GEAR REVIEW - LENSPEN SENSORKLEAR LOUPE KIT
It's an annoying reality but dust and gunk eventually manages to find its way inside your camera body and onto the sensor. It's the bane of every photographer and one that can create additional work in post processing or even ruin images all together if you are that unfortunate. Often we don't discover it until we download the images onto the computer and notice all these little dark spots scattered all over the picture. Grrrr!!
Understandably, many of us are paranoid about cleaning inside our cameras. Hell, they're expensive gadgets and house a lot of sophisticated technology. The Lenspen SensorKlear offers a simple and highly effective means of cleaning the camera sensor, whenever, wherever, without paying out for someone to do it for you.
The SensorKlear kit comprises of an LED powered loupe, air blower and a lens pen. The loupe comes with batteries supplied, so you can use it right out of the box. You'll be using this first to inspect the sensor to see where all the offending particles are. I also make use of the lights to check the mirror box too for any unwanted dust and debris.
The process is very straightforward. Just ensure that camera has a good amount of battery power before you start, because you need to be in sensor cleaning mode. This locks the mirror into the up position. You do not want the power to drain, the camera shut off and the mirror come smashing down on top of the cleaning pen, whilst inside the housing. This could damage the mirror and the sensor too and be costly to repair.
Once the camera is in cleaning mode, take the loupe and place it over the top of the camera with the cap removed. If things are a bit blurry, adjust the eyepiece of the loupe via the screw thread to correct for your vision. Once illuminated, any dust or dirt will be clearly visible on the sensor. If any is revealed the first tool to employ is the "hurricane blower". This will attempt to blast any dust and dirt off, with out the need to touch the sensor itself.
I prefer to do this while the camera is on a tripod and angled downwards. That way any dust that is successfully blown out, will not fall back in again. After a few puffs of air, check with the loupe to see if the dust has been successfully removed. If not, repeat the process a couple of times. Although its rubber tipped, avoid making contact with the filter glass of the sensor directly.
Even with the strong puff of air from the blower, some dust can be particularly stubborn, in which case it's best to use the Lenspen. This can be done in tandem with the loupe to see exactly what you're doing. As a precaution, I'd advise against putting the cleaning pad directly over the top of any stubborn dust/dirt, just in case it's something sharp like a fine piece of sand/grit. Instead, place the pad on the sensor to the side of the dirt and gently dislodge it with a sideways motion. Once removed, extract the Lenspen and with some tweezers or by tapping the top of the pen, displace the grit onto the floor. You can then give the sensor a quick going over to ensure it's dust free.
The SensorKlear system is much safer and easier than wet cleaning the sensor and with regular maintenance, you'll hopefully never need to. Although you can never eradicate dust completely, you can minimize the chances of it getting into the camera body by using some of the following tips :
Try to minimize lens changes. If you know what glass you'll be using for a shoot, put it on the camera before you leave home.
If changing lenses outside always have your back to the wind.
Face the camera downwards when removing and replacing lenses.
In particularly dusty/dirty locations, use a clean carrier bag/large zip lock bag to shield the body.
Before placing a lens on the camera, check to make sure nothing is stuck to the rear element or mount.
Always turn the camera off when changing lenses. The static charge of the sensor can act like a dust magnet.
That's pretty much all there is to it. The kit is small enough to placed in your bag and taken anywhere and could save your bacon if some dust decides to set up home on your sensor, making it a very worthwhile purchase.