Canon 5D MK I and II Sensor Cleaning Problems... Please Help ! :)

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by billjohnson, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. I have the Canon 5D Mark I and Mark II, and have read just about everything in here and on the web about Sensor cleaning, yet am having a horrible time with keeping my sensor clean enough to not have welded on spots that are visible when I shoot with the aperture stopped up to increase depth of field. I often shoot at 16 or higher. I shoot full time, and run my own photography business in the Seattle area.
    I have tried eclipse fluid and sensor swabs, but that actually makes the problem worse, as noticeable residue streaking is left behind that is also just as noticeable.
    I have tried the Dust Aid system, which works well for loose dust particles, but it has no effect on the welded on "dark circles" that appear on the sensor. I also have a rocket blower which can work for the loose particles too, but doesn't help with the welded on dark spots either.
    I'm assuming that these are micro water spots that adhere to the sensor and accumulate from moisture in the air?, but I'm not sure. I live in Seattle, and it is often pretty humid here, especially in the winter months.
    I am extremely careful about how I handle and store my cameras and lenses, and only keep them in closed a camera bag when not in use, and I only change lenses when it is necessary. When changing lenses, I always point the camera downwards, to minimize dust going into the sensor, and I make the lens change as fast as possible. The camera body is NEVER left without either a lens or a body cap on it.
    I have also tried the speckgrabber system, and that doesn't seem to do much either.
    Yesterday I took my 1 month old 5D Mark II into a very reputable camera store to have the sensor cleaned, since my attempt to clean several welded on spots with Eclipse fluid and sensor swabs only made it worse, didn't remove the spots, and created nasty streaks of residue on the sensor. They usually do a great job, and I can often go 6 months to a year before a I need another cleaning. Yesterday after driving 20 miles, and 60.00 later they cleaned the sensor extremely well, except for when I got it home, put on a lens and tried out a test shot, there was already one welded on spot in the center ! My guess is they missed it, but it may have naturally gone onto the sensor. The body cap was on the whole time from when they cleaned it too.
    I would like to be able to clean my own sensors well enough to get these welded on spots removed, but so far have been unable to find out how to do it effectively, since the eclipse fluid method does not work, and I would highly recommend that you DO NOT use it on your sensors....
    I would like to know if anyone here has experienced similar problems, and how you have overcome them without having to pay a technician 60 dollars each and everytime you want to remove these welded on sensor spots.
    Does anyone clean their sensors effectively on their own, and if so, what are you using, and how do you do it?
    Any help or info would be much appreciated.
  2. I had some issues with my camera and it took about 3 cleanings with the eclipse fluid and swabs to get rid of them. If you have the ring issue, I wonder if you are getting mirror oil flying around in there--apparently an issue with some 1dsmkIII's. The rocket blower can also create issues if not kept securely in a baggy to keep the dust out--ends up ballistically putting dust onto the sensor!
    Anyway, I fixed my seemingly welded on spots by cleaning, blowing and cleaning 3 times before they were gone--takes some patience.
  3. Thanks John, I find that the eclipse fluid leaves a residue on the sensor that is as bad or worse than the actual spots.... I only use one drop..... I also keep my rocket blower in a sealed bag as well....
  4. Maybe use some more than one drop? I put about 3 or 4 or so, so that the entire thing wet--no dry spots. I don't get any residue, so it does make me wonder if you aren't getting mirror oil in there--which might not wipe up very well! I tested mine thoroughly after cleaning and saw no indication of residue or streaking of any kind.
  5. I was told by the tech that cleans the sensors here in Seattle that eclipse fluid is the worst thing you can put on your sensor, because it leaves a residue on the sensor. I don't know why you're not having that same problem.... I highly doubt it is oil, as the 5D MK I and II had not had that issue before, and since mine is only a month old I'm sure if there was an issue with that it would have been cleared up by now....
  6. I'd suggest finding out what system the techs you like use and get some of that!
  7. Some parts of your experience mirror mine, while other are diametrically opposed.
    I've had my 5D2 for a year and I have yet to need to clean the sensor glass. I do shoot at f/16 and it isn't unusual to see a small spot or two if I look closely at the image - but most of the spots disappear after a few on/off cycles and those that remain longer are easy to deal with in post. (It crossed my mind to wonder if your built-in dust reduction "shaker" system is working correctly.)
