Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 08:44:08 am

Title: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 08:44:08 am
The night before last I noticed dirt on my a6300 sensor. Blower and sensor brush would not dislodge it, so I tried my usual fall-back: Eclipse sensor cleaner and sensor swabs. I do know how to clean a sensor - under usual technical conditions. The result was much worse than before and focusing stopped working. The next morning I called Vistek and they told me Sony wants all such cameras sent to their designated third party service facility because Eclipse and like products do not work with Sony's new sensor materials; in this area the facility is MTC in Whitby Ontario, about a 45 minute drive from Toronto. I phoned MTC and they agreed to see the camera immediately because of urgency. I drove to MTC and within a couple of hours the camera emerged with a clean sensor, focusing fine, up-dated firmware and a bill for 59 dollars. Excellent service, but their technicians are not allowed to talk with customers, so I could not learn what Sony trained them to do for cleaning the sensor.

I frankly find this situation completely unacceptable and had I known about it beforehand I may not have bought such a camera, much as I really like it otherwise. We all know how easy it is for stubborn dirt to lodge on a sensor. What happens despite all the care one takes if something stubborn lands on the sensor during a lens change and there is no service facility anywhere close to clean it up? With other cameras we have our usual solutions ready at hand. For Sony to not offer their customers a self-usable cleaning solution for stubborn sensor dirt is a really questionable positioning.

I'd be interested to know whether other readers here have encountered such a problem with the latest generation of Sony sensors, how you cleaned the sensors and what were the outcomes. I also challenge Sony publicly here and now to come forward on this Forum and speak to this issue, because I think it is close to a deal-breaker in terms of buying recent model Sony cameras. At the very least, Sony needs to explain what materials consumers need and what they must know in order to safely clean these sensors, and offer us the option to do it, of course at our own risk. Failing that, changing lenses on these cameras carries what I consider to be an unacceptable usability risk.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: E.J. Peiker on November 08, 2016, 08:53:57 am
Sensor GelStick - the one made specifically for Sony Cameras with the orange tip.  No problems at all on a6300 a7R Mk II and even IQ3-100.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 09:04:21 am
Sensor GelStick - the one made specifically for Sony Cameras with the orange tip.  No problems at all on a6300 a7R Mk II and even IQ3-100.

Wow - thanks - that was fast; this Forum is so wonderful.

So why on earth does Sony not simply tell us this? (The product manual also says to take the camera to a service facility.)
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: scyth on November 08, 2016, 09:49:10 am
Sony needs to explain
on the contrary, Sony is well advised not to recommend anything other than to use a proper service facility... which they already did in the manual, no ? so look at you - you decided to ignore the manual (your right - but then do not blame Sony) and DIY and then you did not bother to do a research what shall be used - did you at least bother to call Sony or any of their authorized repair facilities to ask before pouring Eclipse of whatever version on the pad ? ...
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on November 08, 2016, 10:09:24 am
All the camera manuals I have read specifically tell one not to touch the sensor. For example, page 17 of my A7II manual tells "do not directly touch these parts" referring to the image sensor.

No camera maker that I know of would go and officially recommend a sensor cleaning product or method.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 10:19:31 am
on the contrary, Sony is well advised not to recommend anything other than to use a proper service facility... which they already did in the manual, no ? so look at you - you decided to ignore the manual (your right - but then do not blame Sony) and DIY and then you did not bother to do a research what shall be used - did you at least bother to call Sony or any of their authorized repair facilities to ask before pouring Eclipse of whatever version on the pad ? ...

Sorry - Sony is well advised to provide consumers with a self-usable cleaning approach so they don't get stuck in the middle of nowhere or need to spend a heap of time and money getting a service facility to remove a bit of stubborn dirt from a sensor. This is ridiculous. And yes, I ignored the manual because often manufacturers recommend excessively cautious things merely to cover their backsides from people who are prone to screw-up more skill-intensive recommendations. So this time the adventure didn't work. It remains ridiculous. Glad to read there is a self-use material out there that at least one person finds workable. That was a helpful contribution.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 10:22:43 am
All the camera manuals I have read specifically tell one not to touch the sensor. For example, page 17 of my A7II manual tells "do not directly touch these parts" referring to the image sensor.

No camera maker that I know of would go and officially recommend a sensor cleaning product or method.

