Old 03-03-2008, 01:22 PM   #1
KevinM
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Question Changing Lenses and Dust Control

I know this has been touched on before because I've looked at some old threads....

I'd just like an update on what folks are doing to control the sensor dust problem while changing lenses. I bought a Nikon D40x last November and have only been out shooting 3 times so far. Yesterday, an RP Screener picked up a dust bunny on one of my photos. Fortunately, I was able to crop it out and get the shot in, but when I looked, some photos from my last 2 shoots had the same spot.

I was able to get my sensor "apparently" clean with a blower, but now I am paranoid about dust. I have the 18-55mm kit lens and the 55-200 VR zoom, but am considering ditching the lot for an 18-200 VR zoom only to keep the camera sealed up. The pollen this coming spring and summer isn't as likely to come off as easily as the winter dust did.

Suggestions and thoughts on lens changing....and sensor cleaning??
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:32 PM   #2
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Kevin,

There are numerous sensor cleaning kits on the market which will probably be more productive than using an air blower. In the field when you change lenses you may also try doing so with the camera turned off. This kills any electrical charge on the sensor which may attract stray dust while the lens is off (and works pretty well, for me at least).

No matter what you do chances are good that eventually you will encounter a dust spot while editing. Photoshop's clone stamp and/or spot healing brush are quick fixes for any spots that you may find while editing.
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:45 PM   #3
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Some things that may help some
1 Role the windows up so there no wind kicking up the dust.
2 Point the Camera down words, mount down, let gravity help out some.
3 Vack out your camera bag and car if you work a lot of gravel roads!
4 blow off the back of the Lenses too
this helps tons
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
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On the subject of sensor dust - I recently have noticed dust spots in some photos, despite not having changed lenses! My camera was in a house that is dustier than normal, however I still do not know how it could have gotten in with the lens not having been changed.

Hope there is a way to get rid of dust other than paying a camera place to clean it!
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:12 PM   #5
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[quote=Somebody in the WWW]On the subject of sensor dust - I recently have noticed dust spots in some photos, despite not having changed lenses!

As zooms move in and out they suck in air and then push it out, Dust to.
A blower bulb, start there . No caned air!!!! gets most of it off, but depends on how bad it is.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:16 PM   #6
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Hmmm....sensor dust even without changing lenses? How long have you had the camera? I understand these things aren't really "sealed", but you'd think not changing lenses would go a long way toward preventing contamination.

My problem is that with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, I have discovered that I need to change lenses more frequently than I'd like...usually in the field. I do take as many precautions as I can, but when the train is coming, the drive to get the shot overcomes the caution about dust...at least until now.

I've been thinking that the 18-200 VR would solve that problem, albeit with the expenditure of some cash. A less expensive, but similar solution would be an 18-135mm. That lens doesn't have VR, but At least I'd have some overlap in coverage between the "walking around lens" and the 55-200 and the need to change might be less frequent.

I saw Chris' notes about sensor cleaning kits. Of course, the mfr doesn't recommend anything other than a blower, but I sort of gather that a lot of people do use "touch" methods to dislodge the sticky stuff. Is there any method that has more favor than the others?
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:22 PM   #7
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I've never needed anything more than a blower.

Kevin, based on my own experience only, I would say don't worry about whether to change lenses. Don't not change a lens, and lose the better shot, because you are worried about dust! (Unless you are in a particularly dusty environment, mill, sandstorm, whatever, then plan ahead.) It's part of the process.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:38 PM   #8
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I'm pretty paranoid about dust too. I use the blower usually before I head out trainwatching, and when I change lenses, I make sure to be as fast as possible. Also, if time allows while changing lenses, I will place a damp towel over the front of the camera to catch dust.
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Old 03-03-2008, 04:50 PM   #9
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Ive taken an approach similar to JRMDC, im not going to lose a chance to get a shot because of fear of dust, because a sensor can be cleaned, easily, and cheaply.


