Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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Tidying up sensors, lenses and other photographic items from dust, fungus, liquids etc.

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40
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the best way to clean lenses and filters?

After removing dust with an air pomp and a brush, what are you using to remove stains from the lens and filters? So far I'm using the liquid from a Giotto's CL 1002 cleaning kit for the lens, but I'm ...
26
votes
7answers
992 views

Is it ok to breathe on the front glass element of a lens to fog it and clean it?

Nikon specifically recommends not breathing on the glass elements to clean them as harmful acids in the breath can damage the coatings on the glass. However, I've read on many other websites that it ...
26
votes
11answers
2k views

What is the best way to clean the sensor on a digital SLR?

I've got a couple of spots of dust on the sensor of my Canon 20D - a rocket blower isn't shifting them, and I'm ridiculously scared of some of the more direct methods for cleaning sensors -- what ...
22
votes
5answers
27k views

Why does fungus form in lenses, and how to get rid of it?

Recently I was using an old Pentax 50mm f/2 that had a quite big green spot, and later I was informed that it was a fungus. A couple of questions raised from this: Why does fungus form inside the ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

How does automatic sensor cleaning work?

My Canon 5D MKIII DSLR often does sensor cleaning when powered off and occasionally I'll go through the menu and specifically run a sensor clean when I've been shooting in unusually hazardous ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Why use a small aperture when trying to see sensor dust?

Here and there I read of people who set their lens to a small aperture while testing their sensor cleanness, supposedly to get the best image of dust speckles. However, the image of the on-sensor dust ...
16
votes
3answers
218 views

Is it worth it (or even possible) to clean a microfibre cloth?

If I get a microfibre cloth dirty (e.g. by dropping it on the ground), is it possible to clean it (in a washing machine, for example)? Or should I just throw it away and get a new one? Thanks! ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I clean the inside of my viewfinder?

My viewfinder (not LCD) has spots of dust on it. What is the best way to clean the inside? I have cleaned the outside with a QTip.
15
votes
2answers
379 views

Microfiber Lens Cloths

You can find microfiber lens-cleaning cloths on the web for less than $2, or pay $6 for a "Canon" microfiber cloth (or buy at a retail camera store for $15-20). Are all such cloths pretty much the ...
14
votes
1answer
851 views

How do I to clean prime lenses' internals? Or should I even try?

I have some very old primes (grandfather's 1950s Exakta Varex lenses, ranging from 28mm to 85mm) that I've been really enjoying on my Sony NEX with an adapter. It's partially sentimental, but I've ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I avoid soft dull “spots” in my pictures?

Recently, I've been doing a lot more photography, particularly with my 100-400mm telephoto and 16-35mm wide. I am skilled enough that I can capture the shot mostly as I want with just the camera gear, ...
12
votes
6answers
7k views

What type of cloth is safe to clean lenses?

Usually, we purchase a camera cleaning kit that comprise a cleaning solution, cleaning brush, cleaning cloth and a air blower. So, I was wondering if we can use other cleaning cloth (such as ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it risky or difficult to wet clean an image sensor?

I've discovered spots on the image sensor of my DSLR camera that cannot be cleaned using a blower bulb, so I would like to know the risk of problems, such as further image deterioration or damage to ...
12
votes
5answers
502 views

Does it matter which way the camera is orientated for the sensor cleaning to work?

With the advent of sensor cleaning in newer bodies - does it matter which way up you hold the camera whilst it is cleaning? I understand that the sensor cleaning works by vibrating the sensor to knock ...
12
votes
2answers
377 views

How to properly clean a camera

I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT. When I look through my camera's viewfinder, I see a tiny speck near the bottom middle. It seems to cause my camera to not focus well (I have autofocus (AF) turned ...
12
votes
1answer
426 views

Is dust in a zoom lens a problem which should be addressed?

