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You’ve Been Cleaning Your Camera All Wrong, Part 2: The Body & The Sensor

camera cleaning

Photo Credit: The Preiser Project

High-end cameras, like the FujiFilm X-T1 or the Nikon D610, are a sizeable investment, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting the most out of them by keeping them clean.

So now that your camera lens is looking shiny and new, it’s time to dust bust the camera body and that tricky sensor. Remember that storing your camera in a dry (but not dusty) environment with packets of silica gel to prevent condensation can reduce the need for cleaning. That being said, you should always give your camera a once over from time to time if you want the highest quality photos.

Cleaning the Camera Body

Cleaning the body is easier than cleaning the lens, but you still need to be careful. All you need to do is remove dust, just as we did with the lens, then wipe down the body with an alcohol-free wet wipe.

Cleaning the Sensor

This is the most difficult part of the job, so if you are at all unsure I recommend sending the camera to a professional for cleaning, or at least practising on an older model first. That being said, there’s no reason that you should damage your sensor if you clean it the right way and with the right equipment.

1. Establish where the biggest dust particles are. Mount your camera on a tripod and point it at a white wall or background. Close the aperture as much as possible and then shoot an overexposed image. Now you can use the biggest monitor you own to scan for spots of dust, but remember that the image is flipped over.

2. Using a specialist sensor loupe is the easiest way to see dust particles on your sensor. Although a sensor loupe might seem expensive, it is still cheaper than sending your camera off for cleaning every few months.

3. Point your camera downwards and use your air blower to remove the biggest dust particles. This is known as no-contact cleaning, and it’s a great start if you are worried about damaging your sensor. However, it won’t remove all of the dust particles.

4. For contact-cleaning, you’ll need a specialist sensor cleaning brush. Move the brush very slowly and very gently to wipe away any remaining dust particles. It’s really important not to introduce dirt into the mechanisms surrounding the sensor, so patience and a steady hand are key.

5. When you think you are finished, you can take another shot to see if you are happy with the results.

If not…

You’ll need to do a wet clean. This takes more specialist supplies, but the process is similar to what you have done already.

1. Apply some sensor cleaning fluid to a sensor swab and clean the sensor with slow movements. It can take a long time to remove all of the dust, but try not to rush the process.

2. Dry the sensor with a non-abrasive wipe, also known as a PEC pad. Wrap a pad around a swab and use slow movements to complete the drying process.

Get Clean, Stay Clean

Feels good to be clean again, doesn’t it? You should make cleaning a part of your routine if you want to get the best performance from your camera. Done properly, a good home clean can save you money, extend the lifetime of your camera and improve the quality of your photography.

How many people here are too nervous to clean their cameras? We’d love to hear from you and help out if we can!

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