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Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Monday, 1 December 2008

Digital camera sensor cleaning and those rascally rabbits

By Darren Stones

Camera maintenance is an important habit to get into, but of course no one has to be too meticulous about it. Hell, housework is certainly not my strong point.

This morning I gave my baby (Canon 20D) a spruce up. I thought it was perfect timing with the sun shining and a stunning blue sky – just as you’d expect in Melbourne. Of course at time of writing the clouds have rolled in to provide a diffusing effect to the scenery.

The camera sensor was due for a little dust removal. So, off I toddled with the 50mm prime lens attached and I set the camera to manual mode and proceeded to take exposures at F/22. F/22 is perfect for revealing those dust bunnies. You know the one’s, those darn spots that we remove in photoshop and are a right pain in the ass. What fun – not.

Anyway, I soon found a big dust bunny had come to the party. The bloody thing was bigger than Bugs Bunny. Huh, that big bugger was in fact on the rear lens element, so after a few exposures rocket science (a brain wave) soon dictated that he/she had to be exterminated with a quick wipe with a soft lens cloth. Done.

Onwards we go to a little fiddling in photoshop and a play with the auto levels option. That was interesting to say the least and clearly revealed those dastardly bunnies at their worst. After a few goes at exterminating them I have a relatively clean baby all ready to take for a spin.

Click images below for a larger view.

IMG_2081_Sensor_Before_Clean
Sensor before cleaning



IMG_2095_Sensor_After_Clean
Sensor after cleaning



IMG_2081_Sensor_Before_Clean_Auto_Levels
Sensor before cleaning with auto levels adjustment in Photoshop



IMG_2095_Sensor_After_Clean_Auto_Levels
Sensor after cleaning with auto levels adjustment in Photoshop



I use the Copper Hill kit products as supplied by Quality Cameras in Perth. I have no affiliation with them, but can recommend their prompt and courteous service and cleaning kit products.

Of course I couldn’t get rid of all the bunnies, so I suspect the mummy and daddy bunny will make more little bunnies for me to exterminate in the future. Those rascally rabbits.

Some great info here to assist.
http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/ccd_cleaning

And this is the way I do it.
http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/image/71784128

Advice articles can be found on my site here

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Darren Stones