Author Topic: Cleaning your D3 Sensor  (Read 2535 times)

keithsnell

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Cleaning your D3 Sensor
« on: November 21, 2008, 10:01:53 AM »
If you haven't cleaned your D3 sensor yet, this is just a "heads up" to be prepared for a little more of an ordeal than you are used to with an APS-C size sensor.  My D3 was shipped with a small but visible "welded on" dust spot on the sensor.  "Welded on" meaning that it wouldn't blow off, and I needed to use a wet sensor swab to remove the spot. 

I should preface this by saying that cleaning my D2X sensor usually takes me about 30 seconds, and a couple of streams of air with a large blower bulb.  Compared to my Kodak SLR/n, I LOVE cleaning the D2X sensor. 

The D3 sensor, on the other hand seems to have many of the characteristics of the Kodak sensor when it comes to cleaning. 
1.  Dust particles seem to adhere to the sensor more (with respect to the D2X) and don't blow off easily. 
2.  The sensor goes all the way out to the edge of the cover glass (practically speaking) which means you need to clean all the way out to the edges. 
3.  The edges of the cover glass seem to have remnants of some sort of substance that will smear across the edge of the sensor when cleaning with a wet swab.  It took me SEVERAL swabs and a long time to get to the point where there was no more smearing from the sensor edge. 
4.  The recommended method of starting with a clean wet swab at one edge of the sensor and swiping all the way across to the other edge will result in small dust particles piling up in the corners of your sensor.  These will be visible (unlike dust spots piled against the edge of the D2X sensor) so take care not to let this happen, otherwise you will be "digging" the dust out with the corners of several more wet sensor swabs.  I'd recommend that if your sensor has a lot of dust (or its the first time you have cleaned it) make the first swipes from each edge into the center of the sensor, and gather all the stray dust there, then remove it with a few swipes of a clean sensor swab or two, or three. 

If you are used to cleaning with a homemade spatula and PEC pads, this method probably won't work with the D3.  You need the ability to get all the way into the corners of the sensor, and the homemade solution didn't work for me.  Bite the bullet and pay for the expensive sensor swabs, it will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.  Half way through cleaning my sensor, after having run out of sensor swabs and  piling up a lot of dust in the corners trying to reuse the sensor swab spatula with PEC Pads, I ended up driving to three different camera stores before I found one with Sensor Swabs in stock.  (And they are expensive if you buy them from a brick and mortar camera store instead of online.)

Speaking of wet cleaning, Photographic Solutions, the manufactures of my prefered cleaning tools (Sensor Swab and Eclipse solution) recommend using the new E2 cleaning solution on the D3.  According to both Thom Hogan and Photographic Solutions, the D3 Sensor has an Indium Tin Oxide coating and "may" be damaged by using the old Eclipse solution.  I say "may" because even Photographic Solutions waffles a bit in response to this question.  There was a long controversy and internet rumors that the Eclipse solution would damage Canon 5D sensors, which had the ITO coating, and for a while Photographic Solutions was warning folks not to use Eclipse and to use E2.  They've now changed their recommendation and recommend Eclipse for the 5D, based on rumors that the E2 solution could damage the sensor.  So, what to do?  I'd recommend using E2, since that is the recommended product from Photographic Solutions, and if you damage your sensor while using their (recommended) products, they will replace your camera. 

So, I apologize for the long saga, but thought it might save a few folks a headache or two if they knew what to expect. 

By all means, make sure you have plenty of sensor swabs on hand and a lot of time available the first time you clean your D3 sensor.

Good luck . . .

Keith

P.S.
One other thing I do to control dust in the chamber is to use a small piece of 3M or scotch tape (the transparent low-stick kind) wrapped around a small flat stick(sticky side out). I carefully dab the inside of the mirror chamber to pick up all the loose pieces of dust that I can. This seems to help prevent this dust from moving back onto the sensor later on. I'm careful not to touch the autofocus lenses at the bottom of the chamber.

« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 05:42:47 PM by keithsnell »

oceklund

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Re: Cleaning your D3 Sensor
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 01:14:25 AM »
Thanks Keith...

Any website for Photographic solutions??
I haven't done any cleaning of my D3 yet.

keithsnell

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Re: Cleaning your D3 Sensor
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 07:29:08 AM »
Thanks Keith...

Any website for Photographic solutions??
I haven't done any cleaning of my D3 yet.

Hi Christian,

Here's the website for Photographic Solutions.  http://www.photosol.com/index.htm They sell both the Eclipse cleaning fluid and the sensor swabs.  They're expensive, but work the best of any product I've tried to far.  Order extra swabs for your first attempt at cleaning.  It gets easier after that.

Keith