At one time or another most, if not all of us, who use Digital SLR cameras' have suffered from the dreaded "Dust Bunnies" on our photographs. Unfortunately this scenario is all too familiar in so much that when we view our images on a monitor or similar, we find that the picture displayed is infested by rogue "spots and splodges" that weren't in the original frame!
Most modern DSLR cameras' have some form of built in dust removal but unfortunately this doesn't always work. The result usually goes one of two ways. We either spend an inordinate amount of time removing the marks in post production which is time consuming to say the least. The other alternative is to send our camera away to be cleaned which is a costly venture or we take the plunge and attempt to clean the sensor ourselves.
I won't dwell on the actual cleaning of the camera sensor as that is worthy of its own article. However I will provide you with 5 simple steps that can go a long way to reducing, if not preventing the appearance of those unwanted marks.
1. Swap over lenses as little as possible.
The beauty of DSLR cameras' is their flexibility due to the choices of lenses available to us. This makes our life so much easier in many ways but, every time we change over lenses, we run the risk of allowing dust into the camera chamber. I always try to make sure that I have the lens I need attached to the camera before venturing out. That is one less change that I need to make and one less opportunity for dust to invade the camera.
2. Shield your camera from the elements.
If you have to swap lenses then always make sure that you keep the camera out of gusting winds. Where possible shield the camera using your body as a wind break. Better still, invest in a lens swap bag which is specifically designed to be used for this task.
3. Make sure your camera body faces downwards when changing lenses.
When removing the lens from the body make sure that the camera is facing downwards. This helps to prevent dust from falling into the camera chamber. Try and keep the camera in a downwards facing position when attaching the replacement lens.
4. Make liberal use of a Rocket Blower.
Always have a Rocket Blower to hand and use it at each step of the change over. I always use it on the lens mount end of the lens prior to attaching the lens to the body. I will also use the blower around the camera chamber, again making sure that the body faces downwards. I usually find that a good 3 or 4 "puffs" of the blower around the chamber mouth is sufficient.
A note of caution when using a blower on the camera chamber. Make sure that the blower nozzle is never too close to the sensor. Keeping it at the mouth of the chamber is plenty close enough. In addition to this I will never use the compressed air blowers that one see's advertised. The propellant in these canisters can quite often contain more dust than it actually removes!
5. Always replace lens caps.
I know it sounds like a simple step but you will be surprised at the amount of photographers that fail to use them. The lens cap is there to keep the lens clean as well as protected. If you start out with clean kit it will make things so much easier.
I always stick to these 5 simple steps when out and about. I can't guarantee that your sensor will remain dust free as sometimes it is just impossible to stop dust entering the camera. However I have found that since I spent more care when changing lenses, I have certainly had less of those horrid blobs!
I know that this advice is not ground breaking but I hope you found this article of interest and you have experienced positive results!
Until next time, as always, stay safe and well.