    Before I owned the 5D2 I owned (and still own) a 5D. The dust issue was much more of a concern with the 5D, and I went through quite a learning curve figuring out the most effective way to deal with it. I began with the Eclipse Fluid and PecPad system and discovered several things:
    • It can effectively remove some of the "sticky" materials and also deal with "smears" on the glass.
    • It often takes more than one cleaning to get it right.
    • It is very easy to create smears on the sensor glass when using this method. You are not the only person to have to deal with this.
    • For most typical cleaning the liquid system is overkill. A brush and blower should do the trick 9 times out of 10. I keep the liquid system on hand but reserve it for rare occasions when something is stuck on the glass.
    Assuming that your "dust shaker" system is engaged and working correctly, it sounds to me like you may need to send your camera out for a better initial cleaning - better to do that than to damage the glass or other camera internals by overdoing it. Once you get it cleaned correctly - and it might even take a trip to Canon - you should be able to keep it clean with a brush.
    You also need to verify that the "welded spot" is actually that and not a nick or scratch on the sensor glass.
    Good luck,
  8. I've read about oil from the mirror being a possible cause of sensor issues 5D Mark II. Given your lack of problems with your other cameras, and especially your story about having it cleaned, making a test shot, and seeing a spot or ring on the sensor immediately after the test shot, I'd guess that's your problem.
  9. To Brian: Actually, my 5D Mark I has the same exact issues.... I'm only mentioning the Mark II because I'm using it primarily now, with the Mark I as a backup.... Most people who shoot stopped down will never notice these spots at all, but since I often shoot stopped higher to achieve greater depth of field, it is a major problem for me.
    To Dan, I'm 100 percent sure it is not a nick or scratch, since it wasn't there before the sensor clean, and I know the tech wouldn't have damaged it, they are ridiculously careful and I trust them without question.
    To Geoff: I wish they would tell me how they do it, but like Kentucky Fried Chicken, they're keeping the recipe a secret... I know they're using a microscope to view the sensor, but that's all I can tell....
    I wish someone out there knew how to effectively clean these smudges or spots off of the sensor without leaving even more problems with a residue. The PEC pads and Eclipse fluid just doesn't work for me without leaving the residue. I tried going to just one drop on the edge of the pad before I made 1 or 2 passes over the sensor, but the residue smears are still there.... Definitely a frustrating situation, as a 30 minute drive and 60.00 per professional cleaning is a real drain on time and money.
  10. Bill, you may want to try the Visible Dust pads and cleaning fluids. In my experience they don't leave streaking, although they sometimes do leave loose dust particles that can be picked up with a dry sensor brush. My experience with the Visible Dust products isn't entirely positive, but after a few tries and repeated cleanings they did get the sensor clean.
  11. It always makes me wonder when I hear things like what you have said here, so I took the camera out and shot off quite a few test shots at f16 and 22. (When I got the eclipse, I was concerned about whether there would be any residue or streaking and test pretty thoroughly when I cleaned the sensor) I then looked at the files, 100%, (1dsmkIII) and then pushed up the curves to dig out any possible issues--none! No residue or other issues, except for the few dust spots I would expect anyway, since I haven't cleaned the sensor for a few months now. (By the way, I am really picky about this stuff and know how to find issues if they are there.)
    Anyway, it makes me wonder if you have the right Eclipse fluid if you are ending up with residue--I assume you are getting streaks?
    But as I picked up the camera, I did have something I use, not a lens, to make images with on the camera. Akin to the pinhole, you actually shoot through a lith negative instead of a clear hole. Now, the f-stop with that is around f90 or so-- I always end up with spots, in the same exact places and yet they are not visible on shots done with any lens at any aperture. Since the device is so small and I don't have a microscope, I can't see if this device has flaws in its making--on the film--that is registering on the sensor. These marks stay in the same position, regardless of cleaning the camera's sensor or not. Anyway, don't know that it relates to your issue, but if it does....
    edit: As I said earlier, it took 3 swabs to finally get off the marks I had on the sensor--like yours, they seemed to be stuck there. After using the swabs, I did notice some "fibers" that were in my tests. I use a very fine retouching brush to remove dust and used it to remove these--forgot that they were generally there after I used the swabs. Again, not sure if that is what you saw, but if so, maybe this helps?!
