Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless  (Read 1685 times)

jeremyrh

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2511

Probably this is more accurately a question about cleaning the sensor on a camera with IBIS.  The usual warnings in the user guide about cleaning the sensor yourself are even more strident for new cameras with IBIS, causing trepidation among the user community. Have we now got enough experience to know if these warnings are well founded, or are the risks no nore than for previous generations?  (My personal interest is in the Nikon Z7 but probably other cameras have the same issue!)

For my previous camera I used one of those sticks with a sticky end, having seen a video of people in the Leica factory using them with gay abandon. It seemed a good way to target specific spots. But I am reluctant to use this method on a sensor that has a potentially fragile attachment to the camera!
Logged

KLaban

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2451
    • Keith Laban Photography
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2021, 08:47:52 am »

Probably this is more accurately a question about cleaning the sensor on a camera with IBIS.  The usual warnings in the user guide about cleaning the sensor yourself are even more strident for new cameras with IBIS, causing trepidation among the user community. Have we now got enough experience to know if these warnings are well founded, or are the risks no nore than for previous generations?  (My personal interest is in the Nikon Z7 but probably other cameras have the same issue!)

For my previous camera I used one of those sticks with a sticky end, having seen a video of people in the Leica factory using them with gay abandon. It seemed a good way to target specific spots. But I am reluctant to use this method on a sensor that has a potentially fragile attachment to the camera!

Z7 sensor cleaning and IBIS

Disclaimer: I've used the eyelead stickies many times on Leica M cameras but as yet haven't tried on my Z7 bodies. When and if I do I'll use the stickies designed for Leica and Sony cameras as I believe they are a little less sticky.

Martin Kristiansen

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1527
    • Martin Kristiansen
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2021, 09:12:36 am »

I have used mirrorless cameras exclusively for he past 4 years, 4 bodies with IBIS, 1 APSC and three FF. All Sony and two still in use. I live in a dusty dry environment. Prior to moving to MILC cameras I shot on a variety of DSLR and MFDB cameras. In 26 years I have never sent a camera in to have the sensor cleaned, I have always done it myself. My experiences are as follows.

Mirrorless is much quicker to get dust on the sensor than DSLR. It is also much easier to clean. I get a lot less of the sticky marks that I need to wet clean than I got with my Canon DSLR bodies. In fact my A9 has never needed more than a blower or soft brush to remove the marks. Having said that my blower now goes everywhere with the camera. IBIS is a whole other thing as the sensor needs to be "parked or locked. See the manual for this. Sony requires one of those cleaning cycles where the IBIs makes a valiant but useless attempt to dislodge the dust from the sensor by shaking it. Once the fruitless attempt is made the sensor is locked and a brush can be used on it. Turning the camera off afterwards sets everything back to normal operational mode.

Recently I did a 5 day hike and decided to carry a camera with a 24-105 and not change or remove the lens. No dust problems at all so the dust isn't getting into the camera other than when the lens is removed and changed. I always turn then camera off before removing the lens, I have no idea if this is helping or if this is at the level of superstition. I always face the camera with sensor pointing down when removing a lens and replace the lens or affix a body cap with the camera held in the same position. I also never bare the sensor without having another lens or body cap ready to mount. All of this definitely helps.

Sounds a bit like its major problem but it isn't actually. If I have the time I will usually give a little blow when changing lenses just in case. Dust marks are really so easy to remove in post these days and I so rarely have a dust problem I don't give it much thought.
Logged
Commercial photography is 10% inspiration and 90% moving furniture around.

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18099
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2021, 12:36:51 pm »

What wet thingies you guys use? I have a Canon R, no IBIS, but does have sensor cleaning (shaking off) at every ON/OFF. I have something like perfectly round dots at the edges. Some say a result of condensation of droplets.

mcbroomf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1542
    • Mike Broomfield
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2021, 12:41:44 pm »

What wet thingies you guys use? I have a Canon R, no IBIS, but does have sensor cleaning (shaking off) at every ON/OFF. I have something like perfectly round dots at the edges. Some say a result of condensation of droplets.

