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Thread: Sensor Cleaning

  1. #1

    Default Sensor Cleaning

    Hello,

    I was wondering, how can one decide whether the sensor needs cleaning? Or when a body should be sent for "tune up"? Like how do you know when to change the parts and stuff.

    I'm using a 400D and at ISO 200, I've noticed a lot of noise. I never noticed it before. I've taken about 10k pics so was wondering if there was some kind of maintenance thing.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    You mix 3 topics into one question.
    Q1: Dust
    It's the same as with your room: when does it need cleaning? Apart from elderly complains or advices you can tell from the layers of dust settled down on everything. The same goes for sensors. Search the forum for 'sensor dust' and you'll get plenty of answers about how to check and how to clean.
    Q2: "Tune up"
    The camera is neither a Windows system nor a car, it doesn't need any tuning. AFAIK, there is no "preventive maintenance plan" as for cars or aircrafts. You use the camera till you notice irregularities. Then it's time to see Canon Service Center. But you can bring in earlier for a general check-up also.
    Q3: Noise
    Noise is an error signal appearing in the image, caused by amplification of low light signals in the sensor. It's a characteristics of the sensor that cannot be changed. Cameras have built-in noise reduction or you do it in post-processing. Post a picture here with full exif data. Maybe you haven't noticed before because you didn't know to look for it? But at ISO 200 there shouldn't be any noise.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    when your photos start to have black spots on it for no apparent reasons such as birds or what not... like this picture.


  4. #4
    Member HHenrYY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Black dots on pictures without apparent reason means sensor got dust?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    not always.. but that was the reason why in my case. perhaps you can check the lens first but most of the time it has to be the sensor dust.

    Try not to keep changing lenses too often in dusty, windy areas.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bEnd1ck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Draken413o View Post
    when your photos start to have black spots on it for no apparent reasons such as birds or what not... like this picture.
    The black dots are so clear... you must have used F22 or above i guess?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Thanks to all who replied. I truly appreciate the time it takes to answer my broad and general query. Let me answer/clarify a few things...

    Q1: I employ a housekeeper so I don't have dust in room or house lol. My camera has in-built sensor clean that activates when the camera is turned on and off. Thus far it works very well. On occasion I have had to PP a spot now and then.
    Q2: I have noticed some irregularities, but that does not necessarily mean there are. After all, it's subjective in my opinion. I am under the impression that a "check up" is part of a preventive maintenance program in that I'm preventing some kind of "total" failure before it happens by having it checked. After all, any type of equipment/machine with moving parts would be subjected to malfunction at some point (ie wear and tear).
    Q3: I would agree that on my camera (Canon 400D) noise shouldn't be obvious at ISO 200. At ISO 400 it has always been there and never (even now) at ISO 100. The in-built noise reduction (according to the manual) kicks in when for exposures requiring 1 second or longer. I would prefer not to have to pp noise on images at ISO 200. I'd rather buy a better camera. But since this is only a recent issue I thought I'd ask the good people of ClubSnap for their thoughts on what may be the issue.

    Additional info:
    The noise is not that apparent if not looking at the image 100%. I am not the only one "pixel peeping" my images. I submit my images for sale and only recently have had images rejected due to noise. So even if I didn't know how to look for noise before, I'm sure these other people knew. I've also noticed, going through some images trying to find a few comparison shots, that the noise only appears on images with a lot of sky and that's where the noise is. I tried shooting some product (still life) shots at same settings but didn't get any image rejecting noise levels.

    I've posted a pp'd image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webitect/3418706479/
    and a un-pp'd image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webitect/3421483076/
    Not sure if you can see the noise though.

