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Author Topic: Cleaning sensors like the pros  (Read 5486 times)
didger
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« on: September 01, 2004, 04:35:57 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I'm also very interested in this concept.  It should be easy and foolproof.  However, I've paid my guinea pig dues with a scratch in my sensor from various futile cleaning efforts.  I hope someone else can try this and report exactly what it took to get 100% success.

Now why do we have to do all this risky experimentation rather than Canon doing it and providing really effective cleaning kits?[/font]
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timh
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2004, 09:31:29 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']$90 a gallon?

I don't own a DSLR yet, but if you can buy a couple of gallons of this stuff, rebrand and rebottle it, and sell it at 250ml a time in a box with some special gauze squares and a special applicator for $40 and get it to market within 18 months - then we'll both be laughing.[/font]
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jabberwocky
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2004, 01:43:45 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I just tried to email Dantronixs to see if they think their product is safe to use on camera sensors but my email bounced back. Has anyone asked them and/or tried this product? Call my a coward but at the price of the Mark II I'm not even a little bit interested in being the first to try a new cleaning method.  :p[/font]
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2004, 05:14:35 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Sensor Swabs and Eclipse. And practice. I don't enjoy sensor cleaning, but I've gotten reasonably good at it.[/font]
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Clint S
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2004, 02:33:15 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Ok, I gave 2 products a try today.

I decided to use a mirror as this would show off clearly if any dust was still around after the application. It would also show if the rubber left any unwanted film.
The first product I tried is a rubber based product called rubber-sep. This is a liquid which one paints on. There were 2 problems with this product - the first is that it is designed to apply on in micron thickness. I applied as much as what I felt would enable one to include a tag to lift it off. The problem was that after 1/2 hr it was still pretty liquid - so I scrapped that idea.
The other problem that I came up with was that it's ok applying a liquid to a mirror, but I'd really be concerned trying to apply it into a camera body where you are trying to work into a cramped space. Getting this stuff over the edges of the sensor would have caused untold grief. You'd have to start digging around next to your sensor with instruments etc!!! No thank you.

The second product I tried was a rubber based impression material. - Yip the same stuff we use to take a mould of your mouth. That seemed a lot more promising as it's applied with a gun and one can put on fine tips for easy application. It's viscosity is also way better for easier control, and is capable of picking up incredibly fine detail (hopefully trapping the dirt). It's also designed to set no matter how thick.
Anyhow I tried this to the mirror as well, but I'm not too sure that it picked up any particles, rather took a great impression of them!!!
There are a few different viscosities of this material and I'll be trying out different products over the next few days.  Cheesy

Another problem I found with this whole method of cleaning was the tenacity that each material would cling to the mirror. It's purely a matter of hydraulics. Because of the incredibly close fit of these materials there is a very strong suction created between the material and the mirror. The material comes off very easily if you can lift one side, but if you try lifting the material from 2-3mm inside of the edge, it becomes very difficult to peel off. I'd personally be very worried about putting that amount of strain on a sensor. I'm not too sure how we'd manage to get a lifting tag that close to the edge every time.
Anyhow I'll be putting some ideas into action over the course of next week, and I'll keep you posed if I come up with anything.

Clint[/font]
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didger
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2004, 09:32:38 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
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Perhaps this horrific and inherently risky procedure will soon be at an end !
This product looks like it will be one more item in the arsenal, but it doesn't even come close to possibly meaning (or claiming no to mean) that sensor cleaning will soon (or ever) be at an end.  Please read the various limitations at the bottom of the page.  Nevertheless, once the product is available for Mac, I'll certainly try it and probably use it on images with sensor contamination spots.  However, cleaning the sensor will remain just as important as ever, since the software doesn't and can't possibly catch everything.  It just (hopefully) reduces the labor of removing spots in obvious uniform places like sky or other such uniform places.  If you start letting your sensor get really crapped out because it's so easy to remove the most obvious spots with this software, you're letting yourself in for big trouble because the junk tends to adhere more firmly to the sensor the longer it's there and also because the more junk you have on your sensor, the more spots there will be in places the software doesn't catch, but that will easily be visible in a big enlargement.  You STILL need to look at every image carefully at 100% view and find the spots the software misses.  The longer you neglect sensor cleaning, the bigger the problems will be, in spite of this software.

It's great that there have been some folks that have developed methods that help us keep our sensors clean (sort of, anyway) with relatively little risk (sort of), but the fact still remains that the manufacturers are grossly neglecting THEIR responsibility by not providing any useful tools or information whatsoever.  Canon's information consists of telling us to only use very slightly compressed air (like a blower bulb) and to send a seriously contaminated camera to Canon for cleaning.  Yeah, sure, in my case that would be several times per month if I weren't using Chamber Clean to keep it down to about once or twice a month.  Yeah, spend a few thousand $'s per year and have my camera unavailable for at least half the time.  Yeah, take the risk of having the camera come back from Canon worse than when it was sent, like happened to one of our members.  I regard the scratch on my sensor (due to cleaning efforts during the first month) as directly due to Canon's dysfunctionality in regard to sensor contamination control implementation and information.  

