Tuesday, October 27, 2009
DPP Solutions: Defeating Dust
What you need to know about cleaning your sensor
4) Dot Line Hurricane Blower
Out, Damned Spot!
There are times when a blower or vacuum isn’t quite enough, but sending the camera in for service (and being without it for several days or even a few weeks) is impractical. That’s when more diligent action is required. However, digital camera sensors are very delicate and are easily damaged. Scratch the low-pass filter, and you’ve voided your warranty. And replacement can cost as much as a new camera.
A person with normal hand-eye coordination can safely clean the camera’s imager if he or she exercises reasonable caution, carefully follows the directions and uses a suitable product. Needless to say, never take a swipe at a CCD with a common cotton swab dipped in eyeglass cleaner. And if you can’t make instant coffee without spilling something, you should probably get someone to help you. But it all starts with the right product.
VisibleDust products are used by world-famous IC chip manufacturers—and the folks who maintain one of the world’s most important astronomical telescopes. They’re also used by many repair subcontractors who handle the routine “clean this CCD” assignments from the major camera makers—at least, that’s what the major independent camera repair shops tell them. That’s because the products they offer are the highest quality available combined with the most advance technology. For example, every brush they sell is individually inspected with a microscope before it’s delivered for use.
Because VisibleDust approaches sensor cleaning as true scientists would, they produce products that attack dust at the atomic level. For example, the VisibleDust Zeeion blower looks like a conventional bulb-type blower, but it’s made from a new silicone compound called Silicone RX. This material generates more negative ions than positive ions. The negative charge helps eliminate dust and electrostatic charges from the anti-static-coated sensor surface. This technique is referred to as a “passive and selective ionization.” It may sound complicated, but the blower is easy to use and is still the safest way to manually clean a sensor.
5) Dust-Aid Dust-Wand Kit
Dust that refuses to yield to a blower or brush requires wet treatment. Dust-Aid calls this “welded-on dust” and offers the Dust-Wand Kit as a remedy. The kit includes everything you need to assemble a wand-like swab (in one of three common sizes) and a cleaning liquid that’s nonflammable, nonalcohol and evaporates fast without leaving a residue. The kit is packaged in an easy-to-stow carrying case and is good for 50 cleanings.
From Dot Line comes the DL-0410 Hurricane Blower, a durable cleaning device that’s compact and perfect for travel, with a small suction cup on the bottom that allows it to stand upright. One squeeze produces a strong puff that safely blasts contaminants from mirrors, focusing screens and imagers. The narrow neck has a flexible tip that’s designed to prevent it from damaging your camera’s innards. It’s also great for quickly removing the dust that sometimes collects around the camera’s knobs and dials.
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