  12. Eclipse Sensor fluid works great on my 5D - very often it is the only remedy against dust. It does take me multiple cleaning cycles though to get it really clean. For every cycle I use a new swab - that's critical, otherwise you just smear the old dirt back on the sensor. I also use the Sensor Pen for dust that it not yet caked onto the sensor. And for casual cleaning I use a rocket blower.
    I know it can get frustrating to clean those sensors, but with patience it can easily be done. I shoot landscapes and always have to stop down to at least f/11 and often to f16, so dust is a real issue with me as well.
  13. Thanks John, I am using the Eclipse fluid, that is supposed to be used with the sensor swabs in the Eclipse fluid cleaning system.... It says on the bottle that it contains Methanol. It has a red cap, and looks like this: I know of no other Eclipse fluid, so I'm 99.999% sure that it is the right stuff that they say to use, but maybe I'm using it incorrectly? I simply take a new sensor swab out of the packaging, put a drop of Eclipse fluid on the end of the swab, and lightly yet fairly firmly sweep the swab back and forth a few times across the sensor.... Is it advisable to use a 2nd clean swab to immediately soak up any remaining residue? They tout how it has very low residue, so maybe the 1 drop I'm using is too much, or maybe I should let it dry for a few seconds on the pad before swabbing the sensor? I know the camera place that cleans the sensors makes a ton of money cleaning sensors, and why they don't recommend using Eclipse because it cuts into their business, but they have people driving across the state to get their sensors cleaned there, so they must be doing something right....
    It just seems strange to me that I'm having issues with residue, and others aren't....
  14. I've had a 5D for two years and I have the same problems. Dry cleaning is easy , gets rid of dust spots but doesn't remove the grey circles of more adhesive marks. A brush and blower never gets the sensor clean for me, it just gets the easy stuff off. Wet cleaning with Photosol's E2 and swabs seems to make things worse not better. Probably the best of the methods I've used is the Dust-Aid pads but we're talking degrees of failure not success here. Everything I've thought of buying has as many people saying its useless as those swearing its great.
    The only solution that works for me is to return the camera to Canon probably twice a year- and get them to do it. Meantime I get cloning. Whether the problems I have are method based, substance based or photographer based is hard to say, but it just should not be as difficult as it is. Its like going back a generation or so to when cars needed servicing every few months. If anyone made something like that now they wouldn't sell one.
  15. Thanks everyone for your comments...
    Looks like I'm stuck going to the camera store and paying my 60.00 every few months, and cloning out spots when they are visible.... I just wish someone could come up with a better way to clean these sensors! Whoever does will certainly become a multi millionaire!
  16. Bill, you most certainly should not be stuck paying $60 to clean the sensor every few months, unless you are doing something very unusual to create this issue.
    Can you post a sample of the problem?
  17. Bill, I think it is your procedure. When I asked about this from my source for the last 20 years, they said to strictly follow the directions, which is to put a few drops--not soak, but insure wetness and then swab with one side in one direction and turn over swab and pull in opposite direction--then DISCARD! Don't use either side for more than one pull! Anyway, I was told there were problems if you didn't follow these procedures and they guy that told me about it is a bit of an expert. So, using three tries, it was with three different swabs--not with the same one.
    The directions on the bottle say several drops and one pull on each side each in a different direction. That may be the problem!
  18. Why are spots "welding" themsleves to the sensor?
    I have a 5D and have no trouble cleaning the sensor. The dust spots, hairs and fibers are generally quite easy to remove. I do not use any cleaning fluid. I use a brush and a magnifying viewer. I describe the technique here -
    This is now my default cleaning method. I've used the swap and fluid method in the past, but it can leave residue behind and require multiple applications. Unless it's absolutely necessary I no longer use any fluid and I try to avoid physical contact with the sensor as much as possible.
  19. I simply take a new sensor swab out of the packaging, put a drop of Eclipse fluid on the end of the swab, and lightly yet fairly firmly sweep the swab back and forth a few times across the sensor
    No! Replace the swab after only one swipe. Using a swab for multiple swipes only makes things worse in my experience. Also when you remove a swab from it's packaging dont let it touch anything but the sensor to insure it stays as clean as posslbe. Definitely don't let it touch your skin which is covered in oil.
    It says on the bottle that it contains Methanol.
