How Many 30D Owners Have Dust On Their Sensor?

Started Apr 12, 2006 | Discussions thread
JimH Forum Pro • Posts: 12,912
I have had the swab catch on things.

I clean my sensor filter frequently this way, though. Really, I do it at least once per week and often more than that. It just depends on conditions.

Interestingly, I almost never end up cleaning my lenses.

I blow them off but very rarely have I gotten anything on a lens that required any wet cleaning. Never on a back element but on the few occasions when I've had something on the front that needed cleaning, I have blown them off and then used breath and a clean swab or other very soft cotton or microfiber cloth.

I've also used some pre-moistened Zeiss lens wipe thingies which worked very well. But again, you want to blow and then possibly gently wipe any possible grit off of the lens before going to the wet method

But back to the sensor filter:

The cotton swabs I use are not "lint free" and can drop their fibers on occasion. And having a fiber snag up on something is a possibility. I've had that happen on a couple of occasions.

But two things are in our favor with that. First, the fibers are generally quite long and are intertwined with the rest of the "ball" of cotton at the end of the swab. So even if they snag up and get pulled loose a bit, they usually still just stay with the swab. So it looks like you've got a loose fiber but in the end, it stays with the swab and isn't a problem.

Then second, on the times when a fiber does manage to break free from the swab, they're so enormous (relatively speaking) that they have a lot of surface area compared to the possible static force that would hold them in place. So they stick to the rest of the swab and just get taken away along with any other dust.

And, if one did manage to get free from the group, so to speak, it would come right out when you do the "post swab blowing". Thus, even if one is free in there, it comes right out.

If it was a problem, I'd probably seek out the lint-free swabs that I see for sale in my electronic production catalogs. But it's such a non-issue that I haven't bothered. Those swabs are a possibility, though. One thing I like about those is that they come individually wrapped which would be handy for travel.

It seems like the problem dust is the tiny stuff you can't even see. If it weren't for that stuff, I don't think we'd need to do any swabbing or brushing at all. The big pieces tend to blow out just fine or never stick to the sensor filter to begin with.

But I have also had this happen once:

I managed to get a fiber from the cotton swab trapped so that it was pinched between a couple of fairly tight-fitting pieces near the front of the mirror box. Up near the lens mount.

I had to get tweezers and yank that one free. It was jammed into this tight crack really well and even though it was held in place and couldn't find its way to the sensor, it was in the light path so it bugged me!

So I did just use a pair of forceps (tweezers) to grab it and pull it out of there.

I haven't had any get hung up on anything down near the sensor like that. I should look really closely sometime, but I don't think there are any good "pinch points" down in there near the sensor filter.

If there were any places like that in there I'd expect people using the brushes to have found it by now too. And then you'd need to pull that brush fiber or swab fiber free which would be tedious and risky since you'd need to have the forceps near to the sensor filter.

But fortunately, it seems as if there are not any places that can trap brush bristles or fibers down in there. I think I'd have had it happen by now and I also think the folks using brushes would have too.

So I just avoid letting the end of the swab touch anything in the camera except the sensor filter and the walls of it's "well" right down at its level.

You want to do that anyhow because it seems as though there are things in the camera that have lubricants on them and if that lube gets on whatever you're swabbing or brushing the sensor with, then you end up smearing it on the sensor filter.

I did have that happen once when using a brush. It did a nice job of "painting" the lube onto my sensor filter and I had to then clean that off with alcohol on a cotton swab. Certainly not the end of the world, but not what I had set out to do that time

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Jim H.

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