Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?

Started Dec 11, 2013 | Questions
mgd43
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Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
Dec 11, 2013

I've had dust on the mirror of my 35mm SLR's and DSLR's several times over the years. I wonder if without the mirror, mirrorless cameras are more prone to getting dust on the sensor when changing lenses?

I'm not anti MILC's. I'm just curious.

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Martin.au
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 11, 2013

mgd43 wrote:

I've had dust on the mirror of my 35mm SLR's and DSLR's several times over the years. I wonder if without the mirror, mirrorless cameras are more prone to getting dust on the sensor when changing lenses?

I'm not anti MILC's. I'm just curious.

That's a tricky question, as the Oly m4/3s and possibly Panasonic's have a very effective dustbuster system, so it is pretty hard to do any assessment as the sensors keep getting cleaned.

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Leonard Migliore
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 11, 2013

mgd43 wrote:

I've had dust on the mirror of my 35mm SLR's and DSLR's several times over the years. I wonder if without the mirror, mirrorless cameras are more prone to getting dust on the sensor when changing lenses?

I'm not anti MILC's. I'm just curious.

They should be, since there's no reflex mirror and they normally have the shutter open, leaving the sensor exposed all the time, even when you're changing lenses.

But I have no actual data on this.

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Sonyshine
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 11, 2013

My experience is they are about the same.

Its the  user  that introduces the most dust anyway.

They are easier to clean!

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Jack Hass
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 11, 2013

In the vein of the "where are the serious mirrorless users" thread, I would say yes, they are more prone. Not because of the physical design as much, but because most mirrorless shooters are less knowledgeable and are not as aware of the care needed to protect the sensor. It's a "consider the source" situation.

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Bob Tullis
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 12, 2013

mgd43 wrote:

I've had dust on the mirror of my 35mm SLR's and DSLR's several times over the years. I wonder if without the mirror, mirrorless cameras are more prone to getting dust on the sensor when changing lenses?

I'm not anti MILC's. I'm just curious.

I don't think they are, any more or any less than most ILC systems.

But one stops down less than with a mirrored camera in general, so dust that might be troublesome is less prone to be exhibited. I don't clean sensors as nearly much as I used to with DSLRs, but I can't say how much that relates to the dust removal feature. It used to do it routinely, 6-12 times a year with Full Frame, as it was necessary. Now I do it 2-4 times a year, like once because it needs it, the rest just because it doesn't hurt (but I suspect it's needed anyway, for all the lens changing going on).

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ttbek
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 12, 2013

They are far more prone to getting dust on the sensor. Pretty much whenever you would get it on the mirror of a DSLR, it's on the sensor on the mirrorless. Some companies have fairly good auto cleaning. Some of them have it so that it auto cleans whenever the camera is turned on. I keep this feature off because I prefer the slightly faster startup time for my camera. I change lenses very often and have probably been cleaning the sensor about once a month. Just some air from one of those cleaning kit puff things has been sufficient for cleaning so far. If you ever need to do more than that, there are some real dos and do nots. Digital Rev did a video on the topic here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gouSOlgvQg0

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MJJSevilla
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 12, 2013

To be honest I´ve seen a few dust spots from time to time but my camera´s antidust system is pretty efficient in getting rid of them.  It was actually more of a problem with my last DSLR but that´s just because it did have some sort of auto sensor cleaning thing like Fuji or Olympus have.   I´m generally more careful about changing lenses with my Fuji cos seeing the sensor exposed makes me nervous.  Not so nervous I´m afraid to change lens but I try to take more care when I do so.

So personal perspective : NO.

General answer : probably yes, but it depends.

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Chris Dodkin
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 12, 2013

Comparing my 5DII with my X-Pro1, I have far few dust spot issue on the X-Pro1

This may be because of a better 'self clean' system on the Fuji - no idea.

But in practice, I'm having to use my rocket blower far less on the X-Pro1

So from my experience, the answer would be no.

