Before the rush

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by evan-pak

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You know whats fun? Playing with a camera on the beach. You know whats not fun? The aftermath.

I don't know how it's managed to get in the actual sensor area, but it has. I have a Canon 5D and I daren't use it or even attempt to clean it until I know how to safely remove the sand. There are only a few grains, but it could scratch. Any ideas?

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Have you considered a professional cleaning? Might be the best way to go about it. – John Cavan Jul 28 '13 at 14:42
Never got sand on a sensor but I would send it to Canon. It costs but they have the best change of knowing how to to that, otherwise the cleaning might cause damage. For a lens with sand, you have to brush very lightly away first than do the cleaning, this should apply even more. The only other idea is a vaccum to suck the sand out, then clean, not sure if it will work, so this would be my last resort option. – Itai Jul 28 '13 at 15:18
@Itai i would not suggest vacuum's as the mirror might get displaced by the force... Vacuuming is dangerous when working with electronics as components have been known to get 'sucked' up due to poor soldering etc etc – NULLZ Jul 29 '13 at 2:34
@D3C4FF A specialized low power vacuum that can be precisely aimed is often used in electronics manufacturing and is probably one of the tools used by Canon's service center technicians. I don't think Itai is suggesting duct taping your Electrolux up to the lens mount and sucking everything out of the mirror box. – Michael Clark Jul 29 '13 at 2:49
@MichaelClark Hahaha, yeah fair enough. I remeber going through issues with hooking up my household vacum cleaner to dust off old motherboards/GPU's and having all sorts of issues as a result. :) – NULLZ Jul 29 '13 at 4:19
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Canon professional cleaning service. I have a 5d III and I wouldn't touch my sensor. My old 5d, sure. But $3k worth of camera? Nope!

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I clean my own sensors, both dry with air and wet. If I did this with me sensor, I'd send it for professional cleaning. If you mess it up, you have a really expensive repair bill or a doorstop. I wouldn't take the risk with my camrea, I'd send it to the pro. – chuqui Jul 29 '13 at 4:52
I think this is the route I'll take, thanks! – James Jul 31 '13 at 15:19

Don't vacuum nor brush (initially), first use gravity!

Take out the lens and be sure to fix the mirror (full battery so it doesn't get down, you know...). Then put the camera over your head, sensor looking down, and use a blower to blow as softly as you can just to make the grains fall by themselves (you may want to use protective glasses)

[If there are also free grains inside the camera, first remove them all before going for the sensor]

Close it and take a picture of a white/grey board and see if you can still see some spot there.

Repeat until you get tired.

If unsuccessful, then you will find more tolerable to pay a service to do mostly the same under a microscope.

Or, maybe, before that ask for some minutes of a binocular microscope in your friendly university or college around and THEN, sure of what you are aiming for, risk some hair of a brush touch a stucked grain of sand on the sensor.

If you dared to take the 5D to the beach (and change lenses there?) I'm sure you have the guts to clean it!

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Good ideas, I also have a pump that would work instead of blowing (risk of moisture). Amazingly, the sand got in there without me changing the lens! It really does just get absolutely everywhere! – James Jul 31 '13 at 15:17

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