I have accumulated some amount of dust inside one of my zoom lenses, visible through the front glass. It does not appear to affect picture quality as far as I can tell, but I wonder if this is ...
11
votes
2answers
230 views

What should I know about cameras and tear gas?

Asking this now as a "just in case" measure. I may be creating photos this weekend in an environment which has a greater-than-zero chance of involving tear gas. Anything I should know about from a ...
11
votes
2answers
913 views

Removing rust from a lens's mount?

My wife gave me a used Pentax 50mm f/1.7 SMC-M for my birthday. (I know some people get Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctiluxes for their birthdays, but, y'know, kids to take care of and so on. And it's a very ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Should I clean my camera sensor, or take it to a professional?

Possible Duplicate: Best way to clean the sensor on a digital SLR? Can anyone offer me advice on how to clean my camera's sensor? Should I do this myself, or take the camera to a ...
10
votes
2answers
187 views

How do I protect my camera in a smoke filled environment?

I'm going to start a new project soon, "People in bars". I think it will be fun, and I think I'll capture a lot of interesting faces. The thing is, bars are harsh environments for DSLRs. Obviously, ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the best methods for cleaning really dirty lens elements?

I bought old M42 Pentacon 50mm f1.8 lens from a car boot sale. It works but is pretty dirty and it has also dirt inside (no mould/fungus though). Opening the lens is not a problem but I would like to ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Is acetone safe and effective as a lens cleaner?

I recently came across a clip on youtube which showed the process of making camera lenses. I noticed them using acetone as a lens cleaner. My question is how effective is acetone as lens cleaner? Will ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How to clean 35mm negative film?

What is a proper way to clean a 35mm negative film stripe before scanning? What chemicals can remove fingerprints, dust that does not come off by blowing, or strains of glue? What type of cloth does ...
9
votes
2answers
652 views

How to clean a lens cover?

I own an all-in-one camera: a Canon Powershot A710. I'm not aware what happened exactly, but now the automatic cover (the thing that opens when you turn on the camera and the lens pops out) is sticky ...
9
votes
1answer
961 views

how to properly clean inside a scanner

I have an Epson Perfection 2400 PHOTO Scanner. It has been a great device scanning both printed images and negatives. It is about 5 years old. Over time, I have noticed that the scanned image ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

How effective are in-camera integrated sensor cleaning systems, and have they improved?

Few years ago, Canon introduced some sort of internal sensor cleaning system that (as far as I understand it) shakes the sensor off any dust it collected during use. This shake is very high frequency. ...
8
votes
1answer
239 views

Is it safe to clean SLR lenses with pressurized computer dust cleaners?

Is it safe and a good idea to clean DSLR lens using computer dust removal, which has powerful air pressure ?
8
votes
1answer
340 views

Where is this dust located on my sensor?

I have a really nasty looking piece of dust on my 550D's sensor, situated in the top right-hand corner of each image I take with anything higher than f/11. I am going to get a decent sensor cleaning ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Why does my HTC cell phone lens appear so dirty, and how can I clean it?

My cell phone lens that looks dirty; or, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a lens — it's the transparent cover. See the photo below. I'm not sure if the lens was always like this or it happened at ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Advice on cleaning/oiling ball-head?

I've had a Markins M-20 ball-head for a number of years now, it's been a great head but this winter it's started to become harder to adjust so I figure it's time to clean it (probably long past). ...
7
votes
2answers
669 views

Why are compressed-gas dusters not recommended on the mirror of an SLR camera?

Every compressed-gas duster (including Dust Destroyer and Dust-Off brands) contains, among others, the following warning: Never use on camera mirrors. What is the potential risk here? I've used ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is a self-cleaning sensor necessary when using only one lens?

The Canon 1100d lacks a self-cleaning sensor. If I use this camera without ever exchanging the lens, is the absence of a self-cleaning sensor a bad 'feature'? Are the bodies of modern DLRS cameras ...
7
votes
2answers
653 views

Why does my sensor require frequent cleaning?

