By Anna Gay on | No Comments
When to have your camera cleaned is a very common question that comes up in regards to gear maintenance.
Keeping your camera's sensor clean and dust free will help you have sharper images, and help to avoid the dreaded black spots that can appear on your image (usually near the edge of the frame) which require lots of time to clone out. They can even show up in a place on your image that ruins it!
While there are at-home sensor cleaning kits available (and many people have had success with these kits), if you are a beginner (or just nervous, like me) you should probably play it safe and send your camera off to be professionally cleaned. One tiny wrong move while cleaning your sensor can cost you hundreds of dollar, and even ruin your camera.
So for this post, we will look at when, where and how to send your camera for cleaning.
There is no set amount of time as to when you should have your camera sensor cleaned. However as a general rule of thumb, you shouId clean it once you start seeing spots.
Here is an example of what sensor spots look like:
Sensor spots come in all sizes depending on what kind of dust you have on the sensor. They can either be fairly faint, like the one above, or they can appear solid black and look like a bug in your photo!
If you live in an area with a local camera store (lucky you!), they may be able to clean the sensor for you, so check locally to see if someone in your area can do the work.
If not, you can send your camera to the manufacturer and they will clean it for you. I've personally had great experiences doing this.
Here is the link to where you can schedule a sensor cleaning with Nikon: Nikon Support. When I have had my sensor(s) cleaned through Nikon, the charge was $40 + shipping and handling.
Here is the link for Canon sensor cleaning: Canon Support
When you fill out the maintenance ticket with the manufacturer, they will provide you with shipping instructions. YOU will be responsible for packaging your camera safely, so here are a few tips on how to properly pack your camera:
Cleaning time will vary, depending on how far you are shipping the camera, and the manufacturer, but you should expect anywhere from 1-3 weeks to have it cleaned.
The last time I sent a camera to Nikon for cleaning, it took exactly two weeks from time it left my home town, to go to New York for cleaning and back - not bad!
Do you have any questions or comments about Cleaning Your Camera Sensor? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.