sensor cleaning, again

So, my Canon 5D's sensor is (still) dirty. I've bought a couple different cleaning kits, and, while I've occasionally achieved something of a local maximum, I can't get it fuckin' clean. I just end up moving the gunk around.

If I take it to Calumet, they'll just mail it off to Canon, and I'll be without a camera for 6+ weeks.

Is there anyone SF-local who will clean these things with a turnaround time measured in days instead of weeks?

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16 Responses:

  1. browse says:

    When I sent in my busted Canon Elph for repair to corporate, they got it back to me in less than 2 weeks. Longer than you want, but it still impressed me.

  2. the two times I have sent something to Cannon I got it back within 10 days.

  3. brad says:

    I recently called Calumet and they said while they'll soon be equipped to do it on site, they currently recommend: (my email to myself from phone call)

    action camera, west portal....
    10:00 - 5:45

    And Action Camera has a one-day turn-around time iirc, from when I called.

  4. cetan says:

    The question is, how clean is clean? Are you always shooting at f/22 these days, where you would notice dust in every shot, or are you just testing for dust at f/22 but shooting with "average" f/stop values (i.e. the occasional f/22)? Because if it's the latter, then your cleaning issues are, well, more OCD than anything. :) If very small apertures are not part of your daily shooting requirements, the best way to avoid dust is to not worry about it. Just my opinion/experience though (see below)

    Sending it somewhere will not do anything, because it'll just pick up dust again in transit.

    Ways to reduce dust during use:
    1) when changing lenses, aim the camera body down
    2) power off the camera while changing lenses
    3) clean the mount-sides of your lenses

    Did you end up trying the Visible Dust tools? They're my only experience, but I don't have to clean a full-frame sensor, so perhaps the effectiveness drops off.

    • jwz says:

      I don't shoot up near f22 very often, but when I do, it's really noticable. Sometimes even "I'm not good enough in Photoshop to fix this" noticeable.

      I tried the Visible Dust spinny-brush thing, and a couple of the squeegie-based tools.

      • ashura93 says:

        With trepidation...

        The best way (i've found) to remove dust spots in photoshop is to convert to LAB Colour and take them out of the lightness channel. For example.

        My 10D doesn't seem to be anywhere near as prone to this problem, but it probably helps that i never change the lens, and it's a fixed physical size. My expectation is that the lens that extend / retract act like little bellows, sucking in dust.

  5. injector says:

    Canon lists as one of the features of the Rebel XTi, a redesigned body cap that is supposed to generate less dust. I do notice that the body cap of my 30D always seems to form its own dust from the act of removing it from or placing it on the camera.

    I wonder if the XTi's cap is compatible with the rest of the EOS line.

  6. allartburns says:

    I haven't used them for repair services, but what about the K&S pro shop in Palo Alto?

    • wintre says:

      I've had them clean my 350D a couple of times. It's only taken a few days, and costs about $35 bucks as I recall.

  7. cavorite says:

    The only cleaning I've done that I've been satisfied with is with the kit from this site and their instructions:

    It worked really well on my 20D, enough to do a wedding shoot the day after cleaning with that kit.

  8. k12boy says:

    I've heard good things about these guys: for film cameras and they claim they can do most modern camera repairs on site. Worth an email, maybe...

  9. nyx_enomis says:

    I shoot architecture with a 5D (so regularly at apertures of f32) and use the squeegee-based Copperhill method too.

    Painful? Yes. But at least it works. In my opinion, it's actually the *only* option. Never had any luck with dust brushes (they only smear more stuff onto the sensor), and I don't trust my gear to some random "camera repair service". Besides - being out of a camera for any amount of time simply isn't an option. So I hunker down before every shoot and clean the damn sensor.

    I will however say that after having to send in a lens (after Burning Man - had dust on the *inside* of the freaking glass) to the Palo Alto branch of Canon's service - and they did a fine job cleaning up that puppy.

  10. jauderho says:

    I've discovered that my 5D appears to be much more prone to dust especially with the 16-35mm combo. The 20D with the 10-22mm was much better. That said, I've just use a hand blower for now but I think stronger methods are now called for.

    @nyx_enomis - Can you drop off a camera to be cleaned at the Palo Alto branch and if so what is the address?

    • jauderho says:

      I tested my 5D last night and was horrified to find a lot of dust on it. So I went over to KSP today and bought a Arctic Butterfly 724. It's silly but it does work. I think I have one or two fragments left but I'm going to wait till a different time to do a wet cleaning.

      So thumbs up for the Butterfly. BTW KSP will clean your sensor but they charge $35.

    • nyx_enomis says:

      Honestly - I have no idea if the Palo Alto branch of Canon's service takes walk-ins. I kinda doubt it. Can't remember the address either - it's been 2 years since I had that lens serviced there.

      I basically just went to Canon's online repair service form, and as I live in Oregon, the Palo Alto service center was assigned to me as the nearest.

      Sorry I couldn't be of more help ...

  11. c_senior says:

    Works for me better than any of the other devices. It is more predictable, results in less stuff being moved around. I find it easier to control than a moving device as the adjacent insides of the area are known to harbor oil or muck which can really make a mess of the sensor. I am sure other solutions work if applied exactly as advised. I just had problems controlling them.

    Calumet reviewed it, and endorsed it. My 5D was plagued with dust and debris turds when shooting wide (16-35 or even 24-105). It will always be problematic, I suspect, but I'm OK with this as a solution for the moment.