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Thread: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

  1. #1
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    Default How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Recently, i was shopping around for a used DSLR. But i don't have the experience or knowledge to check for sensor contaminants. I wouldn't want to end up with a DSLR with dirty or worst, a damaged sensor.

    After consulting with my fellow seasoned DSLR user friends and the friendly google search engine, i managed to gather enough knowledge on checking DSLR sensor.

    I was glad i did some study on this as it has help me identify some "bad" DSLR during my "shopping trips" and avoided costly cleaning or repair cost.

    Since there is quite a large number of people buying used DSLR cameras, i thought maybe this might be useful to you guys.

    Here's the simple test you can do anywhere to check for dirt and dust on the DSLR sensor :

    Materials required : Plain Blank White piece of paper (A4), Appropriate camera lens (Try to standby 2 lenses if you can, if not, 1 lens will do. The second lens is to verify the results of the first lens if "suspected" dust is identified).

    1) Fix up the lens to the camera to be tested.
    2) Switch lens mode to manual. Set focus to infinity.
    3) Set the aperture to its smallest value (largest number), at least f22, f32 if you have it.
    4) Take a shot of the white piece of paper. Try to fill the frame with the paper sheet so that all you get is a blank, white image. Make sure the shot is "bright" enough.
    5) Select "Playback" from the camera(or download the picture to a computer) and zoom(a least 4 -5x) into the picture. Scroll around the picture and look for black dots/hair lines or things that are black. I have come across contaminates on sensors that look like tyre skid marks. I suspect the damaged might be induced during DIY sensor cleaning.


    Hope this tiny little info will be helpful to you guys shopping for a used DSLR.
    Last edited by bartman; 13th November 2007 at 11:36 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Hi Bartman,

    great advise .. very useful for noobs like me.


    thanks

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by zhix View Post
    Hi Bartman,

    great advise .. very useful for noobs like me.


    thanks
    Glad to know that all that typing has not gone to waste.

    We have to be our own QC when buying used stuff and practice caveat emptor.

    The only way to do that is to be educated and informed in the subject matter.
    Last edited by bartman; 13th November 2007 at 11:37 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    hey man! kudos for the post. That's very very useful information.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    I learned something with each visit to this site. Today's no exception. Thanks for sharing

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    thanks for sharing...upzz for great advice...

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    unless this is made a sticky, honestly, while this is good sharing it serves no purpose

    just expressing my pov, not being a wet blanket i hope
    if we are to be blunt about it, a quick google about "sensor dust" will give you excellent sites like this one which go beyond the rudimentary information provided here, one of the top hits btw

    this is the problem with the internet and forums, while there is shaing of information and therefore a wealth of resources, people expect to be spoonfed all the time. one could argue that the independent learners who are resourceful would bother searching for abovementioned sites in the first place, would not need this. then comes the somewhat dependent learners who will be too lazy to search in google, which is easier to use than forum search, and then just start a thread again, thereby adding to the clutter. been there, seen that about 8000 times already.

    i always see people asking really basic questions which all the stickies would have covered, so even making a thread a sticky does not help, it's sad but true.

    pardon the rant.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    unless this is made a sticky, honestly, while this is good sharing it serves no purpose

    just expressing my pov, not being a wet blanket i hope
    if we are to be blunt about it, a quick google about "sensor dust" will give you excellent sites like this one which go beyond the rudimentary information provided here, one of the top hits btw

    this is the problem with the internet and forums, while there is shaing of information and therefore a wealth of resources, people expect to be spoonfed all the time. one could argue that the independent learners who are resourceful would bother searching for abovementioned sites in the first place, would not need this. then comes the somewhat dependent learners who will be too lazy to search in google, which is easier to use than forum search, and then just start a thread again, thereby adding to the clutter. been there, seen that about 8000 times already.

    i always see people asking really basic questions which all the stickies would have covered, so even making a thread a sticky does not help, it's sad but true.

    pardon the rant.

    This is the type of being who doesn't know how to appreciate even little good things. I believe the obvious intention of the Thread Starter here is to be able able to "share" valuable info. This info may not have use for you now probably for a simple reason that you "might" already know this, but this doesn't give you the right to rant about such post. This simple info could be very valuable to some who just came across this post and doesn't know (or knew too little) about it.

