Condensation And The Camera • Save, And Save Again • Scanning Formats • Are LCDs Worth Their Color? • Sensor Cleaning • Just Blowin' In The Wind
By George D. Lepp
Q) I'm finding that dust on my imaging sensor is becoming a real problem. Are there any new tools to make sensor cleaning any easier and, especially, safer for the camera? When I first bought my digital SLR, I was told to never touch the sensor and to send it in for cleaning. The time and expense that requires means that I must clean it myself. Dust seems to get on the sensor on every trip into the field!
D. Thomas San Bernardino, California
A) There are several new tools, along with a number of tools that have been around for awhile, that can clean your imaging sensor efficiently and safely. The cover over your sensor is actually a glass filter, and it's more robust than you might have been led to believe. It's wise to be extremely careful when cleaning the sensor, but this task shouldn't cause your heart to race.
VisibleDust has come up with the "Arctic Butterfly," a sensor brush that's twirled by an electric motor to spin off the dust on the brush and recharge the static electricity that captures the dust particles on the sensor. VisibleDust also has an improved swab that's used with Sensor Clean solution.
LensPen has brought out a new cleaning tool for imaging sensors called the "SensorKlear." Its unique shape gets into the corners of the sensor. These and many more sensor-cleaning tools can be found at www.micro-tools.com. The site even has tutorials on cleaning your sensor.
Just Blowin' In The Wind Here's a tip: In a recent issue of OP, you discussed various ways to reduce vibrations during an exposure. I'd like to point out an often-overlooked problem: the camera strap. Many times while shooting, I'll go to the extra effort of locking up a mirror and using the timer. As I'm standing waiting for the shutter to close, I realize that my camera strap is blowing in the wind, negating all the effort I went through to get a sharp image. It doesn't take much of a breeze to blow the strap around! I usually just wrap the strap around the handles of my tripod, and this is enough to mitigate any strap movement. Another solution is to use a camera strap with a quick release, such as those from OP/TECH and remove it when the camera is on the tripod. T. Ream Fresno, California