Can you post a crop showing the dot? 

Dust spots should be almost invisible at wider apertures, say F2 and wider, and get easier to see as you stop down to F16.  If this does NOT happen then it's likely a dried droplet, water, oil?  But I'd suggest getting Canon to clean it in case it is oil and you smear it around.
Logged

Chris Kern

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2044
    • Chris Kern's Eponymous Website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2021, 04:58:45 pm »

IBIS is a whole other thing as the sensor needs to be "parked or locked. See the manual for this.

Yes: my understanding is that's essential to avoid damaging the calibration of the IBIS subsystem.  On the Fuji X-T4—and I presume other Fuji bodies with image stabilization—you keep the power on and enable the menu selection for IBIS Off (as you might when using a tripod).  It then presumably is as safe (or risky) to clean the surface of the sensor as it is on bodies that don't have IBIS.  But I picked that up from some website.  Manufacturers should provide guidance on sensor cleaning in their product documentation; they can include whatever warnings they consider appropriate to protect themselves for complaints about botched efforts and, if they wish, a pitch for having it done through their authorized service channels.

KLaban

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2451
    • Keith Laban Photography
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2021, 05:27:10 pm »

So far I've only had to use the auto sensor cleaning and a blower on my Z7 bodies.

I've just re-read the Z7 reference manual which states that users should only attempt to clean the sensor with the auto feature or a blower. Having always cleaned my own sensors - including wet cleaning - this is a worry.

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18099
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2021, 07:09:00 pm »

Can you post a crop showing the dot?...

This was shot at f/22 and dots are visible across the whole sky section. I am showing just one part at 200%, where I increased contrast, texture and clarity to +100 do make them more visible.

mcbroomf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1542
    • Mike Broomfield
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2021, 05:57:34 am »

This was shot at f/22 and dots are visible across the whole sky section. I am showing just one part at 200%, where I increased contrast, texture and clarity to +100 do make them more visible.

Yes, F22 will show everything so most likely dust.  If you take another photo of a clear sky at a much wider aperture and find they are gone then certainly dust.
Logged

jeremyrh

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2511
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2021, 06:21:26 am »

I've just re-read the Z7 reference manual which states that users should only attempt to clean the sensor with the auto feature or a blower. Having always cleaned my own sensors - including wet cleaning - this is a worry.

This is what prompted my question - I was wondering if there is now enough experience to know if this is scaremongering or if folk had actually damaged their cameras by cleaning them.  For now I'm relying on blower and photoshop to deal with any dust !!
Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18099
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2021, 09:23:17 am »

Yes, F22 will show everything so most likely dust.  If you take another photo of a clear sky at a much wider aperture and find they are gone then certainly dust.

With the 70-200/2.8, I shoot most of the time at f/2.8, so never noticed that before.

What makes you think it is dust and not, say, dried-up water droplets?

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18099
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 09:25:06 am »

...  the Z7 reference manual which states that users should only attempt to clean the sensor with the auto feature or a blower...

The same advice in my Canon R manual.

KLaban

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2451
    • Keith Laban Photography
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 09:42:22 am »

This is what prompted my question - I was wondering if there is now enough experience to know if this is scaremongering or if folk had actually damaged their cameras by cleaning them.  For now I'm relying on blower and photoshop to deal with any dust !!

Yes, as I said it is a worry.

In order to get a definitive answer I think you'll need to ask the question on one of the Nikon Z forums - dare I suggest dpreview?

As an aside, when doing a sensor dust check I've always used a clear blue sky and everyday camera settings - typically f/11 or f/16 max - and then viewed at 100% . I really don't need to know what my sensor dust looks like at f/22 with contrast increased through the roof and subsequently viewed at 200% magnification.

