5DM3 Sensor Cleaning/Damage Question
Dear DPReview Users,
Been a long time fan of this site and the forums, and I'm turning here seeking help as I'm not sure what else to do.
Here is the long story: I'm traveling from Alaska down to Patagonia in my truck. I have a Canon 5dM3 that I am using to document the trip. I have absolutely loved using it and it takes fantastic pictures.
I ran into an issue when in Nicaragua - I got "ERR 80". Turns out the shutter broke. I ended up sending the camera back to the USA Canon Repair factory in Irvine, CA, where they replaced the shutter. I also asked them to clean the camera and sensor (this isn't something I would have dreamed of doing myself). After the camera was repaired, it was shipped to a friend of mine. That friend brought the camera (still in packaging) with them (carried it on a plane) to Colombia, where I met them.
I was thrilled to finally have my camera back after missing it greatly for two months. Over the last couple weeks I've taken hundreds of pictures.
Unfortunately, I started noticing some VERY bad dust and markings in my pictures. These turned up especially in pictures of blue sky or ocean. After doing a bunch of experimental shots, there appeared to be a finger print in the bottom corner of these pictures!
Again, I'm not the type of user who would even dream of cleaning their sensor by themselves, but I was not sure where the fingerprint could be - on my lens? or the sensor? So I checked my lenses -- it would make sense because I change the lenses from time to time and I can imagine a scenario where I maybe touched a lens with my finger without meaning to. However, I couldn't see anything on the lenses.
So, I next wanted to just get a look at the sensor. I read in the manual about how to open the shutter so you can clean it manually. I did this on the camera, and to my surprise when the shutter opened, I could clearly see a bunch of dust on the sensor -- but in addition, there was a clear partial finger print on the sensor!!!
I e-mailed canon, asking them about the issue, but there response is pretty generic: they clean every camera they service, some instructions on how to dry-clean the camera, and if it isn't enough, to take it to canon authorized service.
I'm turning to dpreview users to try to ask some basic questions:
1) Do you think that the sensor would be damaged if someone touched it with there finger (enough to leave a finger print)?
2) Is there any way to tell if the sensor is damaged? Or is it more just try to take pictures and see?
3) Is it dangerous for me to take pictures while the sensor is dirty? Am I potentially damaging it more?
I'm going to try to find a photography shop where I can have the sensor wet-cleaned (there may even be a canon factory authorized service center in Bogota, Colombia, which isn't too far away).
In the mean time, I would appreciate any advice that you can give me! I've attached a few crappy photos of the sensor that I took with my iPhone to try to show the finger print.