    If I am to play a bit psych-analysis here, I think such ranting is triggered by seeing this post getting good comments. Why rant if you can add or share other info instead? Isn't this forum a venue to share helpful info?

    pardon the counter-rant, just being an advocate here.

    On another note, I agree that this should've been posted as sticky.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    you have no idea, my dear fellow forumer. i suppose you are new. if you have hung around a little longer you would have seen the amount of effort that some people have put into trying to help others.

    stay around longer, you'll get what i mean. zoosshh has made a very comprehensive newbie thread, which HAS BEEN STICKIED, but still every 2 days someone pops up with an inane question that he could have found out had he read the stickies (even if he was new) or done a quick google.

    same goes for other stuff, i could probably shovel most of the inane questions thread into a few categories, like

    1) WHICH CAMERA SHOULD I BUY ZOMG THERE ARE SO MANY, PLEASE FLAME EACH OTHER AND PUSH YOUR BRANDS SO I CAN REMAIN CONFUSED
    2) WHAT IS APERTURE? WHAT IS SHUTTER SPEED? WHAT IS THIS? WHAT IS THAT? OH HELP HELP HELP I HAVE NOT DONE ANY READING ON PHOTOGRAPHY BUT I LIKE TO ASK BECAUSE I LIKE TO BE SPOONFED
    3) you get the idea, don't you?

    contrary to your belief, while i project negativity, i have actually written quite a number of this manner of threads, which have received nothing but good comments, even. and i have witnessed people putting up this sort of "helpful thread", stickied or not, i am always cynical with regards to the timing in between such a posting and the next time someone asks something really unrequired (with the existence of such threads) in these forums again. cheers.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    you have no idea, my dear fellow forumer. i suppose you are new. if you have hung around a little longer you would have seen the amount of effort that some people have put into trying to help others.

    stay around longer, you'll get what i mean. zoosshh has made a very comprehensive newbie thread, which HAS BEEN STICKIED, but still every 2 days someone pops up with an inane question that he could have found out had he read the stickies (even if he was new) or done a quick google.

    same goes for other stuff, i could probably shovel most of the inane questions thread into a few categories, like

    1) WHICH CAMERA SHOULD I BUY ZOMG THERE ARE SO MANY, PLEASE FLAME EACH OTHER AND PUSH YOUR BRANDS SO I CAN REMAIN CONFUSED
    2) WHAT IS APERTURE? WHAT IS SHUTTER SPEED? WHAT IS THIS? WHAT IS THAT? OH HELP HELP HELP I HAVE NOT DONE ANY READING ON PHOTOGRAPHY BUT I LIKE TO ASK BECAUSE I LIKE TO BE SPOONFED
    3) you get the idea, don't you?

    contrary to your belief, while i project negativity, i have actually written quite a number of this manner of threads, which have received nothing but good comments, even. and i have witnessed people putting up this sort of "helpful thread", stickied or not, i am always cynical with regards to the timing in between such a posting and the next time someone asks something really unrequired (with the existence of such threads) in these forums again. cheers.
    I could sense a rage in your reply mate. Yes I am new here.. (please see under my nick.. says "new member".. got it?). Just one point, if you're too concern about this simple post occuring in all other similar threads, why not point them to where those threads were rather than giving such pessimist comments. Now that's being helpful.

    I'll close this statement by saying.. "you're like an image to me in which the ISO is pushed up so high.. in short, you make a lot of noise than produce good IQ". Make good use of your being long-time clubsnap member by guiding new members instead, okidoki?

    ciao!
    Last edited by jefkinetics; 14th November 2007 at 02:48 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by jefkinetics View Post
    I could sense a rage in your reply mate. Yes I am new here.. (please see under my nick.. says "new member".. got it?). Just one point, if you're too concern about this simple post occuring in all other similar threads, why not point them to where those threads were rather than giving such pessimist comments. Now that's being helpful.