I truly hope that more people will start complaining as publicly as possible about this rather than just taking the attitude that "Well, the problem hasn't totally crippled my photography efforts, so why should I worry?"  As long as folks keep buying the cameras without any decent sensor contamination control provision, the manufacturers will continue to take this irresponsible position of refusing to help us in any way at all.  

Any info whatsoever yet indicating what the 1ds Mark 2 situation is?  I'm not optimistic, but does anyone have any info? [/font]
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Edward
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2004, 10:27:03 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I have been talking to a friend who works on high grade military optics - the stuff that makes L lenses look like coke bottle bottoms. Not surprisingly, they spend a lot of time studying ways to clean glass and even more fragile coatings, like first surface mirrors. They are also concerned about scratches and dust at levels so small it would not show up on a digital sensor.

Bottom line, they do not wipe things with little rags on sticks, i.e., sensor swabs. They paint surfaces with collodion type plastics dissolved in alcohol or acetone, then peel the film off. It picks up everything and cannot scratch. There are lots of tricks - get the film think enough, perhaps put cheese cloth on it so get a grip on to get it off.

I am not sure I want to be the first on the block to try it, but it sure makes more sense than most of what we are doing now. Anyone else know about this technique?[/font]
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didger
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2004, 04:35:41 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Inspired by the concept of using sticky stuff to lift junk off a camera sensor, I decided to try ordinary masking tape (like for house or car painters).  This sort of tape is specifically designed to temporarily stick lightly to almost any smooth surface without leaving a deposit.

I used a sensor swab "paddle" without any tissue to help place the masking tape accurately.  That worked fine.  However, after doing the whole procedure, I noticed that the masking tape left a lot of junk on the sensor; far more than whatever it might have lifted off.  I then used the Visible Dust sensor cleaning materials (basically Q-tips and some sort of non-flammable solvent) to remove the stuff the masking tape put on the sensor.  Then I used the Visible Dust sensor cleaning brush to remove what the Q-tips left.  That left me with the sensor clean enough that no contamination shows in the camera enlarged views.  However, as always, there's plenty of junk left on the sensor that only shows in 100% crops on a big monitor.

So, I'm back where I've been for some time; a sensor clean enough not to show garbage in camera enlarged views, but not really nearly 100% clean if viewed carefully on a monitor.

I don't think I'll do any more sticky stuff lift-off experiments, but I hope some of you will.  It would be SO nice to find a way that actually leaves a sensor 100% factory fresh clean.  It may be a hopeless quest.  According to one extremely chagrined fellow on the forum, sending his 1ds to Canon for cleaning resulted in worse contamination than ever, straight back from Canon, after paying the outrageous "cleaning" fee. [/font]
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didger
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2004, 09:44:39 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
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then we'll both be laughing.
Yeah, but if it doesn't work after all, or if someone discovers that this stuff is poisonous or something, or if they somehow damage their camera with it (even through their own neglect), I could lose big time in court and then everybody else will be laughing and I'll be crying.  I'd rather just pay $40 for a kit from some more daring entrepreneur.[/font]
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Mike Saxon
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2004, 06:30:01 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Some years ago I read very good reviews of Opticlean Polymer cleaning fluid. Go to http://lib1.store.vip.sc5.yahoo.com/lib/da...pticleanfax.pdf for more info.
Mike[/font]
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Yiam Cross
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2004, 04:37:12 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Well I just hope someone comes up with an answer soon.

I have had my 1Ds for a couple of months now and I would say it's near as dammit useless because of the dust on the sensor.

To cut a long story short, shooting midges yesterday through a macro lense against a D60 which has been around the block a few times was a total embarassment. There was so much dust that it would take hours with the healing brush to make just one image useable, if it were possible at all that is.

Puffing a blower brush does nothing, except of course when you touch the sensor with a couple of hairs and they leave a mark. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

I tried some e-wipes which work well on a Powerphase FX sensor, though it is a rather different beast. Probably why they're not so good on a CMOS sensor as they leave residual smears.

The thing I find most difficult is being able to see where the surface is, there seems to be so much internal reflection off the sensor it's like looking into a well of mirrors. Which is not helped by the fact that a speck of dust which looks like a large deformed bird in that beautiful blue sky is invisible to the naked eye on the sensor.

Eventually managed to get things under some sort of control but there's still almost as much dust as ever on the sensor along with some small smears. Do I look like I've been crying for a long time? Must be because I have.

Strangely enough I have been considering the viability of some kind of sticky surface but I wonder how easy it would be to apply and remove in a confined area, how likely it would be to leave residue even more stubborn than the dust and what the chances are of lifting the sensor, or bits of it!

I'm also beginning to wonder if the 1Ds ought to be marketed as a disposable camera & if so whether I can have Canon under the trades description act.

