter is not a bare matrix yet. However, you can’t just get to the color filter.
      There is a hotmirror in the D7100, and there is also dustproof glass in front of it. I don’t say for sure whether the D7100 has anti-slip glass (it should be sort of like), but it doesn’t matter, because, as I said, the D7100 has dustproof glass and hotmirror and you can’t touch the bare matrix on the D7100.

      Regarding cleaning the matrix: you just need to completely disassemble the entire camera and disconnect the matrix module (it will take a specialist an hour in the worst case), then you can fully clean and clean not only the matrix. The mops are complete nonsense, somehow disassemble the camera after “cleaning” with a mop and see what you have done: dirt and liquid from the mop will be scattered all around the matrix module and fall on the shutter lamellae, and it will quickly return back to the matrix.

  • Andrew

    Panasonic Lumix G80, dust under the protective glass of the matrix. Someone faced such a problem and how to fix it? Matera is not taken, proboscis procedure ... :(

    • Alexander

      Collided. A rather complicated procedure, it involves removing the matrix and opening it. the filter is sealed with a matrix. And touch, and with something to wash or rub in no case! Therefore, nobody wants to do it. Maybe right, because adding more garbage to what we have, the chances are great too ...

  • Vadym

    cleaning yesterday
    Ale all one not all cleaned up.
    Chi can zagagali vichistiti ALL? Chi tse ok, scho drunk too much, and want less?

    • Alexander

      Yes, you certainly may. Unless it's scratched.

  • Sasha

    Greetings! Please tell me Arkady, is there a function of raising the mirror in the canon 1100d? (You need to clean the sensor)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes there is

      • Sasha

        thanks Arkady!

  • Alexander

    How many dies I saw in my work completely damaged or badly scratched by self-cleaning matrices with fashionable sets from the Middle Kingdom and not only from it. Before carrying out any cleaning, you need to look at the matrix under the MICROSCOPE, with a magnification of 20x !!! Remember, otherwise you very much run the risk of scratching the matrix or rather the UV filter with the smallest grains of sand, the matrix is ​​under it. After such cleaning, or replacing the filter (you will practically not find it separately) or replacing the matrix.
    I do not categorically insist that you will certainly scratch, but I have seen enough of them by the nature of my work. Very often, a grain of sand can be hidden under a twisted grain of dust, and any device for cleaning, coupled with this grain of sand, will do its evil deed. And about the built-in matrix cleaning in cameras - it is better to turn it off, and turn it on manually as needed, you can 2-5 times in a row. This system works on a static principle, attracting dust to itself, but if it is constantly on, then this can also lead to the fact that some one or several dust grains, grains of sand will stick to the matrix very strongly (stick) and clean such dirt or debris without scratches are unlikely to work. And be careful with all liquids, too, water is one of the best solvents, and distilled water is also pure, and according to experience, in 99% of cases I do not need any calls for cleaning a liquid.

    • Ivan

      Before cleaning, it is necessary to blow off particles.

      Isopropyl alcohol is used for cleaning, not water.

      The matrix cleaning system is not based on a static principle, but with the vibration of the matrix surface using ultrasound.

    • Alexey

      you need to clean the matrix with methanol or freon / freon, (self) cleaning of the matrix is ​​done using a piezoelectric element fixed to the edge of the IR filter (the very first glass in the assembly) and works great.

  • juris

    here's how to clean a matrix with a stub ?? ... for sleepyheads, it is fixed, for nikons - no!

  • Dmitry Kostin

    Yesterday I was in the service COPY Moscow (officials for Canon and Fuji).
    The master strongly discouraged self-cleaning of matrices in cameras with a matrix stub, due to the peculiarities of their structure.

  • Alexander

    Maybe I didn’t see it somewhere in the comments .., who will tell you how to get to the matrix on Nikon d40 and clean it? ..., the camera, like the system, is not my main one, I took it to try, maybe I missed something, but I haven’t found a way to open the shutter lamellas yet .
    Thank you.

    • B. R. P.

      Function in the camera menu. The instructions should contain information.

  • molechinov yuri

    Thanks for the detailed guide!

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