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Thread: Sensor Cleaning?

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    Sensor Cleaning?

    The Camera is the Fugi GFX 50R. The top of the sensor has three nasty spots. I tried numerous times to clean the sensor with a hand held bulb type blower, to no avail. What is the next step, short of sending the camera to Fuji repair? I live and photograph at a seashore environment. Enclosed photo shows 3 big blobs in the sky area. I can, and do, retouch the images, but every single image has the spots.
    Thanks in advance.
    Dave in NJ
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Professonal In-store clean area sensor cleaning is relativly cheap and safer than touching the sensor by yourself. Leave the sensor for professional cleaning. Many camera-stores do sensor cleaning.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Some like to do DIY wet sensor cleaning and if one knows how to do it it may clean the sensor but likely is that it just moves the dust around or introduces more.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I highly recommend the Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly brush (uses static to attract dust). In all the years I've owned digital backs, I've rarely need to wet clean - though it's easy with a detachable back.
    Last edited by Bill Caulfeild-Browne; 9th May 2020 at 12:40.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Dave,

    The Fuji's have sensor cleaning, so if THAT'S not getting these monsters off, then I agree, take it to a shop. (You do have "sensor cleaning" activated, right?) I have not yet had to clean any sensor with built-in ultrasonic self-cleaning. The early "shake the IBIS" methods were useless and, of course, some dinosaurs have mirror boxes and no self-cleaning.

    There is an intermediate step, which has never failed me, and that is the gel stick. Get one for Sony Sensors. Not for lenses, not for other sensors. If you send your Leica to the factory for cleaning, this is what they use. (Yes, Leica does not use Sony sensors, but they specifically say to USE the Sony version. I would imagine that a Sony sensor would also suggest that ) Has always worked for me. OTOH, if you have stuff glued on by drying ocean spray, then you may want to go for a wet clean. This is tricky if those are sand grains (they're enormous!), as you do NOT want to rub them sideways.

    The ultimate in home cleaning is the two-liquid Phase One setup. The strong cleaner, which is almost never needed (I used it once to get rid of smears left from an unsuccessful cleaning) works on anything, but then needs a few "normal" wet cleanings to remove IT from the sensor. You don't swipe, so much as use a crumpled lint-free sensor cleaning "cloth" and dab to get the big things off, and then polish to clean the rest (after changing "cloths"!).

    At the less invasive end, the Arctic Butterfly works well, but if your in-camera cleaning isn't doing it, then I don't think a dry brush will, either.

    Good luck!

    Matt
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinN View Post
    Professonal In-store clean area sensor cleaning is relativly cheap and safer than touching the sensor by yourself. Leave the sensor for professional cleaning. Many camera-stores do sensor cleaning.
    I had a professional put a scratch in my watch case changing a band. The next time, I did it myself - and scratched it worse, so I don't know the moral here ... Of course, a scratched watch loses some value. A scratched sensor makes a doorstop. So Į\_(ツ)_/Į.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Dave, I replied to the post you put up at Fred Miranda. https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1645986

    In a nutshell, you can clean your own sensor if you're careful. It's neither hard nor very expensive. The only "professional" I'd take it to is Fuji. There are no camera repair outfits near me that I would trust to touch it.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I regularly clean my CFV-50s sensor without any problem.
    If you want to try, I suggest using an FF swab and Eclipse Optic Cleaning Fluid.
    Firstly blow away what you can with an air blower.
    Then take the swab, put one small drop of Eclipse fluid along the edge, at 1/3 distance from the beginning, and another one at 2/3. You will do two partially overlapping passes to cover the whole sensor.
    Push the swab slightly inclined on the very left sensor side so that it curves a little and adheres perfectly. Make one pass to the other side (right), turn the swab to vertical position, slide it down to prepare covering the second band (it partially overlaps), incline the swab to the other side and perform a new pass back to the left edge. Turn the swab vertical again and pull it away. Keep the camera side down while waiting 30 seconds for the sensor to completely dry.
    That's it. No scratches, no dust.
    It always worked for me.