Paulo, I and many thousands of others have been successfully cleaning our sensors with time-tested materials since the 1990s with no issues. This is a recent problem apparently because of newer, different coverings being placed on the sensors. Phase One in fact provides a DigiCleaning Kit with liquids and instructions for using them. So now you know of one.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Phil Indeblanc on November 08, 2016, 11:25:04 am
That gel stick is a gimmick.
I never used Eclipse on a sensor. Eclipse contains more of some other things and methanol.

I know those are good for lenses and coatings.
But for sensors...

I place the camera on a rubber cutting mat I keep new. I use a well lit space

I use E-wipes. I just cleaned my Sony sensor a couple days ago with 100% no spec, as I also use a sensor scope to inspect my work.

My method: (After seeing that I have dirt on the sensor other than loose debris, dust. The smudged on type....)
I recommend first to use a separate pen brush to clean around the sensor, under the mount in particular.
I recommend doing this in Clean mode, to help minimize the sensor moving.

1. Blow ball anything loose on and around the sensor.
2. Use the in camera cleaner to vibe anything possible (Stay in cleaning mode of the camera the entire time)
3. blow ball again
4. Pen brush, or other "approved" brush to clean what ever is possible with little pressure
5. When using the Ewipe. Its a large sheet. You can use nitrile gloves if you wish. Otherwise, use a section you didn't touch.
Unfold and use a favorite store "Club card" key-chain size plastic. I cut my larger card to size of sensor.
Any store or credit car works. *Use the machined edge of the card against the Ewipe to lay flat against the sensor when applying, not the side you cut.
Tear a portion of the Ewipe, and fold it over the card(or over one of those plastic sensor sticks they sell).....
And wipe,
Left to Right,
Up and down in 2 sections/FF, and then I use a dry Pec-Pad in the same manner as the wet Ewipe to make sure there are No streaks, residue.
**If using other fluids other than what the Ewipe is soaked with, you will need to apply the "approved" fluid 1-3 drops ON the material using to wipe with, and never on the sensor directly. Enough to wet the sensor, but not soak it.
Also once you drip the drops on the wipe, don't wait too long to apply to the sensor. If you managed to soak it, and you do use the soaked wipe... Prepare to repeat the steps with less fluid.

6. I use the rest of the wipe to make sure the mount and lens contacts are dust free and clean.

I use a sensor scope to check my work.

Done!
Those Gel sticks are *an alternate, but gimmicky method :-)
The Ewipes can be used for anything sensitive, and great for MF sensors.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 01:19:44 pm
Hi Phil, there is a risk with your method of the sensor cover getting scratched by tiny particulates that you dislodge and move across the sensor with the cleaning motion. That is why a workable fluid should be preferable. For clarity, Eclipse IS meant for sensor cleaning - it says so on the bottle and they provide instructions. It also says that it contains methanol, but it doesn't say whether it contains anything else. Apart from the one report in this thread, there are several other postings in other Forums recommending use of GelStick, so some people at least are having success with it; hence I would not dismiss it as "BS" unless I hear negative reports as well.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 02:47:23 pm
You mean the manufacturer cleared its own product. Sony hasn't cleared it, nor has at the least the staff member of Toronto's largest professional retail outlet I spoke with. As far as I'm concerned it's very much "use at your own risk", and that is why I posted my experience, which dates from yesterday. For avoidance of all doubt this should be subjected to independent third-party verification.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Phil Indeblanc on November 08, 2016, 02:51:14 pm
Hi Phil, there is a risk with your method of the sensor cover getting scratched by tiny particulates that you dislodge and move across the sensor with the cleaning motion. That is why a workable fluid should be preferable. For clarity, Eclipse IS meant for sensor cleaning - it says so on the bottle and they provide instructions. It also says that it contains methanol, but it doesn't say whether it contains anything else. Apart from the one report in this thread, there are several other postings in other Forums recommending use of GelStick, so some people at least are having success with it; hence I would not dismiss it as "BS" unless I hear negative reports as well.

E Wipe is wet

Which reminds me, I will need to update my above method. I do use a pen brush on the sensor first. I also use another different pen around the mount and underneith, as I have found dust particles inside.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: E.J. Peiker on November 08, 2016, 02:55:28 pm
All the camera manuals I have read specifically tell one not to touch the sensor. For example, page 17 of my A7II manual tells "do not directly touch these parts" referring to the image sensor.

