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How to clean sensor

Roni Beraha
 

Hi there.

I am seeing different approaches with different dits when they clean the sensors.

Some say to use plastic air blower, some say you have to use greenclean, some use greenclean stick to clean, some object to that.

So what should be the approach?

Regards,

Erol Roni Beraha
Focuspuller
Istanbul

Daniel Gurzi
 

The unfortunate answer that it depends. There are some considerations to be made product to product and type of cleaning.

Product Considerations:
Are you cleaning the sensor, the shutter, the IR filter?
Does the camera have a rotating ND filter wheel?
How is the sensor cavity sealed?

Essentially, a blower is great to get dust and such out of the sensor area, as long as there is no risk of blowing it further toward the sensor, this is what happened with the C300 mk1, and the Alexa Mini. So for those you have to meticulously pick out each piece with a cotton tip applicator. 

I would recommend having at your disposal some cotton tips, Roscoe lens tissues, and then figure out which cleaner you like, there are lots of them, but most of them are basically rubbing alcohol and water. 

So the first step is to get rid of the dust and loose stuff. Then get in and scrub for any grease. And then do a final swipe layer to get rid of any streaks and residue. And there are times when you might have to go over the same sensor or element several times to make sure it's pristine. 

Daniel Gurzi
Biz Dev @ Kitsplit
Rental House Manager for 12 years in NYC

providfilm@...
 

We developed a product that helps address this issue. Our Air Flex cleaning kit uses food grade CO2 with a choice of output nozzles to control air burst pressure. We find that an inert, no moisture content, not harmful to sensors or optics additive content and no unhealthy content for humans, is a great approach. 
Not trying to market this here but people love it. We can send the specs to anyone interested. Hope this helps. Bill Reiter. Pro Video & Film Equipment Co. providfilm@...

Richer, Steve
 

I sure don’t agree with using the word “scrub” when it comes to cleaning any optics outside of a clean room environment.

We use blowers, brushes, and swabs, in that order. I have anyone touch the glass with swabs as an absolute last resort. Especially with Amira’s or Alexa Mini’s. The cover glass is very delicate and prone to scratching easily.

I prefer the Visible Dust blower, which supposedly has a charge which helps lift dust off the surface. If that doesn’t work, we use the Arctic Butterfly. Again, when it spins it imparts slight charge in hope that any contaminant will lift off easier.

The VDust Plus is a good liquid to use with swabs, and their 1.0 swabs are made for full frame sensors. I tell people to use a swab once, then throw it away. If you reuse, you risk picking up dirt and scratching the glass.

I’m sure I sound like an ad for Visible Dust, but I’ve tested every cleaning product I can get my hands on...which has been a lot over the years.

Best,

Steve

 

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Steve Richer

Camera Technician

NFL FILMS

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

E: steve.richer@...

 

 

Daniel Gurzi
 

Thanks, Steve. I should have clarified. It's "scrubbing" proportional to working with delicate elements. But there are times when you see a grease smudge and anything less than a firm hand with a soft applicator won't do it, and then once it's removed, you go back to the blow and swab to clean up the residue.

I stay away from brushes as I find that many people re-use them and don't store them properly, so a piece of dirt or sand gets into the brush and then you get these awesome circular scratches all over your elements. Saw it happen on a set of Master Primes years ago. Each element was a separate "incident" for the insurance company, which meant 7 deductibles...it was not pretty. 

Daniel Gurzi
Biz Dev @ Kitsplit