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I am pretty sure I have dust inside of my Sony a55 SLT (Single Lens Translucent). However I'm not sure how to get rid of it or where exactly it is. I think it could be either on the translucent mirror or the sensor itself. It's in the same place each time, but mostly occurs on images with a high f number (e.g. F22 etc)

An example image (cropped): possible dust on image

Would a general sensor cleaning kit remove the dust form the translucent mirror part?

I'm unsure of what to do as it's not a conventional mirror like in SLR cameras.

Any recommendations on a good cleaning kit? To be honest I'm slightly scared about it all as I don't want to destroy my camera!

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1  
Those spots look like they're on the sensor — they'd be less distinct if they were on the pellicle mirror. I don't know how to clean that camera, though. –  mattdm Aug 9 '11 at 12:45
    
I have a 'spot/dust' issue with my a77 which I only noticed last night after shooting yesterday. Just spoke with the Sony store I purchased the camera from and since it is under warranty (bought it last October), they will send it to their repair people at no cost. Now I am glad I took out extended 5 year warranty. No doubt this is one of the pluses in buying locally rather than over the internet when warranty issues may arise. –  Dani Apr 19 at 2:33
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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You have dust on the sensor. The higher the F-stop the more noticeable they are.

To get to it you have to release the small latch at the base of the translucent mirror and lift it manually.

If that happens rarely, I recommend you have it done in a store. The charge about $25 and they have a lot of practice doing it. Some stores here even do it for free if you bought the camera there.

The other option is to do it yourself using a wet-clean solution. The one I use is from VisibleDust. You need to buy a small bottle of liquid and some compatible swabs. The swabs get used once and are disposed of after. One set of swabs plus liquid cost about $80. You'll be able to clean a dozen times or so with this.

Avoid using a blower, compressed air or anything similar. It usually only puts more dust on the sensor, even those with filters on the intake are only marginally better.

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I dunno — I've had very good, practical results with a rocket blower (with a filtered intake).... –  mattdm Aug 9 '11 at 14:52
    
It should be the first thing to try the cleaning mode to "shake" the dust off the sensor. Sony A55 user manual - page 36 "Cleaning the image sensor" and how to enter Cleaning Mode. –  Esa Paulasto Jun 6 at 7:56
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I would recommend to use an air blower (for example: the Giottos Rocket Air Blower). That way you can safely blow dust of the mirror and the sensor without worrying about damaging anything.

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Use Photographic Solutions Eclipse fluid and their swabs and use 2 drops of fluid on each side of the swab. Place swab on sensor's right side and sweep it over the sensor like a broom and reverse it from left to right when you reach the left side and do not lift it off the sensor. Always use a new swab each time you complete the cycle. The proper size swab and the proper pressure on the swab is important. I try to press down just enough to use the bottom quarter of the swab as I draw it across the sensor. Sometimes I get the right results from a single swab, but I have use as many as 4 to get all the dust off.

Sending it into Sony while under warranty is a freebie. If you are on vacation and cannot have them do it or it's off warranty, it's good to know how to do it yourself. Sony charges as much a $99 to do the cleaning. By the way Eclipse fluid is the only one that guarantees it will not damage the sensor and is good for all types of sensors. I use it on my Sony A77.

Eclipse fluid will remove oil smears and other contaminants beside just fused on dust. Remember never use your breath to dampen the sensor surface.

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What about the mirror vs. sensor thing with the Sony SLT in specific? –  mattdm Oct 17 '12 at 18:33
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