I have a Nikon D300 and in the past couple years I've found that it seems to require sensor cleaning very frequently, something like once a week or more. I've been dry cleaning with a combination of ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How should I clean my focusing screen?

While on holidays I managed to get hair and dust onto the focusing screen of my 550D. How should I clean this off. I have already tried a normal lens cloth, but that only made it worse.
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it safe to use alcohol to clean DSLR cameras?

I'm going to photograph a surgery in an operating room, and although I'll be using an special sterile cover for my camera, I've been asked to disinfect my equipment too. I wonder if it is ok to use ...
7
votes
1answer
508 views

Dust-like speck visible every few pictures — is it dust, or worse?

I seem to have to dust-like speck on my Sony Cybershot S950's lens, but it appears randomly every few pictures. Could something be going bad internally?
7
votes
2answers
294 views

What exactly is a “circular motion” when using a lens cleaning pen?

The instructions for the Lenspen lens cleaning tool as well as those for similar knock-offs all say: Wipe the lens surface with smooth circular motions. "Circular" can be interpreted in several ...
7
votes
1answer
726 views

Cleaning a sticky DSLR lens

I was on vacation recently and some coke accidentally splattered on one of my DSLR lenses. It was dark and I was pushing a stroller, so I didn't see what was going on until it was too late. I ...
6
votes
5answers
523 views

Can smudges and grease marks add to the problem of lens flare?

I want to know if smudges (finger prints etc) and grease marks in specific have any effect in increasing the lens flare. As those who wear glasses may already know about the problem of flares caused ...
6
votes
3answers
523 views

How do I get rid of these different spots after sensor cleaning?

I've just cleaned sensor on my Nikon D40x for the first time using sensor swabs and Eclipse solution. Here is a picture taken before cleaning and after . Dark spots on the first photo do not appear ...
6
votes
2answers
264 views

How to get sand out of the sensor?

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
268 views

How do I clean the external forward-facing glass on my lens?

How do I clean the external forward-facing glass on my lens? Over the last year or so of use it has accumulated a little dust and a translucent smear mark. Nothing serious, but I'd like to remove ...
6
votes
3answers
444 views

How to clean an actual CMOS sensor? (Not the IR low pass filter)

All of the "sensor cleaning" instructions I've found are actually for cleaning the IR low pass filter in front of it. Unfortunately, I've got a tiny bit of tape residue on the actual CMOS sensor of ...
6
votes
2answers
340 views

How to clean an oily spot from the camera body?

This is very trivial. You are eating some food, you grabbed your camera for some reasons and inadvertently you left an oily finger print on your camera. It should be easy to remove right? But it ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Lens in salt water - now what?

My lens was flooded by a salt water wave. It is a 55-200 lens and now there are little water drops on the inside of the front element and some salt around the body. Is there anything I can do to ...
5
votes
5answers
420 views

How often should I clean my lens?

You may have read Lens Cleaner Recommendations, and now I would like to know how often to clean my lens. I have been using one lens for about a year without cleaning it yet and recently got a new zoom ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Can you use alternative brushes to clean DSLR sensors?

A lot of praise goes to Arctic Butterfly when doing DIY sensor cleaning. However are there cheaper solution to brush off dust by using other non-sensor cleaning specific brushes? Most high quality ...
5
votes
1answer
268 views

Is it possible to get an eye infection using a camera's viewfinder?

Is there any chance of eye infection from using a viewfinder? If so how can we get rid of that? How can we clean a viewfinder?
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Can fingerprints and smudges “ripen” if left on a lens for a long time?

Something I read on the Internet and magazines (for example here) from time to time is that fingerprints and smudge can "ripen" if left on a lens for a long time. I find this a bit hard to believe ...
5
votes
1answer
357 views

Colored powder in a lens: will it need a cleaning?

I was taking photos of people playing Holi. Some of the powdered colour landed on the lens of my Canon Powershot S95, and in the groove of the flash housing. By lens, I mean the cylindrical part that ...