The only thing I like less about digital photography then I did about film photography is the hassle of dust on the sensor. The simple fact is that our digital cameras have electrostatically charged sensors—which attract micro bits of dust in ways that film bodies never did. Fortunately the gang at Visible Dust makes a line of pro-grade tools for field cleaning of sensors. Of course, at major trade shows, I still take advantage of the free cleanings done by Canon Pro Services. If I need to clean a sensor myself, this is the gear I use.
Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly 724
The Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly 724 does two critical steps well: it creates a static charge on the fibers via ultrasonic vibration (do this before you brush the sensor not as you brush the sensor!) and it shines two bright LEDs so that you can see the interior of the mirror box and the sensor. Back in the dark ages (literally) it was a pain to swap a sensor while holding a flashlight in just the right spot. The Arctic Butterfly 724 is a much-welcomed combination of features.
Visible Dust Quasar 7x Sensor Loupe
Prior to cleaning a sensor, it makes good sense to actually inspect it to see if there is dust and where it’s located. The Quasar 7x Sensor Loupe combines six bright LEDs with a 7x magnifying lens to make quick work of before and after sensor inspections.
Visible Dust Zeeion Sensor Cleaner Blower
The Zeeion blower is several big steps forward from the basic (cheapie) blower that I carried for years. First, it has a soft cap rather than a rigid tip that may accidentally damage a sensor. Second, it contains special materials that neutralize static charges and helps reduce instances of dust jumping back onto the sensor. Third, both the intake end and the blower end have filters that further reduce contamination from random bits of dust and micro-grit that otherwise might be projected at the sensor with great force.
Visible Dust Ultra Sensor Clean Kit
Sometimes intermittent blowing of the sensor and the periodic swipe of the Arctic Butterfly are not enough to dislodge debris from the sensor. For those times, when Canon Pro Services is not nearby, a wet swabbing of the sensor is in order. This kit combines the above three items with sensor swabs, focusing screen swabs, and cleaning solution. Buy the kit that fits the size of your camera’s sensor (full sensor = 1.0x, Canon APS-C = 1.6x). If you have multiple cameras with different sensor sizes, use the link at the bottom to jump to the entire line of Visible Dust products and order the additional set of swabs.
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