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Thread: clean that sensor! how?

  1. #1
    Senior Member faneuil's Avatar
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    clean that sensor! how?

    I dread cleaning my P45's sensor. But recent interior shoot at f/11 shows every minor dust fleck and streak.

    Lets face it, the P1 cleaning kit just >sucks<. That two solution thing with wipes and a 'credit card' scraper. ALWAYS streaks no matter what I do.

    What do you all use?
    I am tempted to use sensor swabs and Eclipse solution (works great on my 5dmkII)

    cheers.. and anybody want to sell me a RRS ball head? (random thought)

    eric

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    Senior Member faneuil's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?


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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I find the Phase solution, spatula and wipes work great. But so dies Eclipse 2. You got two bottles of official Phase cleaner with your back. B is for regular cleaning and IME works like Eclipse -- meaning very well -- and a pass with B or Eclipse is usually all I need for even the most stubborn crud. Next, A is for really bad crud that won't come off with B, and is messy, requiring a scrub with B to get it off! The plastic spatula and special wipes work great too IME. The wipes do look like PecPad wipes, and solution 1 appears to be similar if not identical to Eclipse. Anyway, fold a wipe in half and wrap it over the spatula, wet with a few drops of solution B and wipe across the sensor. I repeat with a fresh wipe and only one wipe and find that seems to eliminate any streaks. (Note that the edge of the sensor cover glass metal clamp can snag wipe fibers -- plastic electronic tweezers can get those.) I follow up with a gentle pass from a BRAND NEW microfiber lenscloth, but this is not a supported step, so use at your own risk. I find that last micro-fiber pass removes any minor streaks solution A or Eclipse might leave.

    If B doesn't get your blobs, then start with solution A. This is a blue, soapy kind of cleaner and will definitely leave streaks, but they will clean up when you repeat with solution B -- just make sure you don't let A dry, get it with B while it's still wet! I would use plain de-ionized (or distilled) water on a pad before solution B, reserving B for only crap that water, Eclipse or solution A won't get. I find that DI water removes a lot of crud Eclipse or regular alcohol-based cleaners won't, so keep a bottle around.

    FWIW, I use DI water for getting salt spray off my lenses and exterior camera surfaces, then follow up with Eclipse to remove the water streaks from glass. Anyway, DI water is cheap and readily available in most grocery stores, and a great thing to have around for general cleaning of camera equipment.

    Finally, I keep a handful of E-Wipes in my bag for emergencies. An E-Wipe is essentially a Pec pad pre-wetted with Eclipse and stored in a foil packet. These work great in a pinch. Note that they are so good, they pull the oils right out of your fingers and can transfer that to the surface you're cleaning leaving streaks, so I wash my hands first -- hand-sanitiser (mostly gelled alcohol) seems to work fine for that purpose.

    A quick search revealed this on PhaseOne's site, complete with video: http://www.phaseone.com/en/search/ar...0&languageid=1


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    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  4. #4
    Senior Member faneuil's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Ahh.. well I was too timid to 'wax off' with a dry microfiber at the end of the cleaning process. I might try eclipse instead, as it just doesn't streak. Seems people do use ewipes as well. I may pick up a pack.

    thanks
    Eric

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I haven't had to clean my sensor very often---and that's the one nice thing about MFDBs in general versus a DSLR sensor. The Phase cleaning kit works well, except the pads aren't the best---they just don't seem to absorb that well and have a tendency to leave streaks on the sensor. This can be very unsettling when you are trying your best to clean an expensive MFDB! I believe it was Steve from Capture Integration that mentioned the Leaf pads are a good substitute to use with the Phase cleaning kit instead. I haven't tried out his recommendation, though it's on the "to-buy" list from CI.

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    Senior Member KeithL's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I've used E-Wipes on a number of occasions and they've done an excellent job on my Hasselblad sensor, removing 95% of dust and leaving no streaks. Having said that, I know of one photographer who didn't get on with them at all.

    Anyway, each to their own, I won't hesitate to use them again in the future.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I've found that out of all the digital gear I've owned my P45+ has been the single most user friendly I've had. I haven't had to clean it all that much but when I have it's been simple. And this is from shooting with a technical camera outside in all types of weather where the sensor is at least partialy exposed everytime I change a lens. Best tip is to follow the tips outlined above at least untill you find your own workflow that works for you.

    Don
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    Member Analog6's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I've found the Phase stuff great, I never get streaks.
    Odille

    H2 | P20 | HC 50-110 | HC 150 f3.2 | HC 210 f4 ~ My Website

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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I use the Phase kit only once or twice a year for a thorough spring cleaning.

    I use the Arctic Butterfly every week or more often as needed. The vast majority of foreign matter I get is simply dust and the Butterfly is extremely effective.