My wet cleaning products of choice were always either E-Wipes or Eclipse fluid on VisibleDust swabs.

My Leica M sensors attracted far more dust than those of my Z7. Easiest of all to keep clean were the digital backs, just pop them off and the sensor is fully exposed in all its glory ready to be swiped with an E-Wipe, easy-peasy. 

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18099
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2021, 10:12:19 am »

... As an aside, when doing a sensor dust check I've always used a clear blue sky and everyday camera settings - typically f/11 or f/16 max - and then viewed at 100% . I really don't need to know what my sensor dust looks like at f/22 with contrast increased through the roof and subsequently viewed at 200% magnification...

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. The dots are still quite visible at f/16 and f/11 at 100%... I enhanced it so that the shape itself is visible.

But also, since I print up to 4 feet long, those dots would be definitely visible at that magnification.

KLaban

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2451
    • Keith Laban Photography
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2021, 10:28:21 am »

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. The dots are still quite visible at f/16 and f/11 at 100%... I enhanced it so that the shape itself is visible.

But also, since I print up to 4 feet long, those dots would be definitely visible at that magnification.

Slobodan, Understood.

To me they look like the typical dust particles that from time to time haunt all of our sensors.

John R

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5248
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2021, 12:32:41 pm »

Here is a great video on the whole process. He is cleaning the newer Z camera so it quite relevant. Using sensor cleaning fluid is his last resort. All the items he mentions are quite expensive even on line. He does mention that the sensor must be locked down on newer mirrorless cameras as per the camera manual. Check it out.

All I can say is that my Pentax manual does not say anything about locking down sensor, I assume because it is in lock-down mode already when you select "clean sensor" and choose "mirror lock-up." In fact my Pentax cancels IBIS automatically whenever any timer or other modes are employed. I have been cleaning it for at least five years with no issues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-7ciRxh6s8

Another good video below. This guy appears to be against the old sticky pads stating they had problems over the years. Some were so sticky they removed the coating from the sensor, or left a residue not visible to the eye without a magnifier. He uses a kind of soft non-sticky pad on a stick from visible dust that was modified over the years to ensure the sensors remain undamaged. He did followup video warning against the sticky pad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_2pTHnTc8Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpeARxQARq4
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 01:28:34 pm by John R »
Logged

mcbroomf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1542
    • Mike Broomfield
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2021, 01:48:27 pm »

With the 70-200/2.8, I shoot most of the time at f/2.8, so never noticed that before.

What makes you think it is dust and not, say, dried-up water droplets?

As I understand it the dust particles are very large (relative to pixels) and sit up on top of the sensor (in fact on the cover glass).  When the lens is shut down to F22 the light acts as a point source and cleanly defines the edges of the dust particle.  By contrast at say F2 the light is a little more like a wide diffusion source.  If you are familiar with darkroom printing you may recall that a point source light gives higher acutance prints at the expense of showing up particles on the negs much more clearly.

By contrast a dried up water or oil droplet is flat on the cover glass, so it will make less or no difference whether it's illuminated by a point source or diffuse source.
Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18099
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2021, 03:21:26 pm »

As I understand it the dust particles are very large (relative to pixels) and sit up on top of the sensor (in fact on the cover glass).  When the lens is shut down to F22 the light acts as a point source and cleanly defines the edges of the dust particle.  By contrast at say F2 the light is a little more like a wide diffusion source.  If you are familiar with darkroom printing you may recall that a point source light gives higher acutance prints at the expense of showing up particles on the negs much more clearly.

By contrast a dried up water or oil droplet is flat on the cover glass, so it will make less or no difference whether it's illuminated by a point source or diffuse source.

Ah, thanks, makes sense now.

mshea

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 245
Re: Return of the evergreen question - cleaning sensors on mirrorless
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2021, 12:00:03 am »

Over time I learned my lesson with swabs. Any more than one drop of cleaning fluid on the swab will likely leave dried droplets toward the edge of the sensor.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up