    It is probably pure Methanol. If it is pure it won't leave any residue. Any pure alcohol will not leave a residue. It is possible that you have a contaminate fluid although I believe that is unlikely. However it wouldn't cost you much to try a different brand of fluid. A new bottle would definitely cost less than a trip to the store to get it cleaned.
    Is it advisable to use a 2nd clean swab to immediately soak up any remaining residue?
    You should not need to do that. Methanol with evaporate very quickly and leaves nothing behind if it is pure.
    I'm assuming that these are micro water spots that adhere to the sensor and accumulate from moisture in the air?, but I'm not sure. I live in Seattle, and it is often pretty humid here, especially in the winter months.​

    I doubt it is the humidity doing it I spent half my life in Seattle and the humidity levels there are not that different form where I live now. If kept inside any water on the sensor will evaporate in a few hours at most. However some dust particles do have oils on them and some will also have a static charge. Those can be very stiky.
    They tout how it has very low residue, so maybe the 1 drop I'm using is too much
    I use visible dust fluid and swabs and one drop is all I use. I have not had any problems with my visible dust fluid. I have also found visible dust brushes to be very effective. In all likelyhood a sensor brush, swabs, and pure fluid are all your stor is using to clean the sensor.
  20. Thanks to everyone for your input, it has all been great, and I will definitely keep it all in mind next time I need to do a cleaning... Bob, your article was excellent as well, and I will look into getting a loupe, light and a brush and give it a try...!
    Dan, I've attached a full size crop of the center of a photo of a blue sky taken today to show you the spot that is smack dab in the center of my sensor, and while it is definitely not absolutely horrible it is still a bummer after paying to have it cleaned... they did a great job except for that one spot... I definitely would like to find a better alternative for future spots if at all possible to shelling out 60 bucks and driving 40 miles round trip for something I could do myself.
    Thanks again everyone, and if you hear of any new info on the subject, please let me know... Bill
  21. Bill, I'm assuming that this is a 100% magnification crop of the small section containing the spot.
    Let me muse on that spot a bit. I suppose that if I had a spot like this one that is visible at small apertures when it aligns with an area in the frame with little detail that I would perhaps eventually want to clean it. On the other hand:
    • You could remove this in about 5 seconds in post. I like to use the spot removal tool in ACR as I do my RAW conversion.
    • It won't be visible in most photographs that have any detail in this area.
    • Even when you get a perfectly clean sensor, you'll soon get more dust spots - this is just the way it is with DSLR sensors. With that in mind, I'd recommend that you don't worry too much about this - just clean it up in post if it is visible.
    In general, I think it is better to not worry about a few spots on the sensor as long as they are small and not too numerous. There is no way around the fact that you will get dust spots. Given that reality, trying to get and maintain a perfectly clean sensor is a quick way to make yourself crazy!
    Just for fun I opened your image in Photoshop and timed myself doing the necessary step to delete the dot. It took 6 seconds. It is even easier when you know exactly where the spot is, as you do in this case.
    Take care,
  22. jtk


    Any of you heard of similar issues with D700 or higher Nikons, or Sony A900?
    I'd like to take that kind of step in the next Quarter, targeting 5DII.
    Mere Pentax K20D (APS/14.6) is easy to clean with one shot, Rocket-only when shaker doesn't do the job,... I deal with a lot of dust and pollen (desert, cottonwood, sage, wind etc) but the area's either dry or "normal" (not like Seattle or New Orleans).
  23. I had similar problems, and found it was in the procedure indeed. It should be wet enough, and done fast like described. Even then i use 2 or 3 swabs to clean it well. Also i found its more difficult when the camera is kind of warm. Anyway I kind of dislike the job for the somewhat unpredicatable results (all gone well but still some dots or faint of residu...) I have it mostly cleaned now when canon has a demonstration of new cams here around, as long as they produce new models :). They clean sensors for free than.. I do not feel guilty about that, just bought a 7d for my partner so they are successfull (haha).
  24. Dan.
    I suspect that compared to most of you guys I'm a fairly light digital camera user- maybe 6000 shots a year make it through my cull in Lightroom. If I have to end up cleaning even a quarter of these then your 5 seconds works out to have cost me a couple of hours of dull repetitive work, which is per spot and maybe sometimes I have ten. So from where I sit its worthwhile trying to start out a trip with a clean camera, and a pity that I can't manage to find a way of doing that. I don't know how many hours I spend in a year dust-busting photographs in Photoshop ( can't seem to get a get a grip on the Lightroom tool) but its a few and whilst I accept that its going to get dirty again I also have to say that I'm kind of resenting Canon for a good proportion of the time I'm doing it, and for the anxiety and frustration I feel during the cleaning process in case I'm actually making it worse.
