For the last couple of months I have had to do a lot of cloning and fixing of most of the day time photos that I have shot due to dust stuck to the sensor of my Sony A300. I spend a lot of time post processing for dust specs removal to otherwise perfectly good images. The reason that I have so much dust on my sensor, is probably because I like to change my lenses a lot, in the field. That’s what happens when you have multiple lenses and very little experience in using the camera. You don’t worry about the consequences of changing your lenses again and again.
In India, Sony does not provide service for the Alpha range of DSLRs. They just sell the things and provide a 3 year replacement warranty. If you do get a serious irritating problem like dust on your sensor, you really have place to go but to non-authorized service centers where you really can’t be sure of what they will do and whether they are updated about the camera repairs that they carry out. After reading up a lot on the internet on the various DIY sensor cleaning methods that are available, I narrowed it down to Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs and the Lenspen SensonKlear. I ordered both through ebay US. They didn’t get here. Got stuck in customs or something.
Ebay India has a new service which allows you to buy things from ebay US without worrying about the things that you have to worry about if you order directly from ebay US, like, your package not getting to you at all. Unfortunately the choice of products available via this route are limited and apparently chosen at random. I had to check the listing daily to see if the Sensor Swabs or the Lenspen were listed in the site on any day. The law of averages played its part and the Lenspen SensorKlear got listed on the site. I, of course, bought it immediately.
The package arrived in about 10 days and it was in perfect condition. Since this is a tool meant to be used by the camera owner, there are no guarantees. If you mess up, its on your head. This is what keeps a lot of people away form DIY sensor cleaning. However, most of the DIY methods available are also endorsed by the camera manufacturers and these same methods are used by the people fixing your camera in their service centers. That said, I was pretty scared of doing it myself, but more confident of my own research than a non-authorized service center.
The Lenspen SensorKlear consists of two different brushes. A retractable soft dry brush for cleaning/dusting everything but the sensor. So you can clean your lenses and your mirror and even the prism. The second brush is a triangular, very compact soft brush coated with a completely dry carbon based cleaning compound. The brush is triangular to help clean the corners on sensors. The corners is where a lot of the duct accumulates. The device is very simple and very effective.
The dust that was on my sensor refused to be dislodged by the camera’s in-built sensor cleaning mechanism and also by the blower that I had bought some time ago. So this was the “sticky” kind of dust that is actually sticking to your sensor due to static build up on the surface of the sensor.
This brush does not move the dust particles around like a normal brush, but picks it up off the sensor. What it cant pick up, it turns to “non-sticky” duct which can be blown off with a normal blower.
Considering the amount of time I am saving and frustration I am not feeling during post processing, this has been an excellent acquisition for me. It’s really easy to use and is a must have for everyone’s camera kit.