I suppose the moral of the story is to leave well alone unless you can afford to buy a new one, but then with that amount of dust you're going to have to buy a new one anyway, so you might as well have a go...[/font]
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Rainer SLP
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2004, 06:05:30 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
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I'd personally be very worried about putting that amount of strain on a sensor.

Hi Clint,

I would not worry because you are not working on the surface of the sensor. In front of the sensor there is a IR Filter and that window is about 3mm ~1/8" thick.

Nobody of us cleaning what we call sensor ever have touched the sensor.

Why I know it ? Look at his site

EOS 10D http://www.f20c.com/stuff/canon/partslist/EOS%2010D.PDF

page 5 part number CY3-1440-000

Eos 1Ds http://www.f20c.com/stuff/canon/partslist/EOS%201DS.PDF

page 2 part number CY3-1426-000

and we crazy guys from the Astrophotography rip apart the cameras to take it out [/font]
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isodope
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2004, 10:52:56 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I have used Scotch tape (the low tack version) on my CCD with great success.  I got the idea from a poster on dpreview where others have also used this technique with no reported mishaps so far.[/font]
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Edward
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2004, 05:56:01 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I have been trying to get information about the optics cleaning product I mentioned in the original post, but the company has not been back to me. They do not sell consumer products, so they are not really interested in selling a little bit of this stuff. The product is called Ultra-Red and it is sold by Universal Photonics. It is about $90 per gallon, which would clean a lot of sensors. I have now seen what it looks like when it is dry - a very thin, flexible plastic sheet that does not adhere very tightly to a really smooth surface, like a sensor or a mirror lens. You embed cheese cloth in it to get a grip to peel it off. It sticks much tighter to something that is not smooth, which might be an issue if you slopped some onto the sides of the mirror box in the camera. This would really be easy to use on a MF back.[/font]
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didger
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2004, 09:08:40 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hey, Bryan, you obviously have a much better head for this sort of thing than I do, so YOU should do it and reap the glory and profits and admiration of all.  I'll be pleased to be a humble bystander and part of the throng of admirers.

So, are you about ready to start taking orders?[/font]
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2004, 03:10:56 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I've used the OptiClean product and it does indeed clean lenses superbly. It really makes a difference with older, dirtier lenses where the gunk is in places that you didn't realise you could get stuff. It's good for removing persistent smears etc.

The only thing that would worry me with cleaning a senso is actually removing the film. When you use it on a lens you have a small tag that you leave in the film and so once it's set you've got something to pull on to remove the film. It think that this might be a challenge inside the bowels of a DSLR.

The other issue is the applicator brush is kind of short but that's not insurmountable ...[/font]
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Graham
didger
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2004, 11:53:30 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I just checked for sensor contamination after returning from my biggest wilderness shooting outing ever; 11 days and I shot over 700 frames that I've provisionally saved.  I made no effort whatsoever to limit switching lenses either.  My sensor had a few new blotches, but nothing alarming.  I used the sensor brush (Visible Dust) and quickly got the sensor so that it's clean in the zoomed camera display windows.  Once again, this is convincing me that Visible Dust Chamber Clean and sensor brushes do what they're supposed to do and that it's not necessary to do wet sensor cleaning very often.  The electrostatic brush is very quick and hassle free and I feel that it's also safer where potential scratches are concerned.  For really grossly huge contamination, it will take several passes of wet cleaning and sensor brush, in my experience.  At any rate the sensor contamination problem can be controlled, even if with some hassle, risk, and compromise.  A 1ds is not really a "disposable" camera.[/font]
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Clint S
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2004, 12:55:54 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hey there,

I'm in the dental industry and we use a liquid rubber product that one paints on, it then sets into a rubber.
Tomorrow at work (if I can rememeber) I'll give it a paint on a glass slab and see what I can come up with? I'll post back when I have given it a try.  
Clint[/font]
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Clint S
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« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2004, 02:21:38 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hey there guys,
Sorry I've taken so long to get back - been soooo busy at work that I hardly had any time for experimenting.
Right, I've now tried 2-3 different viscosities of rubber based impression materials. Essentially this is a liquid paste which I applied to a mirror, which then sets to a rubber material. This stuff is capable of recording detail in microns. I thought that if I applied this, it would go around the dirt and hopefully lift it off when the material is peeled away. Well I've tried a few times with different pastes, and different manufacturers, and honestly dont think that it picks much up.
I would think that one would need a more 'sticky' material - so I guess these rubber based materials won't work.
If anyone has any other suggestions I'd be willing to give em a try (expense dependant).
I recon for now stick with the good 'ol wipes, and maybe Didger's visible dust products.
If i see anything else I come across that may be worth a bash, I'll keep you informed.
Cheers.
 [/font]
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2004, 10:01:22 PM »
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They paint surfaces with collodion type plastics dissolved in alcohol or acetone, then peel the film off.

Do you know the recepie and where I can pick up the ingredients?

The only problem I can think of is trying to peel the stuff off with such little room around the sensor.[/font]
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