Welcome to day 288 of 365 photos…I knew that I had a dirty camera sensor but many of yesterday’s photos showed me just how dirty it was. *sigh* This is a long post but perhaps it may help someone else.
For the last 287 days, I have taken my camera with me every time I leave the house. Before that I traveled up the east coast from North Carolina to Brewerton, NY in a boat where I shot pretty much daily. I am not the type of person to put my camera in a bag to travel around because I don’t want to miss anything. 🙂 While on the boat, it was usually on the flybridge or the back deck with me. In the car, it sits on the seat OR if Steve is driving, it sits on the floor next to my feet – that would be the sandy, dirty floor. Did I mention that I take a lot of photos at the beach and have even changed lenses while on the beach. Well, you get the picture (pun intended), it is not a wonder that some dirt has found it way onto my sensor.
Here is the photo that broke the camels back. I shot this at sunset yesterday at Fort Macon. I was playing around trying to get a pretty sunstar. When I got home, I set the white and black points on the photo and then started to play around with detail and tone. What I saw next made me what to cover my face in shame. Click on the photos to see full size.Camera: Nikon D7100 – Lens: Nikon 18-300mm
Focal Length: 18mm – Aperture: f/20 – Shutter Speed: 1/25 second – ISO: 100
This is lightened also but this is what I saw next. Oh my!! *sigh* Quite embarrassing!We have a very good camera store that cleans cameras about an hour away but I really did not want to leave my camera overnight if I could help it, especially not on a weekend. I have other cameras but we are talking about the Nikon d7100–my favorite camera. So what to do? Right about the time that I purchased the D7100, I saw a post on photographylife.com called “Would You Buy This“. Shortly after reading the post, I did indeed buy the Sensor Gel Stick. When I purchased the D7100, I cleaned the D90 and was quite impressed with the gel stick but I put it away and forgot about it – until today.
How can you tell if your sensor is dirty?? It is very easy. Put settings on Aperture Priority (AV on Canon), be sure that Auto ISO Sensitivity is OFF and set your ISO to the lowest value. It is 100 on the D7100 but yours may be different. Set your aperture to the smallest f-number for the lens that you are using – mine was f25. Now point the camera to something light and take a shot. If you are outside, point your camera up at the clear blue sky. If you are indoors, find plain white paper, zoom in all the way so that the paper fits the whole frame, then make sure that the lens is completely out of focus and take a picture. If you are in front of a computer, open up a text editor such as Notepad, maximize it to the screen and then get as close to the monitor as possible so that only the white color is visible in the frame. Make sure that your focus is way off (completely out of focus) – that way only dust particles will be visible. Zoom in on the image (rear camera LCD), scroll from left to right and top to bottom all over the image and see if you can find any dark spots. If you cannot see any, your sensor is clean. If you see dark spots like in the above example, then your sensor has dust on it. Source and better instructions: Photography Life
If you find as much dust/dirt as I did, the time has probably come to do something about it. *grin* A spot or two can easily be taken out with your favorite photo-processing tools but obviously I was WAY past that point. So what did I do? I got out my gel stick and followed the Photography Life post “How To Use The Sensor Gel Stick“. There is a very thorough video on that page explaining the process. BTW, I do not sell this product but after using it as a novice in cleaning a dirty camera sensor – I am sold on the product. Photography Life DOES sell the product.
It took me a while. I was afraid of pressing too hard and probably did not get good contact at first. I did the process four times before I was happy with it. Here are my end results. On the first frame, you will see where I may have pushed dirt into the left bottom corner but it was really dirty. In the 2nd frame, I cleaned to bottom corner and ended up with a couple of specks in the right middle, probably dust from the air. In the last frame, you can see that it is pretty good. I won’t say perfect but compared to what I started with, I am happy. I think now that I can plan a cleaning by a professional at the camera store for when I might be going that way. Did you check to see if you had a dirty camera sensor? What did you find? Bet yours doesn’t look like mine did, Liz!
Glad that you stopped by my self-project of a photo a day for 365 days. If this is your first time to my site and you wonder what this 365 days of photos is all about, click HERE to read the original post. Settings are added to the photos so that I can remember what I’ve used and can see if any future photos done with other settings turn out better or worse. Remember, this project is all about my learning more about photography.
Check out E-liz Treasures to see what my friend in Maine is doing with her daily photos.
Comments are always welcomed. I would love to hear from you.