    I'm interested to see the comments here about the fact that some individual cameras seem to attract this "welded on" stuff and others don't, as well as the odd remark about oil from the mirror mechanism and so on. Do you all reckon its possible that a small problem or idiosyncracy somewhere else in the camera might be causing dust to adhere more with some cameras?
    Meantime I shall give Bob's method a try.
  25. Well, David, if 6000 make it through the cull, that is a lot!
    But I don't get the fuss over spotting actually. In darkroom work, it wasn't unusual to spend a 1/2 to 1 hour spotting a final print. When I scan negs, mostly about 200mb (8bit equiv), I will spend at least an hour on most images spotting them--(I won't use push button dust removal because it messes with grain structure at the least and many times will suck the life out of areas with small specular highlights). With digital, where I have large untextured areas, I will probably spend at least 10-15 minutes looking for spots, using various curves to dig them out, and getting rid of them.
    I don't know where the idea that photography was supposed to be easy comes from and dust has always been a time consuming and bothersome issue--and when it got between the mounting tissue and the print, it could be fatal!
  26. John - to answer your question I fear such problems affect Nikons too sometimes, well some of them - I had a D70 and within 6 months there were 3 spots on the sensor that I couldn't remove with my usual aerosol blower.
    However I've had a D200 for a couple of years now and had no such problems with it - sensor still clean and I haven't even had to use the blower...
  27. Chris, I think my point is that dust has always been an issue, it was just a random thing with film and darkroom work. With digital, there is still some randomness, but also the persistent spot that is always in the same place.
    I had something on my sensor that almost seemed like an oil or whatever that also wouldn't come off--before I got the swabs. I used my small "spotting" brush and was able to wipe it off with some back and forth motion. Yea, it is frustrating, but at least you know where to look for them!
  28. I applaud all you brave souls for even attempting to using liquid cleaner on a sensor - I didn't dare do that with the thought of what it would cost to fix it when I inevitably made a mess of it. I stuck (sic) to the post-process fix...
  29. p.s. my initial response was to John K, rather than John A !
  30. Try the Pentax image sensor cleaning Kit (ICK-1). Works great.
  31. My 1Ds requires cleaning often as particles seem to get stuck on it's sensor, thus far visible dust has worked fine, had to clean my 5D only once in two years with the liguid.
  32. In the image in response I had a similar spot appear when I udes an 82 filter on my 90mm. Tamron.... I also do not use the expensive swabs for cleaning rather a micro fibre cloth works great on my D40.
  33. I'm a fairly light digital camera user- maybe 6000 shots a year make it through my cull in Lightroom.
    Hmmm. I expose perhaps 12,000 frames a year. Of those probably only 400 are seen by anyone but me. Obviously I'm the sort who tends to spend a lot of time on individual images rather than producing large numbers of them.
    I guess I'd ask whether you make large prints from all 6000 images? If they are mostly, say, 4 x 6 or or even letter-sized prints, I'd wager that this particular spot won't be visible in more than a very small number. And if only some of the images make it to larger size prints, then it could make sense to just spot those in post.
    (And, as someone else pointed out above, if you were using film and printing you would have a lot more work to do manually to spot out the film dust and scratches on your film.)
    I'm just afraid that you may simply end up frustrated if you expect to be able to achieve, much less maintain, a perfectly pristine sensor.
    Take care,
  34. jtk


    With Pentax K20D I only shoot primes and do change them relatively frequently. I get a dust spot (seen with the dust check) every 4 or 5 changes...has to do with my care in cleaning around the lens barrel and blowing off dust off back element of lens before installation .. more likely in the wind...
    I commonly print 13X19 so have seen a spot or two when I've been careless.
    I guess I'm wondering if Canon 5D's issue has more to do with sensor quality control than high resolution, since Pentax's sensor exceeds 5D's within APS format section of FF.
