It has long been an unfortunate myth in photography that getting rid of dirt on camera image sensors is a job for professionals only. So, many an amateur has forked out $50 time and again, simply to have a few dust particles removed. It is not necessary. There is a host of fantastic equipment available to help you deal with this maddeningly frustrating part of digital photography. I want to let you know about the one, simple device that can quickly and easily deal with most cases of dirt on the sensor: squeeze-bulb blowers.
If you are on a mission to be rid of some horribly stubborn and sticky bit of dust that refuses to go away, then sensor brushes and cleaning swabs with the accompanying fluid will be needed. But I have found that simple squeeze bulb blowers eliminate dust most of the time, without any painstaking effort, without any expense, and often even during a shoot.
What is a squeeze-bulb blower?
It is a tool with a soft plastic, elliptical pocket of air that, when squeezed, draws in air through a filter at the top and pushes it out through a thin funnel at the bottom.
They are available from any camera store and fit easily into your camera bag.
All squeeze-bulb blowers come with a protective case of some kind, which is important for keeping them clean and dust-free.
How are they used?
1. Select the camera sensor cleaning mode in your camera’s menus so that the image sensor is revealed inside the camera body and you can get at it with the blower. This mode will reset to normal when the camera is turned off.
2. Simply take off the lens on your camera and tip the camera body downwards. It’s important to keep the camera pointing down to stop dust from falling into it, you want it to fall out.
3. Get your squeeze bulb blower and position the tip within range of the camera sensor. Blast away! Repeatedly squeeze the pocket of air for, say half a minute, until the sensor has been given a good clean. You will find this eliminates just about all loose particles of dust.
4. Before reattaching your lens to the camera body, give it a blast at both ends with the bulb blower to see off any stray specks of dirt on the glass.
5. Return the blower to its case.
This is a quick and easy routine that most photographers do on a weekly basis. It is crucial to take care when holding the blower not to knock it into any parts inside the camera body. It is the first step to take when dealing with a dirty sensor. Brushes and swabs can follow if it is not successful. Only pay for a professional job if each of these measures does not deal with the problem. In any case, Photoshop can always be used to delete specks of dirt after the shot has been taken.
Investing in a squeeze bulb blower is a good first move in at last saying goodbye to the plague of dirty camera sensors. Good luck!
Cleaning your sensor is one of those little jobs it’s worth getting in the habit of doing. For more top snippets of advice on improving your photography, both technical and creative, make use of these articles on taking better pictures