    Another important thing to know, you're not going to touch the sensor at all.
    You are going to clean a piece of clean glass placed over the sensor. The sensor itself cannot be reached directly.
    Last edited by mristuccia; 9th May 2020 at 13:09.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I regularly have to wet clean the sensor on my X1D bodies. Same size sensor as the GFX cameras. I First blow off any dust with a filtered Visible Dust blower. Then, I use the Visible Dust Green Medium Format swabs with Eclipse cleaning solution, applying gentle pressure and following the instructions on the VD web page. It has worked very well for me. Until the next time I change lenses!
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    You can have someone do it for you---but often they are doing the exact same things you can easily do yourself.

    Start with the least intrusive method and move on to the next if the dust spot remains. Check with a test frame after each cleaning attempt.

    Bulb blower
    Visible dust static brush
    Lens pen (dedicated to cleaning sensor)
    Dust-Aid or Eyelead adhesive sensor cleaner
    Wet Method
    www.houseoflandscapes.com
    www.kendoophotography.com
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    First off, never blow into a sensor or lens. Spittle, spray or other liquids are the worst offenders for digital sensors other than scratches. Always use a blower while holding camera/lens downward so dust falls out. Be aware of where the wind is coming from, especially by the ocean if changing lenses. Spray and mist travel Using professional, pre moistened optical wipes such as Eclipse are easy and safe. Always use just one side per swipe. It's amazing that digital photography can make so many of us apprehensive to clean and maintain equipment. Here's a link...

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ab_type_3.html
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    I regularly have to wet clean the sensor on my X1D bodies. Same size sensor as the GFX cameras. I First blow off any dust with a filtered Visible Dust blower. Then, I use the Visible Dust Green Medium Format swabs with Eclipse cleaning solution, applying gentle pressure and following the instructions on the VD web page. It has worked very well for me. Until the next time I change lenses!
    Visible Dust goes to some lengths to say you can't use any solution but their own. I'm glad to here Eclipse works for you with those VD Green swabs because as far as I can tell there are no other pre-made swabs. I've been making my own using PEC pads (which works fine). However, I think I'll grab some of those VD swabs now.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    Visible Dust goes to some lengths to say you can't use any solution but their own.
    It's a good thing they don't suggest that you call your dealer, or no one would ever use them again!

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Which method, do yourself or take it somewhere, depends on your comfort. I have wet cleaned my 645D with eclipse and 35mm swabs. It might not be perfect the first time and don't panic. You will figure it out. Sensors are not that fragile, but recontaminating it with swab strokes or just moving the dust is annoying. However, because Fuji has anti-dust technology, you may have an easier time as you may just have to unstick the little blighters. Certainly start by blowing out the dust in the camera as well as on the sensor. Dust can collect in areas off the sensor and will just make this more annoying.
    Will

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Thank you all very much. I do have the sensor cleaning turned on at camera start up. I can also set it to clean when the camera is turned both on and off. I will try that. It is a bit disturbing as the spots have not moved in the last several months since I first noticed them. As far as camera shops go, I suspect the closest one is B&H in New York (about 90 to 100 miles)....we live on a barrier seashore resort island which is almost deserted in the off season. I am 83 years old, and eyesight and steady hands are not like the old days, but I am not complaining. I still photograph, process RAW images and make big 24"x32" prints, exhibit at the local Restaurant/Bar, and sell to visitors. I also designed and built and maintain my own web site. My birthday is Feb 20....the same as Ansel Adams (my photographic hero).
    Dave in NJ
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Here is the same image after retouching the sky blobs, tweaking color, contrast, etc and adding a gull.
    Dave
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Dave, for the blobs on your sensor I second Kenís recommendation of the Lens Pen. When a blower wonít do it, I reach for my Lens Pen. You can rub pretty hard with it without worrying about damage. As someone mentioned before youíre only cleaning the glass.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    After using a P1 back since 2008, wet cleaning is just part of the use pattern, as a P1 back needs cleaning pretty much after every use, (at least on a tech camera, and most times on the XF).

    I would consider using the Visible Dust swabs, I believe now P1 is using them as with the IQ4, they included a set of them or something very close to the same thing. Note the V Dust swabs are not the full size of a IQ 3100 or IQ4 sensor, but instead are designed for the cropped MF sensors. You should also still be able to find the old P1 plastic card that came with their cleaning kit which you wrap a cleaning cloth around manually.

