Today was going to be a good day, no it was going to be a great day. Did all my jobs early, sorted out the mess I called a photo filing system and as a reward I was going to make an accessory for my camera. It wasn’t much, I just wanted to make a pin hole lens for my Canon EOS. In under 5 minutes the lens was made and I went outside to shoot a statue to see how it worked. Happy with the result I had I went inside, loaded up the image into Photoshop and saw on the image not just a few dust spots but what amounted to a dust storm.
Never having had a major dust problem before I grabbed my sensor cleaning kit, still mostly unused except for a practice run or two. Before I attacked the sensor I took a photo of a blank wall, using a wide lens set to f22. I overexposed the image slightly. This is to make the background lighter. The exposure was around 8 seconds. But wait wouldn’t I need a tripod? No. Here’s why.
The dust and sensor move as one, so the time the shutter is open for is not relevant other than to give you an exposure to render a light grey background. Doing this makes the dust appear as a shadow against a light greyish background. With the exposure done as a reference frame, I set about cleaning the sensor as per the instruction included in the kit.
After round 1 of cleaning I redid the same shot and examined the result. I saw a few stray spots and re cleaned the sensor but this time using the supplied blower to move the dust off the sensor. I also saw a couple of stray hairs in the chamber and using tweezers carefully removed them. Re-shot the wall and you see the result in the image under the “Dust Storm” image. There are a couple of small dust spots still there but I’m not too worried about them. To be honest I had to run the image through Photoshop Shadow/Highlight adjustment to enhance the spots they were that faint.
The camera in question from today was my Canon EOS 50D, which hasn’t seen much use. Goes to show that you must still check the “Backups” on a regular basis. Let’s take a worst case scenario, I’m on a shoot and my main camera fails. I pick up the “Backup” and resume shooting, only to find when I get back to the computer that the sensor is swimming with dust and I now have to spot EVERY photo over and over and over…