  35. Dan
    We all do different things in photography. I make some, but not a huge quantity of large prints but that doesn't mean that I don't have to clean up a lot of images. Much of my "work" is in stock, There , whereas up to a few years ago I'd just drop slides into my agencies London offices, agencies will no longer consider film submissions and indeed in some cases ( eg Getty to name but one) require that the image is completely worked up prior to initial submission. So whereas someone whose main business is prints doesn't have a particular problem in working on a file that they know they're going to print, people like me have to clean images in volume knowing that in probably 75% of cases the agency isn't going to take the image anyway. Fortunately not all stock agencies are quite like that , but that's the way its going, and still I have to spend the next couple of days processing 106 photographs selected by one of my agencies. So yes I resent time spent cloning out spots, and it is very much worth my while to get the sensor as clean as I can even if I know its going to be dirty again in a month.
    And not only do photographers do different things, we do it in different ways. I've never spent time cleaning film, spotting prints, or cloning scans. The stock agency scanning house did it when they scanned my transparencies. Nowadays the guy that scans my colour work includes cleaning at 100% in PS in his Imacon prices. My b&w portfolio has been built on lab prints working to a set spec. and a close relationship with the printer, who cleaned the film, spotted the prints and so on. Its only now, when I'm doing much more file prep. myself and experimenting with digital b&w prints, that I'm starting to need to spend time cleaning up. So maybe John A spent endless hours cleaning up prints, film or scans, in a darkroom environment but I didn't, and to tell the truth I don't want to now but can't afford an assistant.
    But there's more to this I hope than a bleat. I was trying in my last post to gain an understanding of whether some camera bodies happened to generate a lot more "adhesive" marks, smears etc than others. Is there anything to this "mirror oil" suggestion for example? If so I might be able to resolve the bulk of my issue by upgrading rather than simply assume that the inbuilt sensor cleaning in the 5DII will only get rid of loose dust that isn't too hard to get rid of anyway.
  36. The spot looks remarkably like the mirror oil problem I had with my 1D-Mark III that is covered by Canon on an active recall campaign. Canon fixed mine, no questions asked. I suggest you look on Canon's website for a "product advisory statement" that they release from time-to-time when there are issues that need to be widely addressed. I'm sure they'll take care of it for you. But I've never had the slightest problem with dust or oil on my 5D Mark II.
  37. David, all very true and good points. It is true that stock agencies - the good ones, anyway - are not going to be very happy with images that contain artifacts like sensor dust. Sounds like one difference here is that the responsibility for having clean images is now falling directly on you - since there is apparently no one who will do the digital equivalent of what your Imacon guy does with the film scans. (Actually, there there is, but you'd have to pay for it.)
    I haven't heard any convincing evidence that some cameras are more dust sensitive than other cameras of the same model. Some models of bodies seem to be more or less susceptible to dust. For example, the original 5D had a reputation for collecting more dust than some other cameras, and my experience with that body would confirm this. I have not heard any significant number of complaints about dust with the newer 5D2, and in fact I've seen quite a few mention how well it handles the dust issue. Again, that is in line with my experience.
    The "oil" reports used to be more frequent with earlier bodies. The story was that with some bodies (the 5D among them) there were two ways in which you might encounter (or at least think you encountered) oil on the sensor glass. Some claimed that their cameras came from the factory with some oil and "crud" on the sensor with the 5D. In other cases some reported that when they used a sensor brush to clean the sensor that they managed to puck up some oil from inside the chamber and transfer it to the sensor - and that cleaning this was a bear. (In these cases, I believe I recall reports that the problem eventually diminished.)
    I haven't heard of many (any?) convincing reports that this is happening with the 5D2, and certainly nothing like the reports I read for awhile about this on the 5D. That doesn't mean that it can't happen, nor does it mean that you don't have this issue - I suppose that you could have a camera-specific problem. (I also recall reading speculation that some cameras had gotten some dust inside during manufacture, and that this dust would continue to settle on the sensor.)
    It seems to me like we might divide your concerns into two areas:
    • Your particular camera may have some issue that is creating an unusual number of spots on the sensor, and that the spots are of the "sticky" type that cannot be cleaned with a brush. If this seems likely, you might send it to Canon along with the evidence: the test images before and after cleaning, and the report of what happened when you had it cleaned at a shop.
    • In general, "dust happens" with DSLRs, so the question remains how to handle the inevitable dust in a way that works for you and your workflow. My situation is quite different than yours, so I can't offer much concrete advice on how to adapt to this reality of DSLRs, but perhaps someone else who does large-scale production work will help out.
