Spots on your images caused by dust on the sensor can be frustrating and hard to deal with, especially when you have lots of images waiting to be retouched. Although most recent cameras have built-in sensor-cleaning mechanisms, the dust inside your camera should be removed completely in order to prevent existing dust particles from clinging onto the sensor again and again. There are lots of products on the market, but which one you should choose?
You have probably seen these tiny sticks under different brands. Sometimes, they are equipped with special liquids, and they guarantee to clean your sensor better than other products, especially if there is still dust or anything else remaining after cleaning with air, swabs would be handy at this point. Also, you can choose different-sized swabs either for crop sensors or full-frame sensors. However, they are a bit pricey comapred to other cleaning products and there is always a risk of scratching or damaging your sensor if not applied carefully.
This is the most traditional way of cleaning your sensor and lenses. It is cheap, practical, and easy to do. However, it is better to avoid using unbranded versions, as low quality products may contain tiny rubber and plastic particles inside the hose and the pump, which may cause more trouble while cleaning. I have been using my Giottos Rocket Blaster for years, and so far, it is my first choice for daily cleaning. But again, like all other methods, you have to be careful when holding your camera to avoid scratching the sensor with the plastic pipe.
Compressed Air Can Sprays and Vacuums
First of all, never use compressed air cans, as most don't contain pure air, and they may leave chemical stains on the surface after application. They're sold under "electronic device-cleaning kits," and they may be good for cleaning your keyboard or other office equipment; however, I don't recommend these even for cleaning the outer surface of your camera bodies and lenses. Plus, they are environmentally hazardous. Furthermore, a vacuum creates a static buildup from particles rubbing against the intake. This buildup could easily damage your equipment.
Canless Air System
Battery-powered canless air systems are a better alternative to air cans and traditional air blowers. They're quite powerful; therefore, they must be used carefully to avoid any possible harm due to high pressure. They are also a cleaner alternative to compressed air sprays, as they just use the air inside the room to blow. O2 Hurricane is a good solution and is handy for cleaning lenses and other camera gear. However, there isn't any filter on the device and it is quite noisy, and because of its power, I would recommend avoiding using it on the sensor.
There are several products available on the market; you can even find a swab-holder with LED lights. But in my opinion, keeping it simple is vital for the health of your camera's sensor. If there isn't stain-like dirt on the sensor, avoid using liquid-based cleaning equipment. Camera sensors are really sensitive parts; therefore, owners should be beware of touching them even with cleaning objects and should refrain from doing so unless they need to. At this point, basic air blowers are the winners.
- Instead of cleaning your sensor, try to keep it clean, and be careful when changing lenses.
- Try to avoid direct contact with the sensor.
- Avoid using vacuum cleaners and powerful air compressors on the sensor.
Also, try to buy the original products rather than cheap replicates, as you will be dealing with the most important part of your camera. And if you don't have experience cleaning the sensor, consider asking a camera service to do it for you. If you have any experience with these kinds of products, please share in the comments section below.