Are you seeing spots, halos, or other debris in your pictures? Generally with DSLR models this is dirt or some other foreign substance on your camera’s CCD or CMOS sensor. Sometimes it is visible in your pictures and sometimes it is not visible.

A good test to see if you have debris on your sensor is to take the following steps.

  1. Set camera to manual focus and move focus to infinity.
  2. Set shutter speed to 1/100th or 1/125th of a second.
  3. Set aperture of lens to minimum (F22 is normally minimum on most lenses.)
  4. Take an exposure of the blue sky or other bright light source.

After taking these steps, if you have debris on your camera sensor, it should show up on this test photo. If you do see debris, it is time for a sensor cleaning. Some customers clean their own sensors with one of many products available on the market. However, there are some products that are not very effective and can actually make the sensor more dirty. Other products that can be used effectively can be used improperly and if not careful, you can cause damage to the camera sensor like scratching, or cleaning fluid can leak behind the low pass filter.

Pitfalls of a DIY sensor cleaning

When this kind of damage happens through the use of cleaning systems used improperly, it can mean anything from more extensive professional cleaning is needed, replacement of the low pass filter over the sensor is needed, or in the cases where certain models that do not have replaceable low pass filters available, it could mean replacement of the CCD or CMOS sensor which is usually part of the main printed circuit board. This can be several hundred dollars to correct or could even mean that the cost of needed parts and labor for replacing a main printed circuit board with sensor would exceed replacement of the camera body! Other damage that can happen when attempting to clean your image sensor can include damage to the reflex mirror and shutter unit. If you ever decide to clean your own sensor with one of the products available on the market, we urge you to use extreme caution. One slip up could cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars to correct!
Let our experts do it right
Camtronics offers professional CCD / CMOS sensor cleaning on all DSLR models from all Manufacturers, both APS-C size and full frame. We can normally do this service in the same day or next business day. Please contact us for pricing and current turn around time. We clean sensors by factory approved method under multi power magnification, and in almost all cases can provide a more intensive and safer cleaning than if you were to attempt it yourself. Our prices are usually cheaper to clean a sensor than it would be for you to purchase the “do it yourself” kits.

We can also clean sensors on point and shoot models that do not have interchangeable lenses, but this type of service normally requires total disassembly to perform. If you have a point and shoot camera that has debris on the sensor, please contact us so we can suggest the best course of action for you.