    I'll close this statement by saying.. "you're like an image to me in which the ISO is pushed up so high.. in short, you make a lot of noise than produce good IQ". Make good use of your being long-time clubsnap member by guiding new members instead, okidoki?

    ciao!
    rage? no, no rage, i merely state how i think. i like giving blunt comments because people who see blunt comments for what they are the people whom i wish to communicate with, there is no need for wordplay.

    the fact is, i have done so ( the suggested "redirect the lazy lost newbie to the correct stop" action) again and again until i have acknowledged that there is no point doing so. in fact, i find it more entertaining to myself to be pessimistic, in some sense perhaps it gives me the hope that when someone is poked fun at, he might learn to fish instead of expecting the circus seal trainer to throw fish at him all day long.

    i have no idea why you wish to make this so personal, in any case, i find that last comment derogatory, i suppose you might think it very witty, unfortunately the humour falls flat on its face here, from my point of view. we do not need more errant members in here, so i have reported your post, since i have been relatively cordial in replying to your initial post. in the true spirit of being an "old member" (old? bloody hell, i'm young la) guiding "new members", i advise you to attack the person's ideas, not the person. ad hominem logic makes one look logically inept, and opens one up to sneaky sneaky naughty ratty reports like what i've done here. cheers and i suppose the admin (while we're being cynical here) will give you but a light slap on the wrist for being new.
    Last edited by night86mare; 14th November 2007 at 03:00 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    rage? no, no rage, i merely state how i think. i like giving blunt comments because people who see blunt comments for what they are the people whom i wish to communicate with, there is no need for wordplay.

    the fact is, i have done so ( the suggested "redirect the lazy lost newbie to the correct stop" action) again and again until i have acknowledged that there is no point doing so. in fact, i find it more entertaining to myself to be pessimistic, in some sense perhaps it gives me the hope that when someone is poked fun at, he might learn to fish instead of expecting the circus seal trainer to throw fish at him all day long.

    i have no idea why you wish to make this so personal, in any case, i find that last comment derogatory, i suppose you might think it very witty, unfortunately the humour falls flat on its face here, from my point of view. we do not need more errant members in here, so i have reported your post, since i have been relatively cordial in replying to your initial post. in the true spirit of being an "old member" (old? bloody hell, i'm young la) guiding "new members", i advise you to attack the person's ideas, not the person. ad hominem logic makes one look logically inept, and opens one up to sneaky sneaky naughty ratty reports like what i've done here. cheers and i suppose the admin (while we're being cynical here) will give you but a light slap on the wrist for being new.
    poor kid.. now he comes running to his momma.

    on a more serious note, read through your words mate. contemplate on them if need be, then you will realise why i counter your blunt reply to Mr.Thread Starter. All I'm saying, it would've been great if you just inform these people in this thread that there's already similar threads which they could refer to rather than being harsh about your comment.

    I've seen you have thousand posts, I just hope most of them make a lot of sense.

    That's all I can say (period)

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    ad hominem logic makes one look logically inept, and opens one up to sneaky sneaky naughty ratty reports like what i've done here.



  14. #14

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    I believe that you two are mature enough to know when to take a step back. If not, just ignore this tread will you.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluestrike View Post
    I believe that you two are mature enough to know when to take a step back. If not, just ignore this tread will you.
    my dear moderator

    ask yourself if you look at those posts whether i have been mature here; i have not attacked him in any way personally, if anything i have only made tongue in cheek comments which are not even directed to him

    he starts off by calling me a thankless being , psychoanalyses me for no rhyme or reason, tells me that i am noisy and have low iq, tells me that i chase my mother's skirts, and ends off by casting doubt on my fine reputation as a member who makes sensible posts. oh, he couldn't have flamed me more?

    despite all these antics, i have only expressed my opinion, and explained my reasons for my opinion. look again. this is the state where cs is coming to, where the old members have to sit around and get mudslinged by newer punks. this is how loyalty is rewarded. let me express my opinion now that i am extremely disappointed that you have somehow lumped me together despite the immense display of control and maturity displayed here, even with attempts to diffuse tension with humour.

    i will not tell you how to do your job, i suppose, but i do not really understand the way you have handled this.

    it is a sad day when maturity is defined to be not only turning the cheek when one is slapped, but presenting one's left and right butt cheek ,in that order as well, before walking away with 4 sore cheeks. i refuse to let this matter rest because i do feel that i have not deserved such derogatory comments in such a short period of time, based on one simple rant about the facts of life. the best part is other members have expressed such opinions before, so i do not see anything wrong about my repetition of their points, put in a more slapstick manner.

    i am frankly, very sick and tired of always being told to be more mature, when most of the time i merely place down blunt words without any malicious meaning whatsoever; some joker comes along and thinks that he has been appointed to be the judge of the universe, and goes on to insult my previous 8 generations, my honour and my manhood (or something to that extent), and gets away with it when the admin tells us "oh behave!", when in the first place, i have DONE NOTHING WRONG. do i really need to place a spastic whiney-sounding thread in the faq/feedback section about this?

