Digital Sensor Cleaning

I recently wrote a column about Photoshop NOT being the answer to all photographic issues, and this is a follow-up of sorts.  In teaching photography I speak to many students who spend a surprising amount of time fixing sensor dirt on their images.  Why is it surprising?  Because it’s so easy to get your sensor cleaned and avoid that issue.  Think about your own digital images and if you have spent as much as an hour in the past 3 months fixing sensor dust, you are wasting unnecessary time.  Does $59.95 sound like a lot of money for a sensor cleaning?!?  Seriously folks, what is your time worth? 

Get your camera in for a cleaning and do it on a regular basis, so you don’t have to deal with this continuously.  And by the way: I know that many cameras have a sensor cleaning mode on them these days.  The camera I cleaned an hour ago also had a sensor cleaning mode, but that does NOT get everything off your sensor.  It’s great for small specs of dust, and using it daily when you turn on the camera can do a really good job.  If you take a test image of a plain white wall and inspect it closely, you might find that the sensor cleaning mode isn’t getting all of the dust.  To take that image, you should make sure you have a good exposure, and you should view it on the computer screen (not the camera’s LCD display) at 100% magnification. 

Sensor cleaning is one of the many tasks I handle at Douglas Photographic Imaging and my reason for mentioning it now, is that it’s a good time to clean your camera before you’re outdoors shooting more.  Why waste your time “fixing” images when there are far more productive and creative things you could be doing with your photography?

Recommended Schedule:  

  • Professionals
    • Monthly cleaning for your main camera.
    • Quarterly for your backup cameras.
  • Amateurs
    • Quarterly for a serious hobbyist.
    • Semi-annual for casual users, but especially before you head out for vacations and other important photographic events.


Important Notes:

  • This cleaning service will require as much as 1 hour to complete.
  • Cleaning service is available on all digital SLR cameras. Not available on digital point-and-shoot style cameras.
  • If you are unable to leave your camera with us, please make an appointment to bring your camera in for cleaning service.
  • If you have any concerns about your battery holding a charge, it is best to bring your battery charger in with the camera.
  • Please notify us if you are shipping your camera to us for this service.  We recommend insuring your shipment and opting for signature confirmation of delivery.  Provide your email address and we will notify you via email upon arrival.
  • If you have an A/C adapter for your camera, it is best to bring it with you. 



Photo Seminars by Jeff Cowell
© 2010 Jeff Cowell,


~ by jrcowell on March 10, 2010.

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