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Sensor Cleaning


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May as well get a topic up and running! I guess now that we have a new forum it is appropriate to start topics anew!

I recently acquired a second hand D850 and found the sensor had a few marks that were noticeable in photos. After contacting the seller I was told that he had used photo solutions products and recommended the Eclipse fluid. Due to freight restrictions I have only been able to get a photosol digital survival kit which includes the less flammable Aeroclipse solution. I have used the correct size ultra swab (No. 3 - 24mm) for full frame. The kit I bought had 4 swabs

So yesterday I took the plunge, watched several you tube clips and followed the directions to the letter. Now -- after the first go -- some improvement but horrendous streaks --- after 4 tries I have had to give up as no more swabs left in the kit but the darn streaks are still noticeable. I can source some to be here in 3 weeks.

I have attached 3 photos - a start, second clean and now - noticeable dirt in the first, second clean heavy streaks and by the 4th go less streaking but still noticeable. It is as if sensor "dirt" has smeared - pretty sure not scratches. A photosol article I found suggested using more fluid which seemed counterintuitive.

Camera now unusable and I am debating: 1. try again once I can get some more swabs, 2 pack it up and send to Australia for cleaning

Anyone had a similar experience, is it just my technique that was wrong or have I stuffed the sensor!!

Bit worrying! This afternoon I am cleaning a scratched acrylic dome using novus cleaning kit and now worried I will stuff that up too (mental note to self when asked to do spilt shots for a resort to show their new paddle boards - don't let the staff paddle them into you and hit yoour dome!)

Cheers

John

 

 

 

start.jpg

clean 2.jpg

sensor now.jpg

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The best thing to do to verify the sensor is to take a photo of a clear blue sky if possible. This will give you the best blank image that you can use to verify dust or streaks on the sensor. In my experience, the particulate matter or smudges on the sensor have to be pretty obvious before they start impacting your images.

As for the acrylic dome, my experience with Novus is mediocre. I think it's fine for finishing, but to get any real dings or scratches out you need to get a stack of MicroMesh wet sandpaper. It has a gradient of ~10 papers from course to ultra-fine. About two hours (watch a movie while you do this) and you can go through the stack and come up with a brand-new dome. 

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Yep, I’m with Dave. Wrap a clean Pec-Pad in the swap and add a spot of the cleaner fluid.

My experience is that it takes several attempts and a lot of courage to get a sensor completely clean and, yes, there will be smears en route - which made my heart sink. 

I used to photograph a white wall for the image check but Dave’s blue sky is even better as that’s generally where the problem becomes visible. Basic problem though is that a blue sky in Amsterdam is horribly rare! 

Good luck, John. We feel your pain. Not easy especially on a relatively remote location. Do report how you get in. 

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I agree order yourself a pack of Pec_pads,  They come in a big pack, just keep the open pack inside a clean zip lock to keep contaminants away. 

I think there's a lot of myth and legend around sensor ceaning, yes its delicate but the need for single use clean room grade swabs at multiple $$$ each is debatable.  Probably the most important thing is a compatible fluid.  Then be sure to wrap the PEc-pad on tight so it's not sticking out everywhere so you can swipe without brushing up against internals bits, this can transfer fibres and may also end up with traces of oils.

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I use Dust patrol sensor cleaning kits (they have different versions, depending on sensor size), together with  a special loupe (e.g.: https://www.amazon.de/JJC-Universal-Lupe-Reinigungs-Vergrößerung-LED-Beleuchtung/dp/B07MSH1WN7/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?__mk_de_DE=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&crid=22WEO3YGK3NCX&keywords=dust+patrol+sensor+cleaning+louper&qid=1702819366&sprefix=dust+patrol+sensor+cleaning+louper%2Caps%2C164&sr=8-1-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&psc=1) and sometimes a sensor cleaning pen ) including a sensor cleaning brush (e.g.: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/DIGI-KIT6D-F/dp/B004ZLJLTQ/ref=sr_1_10?crid=3UVX1GU2KEX7A&keywords=dust+patrol+sensor+cleaning+pen&qid=1702819436&sprefix=dust+patrol+sensor+cleaning+pen%2Caps%2C131&sr=8-10&language=en_GB). They also provide detailed videos about how to do it for different camera types. So far, in practice, it takes more trials as in the videos to get the sensor clean, but in the end it is. When you send the camera in, they will do it the same way and it will take time and $$$...

Wolfgang

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Wolfgang mentions a loupe.

Yep, I find one of those very useful for all sorts of small tasks. I got one from Amazon. They're very good for checking a sensor 

Micnova MQ-7X SLR Clean Sensor Loupe Screen Protector with Dust Illuminating Bright LED's for Canon 6D 600D 5D2 5D3 Nikon D800 Sony Panasonic DSLR Cameras 

 
 

 

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The dust loupe and brush products are certainly useful but won't help with streaking, that is due to oils getting on the sensor surface, which is a different problem.  I think what is needed is repeated swabs until eventually it picks up whatever substance is on the surface, more fluid will certainly help a little as the fluid mixes with the contaminant, some is absorbed but the rest stays with the fluid on the surface and the fluid evaporates leaving the contaminant behind. .  Eventually it is mopped up.  Just don't want to flood the sensor when you are doing so maybe just a drop or two more.

Since using Olympus though, the problems with dust seem non existent, the sensor cleaning cycles seem to work really well.

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Thanks for all your replies. I actually used a blue sky background to find the initial problem as I was finding consistent spots in every photo. The streaking has certainly been a Heart in Mouth experience.