    Good luck,
  38. Thanks, Dan
  39. it


    Visible Dust swabs worked fine for me. 2-3 drops on one side, then 1 on the other. Wait 10 secs then swab.
    Sometimes takes a couple attempts. I don't like the Arctic Butterfly as it occasionally leaves streaks.
    For me this was the only down side of the MK1, I haven't had to clean my MK2 at all.
  40. 1. Use the Arctic Butterfly, in combination with an illuminated loupe, to pick up individual loose dust particles. They will stick to the brush if used as directed. In most cases, the particles will be lifted off by the static charge before the brush touches the sensor. After each "lift-off" rotate the brush for a second below your working surface to clean the brush and to recharge it. Don't use the brush to brush over the sensor. That can create smears.
    2. Use Sensor Clean from Visible Dust for stuff not remove by 1. Use the correct size swab to swipe from one end to the other in one single motion, an increasing the angle between sensor and swab as you sweep from one end of the sensor to the other. This way, the sensor is continually exposed to a clean swab surface. Then, flip it over, and swipe in the opposite direction. Drip the cleaning fluid on the swab, not on the sensor, and make sure the swab is wet from edge to edge, and that you sweep the sensor from edge to edge. Don't use the same side of the swab twice. Marking one side of the swab with a pen can help avoiding confusion about which side you have already used.
    3. Use Smear Away from Visible Dust for stuff not removed by 2. use the same procedure as in 2. Then get a new swab and use Sensor Clean to remove the streaks created by Smear Away. Get the right type of swab for the type of fluid you use.
    Keep in mind that all alcohols are strongly hydroscopic, i.e. absorb water from the air. Cap the bottles when finished. Old cleaning fluid could contain too much water and leave streaks.
  41. As I read David's woes with digital and stock agencies, it just reminds me of how digital has actually changed so much. In film days, no one looked for dust spots on transparencies (unless they were rocks) and most weren't probably seen until the client scanned them and they saw it on the color proof. At that point, it was etched off--or Scitexed at $900/hour--and things went to press, no problem.
    Today, clients don't want to have to do anything with an image and it has to not only be processed out well, but pristine. Many clients even require advanced retouching/compositing services from the photographer that they always did in-house or through vendors in the past.
    If I were to sell stock images, I can tell you without hesitation that I would not spot with the same critical procedures that I use for my own files. I would take care of the obvious visible ones, but not dig out those hidden. The visible ones are generally minor compared to those hidden, but it is the hidden ones that can ruin a print--fine art or offset!
  42. Hello all,
    I'd just like to pass on my experience from all of the advice I got on this issue. I decided to go with the Visible dust sensor cleaning system, and I ordered Visible Dust's Arctic Butterfly bundle, along with their 7x Sensor Loupe, sensor swabs, and their Sensor Clean fluid, along with their smear away fluid, and focusing screen swabs... Today I put them to the test, as I had a few too many spots on the sensor, and was getting tired of cloning them out in Photoshop every time.
    These products worked absolutely flawlessly, and after a test shot at F16 all of the smears, dust, and spots are now completely gone from my sensor!... It looks like new now. I am beyond happy about this, since I most likely won't ever need to drive the 20+ miles each way, and spend nearly 60.00 each time just to have my sensor cleaned professionally anymore... The visible dust kit gives you professional results that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. :) Having their 7x sensor loupe makes it amazingly easy to actually see the dust spots & use the arctic butterfly to gently brush them away. The brush attracts dust to it like a magnet, and the powered spinning feature on the brush quickly spins off any dust to ensure the brush is clean. (just remember never to actually spin the brush on your sensor!)
    Thanks to everyone for your great help and advice... I really appreciate it.
    Have a great week.
  43. I used a visible dust brush on my Canon 5D MII sensor. I used it brand new, dry. It left streaks across the sensor.
    I ended up sending it into Canon to be cleaned.
  44. I currently have the same issue. My 5D Mark II was one month new. I noticed these spots, even more so when playing with the contrast and brightness. So far I have sent my camera to the Canon factory service center in Va. three times. Each time they send it back I still see the spots. These spots are best described as what looks like dried up water spots. Each time I send the camera in to Canon and get it back, the spots are still there, but in different positions. I wish I had an answer for you, but I am lost. I will be calling Canon on Monday to see what we do next.
