Cleaning my DSLR’s sensor… the quick (and inexpensive) way

This content is 14 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Right now, I’m attending photography workshop in North Wales, learning a bit more about digital photographic imaging. It’s been a good experience so far but, yesterday afternoon, I experienced a small disaster as not only dust but a tiny hair had appeared on all of the images I took, indicating that I had some sort of debris on my sensor (actually, it’s on the anti-aliasing filter, not the sensor but that’s being pedantic…).

Being in the middle of the Snowdonia National Park (albeit in overcast/wet weather) and on a course where I would take a lot of photos, this was not exactly welcome and I feared I’d need a costly professional sensor clean (after a weekend of creating images with hair on them). No-one in the class had any sensor cleaning swabs (not that I’ve ever used them, and I would have been a little nervous too on my still-in-warranty Nikon D700) but, luckily, one of the guys passed me an air blower and said “try this – but make sure you hold the camera body face down as you use it!”.

With the mirror locked up, I puffed some air around inside the body (it’s important not to use compressed air for this) and took a reference image – thankfully the debris was gone (and, because the front of the camera was facing down, it should have fallen out, not gone further back into the camera).

I breathed a big sigh of relief and thanked my fellow classmate. In just over a week its the Focus on Imaging exhibition – hopefully I’ll get along to it and one of the items on my shopping list will be a Giottos Rocket Air Blower

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