You haven’t cleaned your DSLR Sensor?!?

– What’s up everybody? Peter McKinnon here, and today we’re talking about
how to clean your sensor. How to do it at home. What to do. What not to do. To keep that camera in good working order. Let’s go! (upbeat slide guitar, synth, bass drum) Ahhh. I got this mug in Hawaii ages ago. All right. What’s going on? How is everyone doing today? We’re talking about how
to clean your sensor. Now this wasn’t a video
that was on my radar in the last couple of months. It only really kind of came
up when I was in Africa because, like I mentioned
in the last vlog, it’s super dusty there. There was a lot of wind. There was a lot of dirt flying around. I’m pretty good with
keeping my gear clean. Now, I’ve got a lot of pro equipment, so it’s all weather sealed. So for the most part, living here, I never have
to really worry about it. My cameras don’t really get too dirty. My lenses don’t get too dirty. But when I met up with Max in Kenya, I was looking at his stuff, and I was like, dude! Your gear is filthy. And I thought to myself, “How does this guy not clean
his equipment or what?” One day outside, got back to my room, looked at my gear and was like, “What is happening?” Inevitable. Sometimes you’re just in environments, you’re in situations, you’re doing a shoot, whatever. It might be a paid gig. It might not be. It might be just where you’re exploring. But you get back and your stuff is a mess, so what do you do? How do you clean it? What do you use to clean it? Do you have to send it away to clean it? Can I do it at home? What should I not be doing? Those are some of the
things I thought that might be valuable to teach you
guys in today’s episode, so I’m gonna go into some of them. Now, full disclosure. I only clean my sensor if
I notice that there’s some obvious piece of dirt on it. Like when you’re shooting, and you’ve got your camera
and you’re looking through it. And you can see like a dark spot, or even when you get back to editing and you see a dark spot on your photos, and you’re like, “What the heck is that?” And you gotta clone stamp it. That means there’s dirt on your sensor, and that is when you need to clean it. I don’t just get home
from like a regular shoot, hanging out with my buddies and be like, “Hmmm. All Right. “Gonna put this down. “I’m gonna go ahead and clean.” You’re kinda just asking for it. You wanna open that sensor
up as little as possible. So only clean it if you
really need to clean it. Now, second thing I wanna mention is only do this if you’re
confident in your own abilities to do so. I am not responsible for
anybody opening up their sensor and like spitting on it or
carving your name in it, or like melting a candle over it. Don’t do any of those things. If you ruin your sensor, it’s not on me, so good luck with it. It’s a finicky situation, right? When it comes to cameras, cleaning the sensor, opening up that sensor and exposing it and actually touching
the surface with anything is like, is like diffusing a bomb. It’s one of the most
sensitive, vulnerable spots of a camera. So you don’t want to just open it up and go microwave some pizza and watch some Netflix and come back and like, “Oh! I forgot I left that open.” Like this is something
you just wanna do quick, get it done right, close that up, and not have to do it, preferably, for as long as possible. Compressed air. Lens cleaner. Rocket blower. Horrible name. And we got a loop and a lens cloth. Now, this is what I do
not recommend to use. Compressed air is not very good because it comes out too strong. So if you’re trying to
clean stuff off of a lens, a lot of the time, this can end up pushing dirt
further into the camera. It can push it into those
crevices of the lens. It can push it into
areas, into the buttons. Now if my camera’s super
dusty and I get home, I might give it like a quick. Something like that just
to brush off all the dirt or pollen or whatever’s been on it from wherever I’ve been shooting. But I’m not gonna get like super up close into the eye piece, into all these things just because I don’t wanna force anything further into the camera
that shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be in there. Do not turn it upside down
and open up the sensor and subzero freeze it because, well then. You know. Just an idiot. Just don’t do that. So this is what I use instead. These are rocket blowers. I keep this in my bag everywhere I go. Every time I open up the