No camera maker that I know of would go and officially recommend a sensor cleaning product or method.
Well not "no camera maker"  - Phase One actually ships their XF/IQ kit with Photosol sensor cleaning products and tells you exactly how to use them ;)  That includes their Sony sensored models!
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 03:14:40 pm
E Wipe is wet

Which reminds me, I will need to update my above method. I do use a pen brush on the sensor first. I also use another different pen around the mount and underneith, as I have found dust particles inside.

Ah - better.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 03:17:07 pm
Well not "no camera maker"  - Phase One actually ships their XF/IQ kit with Photosol sensor cleaning products and tells you exactly how to use them ;)  That includes their Sony sensored models!

Yes correct - I mentioned Phase One above, and glad to hear it applies also to the latest models. It would, however, still be good for Sony to confirm what can be safely used on the new Sony mirrorless models.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: scooby70 on November 08, 2016, 03:17:47 pm
Eclipse has now been cleared for use on Sony sensors:

http://photosol.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/sony-update.pdf

Paul

I've used Eclipse to clean all my cameras including my Sony A7 with no issues but of course other cameras may have different coatings and may be affected.

It's interesting that the people claiming damage haven't made any claim but I suppose there could be a genuine reason for this.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 03:20:52 pm
A7 is not the most recent sensor design. This issue, as I understand what I was told, applies only to the most recent crop of new Sony sensors because of changes in materials.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: scyth on November 08, 2016, 03:28:51 pm
Well not "no camera maker"  - Phase One actually ships their XF/IQ kit with Photosol sensor cleaning products and tells you exactly how to use them ;)  That includes their Sony sensored models!

you are not cleaning sensor - you are cleaning whatever is on top of sensor assembly (IR/UV cut filter for example and this is certainly different for each camera manufacturer)
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: scyth on November 08, 2016, 03:31:01 pm
Sorry - Sony is well advised to provide consumers with a self-usable cleaning approach so they don't get stuck in the middle of nowhere or need to spend a heap of time and money getting a service facility to remove a bit of stubborn dirt from a sensor.

the bottom line you did not do your homework - as noted you did not bother to call neither Sony not any of their authorized service centers to ask
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: scooby70 on November 08, 2016, 03:37:19 pm
A7 is not the most recent sensor design. This issue, as I understand what I was told, applies only to the most recent crop of new Sony sensors because of changes in materials.

Eclipse has now been cleared for use on Sony sensors:

http://photosol.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/sony-update.pdf

Paul


Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 03:46:53 pm
the bottom line you did not do your homework - as noted you did not bother to call neither Sony not any of their authorized service centers to ask

It is pointless calling people whose answer one knows ahead of time. I took a "calculated risk" which didn't work and started this thread for two CONSTRUCTIVE reasons: (1) to warn others not to do what I did, and (2) to seek CONSTRUCTIVE lessons of experience from others. Unless you have anything constructive to contribute to this discussion, you and I are done talking about it, or at least I am.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 03:54:26 pm
From the Eclipse statement: "Now that we have sufficient data in hand - including more tests, reports from Sony and other independent repair centers - we can safely conclude that Eclipse is 100% safe on these cameras."

If this is true, it would seem that Sony and these other repair centres have also cleared this product. 

Personally I have used Eclipse for years, first with Canon and now Sony A7R2s with zero problems. (Maybe this make me an independent third party verifier?)

Paul

If Sony is happy with this position they certainly haven't made it known to one of my dealers or generally; in fact based on what I was told, they appear to be instructing dealers to advise the customers to use a service center. However, your experience is certainly much more positive than mine was and the sensor versions are probably close enough. So one wonders.........But I won't be using any officially unauthorized fluid on an a6300 sensor until Sony confirms what product and procedure they are comfortable with.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Phil Indeblanc on November 08, 2016, 04:39:24 pm
Maybe you got a fake bogus copy of the Eclipse from Amazon. I have read such claims.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 04:42:46 pm
Maybe you got a fake bogus copy of the Eclipse from Amazon. I have read such claims.

Nope, bought it from Vistek (reputable, major professional dealer here in Toronto) - but some time ago. I checked for an expiry date and there was none so I assumed it doesn't expire - but then again, maybe it does! The plot thickens. :-)
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: NancyP on November 08, 2016, 05:13:16 pm
Mark, I agree that users ought to be able to clean the sensor, with the understanding that it may not be sufficient and that if improperly cleaned, the camera could be damaged and need repairing. A sensible move by the manufacturer is to recommend that in-warranty cameras be cleaned by a recommended service, and that in emergencies an alternate procedure (with details and with names of compatible products) can be performed. After all, people do get out beyond their back yards or cities. What do you do if you are somewhere in Nepal?
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 08, 2016, 05:22:20 pm
What do you do if you are somewhere in Nepal?

