Sensor cleaning - using swabs more than once

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Beatsy
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Sensor cleaning - using swabs more than once

Post by Beatsy »

I wet-clean my camera sensors as little as possible (cleaning has risks), but when working at high effective F-numbers (and stacking) even the tiniest dust specks can be a nuisance. Thanks to making lots of lens changes each day, I have to clean my studio-macro camera more often than those I use for "normal" photography.

A couple of years ago, I found a brand of sensor swab that works really well dry (search for "UES FFR24" on Ebay). They are made of a very fine micro-fibre cloth which picks up dust and holds it really well. Superb results and quicker than wet cleaning (which can leave a residue if you use the slightest bit too much alcohol - so you have to clean the sensor again).

Of course, I use a blower first, then inspect with a loupe and manually pick off visible specks with a fine nylon brush to avoid potential scratches from dry-wiping. A drop of alcohol is called for if there are any grease spots, but usually it's straight to a couple of sweeps in each direction with a dry swab and the sensor is pristine.

But there's often one or two new dots appear during or after cleaning, so I'll use the same swab 2 or 3 times to remove those too. There is a risk in that though, so I thought I'd better try to see the amount of dirt, or potential grit, collected on a used swab. Hence these pics. This one was used for 4 consecutive cleaning operations in a row (two wipes each way being one operation).

The used swab mounted on the macro rig (20x Mitty at 20x).
Image

The side of the swab (never in contact with anything but the foil packet)
Image

The tip of the swab - used dry 4 times on the sensor.
Image

Needless to say, I'm much more relaxed about that reuse now! Once finished with for sensor cleaning, they're handy for getting "stuck" dust off the rear elements of camera lenses too (often recessed inside the lens).

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

I finally decided to clean my sensors after being annoyed for quite some time. I looked around at different solutions, and bought a couple different types. The "gel" types arrived first, and I was expecting miracles, but they ended up leaving much more gunk on the lens than I was trying to clean off! Very disappointing. I ended up just cleaning with alcohol/wet solution and swabs, and it worked fine. Couple days later the dry swabs as you show here showed up from China, and since I had already done the work I have not yet tried them. However, based on your post this will be my next tool for cleaning. I change lenses quite a lot so I do expect needing to clean soon. Will update results if I remember...

dmillard
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Post by dmillard »

The first image is a pleasure to look at (in addition to the useful information conveyed). :)

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

They look so nice and soft I want to pet them!

houstontx
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Post by houstontx »

I bought the APS-C version thanks!

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

I don't think I've ever used a wet swab that didn't leave a mess at the edge of the sensor. Not enough to show at normal apertures, maybe.

I use a gel stick to remove that mess.
Chris R

iconoclastica
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Post by iconoclastica »

Do they work as well for cleaning optics?
--- felix filicis ---

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Since 2001 I've cleaned hundreds of sensors without ever having one single problem or issue. The secret?

I've been using a sensor/lens pen in conjunction with some kind of sensor scope.

Takes 2 minutes to clean a sensor and leaves nothing behind. Works 100% of the time.

Costs about $10 USD.

At one time I was told by the lenspen company rep that Nikon is one of their biggest customers buying their product by the thousands.

https://lenspen.com/our-products/dslr-sensor-cleaning

Disclosure: I have never been paid or sponsored by the lenspen company. Just recommending a product that I've been using professionally since forever.

RobertOToole
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Re: Sensor cleaning - using swabs more than once

Post by RobertOToole »

Image

Never tried this method but I like this a lot as an abstract piece.

:D

Robert

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dolmadis
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Post by dolmadis »

Has any one got a favourite simple, convenient to the task, loupe for sensor cleaning? Quality but readily available at a reasonable price. UK?

Thanks

BR

John

WalterD
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Post by WalterD »

That's a good suggestion Steve, I just ordered 2 sets, 1 for each sensor type. Sensor cleanliness has always been underestimated by me. Nice shots too.

lonepal
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Post by lonepal »

RobertOToole wrote:Since 2001 I've cleaned hundreds of sensors without ever having one single problem or issue. The secret?

I've been using a sensor/lens pen in conjunction with some kind of sensor scope.

Takes 2 minutes to clean a sensor and leaves nothing behind. Works 100% of the time.

Costs about $10 USD.

At one time I was told by the lenspen company rep that Nikon is one of their biggest customers buying their product by the thousands.

https://lenspen.com/our-products/dslr-sensor-cleaning

Disclosure: I have never been paid or sponsored by the lenspen company. Just recommending a product that I've been using professionally since forever.
Hi Robert;

I checked https://lenspen.com/our-products/dslr-sensor-cleaning but there is product for 10 usd, do you use another model?

Btw thanks for the tip.
Regards.
Omer

Macro_Cosmos
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Post by Macro_Cosmos »

I'd recommend against buying apsc versions. FX versions cost essentially the same, the width of an apsc sensor is the same as the height of an FX sensor. It's just a matter of vertical or horizontal swiping.

I reuse my swabs too, they come in handy when I need to get grime off a keyboard or getting around tricky places on ordinary lenses :P Don't throw them away!

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