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by faneuil View Post
    Lets face it, the P1 cleaning kit just >sucks<. That two solution thing with wipes and a 'credit card' scraper. ALWAYS streaks no matter what I do.

    eric
    That's what I thought ...

    but my mistake was using solution A. Never again. It takes about 5 cleanings with solution B to get rid of the crud and streaks left by Solution A. If you have used A, you will have to clean it many times with B.

    For me the plastic "scraper" works great. Stretch a cleaning cloth around it and hold it tight. Put a couple of drops on it, then hold at 45 degree angle, one swipe across, straightening it out as you get to the other side so it's at 90 degrees. Roll the cloth a fraction of an inch (very easy to do once you get the hang of it) and repeat. Do it a couple more times. As you gradually move the cloth, you get a fresh cleaning surface each time.

    If you are getting streaks it isn't because of the solution B, it's because you don't have all of A off yet. Using eclipse won't help, its the same thing as solution B,

    Finally want to know if it's clean? Get a strong and even LED flash light and hold it at an angle to the sensor. If you see any flecks, try a puff of air with a rocket blower. You don't have to take a picture to know if the sensor is clean.

    (BTW, I don't take credit for any of this. Bill Atkinson demoed this at the Death Valley PODAS workshop, just when I was having the same problems as you've described ... gucked up with solution A and everything. Got home, and within a couple of minutes had a sparkling clean sensor.)

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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    That's what I thought ...

    but my mistake was using solution A. Never again. It takes about 5 cleanings with solution B to get rid of the crud and streaks left by Solution A. If you have used A, you will have to clean it many times with B.

    For me the plastic "scraper" works great. Stretch a cleaning cloth around it and hold it tight. Put a couple of drops on it, then hold at 45 degree angle, one swipe across, straightening it out as you get to the other side so it's at 90 degrees. Roll the cloth a fraction of an inch (very easy to do once you get the hang of it) and repeat. Do it a couple more times. As you gradually move the cloth, you get a fresh cleaning surface each time.

    If you are getting streaks it isn't because of the solution B, it's because you don't have all of A off yet. Using eclipse won't help, its the same thing as solution B,

    Finally want to know if it's clean? Get a strong and even LED flash light and hold it at an angle to the sensor. If you see any flecks, try a puff of air with a rocket blower. You don't have to take a picture to know if the sensor is clean.

    (BTW, I don't take credit for any of this. Bill Atkinson demoed this at the Death Valley PODAS workshop, just when I was having the same problems as you've described ... gucked up with solution A and everything. Got home, and within a couple of minutes had a sparkling clean sensor.)
    The wipes supplied by Phase have quite a bit of lint that tends to get caught at the edges of the sensor. It doesn't blow off either because one end of the pieces of lint seems to get caught under the edges. (I recall that the Sinar cleaning kit that Steve Hendrix supplied to me several years ago had pads that seemed lint free.) I am not sure how to release the lint without risking damage to the sensor.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    I am not sure how to release the lint without risking damage to the sensor.
    Plastic electronics tweezers...
    Jack
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Plastic electronics tweezers...
    Thanks, Jack. Who sells these? Radio Shack?

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    Member Analog6's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I found Ted Pella shop on Google

    or for us Aussies Mektronic
    Odille

    H2 | P20 | HC 50-110 | HC 150 f3.2 | HC 210 f4 ~ My Website

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    The wipes supplied by Phase have quite a bit of lint that tends to get caught at the edges of the sensor. It doesn't blow off either because one end of the pieces of lint seems to get caught under the edges. (I recall that the Sinar cleaning kit that Steve Hendrix supplied to me several years ago had pads that seemed lint free.) I am not sure how to release the lint without risking damage to the sensor.
    I've had trouble with fuzzies like this as well. Steve and Capture integration recommend and sell Leaf cleaning pads now, and after buying some agree they work better than those from Phase. they are the same pads as the Sinar, but about 1/3 the cost.

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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    Roll the cloth a fraction of an inch (very easy to do once you get the hang of it) and repeat. Do it a couple more times. As you gradually move the cloth, you get a fresh cleaning surface each time.
    great tip - thanks for that!

    I use the standard cleaning kit of Phase One. Apparently no trouble at all by now (not even with solution A).
    I also use a small anti static brush (cinematography accessory) for small dust particles I can't blow away otherwise. I store it in a separate little box and use it exclusively for the sensor.
    Finally I carry along "e-wipes" to have something at hand in the field. By now I've only used it once... and it worked very well.

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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analog6 View Post
    I found Ted Pella shop on Google

    or for us Aussies Mektronic
    Thanks. Has anyone ever seen tweezers with "padded" tips that would further reduce the risk of scratching the sensor?

