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Ultimate Sensor Cleaning Tech

posted Jul 7, 2010, 5:39 AM by Jose Velasquez   [ updated Jan 16, 2011, 12:49 PM ]
I was browsing for a new camera strap for my D700 over at the Korean site and came across a rather unique way to clean a sensor. Click here to watch the insane video (scroll to the bottom of the page for it). Now before I ramble about this sensor cleaning tech, I'm going to answer why I was looking for a strap on there as opposed to Ebay or Amazon. I was on there looking for ideas. There are some real nice straps out there, mainly the vintage "hippie" straps, but they're not cheap in the US and Canada, and they all have metal parts that can damage the top LCD of pro-sumer and pro cameras. I have a vintage "hippie" strap, and I want to modify it so it doesn't use metal parts. Rather than try to figure things out by trail and error I went online to get ideas on designs for the part of the strap that holds the camera and neck strap together, and filmnara happened to be the best place. Anyway, while I was browsing at different designs I came across the DDPro low-pass filter cleaner.

At so many forums people get all worked up about DIY methods of cleaning sensors--phrases like "You're insane!" or "Good luck!" or "It's your sensor not mine" seem to permeate most discussions. This video made me realize that the filters covering sensors aren't that easy to ruin. I've cleaned my D40x sensor with E2 and pecpads (I was even asked to do a demo of that for a group once), and even used 3M 810/811 Magic Tape to clean it! Now that I've got a D700 the process is no different, except that I have to use Eclipse rather than E2 (E2 was discontinued). And tape is out of the question simply due to the size of the sensor.

If you royally mess up cleaning your sensor it's because you didn't work in a clean environment, your pec-pad picked up foreign material, or you re-used a pac-pad or held it with your bare fingers or you did something silly with your rocket blower. I know one time I thought I had scratched my D40x "sensor" because my rocket blower had touched it and left something on it. Well it turned out to be nothing more than a "scuff" or some strange foreign particle because 3M magic tape and a wet-clean with E2 cleared it all up.

This DDPro methods seems to avoid chemicals altogether and appears to use a vacuum and static charge process with bristles. Here's a link to the official Japanese site. If Nikon in Japan sells cleaning kits with "wooden" spatulas (the kind your doctor uses to check the back of your throat), then I'm sure this method can't be any more harmful. I think paying a "pro" 50-100US to clean your sensor over a two to three week period is ridiculously insane! If you have cash to burn and you don't trust your hands to be steady enough to clean a sensor, have at it. If you care about your wallet and know you can trust your hands with an electronic device look into the DIY methods. Back in Korea Nikon service centers will clean sensors within the hour, out here in the US/Canada it takes way too long! what will I do about it? I may look into that DDpro system! No seriously, I'll stick to my wet-clean methods with Eclipse.

Till my next rambling, post, tutorial, or review, this is, hey, hey,