  45. I currently have the same issue. My 5D Mark II was one month new. I noticed these spots, even more so when playing with the contrast and brightness. So far I have sent my camera to the Canon factory service center in Va. three times. Each time they send it back I still see the spots. These spots are best described as what looks like dried up water spots. Each time I send the camera in to Canon and get it back, the spots are still there, but in different positions. I wish I had an answer for you, but I am lost. I will be calling Canon on Monday to see what we do next.
  46. I currently have the same issue. My 5D Mark II was one month new. I noticed these spots, even more so when playing with the contrast and brightness. So far I have sent my camera to the Canon factory service center in Va. three times. Each time they send it back I still see the spots. These spots are best described as what looks like dried up water spots. Each time I send the camera in to Canon and get it back, the spots are still there, but in different positions. I wish I had an answer for you, but I am lost. I will be calling Canon on Monday to see what we do next.
  47. I have a 2 month new 5dm2. I usually keep a 24TS-E on it all the time...and just yesterday did a shoot and noticed about 50 oil/water spots on the top third of the sensor. (They show up on the bottom third of a horizontal image.) I used the Sensor Clean Fluid / Swabs from Visible Dust and all was cleaned perfectly.

    My concern is that this just "appeared" after about 2 months of shooting...and I did a shoot last week with the same body/lens combination - without removing the lens between shoots. Is this an ongoing problem with the 5Dm2 bodies? Any advice is helpful. Thanks!
  48. I don't think this is isolated to the 5D Mark II. I had similar problems with my Mark I, and 20D so it appears that Canon can't quite seal the camera off from getting spots on the sensors. It may be more of an issue of the lenses letting in air that has moisture and particulates with oil in it, which settles on the sensor. This is particularly noticable with zoom lenses, where the inner cylinder of the lens moves in and out, forcing air along with it to go into the camera & sensor. Don't sweat it though, as a quick cleaning can take care of it just fine. One thing that seems to mitigate the problem is to have a filter tightly screwed onto the end of the lens. This acts as a barrier to help seal out the air, in my experience.
  49. I have switched to a 5D mk2 since my contributions above. I've used it for maybe 9 months and several thousand shots. I haven't cleaned the sensor once. I have noticed the odd black dust mark but they don't persist- if the first auto sensor clean doesn't skake it off the second one will. I have not seen any of the grey, broadly circular more adhesive marks on this body.
    I'd guess that some bodies- of whatever model type - have this issue and others seem not to.
  50. If you're shooting the majority of your shots stopped down you're likely not to notice spots if they're even all over your sensor.
    Try shooting a tripod shot at the sky, or inside against a white wall in AV mode at F16.
    That's when the spots will be most visible, and is where you'll notice them.
    If you're shooting at F2.8 or as high as 5.6 the spots won't be noticeable, even if you've got a ton of them. When you shoot stopped up to get greater depth of field, they become magnified and can be a serious problem.
  51. Hi everyone,
    i was just wondering is this thread still going?
    Because i have a 5D mark I, and to me it looks like i have streaks on my photo's in the top left and right. They can only be seen on blues or greys. if i uploaded a link with the photo's would you have a look and let me know what you think?
    I'm in ireland the Canon Ireland want to charge me €100 to clean the lens. Seems like alot of money.
  52. You should post a crop of the streaks, preferably an out of focus shot of the blue sky or a blank wall at base ISO, f/22. If there are sensor streaks you'll probably need to do a wet clean, though you may be able to remove them with a SensorKlear pen, which is a simple job and worth a try as a second cleaning attempt, assuming a blower fails to remove whatever is causing the problem.
  53. I have been a professional photographer for 20 years and as a photojournalist, I was an early adopter of digital technology. I have used and cleaned dozens of different cameras, nikons and canons and I have never experienced the dust and spotting problems I experience with my Canon 5Dm1. It's a nightmare. I send it in for cleaning twice a year and I usually hit one or two free clinics but it is impossible to keep up with. twice in he last couple of years, i have had to send it back to canon to have them re-clean it after they supposedly cleaned it because it was still a mess. I am intrigued by the mentions of a recall on this thread, although no one at Canon has ever mentioned one in all the times I have sent it in. When I have a moment, I will dig a bit deeper into this mirror-oil issue and post a follow up.

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