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zackiedawg
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In my experience, they are LESS prone...
In reply to mgd43, Dec 12, 2013

Just to offer my own experience, not that it counters or illegitimizes anyone else's...but shooting for over 2 years now with both a DSLR and a mirrorless, I've found the mirrorless much less prone to sensor dust.  Both of my cameras have the same sensor, and the same dust shake/vibration system, so they are quite comparable.

My theory as to why:  The sensor on the mirrorless is indeed very exposed and right out in the open - however it also has much better airflow...dust doesn't necessarily settle easily since there isn't much space between sensor and lens mount when the lens is mounted, so not much empty space for dust to float around...and when the lens is off, there is constant airflow moving across the sensor with no 'walls' around it to trap it in.  A DSLR on the other hand has a deep mirrorbox - a recessed large space with no airflow where dust, once it gets into the recess, doesn't have any airflow to push it around or move it along...it tends to get trapped inside the mirrorbox area.  When a lens is mounted, there is now no airflow at all, and the dust that got in tends to find a place to settle, including the sensor.  Plus, every time the shutter and mirror flap around in that big empty space, they can stir the dust that settled elsewhere in the mirrorbox and end up transferring it to the sensor.

I clean my DSLR with a bulb blower roughly every two-three weeks...I sensor-brush it roughly every 2-3 months.  And I wet-swab it probably once or twice a year max.  With my mirrorless, I bulb blow it roughly once every 3-4 months, sensor brushed it once in two years, and have never needed to wet swab.  I change lenses very frequently, in the field, in windy, dusty, sandy, pollen, humid conditions...though I take some precaution when I do, I am not the type to tread lightly and be neurotic about changing lenses or exposing my sensor...I just change lenses when I need to and try my reasonable best to not keep the sensor or body open too long or exposed into the wind...but even with the best precautions, I do experience a higher dust exposure than some others, as I live in a dusty and humid place and shoot often in unpaved natural places.

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jcharding
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 12, 2013

I've used Minolta, Sony and Nikon DSLRs, with the D2X being by far the most dust prone.  In the last three years I've transitioned from the D2X to some Oly mirrorless bodies and a Fuji XPro.  I change lenses a lot, quite often while hiking and such.  I have not changed the process by which I change lenses.

Over the past three years I am unaware of a single photo which had a dust spot while using a mirrorless cameras - and that is in thousands and thousands of photos.  So while it is certainly possible the design of mirrorless cameras makes dust are a bigger problem, the advances of in-body sensor cleaning have not only made that design problem irrelevant but in my case have eliminated entirely dust as a significant concern.  Not that I plan to start changing lenses in such a manner to test this, but I personally see no reason to worry about dust in the body in my mirrorless cameras.

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mgd43
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to mgd43, Dec 13, 2013

It seems that in theory mirrorless should have more dust problems, but in practice it doesn't. It reminds me of an old joke. Two Soviet economists are talking. One says to the other, "Sure Capitalism works in practice, but it doesn't work in theory." I didn't say that it was a funny  joke.

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Ed B
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Re: Are MILC more prone to dust on sensor problems?
In reply to Jack Hass, Dec 13, 2013

Jack Hass wrote:

In the vein of the "where are the serious mirrorless users" thread, I would say yes, they are more prone. Not because of the physical design as much, but because most mirrorless shooters are less knowledgeable and are not as aware of the care needed to protect the sensor. It's a "consider the source" situation.

I have to disagree with you here.

Most beginners and less knowledgeable photographers are going to a big box store and buying entry level DSLRs. They're everywhere and 9 out of 10 soccer moms have one that they use in an auto mode.

Granted, there are also beginners who buy mirrorless but there are also a tremendous amount of people who have used a DSLR for years and have switched to mirrorless.

Naturally, mirrorless is like any other camera and you have people who buy the inexpensive (entry level) models that are usually less experienced photographers but, in this respect, mirrorless is no different than DSLRs.

As far as "where are the serious mirrorless users" goes, you just need to do a little more research. There a quite a few of them out there.

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