sensor spots - what are they?What are those dark spots in the image?
This is one of the most common questions involving image sensors and sensor cleaning. Some people blame the lens, others the mirror, but generally, the problem comes from sensor spots!
Once you have cleaned your lens, and eliminated that factor as the catalyst of these unwanted patches, in most cases, sensor spots are to blame!

So what are sensor spots, where do they come from, and more importantly, how can we remove them? Please read the whole article to avoid missing out important info…

Sensor spots are, believe it or not, bits of dust! Dust that has fallen on the sensor during activities that bare the sensor to the outside world, such as lens changing, especially in dusty places.

So how do we check for dust?

Clean your lens, and if possible, your mirror. This is to exclude these as culprits. Mount a 50mm+ lens on your camera, and switch to manual focus. Choose a white wall as your subject, and turn the focus ring until the wall is as out-of-focus as it goes. Take a picture. Switch to playback view, and zoom in on the picture, and look for splodges in the image. These are sensor spots.

And how do we remove sensor spots?

This is the important bit! Please note that the methods employed below may cause permanent damage to your camera, and TX Stock Photos will not be held responsible for damage incurred to persons or property when using the techniques stated below.

You MUST have a well charged battery at this point. It must be over 50% charge, or the camera may shut down causing damage to the shutter or mirror. If the camera beeps, your battery is too low. Turn the camera off IMMEDIATELY and charge battery.

1. The first, and least risky technique is to use an air blower. These present next to no risk, even for a total beginner, as it is a NO-CONTACT method. These are widely available, some as lens cleaners, some as mirror cleaners, some as sensor dusters, or even all three.

Below I will give instructions for exposing the sensor, however, you should always check your manual before proceeding. In general, there will be a menu option of Clean Sensor . Once located, select it, and if you hear a click, your camera is ready. Remove the lens, and you may begin!

If you have a Sony Alpha camera, you will have to remove the lens first, and keeping the camera angled down at all times, press the button with the downward arrow. This lifts the mirror, revealing a pearly turquoise high-pass filter (You never actually reach the sensoras it is covered by a high pass filter ).

Remember to put a lens cap on the rear element of the lens, as cleaning that part is not fun!

Angle the camera downwards so that loose dust naturally falls out. Being careful not to touch the chamber walls, or any part of the sensor, blow air a few times. About 5-10 blows usually does the trick.

Turn the power off, remount the lens, and repeat  spot test. If the results are unsatisfactory, you will need to tone it up a notch.

2. Next option is a sensor brush. These are not very harmful, infact, still fairly unintrusive, PROVIDED they are kept CLEAN.

It is recommended that compressed air is used to clean the brush and charge it with static. Start at one end of the sensor and progress to the next, moving smoothly across. DO NOT touch any other part of the camera! Clean/charge the brush after each stroke, and do about 5-8 in total. Follow this up with another set of blowing.

Repeat spot test, if results are not satisfactory, read on!

3. Sensor Pen. This is effective, involving rubbing dust off the sensor. It is also fairly intrusive and must be done with care, following all the instructions in the sensor pen manual.

Repeat spot test, if results are not satisfactory, read on!

4. Use a dedicated sensor cleaning Fluid. This is probably the most intrusive method, however, it is incredibly effective. Put a tiny drop on a sensor swab, and very carefully use it to clean the sensor.  Do not touch any part of the sensor chamber, and ensure you follow all the instructions on the packet!!

TX Stock Photos will not be held responsible for damage incurred to persons or property when using the techniques stated above.