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.

Conclusions:

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: 216, on the topic: Cleaning the camera matrix

  • Crelian

    Yes, cool article! Also, the matrix can be cleaned with a lenspan for the sensor, but the best result will only be when it is new, because he himself can leave dirt on the matrix. Still there is a special Elixir liquid and mops for this liquid. But I met on the Internet reviews that with excessive abuse of this liquid, the matrix deteriorates. I clean the matrix myself with Lenspen. The result suits me. To clear the matrix completely, I think, is impossible and is it necessary? The first time you shoot outdoors or change the lens, it will 99% reappear. Here the task is to remove the LARGE garbage. A trifle is not visible even on the 22nd aperture. Even if a stain appears, it can always be removed in the editor, for example, in Lightroom.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I am not worried about the cleanliness, you wrote correctly that it is impossible to clean it completely. I used to strongly admonish a service that takes a lot of money, and then little things are visible on closed diaphragms. But after I began to thoroughly clean myself and saw that the liquid from the mops fills the entire matrix and I wipe it very carefully, and there is still debris, I completely stopped sweating about this.

  • Slam

    This means that I was not the only one who “worried” about an incompletely cleaned matrix))) Such is the fate of SLR cameras, whatever one may say, but they don’t wipe clean.

    Thank you, Arkady, for the article.

  • Alexander

    I tried to do the cleaning with a pear, I didn’t see any special changes on the matrix, but in the viewfinder I noticed a lint and a few new dust particles (((, camera a year !!! Advise how and with what help to get rid of them, atom is just like a knife to the heart ??? For the article thanks!!!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Similarly - a pear. some just put the vacuum cleaner hose into the bayonet, but I don't like this approach.

    • Slam

      is useless here. The dust in the viewfinder will remain there ...

    • a.Lesha@bk.ru

      If there is a villi on the pentaprism system, then the pear can blow it away ... but you don't need to blow on the matrix - you will bring the static onto the surface. Will stick instead of 1 will become 389 (:

  • Konstantin

    I read the article, tomorrow I'll go take pictures of the sky :)
    but in general, my friends laugh at me - I always keep the camera in a lovepro case and keep it in a plastic bag, and I try to change the lenses only cleanly

    • Konstantin

      Interestingly, the D200 belongs to the professional line with dust and moisture protection, - in real conditions, how much this dust protection of the case helps, - after all, the main amount of dust gets onto the matrix when changing lenses anyway.
      PS (not on the topic, but on the topic of charging nothing on your site): I took a friend from a friend to use Lacrosse charging - a great thing - I restored 2 sets of dead fingers, I will definitely buy one for myself,
      one set of GP2600 was generally inanimate - now it shows 1600-1800 capacity.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        Dust and moisture protection means protecting the case from dust and moisture, not the matrix.

        • Konstantin

          And the matrix, of course, is outside the case :)
          bright thought.

          • Sergey Kharin

            Dust on the matrix gets mainly at the time of the change of optics, or when using zoom vacuum cleaners. This is from my own experience.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        I will write time, I am not obliged to write about everything that is possible.

  • Olga

    And where to buy a miracle set?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Personally, I found in an online store with home delivery, just be careful, there is a kit for a full frame and a crop.

  • Konstantin

    Sorry if I offended Arkady, I didn’t say that you owe anything to anyone. I am pleased to read your reviews.

  • Slam

    Arkady, can you say anything about Eclipse E2? or did not happen to face? Lots of good reviews about this tool.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I did not come across, but I met a lot of positive reviews.

  • Vasiliy

    about 6 years ago this mud on a matrix tortured me (often changed lenses). At first he gave it away for cleaning and there they sucked out large dust particles, and small ones were removed with an electrified squirrel brush. Somehow, several large dust particles missed and they ate into the matrix so much that they could not be removed by anything. I had to buy this vaunted Eclipse set with a mop and a set of napkins. I did everything as in the instructions. As a result, a little liquid fell on the shutter and it stopped working normally. I had to send for repair to Moscow. Naturally asked and clean the matrix. As a result, they brought back with a replaced new shutter and a dead matrix. Now another camera. I change lenses only at home or indoors, after 15-30 seconds I turned off the camera.

  • Andrei

    I clean the matrix like this:
    1. I take a 3M vacuum cleaner in the office.
    2. I raise the IR filter using the service function of the device
    3. Blow on the matrix with a vacuum cleaner.
    4. I wipe the matrix very carefully with a green microfiber cloth under an additional light source, while it will be seen how adhered dust particles or hairs and stains on the matrix are removed.
    5. again blowing with a vacuum cleaner
    6. I close the matrix by turning off the camera.
    7. put the regular lens in place.
    I do not observe dust particles or stains. The main thing to do this procedure is not in a dusty room and not on the street!
    It turns out almost for free, a maximum of 100 rubles to guys for beer for a vacuum cleaner. The microfiber cloth is periodically washed with powder or soap, I don’t use any liquids and aerosols for cleaning, because I don’t like it, if there is dirt that cannot be erased with a cloth, it’s better to gently breathe out of the mouth onto the matrix and rub it quickly (practically not pressing on the matrix !!!) and several times contract. It’s better if you didn’t drink before, so that alcohol was not contained in the breathing vapors, but only distilled water))).
    Good luck!

