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Author Topic: Cleaning with canned air?  (Read 3983 times)
Justinr
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« on: July 12, 2014, 08:20:29 AM »
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Good idea or not?

The D3 is proving an absolute nightmare when it comes to dust and a puffer brush/blower is about as effective as passing wind in the general direction of the sensor on a stormy day. So do I use short shots of canned air instead? It strikes me that the volume and speed of gas is much higher and more likely to remove debris from the sensor, its expansion will also cause the dust to be swept out of the camera body while a puffer brush may blow as much rubbish into the body as it removes.

The downsides are that it could push dust into awkward places and embed particles more firmly into the sensor surface, or so I read.

I never had a dust issue to this extent on the Pentax's and the Mamiya rarely suffers and a puffer brush does sort the problem when it happens.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 08:34:07 AM by Justinr » Logged

degrub
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 10:49:22 AM »
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Likely not.
Expansion of the gas causes auto refrigeration which will chill the sensor locally. Try it on your finger first. It may also condense moisture out the air
Canned "air" may not be air.
Liquid contaminants - used to be an issue, usually oils but it may not be as much.

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Justinr
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2014, 11:07:15 AM »
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Likely not.
Expansion of the gas causes auto refrigeration which will chill the sensor locally. Try it on your finger first. It may also condense moisture out the air
Canned "air" may not be air.
Liquid contaminants - used to be an issue, usually oils but it may not be as much.



Canned 'air' is butane I believe. Will refrigeration cause distortion of the sensor if aimed across it and used gently thus lowering the temp of whole sensor? It's not something I had not thought of but it's a possibility I guess. As for contaminants I should imagine that the primary market for the product, the computer hardware industry, would be rather fussy on that score as well.
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degrub
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 11:10:20 AM »
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http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_duster

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Alan Klein
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 12:13:44 PM »
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Do CO2 dusters work better.
Like this http://www.walmart.com/ip/CleanDr-CO2-Air-Duster/20371298
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degrub
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 12:22:17 PM »
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Same thermal issue. Plus you can condense moisture out of the air.

Why not use one of the wet clean kits ?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 12:24:36 PM by degrub » Logged
Telecaster
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 04:03:14 PM »
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I use a dry/wet combo to clean when necessary: a brush spinner thingie (spins to destatic & shed particles prior to sweeping the brush across the sensor); and a swab suffused with Eclipse fluid. A delicate touch is beneficial.

-Dave-
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Justinr
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 06:14:32 PM »
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I use a dry/wet combo to clean when necessary: a brush spinner thingie (spins to destatic & shed particles prior to sweeping the brush across the sensor); and a swab suffused with Eclipse fluid. A delicate touch is beneficial.

-Dave-

Something I sadly lack....  Sad

Hence the hope that an occasional blowing out with canned air would do the trick as it accumulates dust far faster than any camera I've used up until now.
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 08:04:12 PM »
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I've been using canned gas for over seven years on two bodies with no apparent ill effects, but I strictly follow the following:

1)  Never shake the can.  In fact, I position the can on my desk some time before the intended use, and don't move it again - I only move the camera in order to blow on the sensor.

2)  Never blow at anything but the sensor, not the mirror box, not the mirror or pentaprism.

3)  Only blow in short intermittent blasts with a second or two between blasts - this lessens the chance of the refrigerant effect.

I'm not sure how one would "freeze" a sensor considering that all the materials are already frozen (solids).  If one aimed at one spot and held the blast continuously at that spot, it could be possible to induce differential temperature stresses.   But in truth, the sensor is so small that this would actually difficult to achieve with the amount of movement one normally exhibits when hold the camera body.

In any event, there are countless users that routinely subject their camera bodies to ambient temperatures that are well below what the manufactures recommend in their manuals - with no apparent harmful effects.

Like any operation involving a fine instrument, one must exercise a reasonable amount of caution and intelligence in the procedure.

If the refrigerant doesn't remove the spots, a wet cleaning is in order.

In any event, I will continue to use this method, and don't expect any terrible things to happen.

Glenn
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 02:55:52 AM »
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Good idea or not?
Everything I've ever read has said NOT to do this.
One person's experience of not having damaged his camera is probably too small a sample to trust. One small difference in product or technique might make all the difference.
Quote
when it comes to dust and a puffer brush/blower is about as effective as passing wind in the general direction of the sensor on a stormy day.
Puffer brushes are horrible at the best of times and to be avoided. Every brush based product I've let near a digital sensor has always been a disaster causing more problems than it solves, even the horribly expensive ones.
What I've found works well is the hurricane bulb blowers (NO brush). These give a controlled big blast of air and shift most debris. Anything particularly suborn will need wet cleaning.

If you've real dust problems the only real answer is to move to a camera with automatic sensor cleaning. Moving to a 5Dii was a revelation for me, in the last four years all the sensor has ever needed is a quick blow from the Hurricane once a year to keep it clean. My previous DSLRs all seemed to need very regular and time consuming cleaning.
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2014, 04:30:42 PM »
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I'm another long term canned air user, way back to the D100 and 1ds.

Far better results than any other method.  Only ever needed a wet clean a few times for stuck dirt.