body to change the lens, I turn the camera upside
down so that anything that I’m blowing in
here is gonna fall out. I don’t wanna go this way. I wanna just give it a quick couple of squeezes like that. The dirt falls out. I put my lens on. Now when I’m done shooting, I take my lens off. I give this a quick little once over. I put the cap back on, and I’m good. You wanna keep this cap
on as much as possible, or a lens on as much as possible. You wanna avoid any possible down time where that camera is just sitting open for extended periods of time. That’s just asking for it. It would be like leaving your car with all the doors open and
the keys in the ignition. And you just park it down in the city, and you just go out for the day. You wanna give your lens a
quick clean when you get home. Zeiss Lens Cleaner, this microfiber cloth. It’s super soft. This was like three dollars. So it’s super cheap. But just to show you an example of like how dirty it was when I
was shooting in Africa. This was after one day. I just got home. I wiped the lens down. Look at all the dirt that
came off just one UV filter from like a half day’s shoot. That’s a lot of dirt
coming off of a UV filter. So you can imagine the
whole lens was covered. The body, the screen, everything. Now I know we’re getting into
like cleaning a lens here, but I mean we’re here
and I may as well before I show you the sensor stuff. I don’t recommend just
spraying down on the top. First, I would just give a couple sprays to the actual cloth, itself. So I would just start with two, and then I would wipe the top of the lens. Furthering that, a couple
squeezes of the rocket there. Get all those extra fluffies off, and then the cap goes straight back on. That lens is clean. That’s all you need to do. Don’t use this. You don’t need to spray the sh out of it. Just spray the rag. Get it done Movin’ on. All right, now it’s time for the sensor. So you can have it professionally cleaned. You can send it to your
camera manufacturer. They’ll do it, obviously, in
the clean room flawlessly. You’ll get it back. Mint. There is the down time of
having your camera gone. You have to ship it to them. Unless you live close. You might be able to drop it off. But then you just still
gotta go pick it up, or have it shipped back. So there’s a Canadian
company called Visible Dust. And they specialize in sensor cleaning and camera cleaning and
all that kind of thing. And they got a product
called the Arctic Butterfly. And they’re not paying me
to say this for advertising any of their stuff. I don’t actually even
use the Arctic Butterfly. I used to have one back when
I worked at the camera shop ’cause they’re really expensive. They’re like 350 dollars
and at that point, you may as well just send your camera out to have it professionally cleaned. They work pretty well. I just never really liked it that much. There’s two different methods. There’s using that brush. I prefer the swabs. They sell these swabs and
they’re individually packaged, so that they’re perfectly
clean and air tight. And then you get this liquid with it, which is called Vee Dust
Plus, multi-ingredient formula specifically made for DSLR sensors. Made in Canada. Hey. So there’s the sensor
cleaning stuff right there. That’s all I need. You toss this away. You buy a pack of them. You get like 12. Like I said, I’m not cleaning
my sensor every month, every two months anyway, so one pack of these swabs
will last me quite a while unless I was shooting
somewhere like Africa on a consistent basis. The last thing that I use
is what I really, really like from them, and I’ve had these as long as they’ve made
them, is their loops. It comes in a little case like this. It’s essentially a giant magnifying glass with different LEDs. You got red ones. You got white ones. And then you got nothing. So this sits on top of the camera, so you can look down onto the sensor and see it massive and you can actually see where the dust and the dots and all the dirt is, so you know where to swab, or if you’ve missed anything. So the red LEDs are
something that their calling dark adaptation, which means when you’re in a dark environment, you’re using those LEDs and your pupils have adjusted to that environment. You’re able to see more
detail and more spots and potential dirt on the
