Suction vs Blower for Sensor Cleaning?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by tim_r|4, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. Two month old 5D MKII and eight month old 1DsMKIII. Totally shocked by how much dust/fibers etc on the sensor filter and on the mirrors. Thought about using a blower / brush to clean the mirror,(and sensor filter) but I'm very concerned about the partilces simply redistributing in the chamber, then of course settling on the sensor filter on the first mirror flip! Yes, I've read tons of tips for cleaning, blower brush, Sensor swabs with and without flluid, and the Visible Dust sysytem (which I have).
    I had a terrible experience with Canon service, they trashed my 1DsMkIII when they tried to clean it, actually made it worse, then sent it back and stated it was back to "factory specs". I wanted to vomit, and truthfully, almost did I was so upset. The camera was brand new. They sent a new body after two failed attempts by CPS. Since then, I've tried to remove spots from a 1Ds, with no luck whatsoever. The spots seem to be embedded, and wouldn't budge. Time for an eBay auction, sold that body with no statement of sensor condition, the buyer was happy so I'm just glad to be rid of it.
    Now, with my 5DMKII and 1DsMKIII developing spots, I'm considering using a modified vaccuum to clean it. Has anyone tried using suction? What I'm thinking of is either one of those computer keyboard vacs, or rigging something such as a modifed tip on a small shop vac. Put the vac in another room, pass the hose through an opening in the wall to prevent dust from the vac entering the air space, using a small tube to reduce the hose tip to a reasonable size (about the diameter of a pencil -1/4"?)
    Sounds strange right? But has anyone tried this already?
  2. Blowers are easy to handle and work well.
  3. I thought about a vac system when I was troubled by dust but decided that if I got too close to a surface with the nozzle it could get sucked down and do physical damage! My blower attempts seem only to generate more spots (albeit smaller) so I now I use the wet swab method and this is OK.
    I guess a vac system is OK for non sensitive areas ( i.e. not mirrors or sensors)
  4. I find a blower bulb works well with my 5D. I hold the camera with the bayonet side down so that gravity helps with removing any dust. I also try to use the blower to clean the whole sensor / shutter box rather than just the sensor. I don't know for sure whether this helps but I don't have much trouble with dust even when changing lenses in difficult locations.
  5. You didn't mention the type of blower brush which could be another cause of your dust problems. I use a clean and inexpensive made in Korea Matin Double Valve System Silicone Hurricane Blower M-6227-1 on my 5D's and it works.
  6. Face the open camera body down. Blow out the morror box first. Lock up the mirror. Blow off the sensor. When I had a Nikon D70 I also used the smallest vacuum extension on a portable vacuum and was careful not to get too close. That worked fine.
  7. If a blower will not remove it, neither will suction. It needs a wet cleaning.
    You need some preventative measures to keep from contaminating the cameras and to do some mirror box, mirror, outside of the shutter as necessary to keep the crud from migrating to the sensor. After each outing is what I do and have zero problems.
  8. In many repair work repairs chaps use a micro vacuum; and be carefull NOT to use one that causes static discharges. Many folks also tend to use vacuums inside houses; rather than leaf blowers too. Canned air is a favorite for many folks; cheaper stuff leaves crap/deposits. Vaccums are dangerous for the average amateur' they use an electolux and then zap their computer; camera!:) Vaccuming is better; but one must have the correct tools.
  9. I used a 5D in fairly difficult circumstances for two years. I tried a variety of methods of dealing with dust, and eventually found an approach that worked fine. I won't describe the whole thing in answer to your post, but in virtually all cases I could get the sensor glass very clean by using a blower and sometimes a brush. Once I figured out how to do this I almost never needed to resort to a wet cleaning or other methods.
  10. How about a vacuum nozzle held a couple of inches in front of the mirror box, and then a blower to dislodge the dust (which will be removed by the vacuum). A directed blast from an air blower generally has more moving power than a vacuum, which would have to held very close to the sensor to have the same effect.
    On a related note, if dust is that much of a problem for you, you might consider a Miele canister vacuum next time you are in the market for one. Aside from being the quietest vacuum you will ever use, the dust collection system they have is quite amazing.
  11. One problem with some of the vacuum ideas is that they, like any other system using moving air, will not only pull stuff out of the chamber but also introduce more stuff into the chamber as air enters to replace that extracted by the vacuum.
  12. G Dan; thus what one does is use a ''clean bench" with a precision optical repair; the incoming aireis thus deviod of crud; since the repair areas is clean. This is standard with optical repairs.
  13. Dan, can you please elaborate on your method if it's not too much trouble?
  14. Dan, can you please elaborate on your method if it's not too much trouble?​
    Sure. The system I used with my 5D is outlined here .
  15. I think a blower is the best first line of defence. A vacuum would need to touch the sensor, I think, and that's always problematic.
    As far as holding the camera upside down when using a blower, I think it wouldn't hurt, but I doubt it makes any difference. Dust in the turbulence of the blower is going to move in any direction as readily as another. I would just position the camera for easiest access..
  16. I'm with Dan's methods, except that I use the sensor pen in the mix as well. I've pretty much given up hope of ever having a quick blow do the trick, but it seems a good idea to use the blub blower to at least get the most likely to scratch stuff off the sensor first. At least your two cameras are supposed to have a place for the dust to get stuck when it falls off the sensor.
    Someone reported that the new mechanism that support the sensors in your cameras, because they vibrate are very expensive to replace as the cut off filter can't be replaced independently. Further he said that they may be less robust in withstanding pressure in cleaning as the mounts are necessarily made to move. I suggest light pressure in the wet method and the lens pen until others can report their experiences.
  17. My first choice is rocket blower if that don't do it, brush, then blower. Wet clean, last choice. Expect a bit of a learning curve with wet cleaning. If you're a clod, don't even try it.
    For me, checking the progress is required after each attempt, by photographing blue sky at F22.
    Vacumming the camera is something I would not do... unless it rolled down a sand dune with the lens off :)
  18. I use the Arctic Butterfly from VisibleDust.
    Seems to work with one dry wipe. I first blow out the compartment first of course. You might want to have a look at their new blowers too called Zeeion Blower
  19. On a D3 I found similar problems with dust on the sensor, especially in the lower corners. Using a combination of a blower and then the lens pen sensorclear worked well for me. It took probably 3 or 4 applications of the pen to get the sensor spotless. I'm it would work just as well on the 5D. Perhaps not for everybody but I do feel quite safe with the lens pen. I actually don't like using a strong blowing force inside the camera or directly on a lens, mainly I use it to ensure there is nothing on the sensor that may cause a scratch.
  20. I bought the blower and sensor cleaner kit a couple of years ago. I didn't have to mess with the cleaner since the blower worked for me.
    I have no idea where the cleaner is now.

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