Cleaning A Full Frame Camera Sensor For The First Time – See The Results

Cleaning A Full Frame Camera Sensor For The First Time – See The Results

I’ve been putting this off for a long time now. I’m usually quite an optimistic person, but this is one of those times where it could always get worse.

After a recent trip up Blencathra, photographing sharp edge surrounded by the clouds I noticed that my sensor was pretty dirty as it took a long time to clean up the sky area. I did a bit of research and ordered some sensor cleaning swabs here’s how it went

The problem and the solution

My camera’s sensor was filthy. I’ve never had it cleaned and the camera has been used in all sorts of conditions from windy beaches, snowy mountains and dusty environments. It’s had a hard life.

I noticed in some recent photos that there was a lot of dust in the clouds when I had the aperture set to F22. I don’t often shoot there, but it would be better if this didn’t happen so I did some research and found some sensor cleaning swabs by VSGO which had good reviews so I ordered them to give them a try. They cost £13.39 so they were cheaper than I expected them to be

Before starting I thought it would be good to compare the starting point and the end point so I went out side and took a photo of the grey sky. I was going to use some white paper but I never photograph paper so that seemed like a pointless test. I had problems in the clouds so it seemed like a good place to compare. I took the photos at F22 as that would show the worst of the dirt on the sensor.


As you can see in the photo below the dust spots look like looking into the night sky…It’s pretty bad. It doesn’t look that bad in the clouds photograph though

I did a bit of prep work before using the swabs and I used a dust blower to remove any dust/crap that might be inside the camera before I open up the sensor. I figured that would probably be a good idea, it even matched up with the instructions when I finally read them. So it was a pretty good start


The second step was to put the camera into the cleaning mode and use the dust blower on the sensor. Then I opened up one of. the swabs. It was shaped a bit like a Stanley knife blade on the end of a stick. It seems to be wrapped in a microfibre type cloth. You hold the swap at a 60-degree angle and pull it back and forth over the sensor. Here are the results after the first pass

The 1st pass gave me a bit of confidence. A lot of the dust spots had gone and my camera still worked so I decided to give it another try. I used a new swab to avoid putting the dirt back onto the sensor and used a little more force targeting the dust spots in the top right. I also used the blower a few times, I figured using air to move the dust is better than poking at it

I wondered what it would like at a different aperture so I did another test photo at F16. The spots were less visible and I was pretty happy with the end result.

Could I have got rid of more? Probably, but I didn’t want to poke around too much so I settled on this. Which is way better than what I started with


Would I recommend doing it?

I’m going to be using them again as it worked pretty well, I was impressed. It’s your call on if you want to do it. Don’t blame me if you make things worse!

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