Ive taken the approach of not caring when or where I change my lens, others have mentioned (and if you read around on the internet) to get in your car, or house, roll up windows, turn off the air, etc etc... I ignore this and change it out side, in the wind, rain, mist, snow, what ever. Ive never had any more dust get on the sensor than normal.
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey Bowman
Ive taken the approach of not caring when or where I change my lens, others have mentioned (and if you read around on the internet) to get in your car, or house, roll up windows, turn off the air, etc etc... I ignore this and change it out side, in the wind, rain, mist, snow, what ever. Ive never had any more dust get on the sensor than normal.
That's exactly my take on this subject as well and I've faired better than people who are paranoid about this. I was always wondering why I seemed to have less dust than people who were careful and the only solution I could think of was exposure time. I have never timed myself changing lenses but I am very quick and therefore the amount of time the sensor and mirrors is exposed is much less than someone making sure there is nothing entering the camera.

On my recent trip to Michigan, a light rain started falling but we were still shooting before the engine was rolled into the shops. As I was walking inside I realized I had put my telephoto on but I only remembered using the wide angle. Turns out I had changed it in the rain and hadn't even thought about it nor did I remember doing it.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:42 PM   #11
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I reckon it's many times forgot that the dust isn't getting in during the lens change. It's extremely rare that through a closed shutter and to behind a lowered mirror the wind will bring in any dust.
Also the dust that may get on the mirror or gather around the mount or inside the box will just fall down without harm. The most dangerous source for sensor dust is the back glass of your lens. Any little particle that's sitting on the back of your optic will detach from it the first time you shoot a bit upwards and when the shutter opens it just gets in. It's not a big chance, it's miniscule, but statistically sooner or later it will happen.

However I'm only reciting what my collegues experienced with their Nikon and Canon gears - my Olympus camera's dust reduction system does a great job shaking down the freshly settled dust so it doesn't really have time to attach really. In the past more than one year despite changing lenses in really bad conditions I didn't have any problem with sensor dust with my present E-500 DSLR.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:19 PM   #12
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I'm glad you started this thread. I was going to do the same thing. It seems my D40 is a dust magnet too. Rarely do I find a photo that doesn't have dust somewhere on it. The only photos that I don't find dust on are heavy foliage shots. The dust is probably there, just not noticable. I am one of the careful lense change freeks. When not in use, the lense cap is in place, etc., etc., etc. I store it in my bag, zipped up. I can clean both ends of the lense, the mirror, and the sensor right before I take a shot, and I may as well have taken the whole works out of the vacuum bag. It just gets really annoying blending out the dust spots every time I edit a shot.

Other than that, I like the D40.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:32 PM   #13
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I do the same things as AB. I just dont worry when and where I change my lenses. I am also very quick when changing lenses. I always point the camera down when changing the lens also. I have just now noticed dust spots in my camera after 2yrs of use but I can only see them at around F11. Recently I was at Daytona for the races and I changed lenses many times, even in the rain. I have even change them in the cabs of steam locomotives about as dirty as an environment you can get. You just have to be careful. This may sound stupid but practice changing lenses It helps. Also I think I have heard that some cameras attract more dust than other's, maybe Nikon is worse than Canon?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
That's exactly my take on this subject as well and I've faired better than people who are paranoid about this. I was always wondering why I seemed to have less dust than people who were careful and the only solution I could think of was exposure time. I have never timed myself changing lenses but I am very quick and therefore the amount of time the sensor and mirrors is exposed is much less than someone making sure there is nothing entering the camera.

On my recent trip to Michigan, a light rain started falling but we were still shooting before the engine was rolled into the shops. As I was walking inside I realized I had put my telephoto on but I only remembered using the wide angle. Turns out I had changed it in the rain and hadn't even thought about it nor did I remember doing it.
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:10 PM   #14
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Does the camera have a sensor cleaning mode, if so try using that and see if it takes care of the spot. I usually use the sensor clean feature on my Canon once a month or 2 depending on how much I'm out with it. That usually takes care of the dust before it becomes a big problem, and is a good way to get the battery totally discharged every once in a while.