    • Vladislav

      Andrey, the IR-filter is “glued” to the matrix, and no “device functions” can lift it, it can only be torn off mechanically.
      But I really don't advise you to breathe on the matrix - just recently I read that the vapors exhaled by a person (sober) contain a certain amount of harmful substances, for example, acetone, which can badly affect the surface of the matrix or lens.

      And with a vacuum cleaner (no matter which one), you can, on the contrary, harm - again blow dust into the camera ...

    • Stas

      you can't blow with a vacuum cleaner! you blow out more than you need to blow out at a distance and a vacuum cleaner with a suction regulator like philips 9176 i.e. not cheap. and all the buzz will be checked over the years ...

  • Andrei

    In pursuit, I completely forgot to say.
    When you breathe on the matrix, do not try to spit on it - this is not the face of your worst enemy, but the matrix of your favorite camera!

  • Anton

    Can anyone tell me how to raise the mirror and curtains on Nikon D100 without an external power supply? The mirror up function is not active without it. I reread all the articles already on the Internet, I did not find it. And the cleaning costs us 50 USD.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The instructions state that the Mirror lock-up mode for cleaning the matrix is ​​available only when using the EH-5 AC unit. So, dancing with a tambourine is indispensable.

      • Anton

        I partially exited the position in the manual mode and set the shutter speed to 1. And while the curtains and the mirror rose (1 second), you can blow a pear.
        A couple of dust particles were blown away, but not all, you can also try from a balloon.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          You can set 30 seconds or shutter speed "freehand"

      • Andrew

        I set the shutter speed to D50 for 30 seconds when the shutter opened, pulled out the battery clean as needed then back and pressed the shutter, the mirror stood back.

  • Anton

    But as?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Turn on the mode M or S, set the shutter speed to 30 seconds using the selector or by hand BULB.

      • Anton

        Happened! Using a special very soft brush and a special pear pear! Only very small ones remained, they are not even visible on f16! Thanks!

  • Alexey

    I clean the matrix using a tube for a cocktail of electrical tape and a piece of cloth for cleaning lenses. Until I complain, the matrix is ​​cleared even of small trash bins

  • Sergiy

    Has anyone tried to blow the matrix in the dental office with a gun with air?

    • Nikita

      I answer Sergey and everyone who wants to blow out the matrix (or carcass) of the camera with an air gun of a dental unit. Do not even try! Air for the gun is inflated with a piston compressor. Moisture and oil are always present in the compressed air of the unit. And a lot. So much that a moisture-oil separator is installed on the receiver of the dental unit. However, the separator is used very primitive, since the rate of moisture and oil in the air for blowing the oral cavity is very high. In short: do not purge the camera under any kind of air gun if you do not want to cover the matrix and the shutter mechanism with a water-oil emulsion.

  • Sanya

    Today at the dacha I noticed dirt, I took a clean rag, the most ordinary, but soft (before that I had no such experience) and gently wiped it, just blowing it out of my mouth, though I managed to remove everything from the fifteenth time, but it turned out. As a result, the cost of cleaning 0 ye, not counting twenty minutes of time spent. For four years of use, it clogged for the first time, although I often change glass, but always where there is visually no dust in the air and other things.

    • Stas

      so 5-6 times 15 times and kirdyk to your matrix….

  • Konstantin

    For a year of active use of the D7000 in the field, no dust was found on the matrix. Is it worth trying to “pick” the matrix for the sake of prevention?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      not worth it

  • J-fx

    Arkady, please tell me which kind of pear to clean the matrix in question - I see it is constantly mentioned, but the descriptions of the pear itself on the Internet differ - if it does not make it difficult, clarify this point (and, if possible, provide a link to the correct pear); I'm just not ready for contact cleaning - I'm afraid, but I intend to try to "blow"

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is an ordinary pear, just for optics it has a soft tip, so that upon contact it does not damage the matrix / optics. You can try any available.

    • Stas

      in any pharmacy there are enemas and douches for a penny, so they are very good and cheap and angry) and a decent volume of air is blown out just not for the born, but more impressive for grandmothers and grandfathers by 0,5-1 liter .... :-)

  • Eugene

    The pear is not distinguished by a tip, but by the fact that it has a hole below for air intake, and not like an enema, only blow in / out from the nose

  • Julia

    Good evening. Please tell me, what other problems besides contamination of the matrix can be encountered during operation with an SLR camera? And is there any approximate life of the camera?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The term of work depends on the careful attitude to the camera; it can last one day and several tens of years. Even after the guaranteed number of shutter releases is snapped, the camera can still work for a long time.

  • Julia

    and besides dust on the matrix and shutter, what problems during operation can you encounter?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The batteries are worn out, memory cards slow down and fail, the latches on the camera break, the flash may burn out.

  • Julia

    I mean, of course, in case of good treatment, without dropping and without bathing the camera =)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If the camera is on the shelf, nothing will happen to it.

      • Stas

        5+

        • Alexander

          And if you don’t buy the camera, then the money will be saved (completely!)

  • Julia

    =)

  • Julia

    and what problems can arise with the matrix?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Pollution, dust. Broken pixels, hot pixels may start to appear.

  • Julia

    but tell me please, where can I replace the shutter and how much does it cost about Nikon d5000?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In any service center. It is a little expensive, I don’t know for D5100.

  • Julia

    a little expensive for everyone in different ways =) but at least you probably do not know?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You can buy a shutter on e-bay at a low price, pay only for installation. See for yourself.

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