Most photographer's anxiety levels shoot through the roof if they leave their camera sensor exposed for more than a few milliseconds. Question is, how much abuse can our sensors really take? Don't try this experiment at home, kids.
I have to admit that I fall into the camp of feeling anxious when my sensor is not guarded by a lens or a body cap. For me, it's more to do with foreign bodies entering the camera and causing unnecessary sensor cleaning than actual sensor damage itself. If you shoot in more dramatic circumstances, then the risk of something happening increases, but do we need to be so cautious?
This week, Arthur Reutov explores this very subject by testing how scratch-proof a camera sensor is. In this instance, Reutov abuses the sensor from a Sony mirrorless camera by exposing it to many of the items it could come into contact with while out in the field. Dust, dirt, oils, and a knife are the things that the poor sensor in question is exposed to in this experiment. While the test in the video is more extreme than many of our cameras will hopefully ever have to experience, it's interesting to see how much the sensor can actually take.
The video also shows some good techniques for cleaning your camera and how gravity and a dust removal tool can be your best friend when trying to not scratch the surface of your sensor. The tool featured is something I have never used myself, but for such a small investment, I think it would be worth adding one to your arsenal. A replacement sensor would cost significantly more.
Do you wrap your camera in cotton wool? Have any sensor cleaning techniques or horror stories? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.