    Once again, thank you all for the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    You mix 3 topics into one question.
    Q1: Dust
    It's the same as with your room: when does it need cleaning? Apart from elderly complains or advices you can tell from the layers of dust settled down on everything. The same goes for sensors. Search the forum for 'sensor dust' and you'll get plenty of answers about how to check and how to clean.
    Q2: "Tune up"
    The camera is neither a Windows system nor a car, it doesn't need any tuning. AFAIK, there is no "preventive maintenance plan" as for cars or aircrafts. You use the camera till you notice irregularities. Then it's time to see Canon Service Center. But you can bring in earlier for a general check-up also.
    Q3: Noise
    Noise is an error signal appearing in the image, caused by amplification of low light signals in the sensor. It's a characteristics of the sensor that cannot be changed. Cameras have built-in noise reduction or you do it in post-processing. Post a picture here with full exif data. Maybe you haven't noticed before because you didn't know to look for it? But at ISO 200 there shouldn't be any noise.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Webitect View Post

    I've posted a pp'd image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webitect/3418706479/
    and a un-pp'd image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webitect/3421483076/
    Not sure if you can see the noise though.

    Once again, thank you all for the input.
    You posted images are so small I can't see any noise.
    Alpha

  9. #9
    Member luntut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    thnk about how much light is present in that grey, storm cloud sky, as compared to your st andrew's cathedral spire.

    noise occurs when your iso is high, and when there is insufficient light to fully acquire a clean image. its not the techically correct explanation, but unless you are techincally inclined, telling you too much wun work too.

    from how you understand the above 2 statements, tink hard, and try to find the link between the noise in the images and the the dynamic range within the pictures itself.
    Fast Camera. Fast Lens. Slow Me. Sigh.
    My Flickr

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Ok, I made a page on my site just for this...lol
    the full sized image (5mb) can be found here: http://photography.newbieholdem.com/Testing

    Observations please?

    Luntut: thanks for your input, assumptive, but appreciated nonetheless.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Webitect View Post
    Ok, I made a page on my site just for this...lol
    the full sized image (5mb) can be found here: http://photography.newbieholdem.com/Testing

    Observations please?

    Luntut: thanks for your input, assumptive, but appreciated nonetheless.
    Did not see any spots in your picture.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by kelvint81 View Post
    Did not see any spots in your picture.
    He's looking for noise, not spots.
    Alpha

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    To TS: That's not noise, really... Just the standard color gradients when taking an image of something with a large variety of shades, like a grey sky (remember, it's not perfectly grey, it's really many different shades). It will be more obvious in JPEG than RAW at low ISOs, as JPEG compression artefacts emphasize this.
    Alpha

  14. #14

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    What can i do if pictures from my compact camera got such dots too? How do one clean their compact camera sensor?
    E420, 16-85mm, 50R

  15. #15

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by pleasekickmehere View Post
    What can i do if pictures from my compact camera got such dots too? How do one clean their compact camera sensor?
    Bring it for servicing.
    Alpha

  16. #16

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Bring it for servicing.
    You mean camera service center?
    E420, 16-85mm, 50R

  17. #17

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by pleasekickmehere View Post
    You mean camera service center?
    hi

    yes

    Cheers
    Shaz
    | An army of sheep led by a lion are more to be feared than an army of lions led by a sheep. |

  18. #18

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by GoheadGostern View Post
    hi

    yes

    Cheers
    Shaz
    Thanks. If the camera still under warranty, do I have to pay? Any idea what is the typical cost like?
    E420, 16-85mm, 50R

  19. #19

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by pleasekickmehere View Post
    Thanks. If the camera still under warranty, do I have to pay? Any idea what is the typical cost like?
    Should be free. If it;s out of warranty and Sony, the fee is usually $10.70
    Alpha

  20. #20

    Default Re: Sensor Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    To TS: That's not noise, really... Just the standard color gradients when taking an image of something with a large variety of shades, like a grey sky (remember, it's not perfectly grey, it's really many different shades). It will be more obvious in JPEG than RAW at low ISOs, as JPEG compression artefacts emphasize this.
    Hi Rashkae,

    Thanks for you help and input, appreciate it.

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