Sensor Cleaning Tools


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Azure

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#1
DIY sensor-cleaning, whilst some may argue is "dangerous" (yes, somebody did scratch his S3 Pro sensor doing so!), is probably a much easier option for those of us who wish to spare the hassle of making a trip to the service centre during our working days. It is also probably one of the favoured options for those of us who use our cameras heavily (like daily).

This is a simple guide to show what are the tools at our disposal and how to prepare them for use. I shall refrain from showing the actual cleaning exercise here as it is already extensively covered elsewhere on the web.

Fujifilm and Nikon service centres, use similar tools, though some may not refer to their tools by the same name. Nonetheless, do remember that this is JUST A GUIDE. Constructive addition of knowledge is most welcome, in a non-judgemental form, thank you. Yes you have Visible Dust and sensor brushes and all sorts of other stuff, but I'll just illustrate using the tools I use.

To start things off, you have Sensor Swabs, perhaps the most well-known of the tools. Easily available at Cathay Photo (no I am NOT affliated to them), but the most costly of the tools. A box of which contains just 12 swabs. Do your sums.



You will need a cleaning solution, here we shall use the Eclipse solution, costing $18-20 a bottle from Cathay.



Here you have Pec Pads. Cheap at the price, in a packet of 100 pieces.
 

Azure

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Then you have the pre-packed, pre-wrapped Sensor Swab (on the left) and the spatula on the right. The latter is what is left after you have used a single Sensor Swab and discarded the soiled swab. This you can recycle.



What I normally use is a pec pad wrapped around a spatula. If you cut it carefully, you can use a single pec pad to wrap 2 sticks. Not only does this save on the use of the pec pads, but most importantly, it gives you a less-cumbersome, thinner swab. Try it either way if you do not believe me.



Use either some scotch tape or a tiny elastic band to fasten the pec pad in place and you are ready to embark on cleaning.


For the exact cleaning procedures, you can probably find a whole lot of links on the Internet.

Enjoy!
 

Azure

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#3
Those who are thinking of using 3M tape, please note that you do so at your own risk.

Such a cleaning approach is wholly discouraged by Fujifilm Singapore. Doing so voids your warranty (as of my last conversation with them).

Happy cleaning.
 

jacob

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#4
had that idea too. but....... see this link.

http://www.photosol.com/swabproduct.htm

PEC*PAD is NOT recommended for cleaning the CCD. It is not the same material used in the Sensor Swabs. PSI does not approve or warranty the CCD or any camera part from any damage caused by using non approved products.

how???????
 

azul123

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#5
had that idea too. but....... see this link.

http://www.photosol.com/swabproduct.htm

PEC*PAD is NOT recommended for cleaning the CCD. It is not the same material used in the Sensor Swabs. PSI does not approve or warranty the CCD or any camera part from any damage caused by using non approved products.

how???????
What can we expect them to say, they want to sell more of their products so any DIY or competitor solution will be not approved by their standards.

../azul123
 

kennmail

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#9
any idea where is the Fujifilm service center? :lovegrin:
think making a trip down might b better den attempted cleaning myself n scratch the camera by accident. Any costs for this? And can collect on the spot?
 

jacob

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#13
What can we expect them to say, they want to sell more of their products so any DIY or competitor solution will be not approved by their standards.

../azul123
so is it safe to use then? is there anyone using pec pad and eclipse solution before without any problem to the sensor?

anyone care to share? maybe azure can share more......
 

Azure

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#14
For the record, I have been using this method since 2005 to clean both my S3 Pros and now, my S5 Pros.

I only posted this thread for those who are truly interested to consider a cheaper alternative to purely sensor swabs (after the disbelief and disagreement started in http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=265811). Sure, not every single Fujifilm S2/S3/S5 user is a heavy almost-daily user or a professional photographer like me. But it is a very cost-effective method if you take a little extra care (esp when you cut a pec pad into two). For your info, I clean my cameras myself every 8-9 weeks, and send them in to Fujifilm once a year (for general cleaning and servicing).

