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Mirror Box And Sensor Chamber Contamination Prevention Guide

Contamination of the sensor and mirror box / sensor chamber is something that plagues DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. Preventative actions are required to prevent the build-up of dust and other contaminations from ultimately ruining your images. We would, therefore, strongly suggest fitting to the body cap of your camera and to each Dust Catchers lens back cap. 

It has been proven time and time again that taking either cap off and placing this in a pocket / bag will ultimately pick-up dust and other contaminants. The dust that collects in these caps are then transferred to the lens (via the lens back caps) and then to the mirror box, or in the case of the body caps, directly to the mirror box (or in the case of mirrorless models directly to the sensor chamber). 

Dust catchers are double-sided sticky tabs that capture dust and other contaminants and prevent this being transferred to the mirror box / sensor chamber. When changing lenses, always switch the camera off, this action ensures that the camera’s sensor dissipates any charge and thus is less likely to attract any contamination. This is particular applicable to mirrorless models. (Note/ with mirrored DSLRs cameras having the camera switched on can attract contamination from the rear of the mirror box to the rear shutter blinds, this is then transferred to the sensor chamber when the shutter is fired). 

Always point the camera downwards when changing lenses and connect the lens this way if possible (this may take a bit of practice to perform!!) Use a filtered air blower to clean out the mirror box on a regular basis (applicable to mirrored DSLR cameras). 

The mirror box is the first point of call / entry point for dust and other contaminants. From here it is transferred to the rear of the shutter and then directly to the sensor chamber and sensor. If your images exhibit signs of contamination (dark spots in the sky or elsewhere in your images) it is advisable to “dry clean” your sensor using a filtered air blower. 

Using the camera’s dedicated manual sensor cleaning mode, place your camera into this mode and turn your camera so it is facing downwards.(please refer to your camera’s instruction manual if you are unsure where to find this is in your camera’s menu) Using the filtered air blower place the nib of the blower into the sensor chamber and give the bulb of the blower a few pumps, this action is normally sufficient to dislodge any free-floating dust / contamination from the sensor. 

If the problem still exists in subsequent images then it is advisable to “wet clean”your sensor as the contamination has adhered to the sensor glass and cannot be removed using the filtered blower

NOTE IF YOUARE UNSURE HOW TO WET CLEAN YOUR SENSOR,DO NOT HAVE THE NECESSARY TOOLS AND HAVE NOT RECEIVED INSTRUCTION ON HOW TO DO THIS SAFELY WE WOUD SUGGEST THIS IS LEFT TO THOSE WHO OFFER THIS AS PROFESSIONAL AND INSURED SENSOR CLEANING SERVICE

Experience has shown that the use of DustCatchers and regular cleaning of your mirrorbox & sensor chamber using a filtered airblower can eliminate between 60% - 70% of contamination from the mirror box / sensor chamber. 

The majority of air blowers on the market do not user changeable filters. This means they blow contaminated air into the mirror box /sensor chamber, which in some cases can add to the problem. 

Contaminants that require a wet clean include: pollen, salt spray, diesel fumes and spittle. Once the sensor has been cleaned, it is advisable to create a Dust Off Reference(Nikon) / Dust Delete Data Reference (Canon)to help with automatic clean-up of affected images at any time in the future (please refer to your camera’s instruction book re how to perform this operation – Nikon and Canon only)

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