Can I ask please – using pec pads wrapped around the old swabs – I read somewhere not to use pec pads on sensor, but it seems to be commonly done. How many drops of fluid would I put on the pad once attached to swab? The photosol article I found recommended up to 8 drops of the eclipse fluid on the swab for the a 24mm size and oddly said the more the merrier for getting rid of streaks from first clean! I think this will be too much.

I have some pec pads available and could give this ago. I have swapped to my D500 until I get it sorted.

Dave re dome maintenance – I can get the micromesh set from Australia within a month (the joy of living in the South Pacific – have to wait for everything). I have watched a few videos this afternoon and it all looks ok for me to try. Is it one micromesh set per dome?

I get the impression that the sheets can be halved? My 8.5 inch acrylic dome needs some TLC . We have another dome that needs some work on the inside – it is an N85  (short story – my wife’s new kit was shipped made up with camera / lens in housing and port on – lens cap came off during shipping and had a party on the inside of the dome – nothing deep but lots of fine scratches and the base is so small I cannot get my hand in it - but Sandy can! It may be a a case of trying the Novus on this one)

Cheers and thanks all.

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Hi John,

I have cleaned the sensor of my GH5 several times, but always with the pre-soaked swab, and everything came off the first time.
I would use very little liquid and repeat the operation several times. I wouldn't risk putting too much in and having liquid running around inside the camera.

For portholes I have always used Novus and always with excellent results. Of course if you have deep scratches it's too delicate but it's important to understand that sometimes even if you can still see it with the naked eye, in water you can't see it because the edges are smoothed and the water does the rest.
Work a lot with number 3 and eventually number 2. Number 1 is simply a glass cleaner.

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1 hour ago, johnvila said:

Thanks for all your replies. I actually used a blue sky background to find the initial problem as I was finding consistent spots in every photo. The streaking has certainly been a Heart in Mouth experience.

Can I ask please – using pec pads wrapped around the old swabs – I read somewhere not to use pec pads on sensor, but it seems to be commonly done. How many drops of fluid would I put on the pad once attached to swab? The photosol article I found recommended up to 8 drops of the eclipse fluid on the swab for the a 24mm size and oddly said the more the merrier for getting rid of streaks from first clean! I think this will be too much.

I have some pec pads available and could give this ago. I have swapped to my D500 until I get it sorted.

Dave re dome maintenance – I can get the micromesh set from Australia within a month (the joy of living in the South Pacific – have to wait for everything). I have watched a few videos this afternoon and it all looks ok for me to try. Is it one micromesh set per dome?

I get the impression that the sheets can be halved? My 8.5 inch acrylic dome needs some TLC . We have another dome that needs some work on the inside – it is an N85  (short story – my wife’s new kit was shipped made up with camera / lens in housing and port on – lens cap came off during shipping and had a party on the inside of the dome – nothing deep but lots of fine scratches and the base is so small I cannot get my hand in it - but Sandy can! It may be a a case of trying the Novus on this one)

Cheers and thanks all.

Polishing inside the dome can be fraught with difficulties as even if you can reach randomising your strokes may prove difficult and each grade would need to move beyond the area you worked with previous grade.  It should be possible to pop out the dome element they are usually sealed with o-rings and it may be easier to work on?   Replacement elements are not super expensive, for example and 8.5"dome port replacement element is 240 euro compared to 725 for a new dome at this site:  https://fotografit.eu/products/28-nauticam-ports-n120/5241-85-acrylic-dome-replacement-with-o-ring/

Many years ago I bought the copper hill kit, which consisted of plastic paddles and a pack of Pec-Pads.  You should be fine provided you have kept you Pec-Pads in a dust tight bag - NOT sitting out on you office bench, the only concern is having grit hitch a ride.  The kit I had recommended 2 drops of fluid.  For your streaks I think 3-4 drops should not be a problem.

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On 12/18/2023 at 10:28 PM, Chris Ross said:

Polishing inside the dome can be fraught with difficulties as even if you can reach randomising your strokes may prove difficult and each grade would need to move beyond the area you worked with previous grade.  It should be possible to pop out the dome element they are usually sealed with o-rings and it may be easier to work on?   Replacement elements are not super expensive, for example and 8.5"dome port replacement element is 240 euro compared to 725 for a new dome at this site:  https://fotografit.eu/products/28-nauticam-ports-n120/5241-85-acrylic-dome-replacement-with-o-ring/

 

Hi Chris - thanks for the info -- I think removing the element is the way to go. I can see there is an o-ring tucked in there. Just wondering on this site:

https://www.uwcamerastore.com/nauticam-replacement-8-5-acrylic-dome-na90011

They state : *Keep in mind that you will need a special tool to install the new acrylic. 

special tool? Is it not a case of just plucking out the o-ring? Or am I missing something here?

Cheers

John

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1 hour ago, johnvila said:

Hi Chris - thanks for the info -- I think removing the element is the way to go. I can see there is an o-ring tucked in there. Just wondering on this site:

https://www.uwcamerastore.com/nauticam-replacement-8-5-acrylic-dome-na90011

They state : *Keep in mind that you will need a special tool to install the new acrylic. 

special tool? Is it not a case of just plucking out the o-ring? Or am I missing something here?

Cheers

John

You could always ask them - my understanding is that the o-ring is laid in place and then pushed in all around- perhaps it's tool to push it in, they do say to install the acrylic?   Pushing out the dome I am guessing would be different.  I would think though that you might want to secure a replacement o-ring first if you go that way - I imagine it would be easy to damage pushing the dome out??

Is there no recourse with the people who shipped the dome to you? 

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