I had already shared this in person, with fellow hobbyists/enthusiasts/aspirant photographers. As of last Aug, I believe that there are at least 20 others who are using this method of cleaning their D70/D200/S3 Pro/S2 Pro/20D/S5 Pro/D2X sensors. That was when we shared amongst ourselves, demo and all, how to DIY. For the less-well-off students amongst us, sharing the cost of a box of sensor swabs and pec pads made sense. A single swab costs $7.50!

Why DIY? Not all of us have so much free time to send our cameras to the service centre(s) every alternate week. Some of us may be busy working, others students, yet others busy with baby at home - I've enough work on most weekdays to keep me 7.00am-8.00pm occupied. The DIY option that is shared here gives us a choice to consider.

The photos were taken to illustrate the use of the pec-pads with the spatulas, after my most recent cleaning. And after numerous queries I received via PM/SMS/email over my posts in the other thread, I decided to share it with the rest of our members online. It is entirely up to yourselves, to choose to try it or not, to choose to believe it or not. And entirely up to you, to decide what to do with this share of mine.

No method is 100% idiot-proof. That one CSer actually scratched his S3 Pro sensor using the sensor swabs is still something I find amazingly stupid, but I did see the scratch for myself. And I still find it hard to believe. If you wish to argue on articles, well, there are equally many sources out there that'll push for a cheaper method, so does that mean that they are all wrong? Do note that I have mentioned at the very start that this is something that Nikon and Fuji users can use. That is because I've seen many friends (I made from this forum) adopt this simple cleaning method.

The choice to believe, to venture, and to consider is a choice that we, as human beings, are endowed with. How we make do with that privilege, is something we can decide on.

Take care and happy cleaning.
And for those who prefer arguing, enjoy it too.



Cheers,

Azure
(going off for my weekend outings....;p )
 

jacob

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#15
a thousand appology in case anyone including azure thought that i'm trying to argue etc....

maybe my tone wasn't right. in any case what azure pointed out is also what i've been thinking about. is just that i wasn't sure whether pec pad is really suitable. now that azure has shared, i'll be getting them. meanwhile will share sensor swap with others. if anyone interested to share in sensor swap, just give me a pm.
 

yowch

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#17
silverwolf did the first cleaning for my s2pro 3 years back and I have been doing it myself since. The stick you use is not the problem, it is how you wrap the pecpad over the stick to ensure that it is level, even, padded and straight. If you get that right, you can't do much damage.

Seriously, try using a normal cotton bud wet with some water to scratch a piece of glass, say, your watch face. It is close to impossible! But if you have a hard speck of diamond on the glass, and you put the cotton on it to clean, it is the diamond that scratches your glass, not the cotton, so we must blame the right thing. So check that you have no hard large specks of dust on the sensor, and blow it off if you have, then use the method describe by azure to do it right. Can't fail when probably a million people in the world is doing it!
 

yowch

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#18
I have used plastic cake knives, ice-cream sticks, sheet of stiff plastic and even once in desparation, a hard card board to serve as my stick. Not problems at all with my S2pro sensor.
 

novello76

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#19
Anyone tried PPCP Pro Sensor Swab Kit? Is it comparable those by Photosol ? Thinking of getting Sensor Swab and Eclipse..but they look pretty ex..
Btw, can anyone advise what should be the price of the sensor swab, eclipse and pec pads, and where is the best place to purchase? Is Cathay the only one? Thanks for help!
 

photobum

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#20
Anyone tried PPCP Pro Sensor Swab Kit? Is it comparable those by Photosol ? Thinking of getting Sensor Swab and Eclipse..but they look pretty ex..
Btw, can anyone advise what should be the price of the sensor swab, eclipse and pec pads, and where is the best place to purchase? Is Cathay the only one? Thanks for help!
You can buy Sensor Swab and Eclipse solution from other places too (such as Orient Photo) but the prices are not cheaper than Cathay Photo.

Cathay Photo is the sole agent for Photographic Solutions (Photosol) in Singapore. Unless you buy direct from the U.S. However, Eclipse solution contains Methanol. Methanol is considered hazardous material to transport. FedEx and UPS will not ship them cheap. Your safest and cheapest bet is to buy locally. Then again, Sensor Swab is currently out-of-stock at Cathay Photo. You will have to wait for 3 to 4 weeks.
 

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