    there is a thin fine line between being draconian and playing a nanny, but when one becomes overly sappy and immensely draconian at erratic timings, then something is clearly wrong with the system. and this is where i get told that it is hard to moderate a forums, i am only a member and i can leave if i want to.

    then in this case, let me say that IF I CANNOT EXPRESS MY OPINION WITHOUT HAVING TO SUGAR COAT IT OR LETTING PEOPLE INSULT ME WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING, I WILL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. and let me preempt the answer to this as well - it will be something along the lines of "be my guest", etc.

    you may see this as a very petty criticism based on a silly thread about silly sensor dust - you're right, it is. but i am frankly, quite fed up with the erratic judgement system being practised here. one moment you just hammer people into the ground, the other moment you just let others go scot-free after doing way more than what the former party has done. i am certain that you are all very busy people, and i am taking yet a little bit more of your precious time, and i certainly did not expect a ban on our fellow friend up there, but certainly, a bit more thought could have gone into moderation then just coming in and saying some random preprogrammed statement without taking any stand when the situation is pretty clear? and i am very very certain that i am not the only party unhappy with this.
    Last edited by night86mare; 14th November 2007 at 05:03 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    ok guys chill and not OT.. ermm to the TS, great insights that you shared with...now i know what to do in time to come...

    i have a question:

    checking of the dirt is possible only when you already buy the camera right since the procedure required you to download the image into your computer? but when 'going' to buy and checking for faults? can this be applied as well? cos AFAIK i dun think you can download the image and check it at home and come back the next day. I think most shops will not entertain this, unless of course the buyer have some kind of relation or buying reputations from the same shop.

    Reason why i ask this is because i intend to buy a new DSLR.

    Thanks...
    ...seeking angles in a new definition...
    SG 1st Malay Photog Forum | My Works

  17. #17

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    snapperz - you can usually see dust on the lcd screen when you preview

    if it is too small to be seen when you zoom in.. then it is probably of no consequence, will not be too noticeable, and easy to clone away when pointed out

    there are always risks with buying a second hand dslr, in fact dust is the least of them, if you ask me. the person could have done all sorts of funny things with his dslr before, hence, if you are not willing to chance it, or will be very upset with a bad purchase, despite the lowered price, best to stick to new dslr. me, i'm not willing, and i was too poor at that point in time to buy proper new one, so i bought grey from op. that is thankfully, an option for people like me

    this applies to almost anything with significant cost, btw
    Last edited by night86mare; 14th November 2007 at 07:29 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    I don't think this 'check' is necessary in buying a 2nd hand DSLR.

    It is unlikely that you can tell whether a 'skid mark' or a spot is due to a scratch or a tiny hair, unless you 'wet clean' the sensor and there are stubborn marks remaining.

    It should be appreciated that even brand new DSLRs have dust (and sometimes, plenty of) on the sensor.
    Last edited by kongping; 14th November 2007 at 07:51 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by kongping View Post
    I don't think this 'check' is necessary in buying a 2nd hand DSLR.
    I think it is wiser to check then not to check it at all. I have personally encounter "bad" ones before. It does not really matter what the contaminants might be or look like. If you manage to find one, will you still accept the camera?
    But you can still choose to do want you think is right for you... To check or not to check, you make the choice.

    Caveat Emptor.






    Before i spent the time to create and type out this thread, i somehow knew it must have been posted many times over before somewhere, but i still choose to post my version of it.

    The origin of this posting is a result of my past experience. I hope by sharing my past experience, i can create awareness to those who are new to this or not aware of what is going on to benefit and gain something out from it no matter how many times this subject have been provided before here or anywhere else. That is my intention of this thread.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Life is a result of your choices, yes, sometimes you also encounter "no choice" situation, but most of the time, you have choices. You can choose to ignore or you can choose to take action - some of these choices gives you happiness, some gives you frustration. What would you like to be today? to be happy or frustrated? You are the master of your life, you make the choice....
    Last edited by bartman; 14th November 2007 at 10:39 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How to check for dirt and dust on a DSLR Sensor

    One say good,One say bad.
    Can moderator give the final say if this is necessary?

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