Tuesday’s Tales from the shoot – Dirty Sensor

Last weekend we had a glorious weekend, I got to spend most of it with my camera, Moth and some friends; however when I got home and ran the images through Lightroom, I saw this! EEEEEKKKKK, seriously folks have a good look at the sky in both images. It is NOT a pretty sight. Maybe it’s just the lenses? Maybe it’s just the filters? Oh No I cleaned them all and still got THIS!!!!

The dreaded dirty sensor, how did it suddenly get so bad? I know I broke a few commandments, I changed lenses at the beach, with water, sand and elements and probably not even facing down to boot. But I have done it before. I checked and re checked my lenses and filters and yes, they were guilty of some of the spots, but not all! What have I done? How was I going to fix this?

So I jumped online, just wipe it with a damp cotton bud one YouTube clip said, DON’T EVER DO THAT! said another. Just put the mirror up and blow with you mouth said another clip, of course the next said to never do it!? So what do you do? I know that damaging the sensor is pretty much the end of my camera, so I kept hunting til I found a few places that seemed reputable and watched their videos.


First I assembled my gear, I have a Lenspen kit with a Hurricane Blower, cleaning solution, micro fiber cloth, fine dust brush, my Nikon D 7100 Manual. I meticulously cleaned every filter and lens (both ends); first removed any possible debris with the dust brush, then cleaned with the cleaning fluid and cloth, then removed all lint again with dust brush. Then with the Lenspen I cleaned entire surface of each lens.

With the camera turned off I removed the Lens tipped the camera, lens connection facing down (well you don’t wont to dislodge any more dirt or dust IN the camera) and with the Hurricane blower gave the mirror a few good blows of air to remove anything. Then the next really scary part! I turned the camera on, and lifted the mirror up! I gently gave the sensor a quick burst of air, then put the mirror down. [Please consult your manual for your camera on how to do this].

I then replaced a lens and took a few pictures to check; nope! spots still there, so I repeated the last part again. Took a few more photos, nope still one little spot! Short of taking it in for cleaning I thought I might try the In camera sensor cleaning which my camera has [Sorry I do not know if this is available on all cameras or not, I found it in the Tools Section in my main menu]. I did this a few times and Bingo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All clean again! Yay. I must admit with a few weddings coming up I was starting to panic!! I don’t want to admit how long I sat in PS cloning or using the spot healing brush to fix the images from last weekend, some of them I have pretty much given up on they are so bad. Below is one I persisted with, was worth it right?

Rye & Blairgowrie Back Beach
Rye & Blairgowrie Back Beach

Don’t forget, please NEVER touch your sensor, if you are brave, have a go to clean, as above; but if in doubt, please take it to someone who knows what they are doing – I was lucky!

So have I learned my lesson? Probably not, when I want to change a lens, I will, at least now I know how to clean my camera!

Til next time, happy snapping…….