sensor using that red LED with their dark adaptation technology. The problem is there’s dust and particles and nonsense floating
everywhere in your house. You can’t necessarily see it, but you don’t want your
sensor open and exposed to all of this stuff
that’s floating around, so what do you do? Go into your bathroom and run the shower on as hot as it goes
for like five minutes. That’s gonna get the
room really, really hot. Really, really steamy. Really, really humid. And that weighs down all
the dust, all the dirt, all the particles that
would be floating around in the air. Turn off the shower. Bring the camera in. Do your sensor cleaning. That’s the best case scenario of not getting any extra particles or dust floating around, trapping them in your camera by accident. You’ve essentially created
a clean room in your house by weighing all that dirt
down with the humidity and the water and the steam that’s in the air from the shower. All right, so the first
thing you’re gonna want to do is turn the camera on. A lot of these cameras, the sensor is opened through the menu. So I shoot Canon. If you guys do as well, it’s under the wrench tab and it’s the third tab over. Called Sensor Cleaning. You’re gonna click on that. And you’ve got three options. Now, you’ll notice it has Auto Cleaning, Clean Now, and Clean Manually. Clean Now, you’ll probably notice, if you click that, it kind of vibrates
the sensor a little bit to shake off some of the dirt. You’ll probably notice that also happens sometimes when you turn the camera off. At the end of the day, it does a little sensor cleaning there just to kind of keep everything as neat and tidy as you can. But what you wanna do is
go back into that menu, Sensor Clean and you’re
gonna go Clean Manually, and what that does is
it exposes the sensor, and then it’s go time. So let’s go ahead and do that. Clean Manually. It says, “Mirror will lock up. “After manually cleaning sensor, “turn the power off,” which will automatically close that door. So go over to OK, and listen for this. (click) There it is. The sensor is now open. All right. So that is your image sensor. So what you’re gonna want to do is throw that loop on there. It’s gonna keep any dirt out. We’re gonna turn the light on, and take a look inside. So there is that loop looking inside. That is red, which will
show more dirt and specks. Now, I’m gonna put one drop on the front, and one drop on the back. Sometimes I do two drops on the front, two drops on the back, but you know, to each his own. So we take this off. Try not to drop this. Try not to drop the swab at this point because it’s perfectly clean, and you don’t wanna touch
the sensor with anything that’s not clean. It would be like washing
a car and if you drop the rag on the driveway
and then pick the rag up and continue wiping down the car. Not the best idea. So we’re gonna go one drop here, two drops because I feel like it. Flip it over. One drop. And two drops. Just to get like an even
distribution of liquid. So you’re gonna put
the swab all the way in and just paint across. Pretty much it. Now you can do another pass to make sure there’s no streaks on there. Once you’re done, you’re gonna throw that loop back on. You’re gonna take a
look at your handiwork, make sure there’s no streaking, no more specks. Now, once you’re done, just like the instructions said, you wanna turn that camera off, and that closes the sensor door, flips the mirror back down and you’re good to go. All right, guys. So that’s it for me today. I hope you enjoyed this video. I hope you learned something. I hope you got something out of it. If your camera’s dirty, if you need to clean the sensor, if you’re just looking
for some general knowledge on how to take care of
your equipment better, I hope this served you well. Again, be careful. Be cautious. Take your time. Don’t speed through it. But being able to clean your own sensor and keep your own equipment in its best working condition is something that every photographer, cinematographer should
definitely know how to do. So thanks so much for watching. Hit that like button if
you liked this video. Smash it if you so desire. Subscribe if you aren’t already. Hit that little bell button
and you’ll be notified every time I upload a video with vlogs and tutorials and a bunch
of random shenanigans that we do here on this channel. Thank you so much for watching, and and I’ll see you guys on the next video. Right here. (upbeat synth)