    The cleaning kit from P1 has 2 solutions, A is a blue color and is meant for very serious stains, I guess finger smudges or oil. I have never had to use it but one time on a P45+. The clean solution B is what you will use most of the time. Make sure to only use a couple of drops of fluid on the swab, as that's all it takes. Then wipe in one direction, and flip the swab and cover the other side. Should never reuse a swab, it's wasteful, and one reason I use the older P1 plastic piece and square cleaning cloths, much cheaper when you are cleaning all the time.

    NOTE, you are note touching the actual sensor, you are touching the cover glass over the sensor. You will never touch the actual sensor. You can scratch that cover glass, but it's pretty tough material. I have never scratched one.

    You can use the Eclipse fluid, or Phase Fluid or the Fluids sold by V dust, all work the same.

    If you have stubborn spots, and have attempted to blow them off with a blower, and they are still there, it's time to wet clean.

    Also, I would recommend doing this yourself, and just getting use to the process. The GFX series of cameras have no mirror box, thus you can use either tool I have referenced since you don't have to drop down deep. One nice thing on the P1 back, is that it's by far the easiest to clean, since you can remove it from the camera have total access. Here is a link the the cleaning set sold by Capture Integration, just an example. But they have all you need to get started.

    https://www.digitalback.com/product/...leaning-kit-2/

    Paul C

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrew View Post
    Dave, for the blobs on your sensor I second Kenís recommendation of the Lens Pen. When a blower wonít do it, I reach for my Lens Pen. You can rub pretty hard with it without worrying about damage. As someone mentioned before youíre only cleaning the glass.
    I was about to add----Dave, the lens pen method is the easiest method to use. It is inexpensive and also travels the easiest. Make sure to mark the lens pen as your sensor cleaner only, so as to avoid contamination with ones you may be cleaning lenses with.

    ken

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I just ordered a Lens Pen, and will mark it with masking tape for "sensor cleaning only". I also used Paul C.'s link to C1 and ordered their sensor cleaning kit. Compared to others it was inexpensive at $24.98 with 30 pads and liquid cleaner.
    I will give it a shot attempting to clean myself. I think my approach might be:
    1. Blow off sensor using bulb blower, to remove any small specs that could scratch the sensor glass cover.
    2. Use wet cleaning to loosen and remove the three big blobs.
    3. If I get it clean, then afterwards weekly blow off, then use dedicated lens pen.
    4. Last resort....send to Fuji Repair Service.
    Thank you again, please stay safe.
    Dave in NJ

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Talk about too many cooks...

    I worry only about the size of your blobs. If they are grains of sand, then a wet cleaning may drag a grain, and that's about the only thing that *could* scratch the cover glass. Only if the blobs look like dried goo would I go from blower to wet clean. The lens pen, if it works like the gel stick, is just push on lightly and pull the thing off. If it looks like sand, I'd do that first.

    If you want a few dozen more opinions, post a picture of your sensor

    That's actually not a bad idea...

    Matt
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I'm even worried to use a lens pen on lenses to be honest. My thought trail is: if there is already some sort of dirt on the vlies on the lens pen, it will spread further. I thus departed from that solution for my lenses. In terms of sensor (glass) cleaning, I'd be even more careful. Truth is, scratching the sensor itself is impossible due to the protection glass. But also replacing that costs EUR 1000 at P1, so 'to be avoided'.

    I'd also go for
    (1) Blow the dust away.
    (2) Use a gentle (!) brush. The one from the lens pen seems fine.
    (3) ... I never ended up there so far, I just continued to clone-stamp. But I think I would take it to the local P1 dealer to do it. If he/she puts a scratch in it, they are oblieged to deal with the consequences.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    After reading the above comments, I probably could remove the lens, use a bright table lamp (or flashlight) and look at the sensor with a magnifying glass. I agree, the spots are large (and scary).
    Dave

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by gurtch View Post
    After reading the above comments, I probably could remove the lens, use a bright table lamp (or flashlight) and look at the sensor with a magnifying glass. I agree, the spots are large (and scary).
    Dave
    Remember, your sensor is big - 33x44. Those spots are about 1mm across. That's HUGE. You'll see them.