Well, it depends WHERE in Nepal. I had a hard drive failure in Kathmandu and some smart folks running a Mac repair shop downtown got me up and running again when I thought my goose was cooked; but yes, you got it - that's the whole point - different story if I were trekking in the Himalayas :-).
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Phil Indeblanc on November 08, 2016, 09:04:35 pm
Mark, I agree that users ought to be able to clean the sensor, with the understanding that it may not be sufficient and that if improperly cleaned, the camera could be damaged and need repairing. A sensible move by the manufacturer is to recommend that in-warranty cameras be cleaned by a recommended service, and that in emergencies an alternate procedure (with details and with names of compatible products) can be performed. After all, people do get out beyond their back yards or cities. What do you do if you are somewhere in Nepal?

Feel free to use the procedure I outlined on the first page. It is not wether or not you only follow directions carefully, but experience is at least half the knowledge to have at hand. I have cleaned over 15 different sensors from Phase One, Kodak, Canon, Nikon, and now Sony.
.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on November 09, 2016, 04:35:56 am
Well not "no camera maker"  - Phase One actually ships their XF/IQ kit with Photosol sensor cleaning products and tells you exactly how to use them ;)  That includes their Sony sensored models!

For sake of completeness, I did wrote "no camera maker I know of". Good that Phase One does it.

For further clarification: I have used Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Leica, Sony; the official spiel from them is to not touch the sensor, if in need of cleaning, go to an authorized service centre. This actually makes sense. Imagine Sony recommends product X; someone uses it and screws up the sensor, either due to personal reasons, or to product X being out of date, or having a slightly different composition than before, or because the coating on the sensor was changed. Sony would have to be held responsible for that, and for sure they do not want that.

Of course there have been products that have been tried and tested and are know to be safe. But there is the risk of a new camera having a different sensor coating or something, for which the product may no longer be safe.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: David Good on November 09, 2016, 05:06:57 am
I have cleaned my A7II's sensor four or five times with the Aero-clipse solution (with their expensive swabs) with no noticeable ill effects.
I was hesitant at first but couldn't see myself sending the camera in every time the sensor accumulated dust or lube spots. Just my experience so far.......
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: davidgp on November 09, 2016, 05:55:14 am
I'm reaching the point about what to use to clean my A7 II sensor... reading terror stories in both fronts... people using the gel stick for Sony leaving marks in the sensor and people with eclipse with also problems...

Aero-clipse looks like the safest one... but difficult to get it in Europe... all the online shops that I see have the product they have it out of stock


http://dgpfotografia.com
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 09, 2016, 07:16:10 am
This morning I received advice on good authority NOT to use preparations containing methanol. Check this reference: http://briansmith.com/5-simple-steps-camera-sensor-cleaning/ for overall good detailed advice on sensor cleaning.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: David Good on November 09, 2016, 07:27:55 am
This morning I received advice on good authority NOT to use preparations containing methanol. Check this reference: http://briansmith.com/5-simple-steps-camera-sensor-cleaning/ for overall good detailed advice on sensor cleaning.

Yes, that is where I first read of the recommendation to use the methanol-free Aero-clipse. Brian has posted a lot of very useful info for us Sony shooters.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Phil Indeblanc on November 09, 2016, 01:08:38 pm
This morning I received advice on good authority NOT to use preparations containing methanol. Check this reference: http://briansmith.com/5-simple-steps-camera-sensor-cleaning/ for overall good detailed advice on sensor cleaning.

I mentioned this in post #7,  How to clean sensor...
Didn't have any link to expand on it :-)
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: davidgp on November 10, 2016, 01:46:18 am
This morning I received advice on good authority NOT to use preparations containing methanol. Check this reference: http://briansmith.com/5-simple-steps-camera-sensor-cleaning/ for overall good detailed advice on sensor cleaning.

Yes, that's the main reason I was mentioning aero-eclipse... it looks like it does not contain methanol


http://dgpfotografia.com
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 10, 2016, 03:46:13 am
Yes, that is where I first read of the recommendation to use the methanol-free Aero-clipse. Brian has posted a lot of very useful info for us Sony shooters.

