Monday, July 30, 2012


By Tinarama

My nickname back east is Tinarama - a moniker a friend likes to call me.  That name was ringing in my ears when I started to write this post so I thought I'd share that with you all.  My family travels back east at least once a year to visit dear friends and relatives.  So, after traveling to the east coast this summer including dusty NYC, sandy Delaware beaches, and all that "hot air" from Washington, D.C. my DSLR (I have a Canon 5D Mark II) saw a lot of action.  Once I returned home it was time to give it a once over and make sure it was ready for more action.  Lately I've been doing a bunch of high key product photography which absolutely needs a clean sensor.

So it was high time I opened up my camera to clean it up.  Having come from a tech background I felt comfortable doing this myself.  It's super easy and simple for a novice.  First I checked out a number of DIY videos on YouTube.  Then I purchased a Sensor Swab TYPE3 (for full frame) kit at my local camera shop.  The type I purchased are pre-moistened, one-time use swabs.  This makes it easy to carry in your camera bag for quick on-the-go clean-ups. But you can also get kits that come with a bottle of cleaning fluid that you drop onto dry swabs.  My camera is cleaned up and ready for more shots.  Like I said it is super easy and a necessary thing to do with your camera if you want it to perform at its best.  The step-by-step directions follow:

Step 1: First be sure you have at least a 50% charge on your battery.  Many directions say you need a fully charged battery.  The reason is when you clean your sensor your mirror will need to be in a locked position otherwise there is the potential that it will shut while you are performing the cleaning routine.  Also be sure you are in a dust free area when doing this.  (I don't recommend doing this on a carpet or floor if you have pets like I do.)

Step 2: Remove either the camera cap or lens from the camera

Step 3: Turn the camera on, and select the MENU button to locate your SENSOR CLEANING screen.  It will default to "Clean Now."

Step 4: Scroll and select "Clean Manually."

Step 5: Once you select "Clean Manually" the next screen will warn you that the mirror will lockup, which is what you want in order to clean the sensor.  Select "OK"

Step 6: This is an upside down view of my camera looking into the sensor.

Step 7: After taking the swab out of the package I used one side of the swab while pushing down slightly to apply even pressure and glide is across the sensor.  Using the opposite side I swept it across the other direction for another clean sweep.

Step 8: It's done! Attach your lens or camera cap and you have a clean sensor.

If you prefer having visuals, check out this long but thorough youtube video that shows both a wet and dry method.  It is really easy and according to the Sensor Swab packaging it is guaranteed not to harm the sensor.
Happy cleaning!


  1. Camera's are everywhere. I mean, who has no camera nowadays? Different camera's are showcased but none actually taught me how to clean mine. This is really very useful for me.

  2. Thanks for this post. I know the time is coming when I will have to do this. I have one fairly large speck on the D7000. I've only been brave enough to try blowing it off with a rocket blower and it won't budge. I guess your method will be needed - when I get brave enough.


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