It seemed like it was time to clean the sensor of my precious Canon EOS D60. No, I didn't buy it years ago, just one year and six months ago. Winter 2008. But it's my first *SLR camera. And, for some strange reason, I like it. I could say I can live with the features and quality it lacks, but it's easier to say I like it. It's a good camera after all. And it was released already in 2001! Who's got 6 megapixels of higher age? :p
Sensor cleaning - DIY sports or not?
I've read the valuable (IMHO) four blog post series about sensor cleaning - the "Sensor Cleaning Mythbusting (Part 1)", by my friend Alex. Thanks, and wow! I recommend you read it too, before taking part into random debates and warnings against DIY cleaning on forums. You're probably missing an important point of view and real-life experiences about the subject. And he writes well, so you won't lose much anyway :)
After reading the blog posts, cleaning the sensor began to sound like an impossible task. Or something I could easily postpone. I postponed it. Also, I had never looked for trouble (no test shots for dust spots, no careful examination of the sensor itself). And I had never seen those spots in my photos.
I did have an idea how to clean the sensor. You just got to have ideas with aging gear. Or just money, but I prefer the ideas in DIY spirit. I thought to use chamois leather swabs with isoprophylene alcohol. I had used those in A/V repair shop, for cleaning VHS video drums. They're wide, so they are suitable for flat, large - and sensitive - surfaces. I just didn't have any at hand. I was going to buy a few. Meanwhile...
From the beginning of (my DSLR) time I had remembered one friend telling about using cotton swabs and drinkable alcohol for sensor cleaning. Wow! I had stopped using drinks even for cleaning tape recorder heads some... 20 years ago! And cotton... doesn't it leave particles or fibre residue? The residue is not a problem on tape recorder heads, as it normally is wiped away with the actual smudge. But on a large sensor?
On one summer late night
I was working on the 1" tube adapter (to be announced later) for attaching EOS body to small hobbyist telescopes. I had the camera on the table, without a lens. Suddenly, without any warning, I got the idea: let's use the cotton swabs and isoprophylene alcohol!
The swabs did erase the dust, but left traces. I finished the job with lens fabric. After a few retries the traces were gone. Seems like I did it! Test shots? Well... those can wait :)