A700 and dust: some lessons learnt in Africa

Started Aug 17, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Stefandreas Regular Member • Posts: 201
A700 and dust: some lessons learnt in Africa


just wanted to share some awful experiences with DUST.

I went to Zambia and Malawi with the A700, the 70-300 G and the Tamron 17-50.

I cleaned the sensor before departure in Germany with Sensor Swabs (E2) and took two with me. Thought that may be enough because I didn't have any problems up to now. So, I took the road to South Luangwa National Park, which is partially very bad dirt road, and left the camera all the time in the bag (Crumpler bag pack, nothing special). I got off the car at the beautiful park, and shot a few dozens amazing pictures of elephants and hippos. In the evening I saw that images were completely ruined by dust spots, all over.

Remember: sensor was clean before the trip, didn't take the camera out, didn't change lenses. So I used my first sensor swap to clean. Next day: eight hours safari on dirt roads, but slowly and not verty dusty in my impressions. Didn't change lenses, just used the wondeful G. Didn't check the images in the evening to save batteries, but after two days of Safari, everything was fine with the pictures.

So, back to Malawi again, 120 km dirt road in a Landrover, camera stayed in the bag: dust spots all over again. Cleaned it in the capital with the second swap, than next day hit the road to Lake Malawi: 150 km tar road and just 18 km (!) of very bad dirt raod, camera in the bag: welcome back the most awful dustspots, which I unfortunately discovered only after taken 150 beautiful pictures. So , I just had the possibilty to blow out the dust-spots -which worked perfectly ! For the next seven days there was no dirt road anymore and I changed lenses all the time: no more dust !

So, my lessons are:

1. Dust enters on bad roads also without changing lenses, inside a closed car !
2. A bad dirt road is much worse than changing lenses
3. You should invest in a professional sealed bag
4. Its not worth cleaning the sensor before you hit a dust raod.
5. Try to blow away the dust before you use the expensive sensor swaps

6. Check every day in good light before you go out shooting if you have dust (picture of a clear sky, focus manually tio minimum, aparture 22 etc)

7. Take a lot of swaps and cleaning liquid with you, more than you think you would need

For me it stays the question if the A700 really has ANY dust reduction at all ! My Minolta which had none was not worse in that regard and I never did so much cleaning in my life ...

Will lpost some images later ..


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