Ymmv

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2014, 05:34:43 PM »
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Hi,

I have used Arctic Butterfly with great success since 2006, no need for wet cleaning at all. It uses electrostatic charge on a small brush.

Canned air may be OK, but may have risk. It is not air but probably some condensable gas like propane. Don't smoke using it :-)

Best regards
Erik

Good idea or not?

The D3 is proving an absolute nightmare when it comes to dust and a puffer brush/blower is about as effective as passing wind in the general direction of the sensor on a stormy day. So do I use short shots of canned air instead? It strikes me that the volume and speed of gas is much higher and more likely to remove debris from the sensor, its expansion will also cause the dust to be swept out of the camera body while a puffer brush may blow as much rubbish into the body as it removes.

The downsides are that it could push dust into awkward places and embed particles more firmly into the sensor surface, or so I read.

I never had a dust issue to this extent on the Pentax's and the Mamiya rarely suffers and a puffer brush does sort the problem when it happens.
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Justinr
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2014, 03:23:15 AM »
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Everything I've ever read has said NOT to do this.
One person's experience of not having damaged his camera is probably too small a sample to trust. One small difference in product or technique might make all the difference.Puffer brushes are horrible at the best of times and to be avoided. Every brush based product I've let near a digital sensor has always been a disaster causing more problems than it solves, even the horribly expensive ones.
What I've found works well is the hurricane bulb blowers (NO brush). These give a controlled big blast of air and shift most debris. Anything particularly suborn will need wet cleaning.

If you've real dust problems the only real answer is to move to a camera with automatic sensor cleaning. Moving to a 5Dii was a revelation for me, in the last four years all the sensor has ever needed is a quick blow from the Hurricane once a year to keep it clean. My previous DSLRs all seemed to need very regular and time consuming cleaning.

Which leaves something of a conundrum for what we read everywhere about using puffer brushes just doesn't work, so if the various blogs and notes are wrong on that score why shouldn't they also be wrong on using canned 'air'? Most of them are written by Phil Space type characters who will feel the need to cover their backsides and dish out the usual inanity's while carefully trying to appear to be saying something sensible, which is why I often find the web so shallow, present company excepted of course (that particular rant over  Smiley ).

As for changing the camera I've just spent good money on switching to another brand based on image quality rather than it's ability to cope with dust. The Pentax K5 never gave me a problem dust wise but you begin to wonder just how 'professional' a camera like the D3 is if it relies on some overly complex masking function to help overcome the problem post capture rather than have some arrangement to reduce its occurrence in the first place, in other words if Pentax can do it on 'semi pro' cameras why can't Nikon do it on their flagship models? (rant No 2 over  Smiley )


EDIT: I've just been on to the web again looking for references to this issue and it seems there are others who's D3 has been something of a dust magnet, so the question is would it have affected my decision to swap brands if I'd known about it? Probably not.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 03:36:42 AM by Justinr » Logged

Paul2660
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2014, 08:00:01 AM »
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Canned air can work but as several others posted you have to be careful as if you shake or even moved the can you run the risk of getting the propellant on the sensor and that will more than likely stain. It's simple to test this as when you spray just move the can a bit and see if you don't get a bit of white on the surface you are spraying. That is the propellant. You also have to be VERY careful with "pure" CO2 cartridges.  Many of these are meant for air guns and contain lubricant for the gun. They can make a total mess of things.

I still have very good results with a rocket brand blower brush. If that won't work than I will try the Visible dust brushes. Then wet cleaning. For wet I use the Visible Dust solutions and swabs.

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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Blog> http://paulcaldwellphotography.com
Justinr
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 02:41:22 PM »
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Should anybody still be wondering why I want a quick and easy answer to dust on the sensor here are a couple from today -

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Paul2660
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2014, 05:42:57 PM »
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:-)

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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Justinr
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2014, 04:05:07 AM »
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:-)

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Paul


Aye, and as I look at the photos from the morning I can see an increasing amount of dust accumulating on the sensor even though I never changed the lens or opened the camera up in any way.

That drill, BTW, uses compressed air to power the head and once spent the exhaust air blows the pulverised rock and dust back up to the surface, there is meant to be a dust collection vacuum system at the base of the derrick but it doesn't catch it all as we can see. To keep the sun behind me I had to stand downwind of the machine. :-(
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KLaban
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2014, 06:25:57 AM »
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http://www.digitaltoyshop.co.uk/Eyelead_sensor_cleaning_kit_SCK-1_t2649_6789

Wouldn't be without it.
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Justinr
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2014, 07:27:12 AM »
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Now that looks like a handy piece of kit!

Cheers!
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2014, 07:04:17 PM »
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The "canned air" I use is not air but difluoroethane; the trade name is Dust-Off, and it's called a compressed gas duster.   It is a refrigerant - which pretty well means it is not combustible - and it's certainly not benzene which is a carcinogen and flammable.

According to their website (which I checked on today), the difluoroethane IS the propellant, so it contains only one compound, thus shaking will have no effect.  Several years ago I read on a photo forum that it had a propellant which "could" contaminate the sensor (and I believed it).  No more worries about that one.

So it would seem that the last remaining danger is in freezing the sensor.  Incorrect - I must refrain from being a teenager and using it as an inhalant.  Darn, I was so looking forward to getting high on it. Wink

Happy blowing,

Glenn


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