Link Posted 14/01/2006 - 16:21
OK-O am a relatively new digital pro, using two 1st DS. Scared stiff of cleaning ccds, I buy a new body for using with different lenses, to avoid the need to changing lenses. But there comes a limit and I now see evidence of dust on the ccds. How do I clean. I have read long, complicated and scary reviews of cleaning packs that dont compare with the Pentax advice of "use a brush-less blower to remove dirt and dust". Whats happening? What do I do-change bodies every few months?

George Lazarette

Link Posted 14/01/2006 - 16:41
Avoid dusty places, if you can, and use a strong blower to blow the dust away. Pure compressed air is what I use. In two years I haven't had to resort to wiping sensors.

Take care to ensure that any canned air you use doesn't contain gunk in the can.

Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

Joshua Hakin

Link Posted 14/01/2006 - 23:54
I know it's no recommended but...
I just blow on it to remove any loose dust then use one of those lens cleaning pens. No problem. The glass covering the ccd is quite tough for the reason of cleaning. Don't be scared, just clean it.

Arthur Dent

Link Posted 15/01/2006 - 01:08
You can buy kits for sensor cleaning. Most dust can be blown off with a bulb-type blower, but actually touching the glass over the sensor means you need to concentrate and be very careful.


Link Posted 15/01/2006 - 08:11
If I can't blow it off with a "Rocket Blower" (never, ever blow with your mouth!!), then I have to clean properly.

That involves using Eclipse fluid and PecPads on the end of a piece of flat plastic. One drop of Eclipse, wipe across the CCD and that's clean (may need to do it twice).

The coating on the CCD isn't that delicate actually Treat it like an expensive filter and you'll be fine.
The biggest problem is getting access - it's a long way in and it's fiddly. Absolutely make sure you have good batteries, because if the power fails while cleaning the shutter will close... crunch!

As has been said, there are various kits available that make it a bit easier.



Link Posted 15/01/2006 - 11:57
So best to use a power supply when cleaning.
I am going to get a power supply for my DS.
I am looking around for a good 6,5 volt power supply which will be cheaper then a original pentax unit.


Link Posted 15/01/2006 - 12:21

I'm way out of my depth here, but thought I'd add a small caution that I've just read in Paul Comon's book on Spotmatics.

He talks about how much he likes canned compressed air, but cautions against spraying with the can off-vertical. Seems the propellant which is heavier that air and designed to stay at the bottom of the can, will spray out if the can is off axis, and this stuff is OILY!

As with most other things there is good product and worse, and this caution may not apply to all brands.

All the Best!

Arthur Dent

Link Posted 15/01/2006 - 19:42
Most camera makers suggest that you do NOT use canned air spray. A simple bulb-blower is a lot safer.


Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 02:18
learn to chang lenses , and do all cleaning with your camera facing down. let gravity help you out.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.


Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 08:10
Sue and i have had our Pentax *istDs cameras for almost a year now, with no signs that any cleaning is needed.

What sort of time scale are we talking about before cleaning could become an issue?
Best regards, John


Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 09:51
Gravity doesn't necessarily help
CCD are, by definition, charged (Charge Coupled Device) and hence dust tends to stick by static.

Initially the dust is hard to notice, especially if you take images of highly detailed object. The best way to check a CCD for dust is this:
* Put camera in MF mode
* Set aperture to f22 or smaller
* Manually focus to the nearest point
* Point at the sky

(You really just want an even light source and a very small aperture.)

Any dust spots now show up as dull grey splodges. And you might be surprised how many there are



Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 11:01

I have also read all about cleaning CCDs when I purchased my DS, and after cleaning my CCD once, I feel most of these sites really go over the top to try to sell their product...

It's not that their product is bad, it's simply that I feel they are overemphasizing a topic that, while delicate, is not that terrible to deal with.

I made a small shoot in a very windy land, and changed a lot from my 18-55 to my 80-320. When I arrived home, dust was inevitably on the CCD... I just used a good ladies brush (really good, and really clean and dry) to wipe the dust off and it came out great. And cheap.

A good nylon brush can be electrostatically charged by a small airflow to help gather the dust specs and it's almost impossible to scratch the sensor's shield with one. It will only bring out loose dirt, though.

You can see how I went along (and the kit I used) by seeing:


George Lazarette

Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 11:20
I entirely with Flink that this is an issue blown out of proportion by people who want your money. That includes the camera manufacturers, who want you to send the body to them for cleaning.

I have heard of many people who use nylon make-up brushes successfully, and many who use a blower brush. Others use the swab method. The only genuine problems I have heard of are of people spraying oily residue onto the lens from a tin of canned air.

However, I bought a tin of compressed air from my local camera shop, who guaranteed that it was just pure air. (There is no need for a propellant with compressed air.) It works fine, but I am careful not to use full power from close quarters.

So each to his own. As Matt says, the sensor is fairly tough - probably SMC coated - and with common sense you are unlikely to damage it.

My only advice is to check regularly, and take action promptly. I imagine that dirt on a sensor may become harder to dislodge the longer it is on there.

Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.


Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 15:43
Hi, I used this kit, which I purchased through Speedgraphic. Take a bit of time and care, but it works fine. In order to avoid involuntary sneezes or coughs contaminating everything I wore a cheap dust mask that you can get from DIY shops. But I think that long-term, it is going to be best to avoid overcleaning, after all, the more times you do it, the more chance there is of something going wrong!
Tim the Ammonyte
K10D & sundry toys


Link Posted 16/01/2006 - 16:15
Mattmatic said
Gravity doesn't necessarily help
CCD are, by definition, charged (Charge Coupled Device) and hence dust tends to stick by static.

MatttMatic please consider this: From the moment you press the release button to remove the lens you risk adding more dust for the sensor grab. You are as usual right about the ccd it will atract dust like a magnet.
so I suggest not giving it more to grab while trying to clean it.
Therfore gravity can help. The process should involve:
A)blowing the dust off before removing the lens.
B) Cleaning the lensmount, then the viewfinder screen, then the mirror, then the mirror box, then finally the ccd.
Doing this whole process upside down will reduce the chance of you adding more dust/particles/dandruff(???) to the area for the ccd to grab while increasing the chance that any particles you dislodge will fall out and down as opposed to just getting moved around.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
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