February 28, 2011

Ask Dave, February 28th

Once again I have decided to do a weekly blog post called 'Ask Dave.' I get tons of questions each week, and I always respond as quickly as possible; but I have decided that it is about time to also share the answers with all of you too. If you have questions you can email me at Learn@DaveShumway.com.

'Ask Dave' week number two.
From Britney... Where do you take your cameras and lenses to get them cleaned?

Honestly, I do most small cleaning myself; but let me qualify that answer (please read all of this post). I send my cameras and lenses off to Canon Professional Services for a cleaning and checkup. (once a year for cameras and once every other year for lenses) For those of you who are not CPS/NPS members I would suggest that you send your cameras to the manufacturer for periodic cleanings and checkups. (most camera shops send your gear out to the manufacturer) I clean my camera's and lens' outsides weekly. (a clean outside helps promote a clean inside, and makes everything last longer) Sensor cleanings used to be done by me, a trained professional, almost monthly; but that was before cameras got built in sensor cleaning aids. Now if find that I only need to do cleanings, myself, once or twice a year, beyond the CPS clean and check.

Remember when shooting landscapes sensor dust becomes more apparent as we tend to stop down our lenses. I have used dirty sensors to shoot sports, portraits, and other "wide open" things and you would never be able to tell. Also, in my experience, full frame sensors have a tendency to collect and show dust more than cropped sensors. (that is simply my experience, remember that typically I shoot my landscapes with full frame sensors and sports/wildlife with cropped sensors)

What do I use for cleanings? I have tried lots of products; but at the end of the day I trust two to get the job done. For cleanings on trips (in the field) I use and trust Dust-Aid a dry cleaning solution that is fast, easy, effective, and is safe for in the field cleanings. I believe that with Dust-Aid you cannot make things worse, only better. (assuming you don't let more dust blow into your camera while you clean it) For those pre trip cleanings, at home, I use Sensor Swabs as they are "designed for cleaning CCD chips and other delicate or hard to reach optical and imaging surfaces, using Eclipse or E2 solution." This process is a "wet cleaning," and can affix dust to your sensor if not done properly. This is what most manufactures recommend, and do when you send your camera in for a cleaning.

A word of caution. I was trained by Best Buy's service center ages ago and have cleaned around 1,000 sensors, or more. I know what I am doing and I still: read instructions/manuals, watch new video tutorials, and practice before cleaning my cameras. I really believe that normal people can safely clean their own camera's sensor; but they need to be carful and read all instructions/manuals before they start messing around with the image sensor or anything inside of their cameras.

How do you know when your sensor needs a cleaning? That is a second question, and I'll wait for someone to ask it ;)

I buy my cleaning supplies from the NatureScapes.net store. (I highly recommend them; they are great people and they are always willing to help/chat/advise)

I use LensPens and Carl Zeiss Individually Packed Cloths for field cleaning lenses. At home I often simply use some warm breath and a lens cloth; once I blast and dirt/dust off of the lens. If I need to use liquid to clean a lens I use Eclipse Fluid. Canon's new lenses are coated to avoid oils and grime, so I can blast dust/dirt off and not worry about it.

Other important things to remember: replace your lens clothes often, keep them clean between uses, and once you get oils on a cloth how can you expect it to really clean anything?

On a side note, dust spots on the mirror/prism/focus screen drive me crazy, and cause lots of eye strain, for me. I use spent Sensor Swabs or blast them out as soon as I get a chance to. I shoot far too often, for far too long, to strain my eyes with particles in the viewfinder.

Happy Shooting

1 comment:

  1. Dave,

    Considering I will be unable to eat solid food for the next few days, please give me your favorite juice recipe. I plan on doing some juicing! Thanks, Kristin