Monday, March 27th, 2023

Dust: nemesis of the mirrorless camera

Photograph of a blue sky with five dust blobs in the top right corner

A walk around Nagisa Park in Kobe turned into a photographic disaster. As I checked the images, I noticed the tell-tale signs of blobs of dust. Unnoticeable in shots of architecture and flowers, they stood out like a sore thumb against the beautiful blue sky.

I’m so careful when it comes to changing lenses. They get a blast of air from a hand blower before they go on the mount and a regular clean. Yet somehow a few bits of dust found their way in and settled on the sensor.

All is not lost. It’s quite easy to clean the sensor, and not that expensive.

You’ll need sensor cleaning swabs and fluid. Make sure you get the right ones for your sensor, otherwise you’ll make things worse.

Ideally you want a dust free environment, but as we live in the real world I suggest closing the curtains to block sunlight and don’t use a desk lamp as these are guaranteed to set the dust swirling around.

Take off the lens, and with the camera turned off and upside down, blow air over the sensor to dislodge the dust particles. Don’t use compressed air – use a hand blower or puffer.

Give the mount a quick wipe with a lint free cloth. DON’T TOUCH THE SENSOR.

Use the cleaning swab and fluid to wipe the sensor clean. They will come with instructions – follow them!

Put everything back together and take a photo of something bright and white and out of focus. If you’ve still got a spot of dust, repeat the process.

That’s it.

A wander down to the local temple to snap the first signs of cherry blossom confirmed my clean-up had worked. So it’s back to happy snapping.

Photograph of pink blossom against a blue sky
Taken after I finished cleaning the sensor and now dust-free!

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.