• Last Updated:
  • Jun 16th, 2017 2:48 am
Apr 24, 2017
40 posts

Camera Sensor cleaning

I need to get my camera sensor cleaned as I am seeing spots on my pics.

Does anyone know if you can clean sensors on your own (and is it safe), know of any local sensor cleaning company in Vancouver or is it best to send the camera to the service centre (For me its Nikon). If sending to the service centre, does anyone know what they charge? I've reached out to Nikon and have not yet responded to me.
13 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 15, 2012
10389 posts
Southern Ontario
It's around $50 to get it done at a camera shop, or buy your own swabs and DIY whenever you want for less.
Pollen is a sticky culprit that isn't easily removed by a rocket blower.
Do a before and after, take a shot of a piece a paper at f/22 with a small "x" written on it to obtain focus. The blobs and spots in the image should be mostly cleaned up after a sensor wipe.

Buy reputable sensor swabs off Amazon in the size of your sensor.
Feb 12, 2017
13 posts
Camera stores and stores like London Drugs sell Sensor Swabs and related products for you to clean the sensor yourself. There are mainly two types of cleaners: those that use a solution and lint-free swab, and those that rely on a squeeze bulb to blow air. I've used swabs myself on a Nikon D80, but have not needed clean my Nikon D90 and Olympus E-M5 since their self-cleaning (ultrasonic shaking) sensors keep themselves free of spots.

Some stores will clean a sensor for you. Vistek (not in Vancouver) charges $69.99. https://www.vistek.ca/service/?t=Price+List

Try calling local camera shops for a better price.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
7127 posts
Use a blower first to make sure you can't just blow off the dust first, usually that is all that is.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2006
3323 posts
Do a search here on this subject. Been several threads.

I clean my own. You can find the wet swab clean kits even at London Drugs now.

Some key words.....

wet swab
electostatic brush

Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2008
1271 posts
North Vancouver, BC
You can send it in to Canon, or you could try with either Vancam or Camtex. The last two are a few blocks from each other over on Fairview Slopes.
Apr 24, 2017
40 posts
Well seems like most have done the DIY swabs before. My biggest fear of cleaning myself is that I'm going to f up the sensor somehow.

I've asked around some of the bigger camera store companies around town and they all say they don't do cleaning.

I guess I gotta pull up my bigboy pants and do it.

Thanks everyone
Aug 18, 2013
12 posts
My cleaning routine which I have done for about 12 years is to use a Sensor Loupe like the previous poster mentioned to check if it even needs cleaning.

If I do see specks, then:

1) try blowing them off while holding the lens opening down. I use a Giotto's Rocket Blaster which I squeeze about 10 times before pointing it towards the sensor. This gets anything out of the Rocket Blaster first.

2) if that doesn't dislodge the specks then I use a sensor brush (check around for a nylon one with soft bristles) and after blowing the brush off, I carefully wipe the sensor. When I am done, I clean the brush in Johnson's Baby Shampoo with distilled water. Rinse well in distilled water. Let it air dry and put it in a sealed container.

3) if that doesn't work, I use a Lens Pen SensorKlear II pen. It is a Canadian company with lots of great instructions: http://www.lenspen.com/how_to_use/dslr-sensor-cleaning/

4) as a last resort I use the wet process and Sensor Swabs.

I am extremely fussy about my images and have not had to use the wet process (#4) more than once a year. I have used this method with a Nikon D70, D2x, D700, D800, D500 with no problems at all. I never hesitate to change lenses outside since I know I can clean the sensor myself.

One suggestion if you have a dusty room, is to use the bathroom and close the door to ensure there is no extra dust in the air.

For the cost of paying someone to clean your sensor twice, you can get everything you need to do it yourself.
Apr 24, 2017
40 posts
NewsyL wrote:
Jun 13th, 2017 7:16 pm
Congrats Don!

So if you find yourself interested in attending the Boundary Bay air show in July or the Abbotsford air show in August, just do the f22 white screen test the day before and clean if required.

http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/i ... -for-dust/

Yea for sure. I do the f22 all the time, and generally the blower does the trick, but with the D600 I'm more susceptible to dust and oil on my sensor. I haven't had to take it to Nikon yet for them to replace my mirror mechanism yet, as I'm keeping that in my back pocket, but I probably will be doing it within the year (see how long before I get dust and oil again).

I have the perfect lens for the airshow. Definitely something on my list of things to do at some point in my life. I didn't know Boundary Bay had an airshow. Only knew the Abbotsford one. I'll have to go check out Boundary Bay.