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Camera sensor cleaning

From: Shooting with the Nikon D800

Video: Camera sensor cleaning

Basic maintenance of your camera is pretty intuitive: don't drop it; don't bang it into things. If you want to clean it, use a dry cloth. If you're going to store the camera for a while, be sure to take the battery out it. You've already seen a little bit about how the camera cleans its own sensor, but there are some other built-in sensor-cleaning options. In the Setup menu you'll see an item called Clean image sensor. If you open that up, you have a couple of options. First, you can say Clean now. That will actually send the camera into its cleaning cycle, wherein it will shake the filter that's in front of the image sensor to shake off any dust.

Camera sensor cleaning

Basic maintenance of your camera is pretty intuitive: don't drop it; don't bang it into things. If you want to clean it, use a dry cloth. If you're going to store the camera for a while, be sure to take the battery out it. You've already seen a little bit about how the camera cleans its own sensor, but there are some other built-in sensor-cleaning options. In the Setup menu you'll see an item called Clean image sensor. If you open that up, you have a couple of options. First, you can say Clean now. That will actually send the camera into its cleaning cycle, wherein it will shake the filter that's in front of the image sensor to shake off any dust.

I can also from this menu control whether or not the camera cleans its sensor when it is powered up and down. So if I go in here, I have the option to say Clean at startup, Clean at shutdown, or the default value, which is both, or I can turn it off altogether. Because the cleaning is interruptible--that is, because once it's started, I can just half- press the Shutter button to immediately go into shooting--there is really no reason to turn it off, and the cleaning feature does do a good job of keeping dust off the sensor. You could argue that this uses up a little more battery power, but it's so negligible that I really can't see any reason not to simply leave it on Clean at startup/shutdown.

As good as the built-in cleaning feature is, there will still be times when you get dust on your sensor. When that happens, you'll need to manually clean the sensor. And to do that you'll use the Lock mirror up for cleaning command. Now, cleaning your sensor is a fairly involved process that involves very specific cleaning implements. You can learn more about those in my Foundations of Photography: Lenses course, and I would definitely recommend at least reading the manual about cleaning before you do any attempt at all at cleaning your own sensor. But you can see a detailed walkthrough of how to clean your sensor in my Lenses course.

What you don't ever want to do is blow compressed air into the inside of your camera. Let me just tell you that right now. Just don't do that. As much as you may think that's a good idea, it's not. There is another way of dealing with dust on your sensor. If you're out in the field and you're reviewing some images and you see that they have some dust on them and you're not really in a position to clean your sensor, you can take a Dust Off reference photo. What this does is take a picture of just the dust on your sensor. Later, using Nikon's Capture NX image processing software, you can have the dust automatically removed from your image by blending-- the software will automatically blend this dust-off reference photo with your final image.

So to do this I come into the Image Dust Off reference photo item. I have the option to clean the sensor first or to simply start. I point the camera at a blank white subject of some kind--a white wall, a piece of paper-- and then I start the process. It will then record the Dust Off reference (ref) photo on my storage card. Later, Capture NX can grab that dust-off photo and use it to clean your images. While the camera's built-in sensor cleaning is very good, the best way to keep your sensor clean is through prevention.

When you take caps of the ends of your lenses, don't just stick them in your pocket, get them all covered with lint, and then put them back on the lenses. That's an easy way to transfer all that lint directly to your camera. When you're changing lenses, be sure to keep the camera sheltered, ideally pointed down if it's very windy out. If you can work to make sure that the camera is not getting into a bad dust environment, then you should be able to keep your sensor pretty clean.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Nikon D800
Shooting with the Nikon D800

107 video lessons · 13726 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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