Thanks David, yes he has; and good tht he has been so.

One would like to see Sony being more pro-active (or should I more accurately say "behave with a better sense of corporate good behaviour") about what is compliant and non-compliant with their sensors. Owners should not need to do research, guess, take risks or visit a service center for a sensor cleaning (unless it's horribly bad).

This has been a useful discussion for the most part. Thanks to those who shared insight and constructive advice.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: davidgp on November 10, 2016, 06:53:25 am
One would like to see Sony being more pro-active (or should I more accurately say "behave with a better sense of corporate good behaviour") about what is compliant and non-compliant with their sensors. Owners should not need to do research, guess, take risks or visit a service center for a sensor cleaning (unless it's horribly.

+1



http://dgpfotografia.com
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: kers on November 10, 2016, 07:05:49 am
This has been a useful discussion for the most part. Thanks to those who shared insight and constructive advice.

to make it even more useful;

Has anybody experience with cleaning a D810 sensor?
I never done it before and normally let Nikon take care of it.
The sensor is not very sensitive to dust that is a good thing ( the D3x had to be cleaned very two months)
regards,

Pieter Kers
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: dchew on November 10, 2016, 07:58:16 am
Note that new Phase One backs are shipped with Eclipse fluid (not Aero-clipse), pec pads and also a few ewipes.

I am not successful with the folding-pads technique. I use the swabs from visible dust instead. That is, only after multiple attempts at blowing fail.

Dave
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Phil Indeblanc on November 12, 2016, 02:27:00 am
In the Phase One kit, likely Ewipes are for the sensor, Eclipse for the lenses.
It would be un-PhaseOne of them to include 2 things that are uncertain of what you use them for.

Yes, blow all you can, and then swabs work easier. I like the Ewipes as I clean a few other areas like mount and such after the sensor.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on November 12, 2016, 04:59:43 am
Nope, bought it from Vistek (reputable, major professional dealer here in Toronto) - but some time ago. I checked for an expiry date and there was none so I assumed it doesn't expire - but then again, maybe it does! The plot thickens. :-)

Hi Mark,

It doesn't 'expire' as such, but these alcohols are hygroscopic, so over time the water content increases which might cause slower drying issues.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 12, 2016, 05:11:29 am
Hi Mark,

It doesn't 'expire' as such, but these alcohols are hygroscopic, so over time the water content increases which might cause slower drying issues.

Cheers,
Bart

That's helpful Bart - it could be part of what happened - seemed to take forever to clear-up, why I thought it best to take in to service for a look-see.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: dchew on November 12, 2016, 06:24:11 am
Actually the instructions say the wipes are for cleaning in the field. My guess is Phase got a deal on the Eclipse bottles because most people are switching to the Aero-clipse for the reasons mentioned previously. Phase used to supply the A/B solution and B was either pure or very high in alcohol. More guessing, but it could be that the high alcohol content is a problem for IBIS sensors and/or the way they are mounted/glue chemistry. Phase doesn't have that so they got a truckload of Eclipse for a song.

Dave

In the Phase One kit, likely Ewipes are for the sensor, Eclipse for the lenses.
It would be un-PhaseOne of them to include 2 things that are uncertain of what you use them for.

Yes, blow all you can, and then swabs work easier. I like the Ewipes as I clean a few other areas like mount and such after the sensor.
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: ErikKaffehr on November 12, 2016, 07:33:34 am
Hi,

It is not about the IBIS but the Sony sensors have an antistatic coating, possibly tin oxide, that needs special care in cleaning.

Best regards
Erik


Actually the instructions say the wipes are for cleaning in the field. My guess is Phase got a deal on the Eclipse bottles because most people are switching to the Aero-clipse for the reasons mentioned previously. Phase used to supply the A/B solution and B was either pure or very high in alcohol. More guessing, but it could be that the high alcohol content is a problem for IBIS sensors and/or the way they are mounted/glue chemistry. Phase doesn't have that so they got a truckload of Eclipse for a song.

Dave
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: dchew on November 12, 2016, 08:34:58 am
Thanks Erik, more proof that I really should stop guessing.

Dave
Title: Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
Post by: ErikKaffehr on November 12, 2016, 10:52:16 am
Hi Dave,

Just something I read a few years ago.

Best regards
Erik

Thanks Erik, more proof that I really should stop guessing.

Dave