Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How to Prevent Dust on Your DSLR Camera Sensor

If you are a DSLR camera owner, dust spots and blotches is one problem you will have to face one day. There is no getting away from it, sooner or later all DSLR camera sensors accumulate dust and it will begin showing on your pictures.

DSLR Image Sensor
DSLR Image Sensor

Dust spots or ‘blotches’ are easily visible when you have light areas or plain backgrounds in your picture especially when shot at narrower apertures. Sky is one such thing that could easily show sensor dust. Even if your sensor has dust, it will not be noticeable when shooting dark objects or when you have a busy background with not much blur. But when you find these spots in the same area in all your pictures you will know it is time to clean your sensor.

How does Sensor Dust Occur

Dust enters inside the camera body when we change lenses. The digital SLR camera sensor has a static charge and that attracts the dust to it and makes it stay there. Point and shoot digital cameras however do not have to deal with sensor dust issues as the lens is fixed on them.

How to Avoid Sensor Dust

There is only one way to permanently solve the sensor lens issue and that is to stick with a single lens and never change it. Since that is not a very practical solution and that is not why we purchased a DSLR camera for in the first place, let us discuss how we could reduce the chances of dust entering our DSLR sensor.
  1. Avoid changing lenses in the field if you could help it. It is better to analyse the type of shots you will need to shoot, select a zoom that could do it all and stick with it for the length of the shoot.
  2. If you have access to a car or a room nearby, use it to change your lenses instead of changing it in the open where the chances of dust entering your camera is more.
  3. Always turn off your camera before changing lenses. As it will help reduce the amount of static electricity in the sensor.
  4. Have your spare lenses ready at hand with back cap removed before you dismount the lens attached to the camera.
  5. Check and clean your lens of dust before attaching it to the camera.
  6. Always clean your front and rear lens caps before attaching those to the lens.
  7. Hold the camera in an upside down position for changing lenses, although it will be hard at first you will soon get used to it.
  8. Always match up the markers on the lens and camera to prevent damage to both lens mount and camera body mount.

How to Remove Sensor Dust

If the dust issue is not very prominent and you are not feeling confident enough to clean it yourself, then the spot healing brush tool or the clone tool in Photoshop could easily fix it for you.

dirty dslr image sensor
In the above picture the red markings shows sensor dust spots and fungus
Shooting at wide open apertures is one solution as sensor dust is most visible at narrow apertures shooting at wider apertures reduces the chances of dust showing up prominently in the image.

You could also attempt to clean your sensor, but do it carefully. The safest method is to use a blower to blow off dust, and then you have the sensor cleaning brush or swab to do it. We will post a detailed article with pictures on How to Clean your DSLR Camera Sensor soon.

In the next article we will discuss about Photography - Tips For Beginners - Exposure value (EV)

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