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I think the regular ones are fine. First off, the inner edge where the fuzz catches isn't really in the sensor imaging area, more like 1mm outside it, and the tips of the tweezers fit there. Second, it's unlikely plastic will mar the cover glass unless you really try. Finally, my concern with anything "soft" that isn't virgin-clean is that it can hold grit that can scratch glass. Which is also why I mentioned using a brand new microfiber lenscloth if needed...
    Jack
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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Indeed I do recommend the Leaf Cleaning Wipes. They are the same as the wipes that come with the Sinar Cleaning Kit, and are 1/3 the price, although that is for wipes only, while the Sinar Kit includes the 2 cleaning agents.

    I just don't find the P1 wipes absorbent enough, and it is too easy, as many have found, to leave residue. And the fibers do catch on the edges, and sometimes it is a long fiber that still travels into the imaging area. And in any case, you still wind up having to remove them with some sort of tweezers. The less tweezering near a sensor, the better, in my book.

    My standard solution is brush and cleaning kit. No canned air (obviously), but not even blower brushes. I don't like pushed air of any degree on a sensor. Brushes will get the job done 90% of the time, the cleaning kits the other 10% and for occasional maintenance.

    Recommended brushes:
    *Kinetronics Anti-Static SW-030 - $16 (budget)
    *Arctic Butterfly - $120 (premium)

    Recommended Cleaning Kits (in combination with each other):
    *Leaf Cleaning Wipes - $30
    *Phase One Cleaning Kit (but toss the wipes) - $30


    Steve Hendrix
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    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Do not be shy of using breath moist as this helps removing dust and dried condensation spots.

    The recommended agent for the final touch is Isopropanol (Isopropyl-Alcohol) and it should have at least 95% alcohol in it, for fast drying without any greasy streaks.

    Here's one example

    And here is how to use the wipes:
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I use the Leaf wipes and eclipse 2 with the spatula that Phase provides with there backs. Works good. CI has the Leaf wipes.

    But I do use canned air but not sure I recommend it since it can be dangerous. Don't ever use a full can to start with and hold the can straight move the lens or the sensor not the can. But I have been doing this a long time and you really need to be careful.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    FWIW, I carry a bulb blower in my bag and use it after a day in the field. So far has worked great, basically as good as canned air for me. However, I think being able to remove the back helps; the bulb never worked as well getting into a DSLR throat as canned air did.
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Little trick if you use canned air in the mirror box never aim straight at the mirror aim at the side wall of the mirror box. This way if it spews it hits the wall not the mirror. Again you have to be a little nuts like me to do these things. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    FWIW, I carry a bulb blower in my bag and use it after a day in the field.
    I think that's a good advice. My feeling is that I have much less trouble with sensor dust spots when working with the tech camera than with the 645 camera. As strange as it sounds...
    As I have to remove the back from the tech camera all the time it's somehow an automatism to blow over the sensor or quickly wipe it with a brush. Don't use a blower though, but a small brush (Kinetronics/anti static).

  25. #25
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I think that's a good advice. My feeling is that I have much less trouble with sensor dust spots when working with the tech camera than with the 645 camera. As strange as it sounds...
    As I have to remove the back from the tech camera all the time it's somehow an automatism to blow over the sensor or quickly wipe it with a brush. Don't use a blower though, but a small brush (Kinetronics/anti static).
    I agree. I've never had that much of a problem w/my P45+ and Cambo and that's even with switching out lenses in the middle of Monument Valley. I've also found the hand held blower the best method of removing any dust, just remember to hold the back upside down and blow it off.
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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I'm a little surprised I didn't read my method so here is my two cents.

    Blower bulb
    Sensor scope
    and Sensor pen if the blower leaves anything

    I have been using this method since a Canon tech told me that is how they do it in the repair facilities.

  27. #27
    Member Analog6's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    I have some of those sensor pens but have been a bit wary of using them on the P20 - maybe next time. At least you can see the darned thing, not like a 35mm sensor buried way down in the black hole . . .
    Odille

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: clean that sensor! how?

    Quote Originally Posted by etrump View Post
    I'm a little surprised I didn't read my method so here is my two cents.

    Blower bulb
    Sensor scope
    and Sensor pen if the blower leaves anything

    I have been using this method since a Canon tech told me that is how they do it in the repair facilities.
    Personally I wouldn't trust it just because Canon tech says so. Their "goal" would be no visible specs, and no obvious dust spots in a test shot. That doesn't mean it's clean.

    Sensor pen may pick up a big visible spot and may be useful, but I've seen them leave a "smudge". I'd clean the sensor after using one just to make sure it was really clean. a mfdb is so easy to clean, only takes a couple of minutes at most.

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