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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
- OK Rich, so we've talked about cleaning lenses. Obviously, an important thing you need to do and on a scale of one to ten of safety, if you follow a few smart rules, hey, easy to do, right? - Yeah. - But sometimes, as you mentioned, cameras can get dirty on the inside and what we're gonna talk about now is this idea of sensor cleaning or cleaning the inside part of the camera, the part around the lens mount and the inside closer to your sensor and again, just wanna put a disclaimer out there, that if this is not something that you're comfortable doing and have good technique doing, bring it to a professional.
Have a camera store look at it. They do it all the time and they can help you out because, this is one area that you wanna make sure that you're doing it right and being precise because you could potentially damage your camera. - Alright, so, one of the first things you could do is try to determine if your sensor's dirty. A lot of times, I'll just take a still camera and frame up and I'll shoot something that is pretty much white, ya know, and that's gonna give me what I need. I could use a flash if that wants a help there and I'm just shooting some white paper and, in this case, I'm gonna get out of auto focus 'cause it's just pure white, so it's difficult for it to see.
- Yep. - And I get a nice, clean, white image. - Yep. - Now, in this case here, pretty much fills the frame and I could zoom that in and just pan around and for those of you at home, don't panic. Nothing's wrong with your computer here. I'm just looking for dust and, ya know, the good news is, is that this is pretty clean. - Now, I'll make one caveat though about that, is that, we've said this before in previous episodes. - Yeah. - It's my mantra. Everything looks good on the camera LCD, right? - Yeah.
- So, one of the things, obviously, first pass, take a look at the back of the camera LCD, see if that's a problem. Second pass is, I'll bring that image onto my computer into Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, whatever it may be, and blow it up and really, sort of pixel-peep if you will. - Yes. - To see if there are pieces. - It's like a scavenger hunt. - Exactly, where in the world is Waldo? - Yeah, so he's looking around for those. Now, that's fine. That's gonna help you sort of assess the problem. The good news is, is that most cameras have sensor cleaning built in, in some way. - Yep. - So, clean image sensor, I could choose that and I could say, oh, first off, I've got it set to clean up at startup & shutdown.
- Yeah, and my Canon's do the same exact thing. I turn it on and it's gonna clean the sensor and what's really happening here, is that it's literally just doing some very microvibrations or adjusting that sensor ever so slightly in the hopes of shaking loose any loose particles on there. - Yeah, now that works fine and then I can go back up a level and if I'm having an issue, I could always say well, clean the sensor now. - Yep. - And it goes through and it thinks and it says it's cleaning the image sensor and then, it's gonna come back out and say OK, I'm done. And, it may or may not get rid of the problem.
That, very safe to do, right? The manufacturers built it in. Your warranty's not gonna be invalidated. Did you run the image sensor cleaner? Oh, I'm sorry, we can't honor your warranty. - I'm totally comfortable pushing buttons, but the next step is one that's a little bit more involved. And the first thing that we do on this is to simply, obviously, turn the camera off, right? You don't wanna have any, I even go as far as taking the battery out because I'm a little worried that any electrical charge potentially going to the sensor could be bad. - OK, well but, what about putting the mirror up or you just wanna, you just wanna blow the mirror off, right? - Oh no, this is a great, I do both and Rich makes a very good point.
Obviously, on a DSLR, you're gonna have a mirror in front of the sensor, on most DSLR's anyway. - Yeah. - And so, if you were to take the lense off right now, just turning the camera off, you'd see the mirror in front of the sensor. So, that's something that I definitely do. - And sometimes, the dust is on the mirror. - Totally. - And you see it when you're looking through the view finder. You take the picture, it goes away, like what? And it's 'cause the dust was on the mirror, not on the sensor. - So, I'll often, I'll still turn the camera off and I'll take the lens off and I will do, sort of the same kind of procedure that I did for cleaning the lens, with one big exception.
I do not touch that mirror. - Yeah. - Right? Because the thing about the mirrors is that they have special codings on them and if you touch them, you can flake them off and actually make the problem 10 times worse than it was. So, I'm again, a big fan of using the blowers. - Yep. - And that kinda stuff, that just kinda squirts some of that dust off. - So, I'll open that up and (squirting air sound). Now, you have to basically hold the camera sort of upside-down though, wouldn't you? So it doesn't just fall back in. - Exactly, I was just gonna say, you're making me nervous, Rich. You definitely kinda have to hold the camera at a little angle so hopefully that dust goes out of the camera, rather than back further deep into the camera.
- Now, that's fine and I'm gettin' that out. - Yep. - And that's one way of blowing the dust out. - Well, and that's mainly for the front, for the mirror. - Yeah. Now, the thing is, is that, that works well and you could absolutely do that. Some people will take a brush and dust. - I'm not as bold as that, but that's fine. - Now, if we wanna put the mirror up, a lot of times, you may have to adjust the actual dial. I'm just gonna go to M up, mirror up is one way or, in the menu itself, I could actually choose that. Now, you do need generally a fully charged battery.
Otherwise, that'll be grayed out. - K. - So, I'll just choose that and it says, OK, start at when I push the shutter release, it's going to open. To close it, I just turn the camera off. So, let's flip this around here and I push it and it opens up and I can actually see the sensor. - Hello sensor. - Hi! Now, you can go ahead and gently blow that out as another way. And try to get some of that dust off, that'll help. - Yep.
- They also make highly specialized brushes. Now, one of the things that I do to tell what's going on, is this is an actual light designed to go right over the top there and if I turn that on, I'll let you have a look, tell me if there's any dust in there. You're younger, you have better eyes. - I'm seeing a couple pieces of dust. - OK, so, as I look at that there, this helps me find it and yeah, there's definitely some in there and so, one of the things I could do, is this is from a system called Visible Dust. This is a gentle, never touch the brush tip, it's covered.
A vibrating brush that's designed to blow that out. - And it's very similar to, sort of the vibrations of the auto-sensor cleaning that the camera does. - And I'm just taking that gently across the surface. - Yeah and the key here is not to press or scrape. You don't wanna push too hard or do anything that could potentially damage the sensor. - So, I'll just go ahead and check that again and I got one of the two gone that I saw. It's looking a lot better. - Let's take a look. Oh yeah, much better. - Yeah, now, very specialized brush. Not cheap. Absolutely, positively, as soon as you're done, you see that there? It's vibrating and that works really well, but when you turn it off, you immediately wanna go ahead and get that back in the cover there and it could be a little tricky as you sort of feed that in.
But, just a gentle push, it's in there and then, it actually locks into place. Don't let that get touched onto anything. That's a very sensitive brush. - K. - Keep that covered and that works and this light and this brush will stop you from really going nuts. Now, when I turn the camera back off, the mirror is covered. I think these two things, pretty safe. - Yeah, pretty safe. I mean, the one thing I would add too is that, any time that you're doing any sort of work inside of the camera, sensor cleaning, that kinda stuff, - Make sure you're in the dirtiest, dustiest, nastiest environment possible.
- Right, you know, sneeze a lot towards the camera, that kinda stuff, no. You're absolutely right. You wanna be in a very clean environment. Think lint free, non-oily, no things blowing around. This is not work that you wanna do sitting on your back porch on a, ya know, a breezy day with a lot of pollen flying around. Let's put it that way. So, it's always good to do this in a, sort of a clean environment. And Rich, ya know, this is a good way, simple way of cleaning the sensor. But, when we come back, we're gonna talk about sort of, really kinda the ultimate way of cleaning your sensor and that's with a wet brush.
- Yeah and you could do it yourself if you're brave or you've been trained or you could take it to your local camera shop and have them do it for ya.
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