If you’re like most outdoor photographers you often shoot in dirty environments in which dust can enter your camera and wreak havoc on the sensor, especially on windy days. And every time you switch lenses the odds of contamination will increase.
Some cameras include a feature that attempts to shake dust of the sensor whenever you turn it on or off, but sometimes that doesn’t do the trick. So it’s often up to you do the job yourself if you want to keep your camera’s sensor pristine. As you’ll see below, the process is safe and simple with an affordable sensor-cleaning kit and a bit of knowledge.
Instructor Mark Dumbleton knows of which he speaks because he frequently shoots landscape and wildlife photos where dust is a problem. For this demonstration he uses a well-regarded kit from K&F Concept (there’s a link beneath the video), but there are other effective options, and they all work pretty much the same way. He also offers some simple tips for keeping your lenses clean.
Dumbleton demonstrates exactly how avoid sensor damage with the right tools, and later in the lesson he provides several vital tips to minimize the ingress of dust onto the camera’s sensor in the first place. By following his advice you’ll save a bunch of time removing ugly artifacts during the editing process.
You can always send your camera to a technician for a cleaning, but it’s really pretty simple to do the job yourself. As Dumbleton explains, “You’re not technically cleaning the sensor itself, but rather the protective filters in front of it,” and there’s really no reason to feel intimidated when taking on this task.
It’s usually easy to know if a sensor is dirty by observing dust spots on your photos. If your unsure, Dumbleton explains how to gain certainty with a foolproof technique that involves pointing the camara at a white wall or computer screen, using specific settings, and importing the resulting image into Lightroom for a definitive diagnosis on your computer screen.
Dumbleton walks you the foolproof step-by-step cleaning method in just a few minutes. As you’ll see, the requisite tools include a simple blower brush, sensor cleaning swabs, and other simple tools. And everything you need is typically included when you buy a high-quality sensor cleaning kit.
He also discusses the in-camera sensor cleaning function mentioned above and provides a simple explanation for using the tools in your kit to make sure your lenses are as clean as the sensor in your camera.
You can find a variety of other helpful tips and techniques by visiting Dumbleton’s popular YouTube channel.
And if like many of us you’re on a budget, be sure to watch another tutorial we posted earlier, explaining how to shoot impressive photos with a budget camera and lens.