    Also remember that the spots will be on the LOWER part of the sensor, but NOT reversed left-right. They would be rotated 180 degrees, like the ground glass in a view camera, but then you turn the camera around the vertical axis to see the sensor. That re-reverses the left-right, leaving it only flipped up-down.

    Matt

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by gurtch View Post
    I also used Paul C.'s link to C1 and ordered their sensor cleaning kit. Compared to others it was inexpensive at $24.98 with 30 pads and liquid cleaner.
    Dave in NJ
    And on top of that their cleaning cloths are the best I have ever used - period!

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Personally I had bad experiences with those lens pens. I think they're very prone to really grab & drag something along the glass with the risk of scratching it. Moreover, they often leave very small spots over the glass. Been there, done that, never again.
    A wet swab firmly adhering and coming from the very edge of the sensor is the best solution to move away anything sticking on the glass without pressing it against the surface.

    Of course IMHO.
    Last edited by mristuccia; 11th May 2020 at 11:48.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    First, Thank you all for your help. I ended up buying a sensor cleaning kit from Capture Integration (snap shot enclosed). It has cleaning pads and cleaning fluid. Turns out the fluid is Eclipse, which I usually have on hand in a bigger bottle for lens and filter cleaning. I used an old credit card to make a spatula shaped tool, which is in the snapshot. I made 7 attempts to clean the sensor (actually I used each swab twice, once on each side of the pad, for a total of 14 cleaning cycles). The results in a nutshell: situation much improved, but still not perfectly clean. It turns out that the method of developing RAW files has an impact on how badly the spots show up. I use DXO Photolab 3 to develop raw images, for two reasons: 1) the excellent lens correction profiles, and 2) Photoshop CS6 will not handle GFX raw files. DXO Photolab has a feature called Clear View Plus, which can be turned on or off when processing. Since I use it almost always on my images, for more "snap" or "punch", I processed my test shots both with it applied, and not applied. I am posting 6 test images made with the Fuji 32-64mm lens at ISO 400, f20, and at 32mm, 49mm and 64mm, There are two tests t each focal length, one with Clear View Plus, and one without. Those shots made with Clear View Plus show the spots much mor vividly than those without. Ideally, I should have shot a clear gray sky, but the sky was slightly cloudy.
    What do you folks think? Any ideas? I have about given up, and will need to do a little spotting on my images.
    Thanks and stay safe.
    Dave in NJ
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Much better but still something there. That's a problem with sensor cleaning. Your postprocessing can accentuate something but is not the problem. The problem is still some dust / dirt.

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I take a shot inside handheld of a white screen, at Closest possible focus of the lens, and at f22 or f32 to assess sensor dust. Nothing need to be in focus so therefore handheld indoor is ok. Just close focus and small aperture and featureless white not overexposed.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Dave, one option you might consider is to sign up for the Fuji Professional Service for GFX. I'm about to do that because I need service on my 50R and I don't want to wait for the normal (long) turnaround. It looks like it's $499/year USD: https://www.fujifilmusa.com/products...fps/index.html

    That is a lot of money... However, in addition to the other services, they provide four free "Check and Clean", each of which includes a sensor cleaning. Given that you're working in areas where there's lots of salt and sand, this might save you a lot of bother in the long run.
    Last edited by rdeloe; 22nd May 2020 at 12:44.
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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    Dave, one option you might consider is to sign up for the Fuji Professional Service for GFX. I'm about to do that because I need service on my 50R and I don't want to wait for the normal (long) turnaround. It looks like it's $499/year USD: https://www.fujifilmusa.com/products...fps/index.html

    That is a lot of money... However, they in addition to the other services, they provide four free "Check and Clean", each of which includes a sensor cleaning. Given that you're working in areas where there's lots of salt and sand, this might save you a lot of bother in the long run.
    Thank you very much. A good idea.
    Dave

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    Re: Sensor Cleaning?

    I would also suggest to acquire a Loupe with built in LED so you a really spot the dust issues on the glass. After that Iím with all the suggestions, internal sensor cleaning setup, blower, brush and sensor swabs with various solutions, going back to the previous steps to see if it changed anything. It takes a bit of patiences and potentially some swabs, it it gets done in the end. And MF backs are so much easier than Mirrorless or DSLRS.

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