How to Keep Your Sensor Clean

Guest Post by Jason Anderson from Canon Blogger

Sensor dust on your camera’s sensor can really be a pain in the you-know-what! Having to spend extra time at the computer, using Photoshop’s Clone Stamp tool to fix dust spots and endlessly clicking through photos to edit dust can be a royal pain. There are ways to clean your sensor getting rid of that dust but why not avoiding it entirely?

1. Avoid changing lenses in the field. Dust enters from any uncontrolled area and the place where you have the least control is in the field. I’ve seen folks change lenses outdoors all the time and it’s certainly not going to damage your camera or sensor (unless you’re reckless) but anything that opens your sensor to the ambient air also exposes it to dust. Wanna know how much dust is actually in the air? Turn on a flashlight in the dark! We oooh and ahhh over beautiful sunbeams in photos—what’s you’re seeing is sunlight bouncing off dust particles in the air!


2. Point it Down. If you have to change your lenses in the field because you only have one camera body (like me) don’t let gravity help! When swapping lenses, point our camera downwards so dust is less likely to settle on your sensor. It take’s a bit of practice, because you’re swapping a lens blind but this just speaks to the principle of knowing your gear!

3. Be quick. Many times I see photographers think of swapping that wide-angle lens for a zoom, prime or other lens. They take the lens off, cap the lens, put it in the camera bag, pull out the other lens, uncap it, and then mount it to the camera. Meanwhile, the camera sensor has been exposed for 60 seconds. That’s a long time to be exposed to the elements.

Tip: I do it the opposite way. I take the destination lens out, uncap it, and position it next to my camera. Then in one motion unlock the lens on-camera, twist it off, and put the new lens on. Cap the old lens, put in camera bag, and the sensor was only exposed for about 3 seconds!

4.  Use a dust bag. In some environments, there is dust everywhere. I’ve shot on beaches in South Carolina, dusty conditions in Colorado and Mexico, and places where the amount of dust in the air was nasty. For situations like that, consider a dust bag. The idea here is to insert your camera and the new lens into a bag where there’s no dust and swap out lenses. Caveat: Just by inserting a camera and lens inside one of these bags, you’re already introducing dust, so the “clean” environment theory is blown away.

5. Cap the camera. Lots of people forget that their cameras come with a body cap so that when there is no lens attached, you can put the camera cap in place to protect it. I usually have a lens mounted and at the ready but if you are not deft enough with your hands to remove a lens and attach a new one, the camera cap is a great interim step.

Follow Jason Anderson on where he serves up tips, tricks, tutorials, articles, and reviews.

Author: Joe Farace

Share This Post On
%d bloggers like this: