View Full Version : One for the D-SLR users

19-04-2007, 15:43

I know a number of keen photographers on here use digital SLR's.

I like my little Nikon bridge camera that i have but fancied the extra control of an SLR. So i got a Canon EOS 30D to try from work. Bearing in mind this thing was new out of the box and had not been used before. I paired it with a quality lens (17-55 f2.8 USM IS) and tried it out for an afternoon. The results were both magnificant and dissapointing. While the quality and handling of the camera couldn't be faulted at f8 and lower the marks from dust on the sensor ruined the photo's. For the older film users it looked like water marks on the picture.

So i tried the approved Canon method for removing dust to no avail. If anything it was worse. Needless to say i was not spending a fortune on a camera that gave terrible results like that so it went back (a perk of my job) and i have decided for now to stick with my Nikon.

Some people say you need to use cleaning swabs on the sensor but according to Canon that invalidates your warrenty. Some say that Canon will clean it free of charge but you have to pay the postage and be without your camera for 3-4 weeks. Some fool even said "well don't use it below f8 then" needless to say any more advise from him will be ignored!!!

Is this a problem that other users have?
I would be interested to know what your solutions are, my boss has a 2 year old EOS 20D and has never cleaned the sensor and never needed to. I am hardly a novice photographer being interested in it for 25+years and having an HND in it, but i was really dissapointed.

It's a bit academic now as SWMBO has "persuaded" me to use the money on a new TV now, but it would interesting to get peoples opinion for the future.


19-04-2007, 15:54
I've got the EOS 300-D, it's about 3 years old now and I've never need to clean the sensor.
not really sure how to get it sorted though... sorry.. :O(

19-04-2007, 16:06
The dust on the sensor is more apparent when using the higher f stops. I have cleaned my old canon D30 with sensor swabs but it is a bit like brain surgery in that the more you do it the more likely that one time it will scratch the sensor. you can just use a puffer or some "clean air" but be careful with the clean air not to spray the propellent on to the sensor. You can Photoshop out some of the marks, which is what i do if there is only one or two. Some of the more up to date models (and expensive) have a self cleaning mode. In general the advantages out way the disadvantages, just take care changing lenses or using the camera in dusty environment.

19-04-2007, 16:09
I have a Nikon D1X and D100. Both four or five years old now and both have been exposed to everything from riots to dust storms. I've never needed to do anything other than occasionally blow at the reflex mirror and have no real probs with dust marks.

Don't let one bad experience put you off. And don't walk away from Nikon to Canon goddammitt! ;)

19-04-2007, 17:03
I have a Nikon D1X and D100. Both four or five years old now and both have been exposed to everything from riots to dust storms. I've never needed to do anything other than occasionally blow at the reflex mirror and have no real probs with dust marks.

Don't let one bad experience put you off. And don't walk away from Nikon to Canon goddammitt! ;)

heh heh, i have to admit i was looking at the D200 as well. If it wasn't for the fact that i can get Canon products at trade prices i would of!!! :D

Ogri the trog
19-04-2007, 17:53
Thats more than a little concerning, as we've all but commited to buying a 350D Canon. They were given a rave review in "Which" and that, coupled with the fact that our old Film lenses will work with the new body has swayed our descission. Assuming of course that the 300/350/400 series are susseptible to similar problems. We've had a Canon A95 for a few years but we're getting increasingly fed up with the time delay in capturing the frame after hitting the shutter release.

I'm starting to wish I hadn't read your opst now :(

Ogri the trog

19-04-2007, 17:58
Can you be bribed to get me Nikon D80 at trade prices Ark Angel? ;) Green with envy.

I'm looking to trade from a manual contax for a 'proper digital' - having a new baby in the house mease I'm taking and developing hundreds of photos a month - and the little digital we have is garbage.

In my research on the subject I've read the secret to dust on the sensor is don't remove your lenses if you can help it.

I thought the canons had a shake mechanism and coatings to minimise this problem?


19-04-2007, 20:34
Sorry Ogri :(

I think it's a question of perspective....My coolpix 8800 is a bit like your Canon, an excellent camera but it does have it's limitations. I have been used to a Canon EOS-1 film camera for the past 15 years. It has served me faultlessly and has been well used and looked after. I was always a bit anal with keeping things clean and how and where i changed my lenses etc etc.

i got rid of the film camera and bought the Nikon for a number of reasons, mainly because i got fed up of carrying huge amounts of equipment round with me....in essence i took a "bushcraft" approach, less kit..same result. It is excellent in many ways and there are some examples all over this forum.

If you look at photography forums there are as many bad things said about them as there are good. As redcollective says some people say to change your lenses as little as possible, as a footnote to that the advice is to make sure the camera is turned off when you do it.

The general consensus seems to be that if you own a D-SLR you will suffer from dust end of story. It does only show up at small f-stops and can be photoshopped out. I think i might of had an unusually filthy example as our Canon rep said he had never seen so much c**p on a photo before! It has gone back to them for examination. My arguement is that i did not expect to pay 1400 for a camera and accessories that give worse results than i get with a 500 camera. Because it is a sealed unit the Nikon does not suffer with dust. I do not have the inclination to photoshop out these marks, i don't think i should have to. At most now i slightly tweak light levels on occasions, crop the image, put a border on it with a tag line. I do not want to correct dust marks. I didn't have to do it with film so i don't want to do it with digital.

I have to admit that i was dissapointed with the results, i expected the camera to work straight out of the box and as well as my old EOS-1, that is well looked after it gives faultless service. It would appear to be a potential and i DO stress that word problem of design. Put a current across a sensor it becomes charged with static....and what does static attract?....DUST.

As Tim-B says he has had one for 3 years and has never needed to clean the sensor. My boss has had a EOS-20D for 3 years and has never cleaned the sensor, the owner of the business has a 350D and has never cleaned the sensor.
The 400D had a self cleaning sensor as do some other brands. I think it is the luck of the draw, i wouldn't let my experience put you off. I have just decided to stick with the Nikon for now and see how things progress.

Sorry redcollective.....my discounts only apply to Canon's......and i have used up my quota's for a while ;)

19-04-2007, 21:06
Sensor cleaning is eventually inevitable.

A new camera fresh out of the box shouldn't have problems except in some cases some slight dust might stray onto the sensor but this can be blown off. Anything worse than that and your camera should be replaced under warranty.

There are two basic types of dirt you get on the sensor. The first is tiny specks of dust. These can be blown off using a photographic dust blower. There is a setting on the camera that holds the shutter open while you perform this task. The sensor is not touched at all during this process.

The best way to do this is be in a room where you won't be disturbed and the air is still. Plug your camera into the mains if you can, if not make sure your battery is fully charged. Mount it on something, a tripod is best. Remove the lens, use the blower to blow out the dust in the mirror chamber first then open the shutter to blow the dust off the sensor.

In most cases this is enough to clean your sensor. It's a quick, easy and fairly painless process. Never use anything more powerful than a photographic blower, do not blow with your mouth, do not blow with a pressurised blow can.

Use one of these http://www.warehouseexpress.com/?photo/cleaning/giottos_rocket.html

The second type of dirt you get on your sensor is the type that doesn't blow off. That's this stuff

This shows up mostly at smaller apertures (f8 and higher) and especially in bright subjects like blue skies. This kind of dirt needs a sensor swab.

Built in anti-dust devices don't work and at present are merely a gimmick. They only operate on the loose dust that a cheap blower will remove. They have been shown in tests to simply redistribute the dust around the sensor. In Canon's advertisement for their anti-dust technology they even admit that stubborn dust will need to be removed in post-processing.

19-04-2007, 21:27
In Canon's advertisement for their anti-dust technology they even admit that stubborn dust will need to be removed in post-processing.

And that is my main problem. Why should i have to remove dust spots? Apart from the obvious options that SLR's offer over compact camera's the dust problem makes them inferior in my opinion.
Why should we do the hard work? It is up to the makers to solve these problems. Why don't they? either the technology does not exist to do so or they are shifting so many units why bother?

It makes my blood boil that the "latest technology" has these problems.

I want to take photographs plain and simple. I don't want to spend hours in post-processing. I know that you can touch up film prints but i never used to have to. I was careful how clean my camera and lenses were. I was careful when prosessing the film to ensure i got no watermarks on the negative. When in the darkroom i cleaned the lens of the enlarger and was careful not to get dust on my paper.

To take all these precautions and still have to deal with these marks to me is unacceptable. :( :confused:

19-04-2007, 23:52
I bought the EOS 20D last year and love it. Must have done about 4000 pics in that time without problem. The quality is amazing. Had a pic blown up to A2 recently and I'm sure it could have gone to twice that the quality is so good :D

You simply shouldn't have dust on a brand new camera straight out of the box. If I did I know I would have demanded a replacement as that just isn't on. You mention that a Canon rep said it was the worst he'd seen so it must have been very bad :(

Don't let it put you off in the longer term though.

20-04-2007, 14:16
Dust gets onto the sensor in most cases for one main reason. Changing the lenses with the camera switched on. This allows static from the sensor to attract dust. Switch the camera off every time you change lenses and you shouldn't have any dust problems.


23-04-2007, 16:57
Sorry redcollective.....my discounts only apply to Canon's......and i have used up my quota's for a while ;)

No worries fella - I was just being cheeky.... went out and bought a D80 on the weekend anyway - currently discovering how easy it is to fil a 2 gig card shooting RAW! I think I'll stick to jpg.

as Eric says, changing lenses is the surest way to get dust on a densor (or mirror for that matter, if you still us a film camera - I do). I almost never swap lenses on my Contax, and it's perfect (though getting a bit long in th tooth now and starting to scratch negatives :(

I've also heard that the old 'run the shower nice and steamy and them wait for it to clear trick that you might have once done to clear dust from the bathroom so you could dry negatives in a relatively dust free environment might work - but I don't know what the moisture content will do for your camera!