I saw some dirt smudges on my photos the other day, so I decided to take my camera to a shop where they cleaned the sensor.

The problem actually got worse, as the number of smudges increased and the sensor now has some kind of "hair" that you can see in the photo (that was the term that the guy that "cleaned" the sensor used):

enter image description here

I was very unhappy with the result, so I decided to buy a cleaning kit myself to resolve the problem. I managed to get rid of the smudges (well, as you can see in the photo, there are still some, but that's my fault, as I don't have much experience in cleaning sensors), but I just can't remove that piece of "hair" (and that dirt (?) above it).

I tried virtually everything:

  • air blowing it
  • brushing it (it created other problems tho, but that I got rid of)
  • and cleaning it with swabs.

Could someone tell me if this is actually a scratch or some easily-fixable problem? Could someone also help me get rid of this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant: photo.stackexchange.com/q/98369/9161 \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2020 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like a cracked sensor. However, could also be residue from dried cleaning liquid between sensor layers or so. How does the sensor surface look? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2020 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The sensor surface does show that "hair" or "crack" (in addition to that other line above it, in the photo), but I can also see the exact same "crack" below it (and the other line). \$\endgroup\$
    – André
    Jul 29, 2020 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


I suspect the artifacts you can't remove are damage to the sensor surface (probably caused by the first cleaning attempt by the shop, but there's no way to prove that). This is why, in cleaning a sensor, as in cleaning optics, the first rule is "Don't!"

Cleaning damage, whether on a lens, a mirror, or a sensor, is permanent. The only work around is to find a way to store a frame that shows only the "hair" and smudge, and subtract those from every frame in the future.

Since this is a lot of extra work that will be required for every image you make with this body in the future (at least the "keepers"), the best solution is either to send the camera to a manufacturer-supported repair shop to have the sensor (most likely the camera's main board) replaced, or to replace the body itself.


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