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Author Topic: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware  (Read 12272 times)

Mark D Segal

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Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #1 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.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #2 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.)
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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scyth

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #3 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 ? ...
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #4 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.

Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #5 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #6 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #7 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.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 08:54:14 pm by Phil Indeblanc »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #8 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #9 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #10 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.
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #11 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!
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #12 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #13 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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scooby70

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #14 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.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #15 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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scyth

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #16 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)
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scyth

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #17 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
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scooby70

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #18 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


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Mark D Segal

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Re: Sony Sensor Cleaning - Beware
« Reply #19 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.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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