Some manufacturers have started including features to clean the sensor as often as every time the camera is powered off. Some work by vibrating the sensor and others work electronically to dispel the dust.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:28 AM   #15
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Folks,

The D40 and D40x (probably other Nikons too) don't have any sensor cleaning mode....I mean other than mirror lock-up . The book only recommends blowing with an air blower and that's all I've done so far....and so far, that has produced decent results. I have heard that the D40 series and some other newer Nikons do have some sort of coating (Indium Tin Oxide??) on the filter that covers the sensor that reduces the static charges that tend to attract dust. I have no idea how effective that is.

I wipe my equipment down frequently and I keep it very clean. When I change lenses, I get the caps off just before the event and leave the lens in the bag sitting on the hood...with the bag cover over the mounting end. I try to make the change as quickly as possible, but I'm probably not as quick on the draw as AB (2)

Perhaps I could build a portable clean room on the back of a truck....and park it at grade crossings.......
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:00 AM   #16
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How does the 'sensor cleaning' mode on Canon SLR's work? I have tried using it and it does nothing to stop the dust spots from appearing in my shots!
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:04 AM   #17
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It sounds like you're doing about all you can to keep dust to a minimum. It sounds like the best bet would be to continue with the blower brush with the mirror locked up. As the old story goes an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. It sounds like you're doing the best you can. If you get something really nasty perhaps the sensor cleaning kit could be an option.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:09 AM   #18
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I bought my D40, brought it home, and had a dust bunny from the git go. Took it back to the friendly local camera shop where I bought it (like to patronize my local merchants even though it costs more) and they offered to solve my problem for $50 cleaning fee. Hey, guys this is a new camera out of the box that I bought from you! Fortunately, the tech in the back room overheard the conversation and told the "salesman" to bring him the camera and he gave it a blow job for free. Problem solved. But it also suggested that the 18-200 VR might be a good investment to minimize lens changes. So I bought one....mailorder cheap from Adorama. So far so good, but like somebody else noted, every time I operate the zoom I'm sucking air in somewhere. Great lens by the way. Hopefully my rocket blower brush will handle the problem when it re-occurs. I have read that the newer cameras seperate the high pass filter from the sensor a bit, so that minor dust is so out of focus that you don't see it until you get big blob. I'm waiting to hear how well the sensor cleaning gizmo on the D300 works.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody in the WWW
How does the 'sensor cleaning' mode on Canon SLR's work? I have tried using it and it does nothing to stop the dust spots from appearing in my shots!
Most Canons open up so you can blow it off, as in a Blower Bulb. what one do you have Only there newest ones clean the sensor.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:24 AM   #20
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I have a Canon 350D. I am not sure what the "Sensor Clean" menu option is supposed to do.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:27 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody in the WWW
How does the 'sensor cleaning' mode on Canon SLR's work? I have tried using it and it does nothing to stop the dust spots from appearing in my shots!
First off on a Canon the dust is not on the sensor, but a filter just in front of the sensor.

From what I have read about it and heard from the guys at the camera shop the ASC works by sending ultrasonic pulses across the filter in front of the camera. After the dust particles fall from the sensor filter they are collected on a sticky strip.

How are you going about cleaning the sensor? Are you laying the camera on the back, or do you leave it sitting upright with a lens on?

Another question is could these spots be oily residue from prior cleaning attempts?
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody in the WWW
I have a Canon 350D. I am not sure what the "Sensor Clean" menu option is supposed to do.
It flips up the mirror, exposing the sensor area so that you can work on it, blower, swabs, whatever. The mirror stays up until you do something (can't remember what) or until the battery dies.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:32 AM   #23
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Never mind this one!
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:33 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody in the WWW
I have a Canon 350D. I am not sure what the "Sensor Clean" menu option is supposed to do.
Only the 40D and Rebels XTI -XSI do? US names. 350 is the 8MP will not clean its self off like the newer ones do. You need a Blower Bulb no caned air, and blow if off . it gets 90% off most times. look in the book that came with it. Its not a big deal
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:33 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
It flips up the mirror, exposing the sensor area so that you can work on it, blower, swabs, whatever. The mirror stays up until you do something (can't remember what) or until the battery dies.
Thanks JRMDC!
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