100 Replies to “You haven’t cleaned your DSLR Sensor?!?”

  1. Great tutorial Peter! Does anyone have any recommendations on how to remove dust specks in video footage? Noticed them when I was on a trip and couldn't clean my sensor while I was out. Any help would be appreciated! FCPX user

  2. Once I used the um, well it's the stupidest thing to do tbh but the replacement brush head for an electric toothbrush, I figured that cos static electricity and how that would affect the brush, that maybe a clean replacement brush would work, it did but I don't recommend it, infact I recommend against it

  3. It's handy to blow the inside of the lens cap too before putting back on as it may have accumulated dust which could then be transferred to the lens.

  4. Dude that elephant in the sand shot at the start is from an elephant orphnanage in Nairobi, Kenya – I just went there today! recognised the wound in the trunk! Thats so crazy ahah

  5. QUALITY VID BUDDY! ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ

  6. Just a note to others, you should only open the sensor with a full/near full battery as it eats power and for sure you dont want the mirror flipping back down mid way through cleaning due to power loss!

  7. As soon as I heard you slurp your coffee I had to check my mug. Yep still some there, cool. Ok, continue with video…

  8. It's not the sensor that you're actually cleaning but a low pass filter glass that protects the sensor. Yes I have cleaned my protective glass on the sensor several times, and there's nothing to fear if you know what you're doing

  9. Do you re-use your microfibre cloths or do you always buy new ones? If you reuse them, how do you clean them? I've heard some say with just water, some with soap, some say only use packaged moist and dry lens wipes that are one use only. I'd really like to know where you stand on this.

  10. You've just made me realise when I got my new camera there was a smidge on the sensor. I don't think it was new now…hmm.

  11. How the chit did you get all of these Subs!! I think its showing direction of youth. Sick of negative people. You dont give negative ANY time. Never heard you mention conflict with Trolls. And never give it a second. Stay flamboyant, some dont like it because theyve got no concept of energy being released in a good way. So they criticize you saying ur hyper. I say where's that channel!! Yeah, where sick and tired of negative trolls. You dont even give them crumbs, not from what ive seen. And never do.

  12. Dont forget you can point a fan towards outside area of room working in. This will create a negative pressure in room. Pulling debree away. Shower steam will attract lint etc. And pull down to floor, or fan will get it. Work at far end, in a burble zone where air is just being pulled away from you. Bathrooms can work. Need strong fart fan, or get another one.

  13. The shower/clean room tip isn't something I'd be comfortable doing, with excessive moisture around. The best way I found to have a mini cleanroom is to have a 120mm fan blowing towards the top on top of whatever you're working on. This sucks away any dust that would fall on there

  14. Do you own a pet…especially a cat…I can only imagine you trying to clean that sensor with cat hair flying around…I have one…and I am so paranoid about the hair flying around….And it's almost impossible to get all the hair cleaned up…it stick's to everything…especially your coat or shirt….

  15. Listen close….. know what the inside of your camera bag is made of. A lot of them after time will get dry and they will send zillions of micofibers all into your camera !

  16. You used the dirty side of your lens cloth on your lens, I'd never do that, I always use disposable lens wipes never reuse a lens wipe/cloth it's like using sandpaper on the lens.

  17. Hi Peter, Im investing in a camera for my business and I came across your channel through research. I immediately had to subscribe! love your personality! not only are the vids informative, but they fun and entertaining too.

  18. 3:55 air hits the sensor, shoots off in all directions where it blows dust loose in all sorts of other parts of the camera, and that dust then settles on the sensor. Trust me, I've been there. There is absolutely no point in attempting to use compressed air… unless you really enjoy that feeling of woe and regret upon realizing you now need to open it up once more and do it all over again.

  19. This is a waste of time Peter just take the lens off and put it in the dishwasher smh ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

  20. Hello Peter !

    I contacted the Canon CPS service to clean myself the sensor of my 1dx mark II.

    CPS told me that we should not clean it as we did before because the new sensors (1dx II and 5d IV) are different and much more fragile than the older generation.
    They do it with a laser machine apparently …

    I would really like to do it myself when I'm abroad several hours away from home …

    I cleaned the camera a few times with the bulb in the air and the spatula soaked in sensor material.

    Can I do it on my 1dx mark II ?

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. God bless me Iโ€™m gonna do surgery on my canon camera, or should I say the heart of my camera!!!!! . Oh Boii. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ
    I only have 1 min to do it.

  22. What a huge water and energy wastage Peter. Shower on as hot as it goes for 5 min?! All tips great exept that. Elsewhere people killing for water

  23. I appreciate that you posted this video. Thanks so much for sharing. I know someone that cleaned his own sensor and ruined it and had to buy another camera. I thought it was more complicated than it is. Glad I got to see the inside of it. Not sure I'd clean my own sensor (I live right near a Nikon service center). But someday I may be in a pinch and may have to. I can't be away from my camera in wedding season so I may need to in the future.

  24. Some like to run a hot shower but I like to run a hot bath. Mr. Bubble and Mr. Ducky make a great sensor cleaning team!

  25. Hi. I cleaned my sensors, but there are still smudges in the viewfinder, but I noticed itโ€™s the prism that is either dirty or scratched. I donโ€™t know how it got so dirty, but I cleaned it as well but the smudges donโ€™t wanna come off. I also noticed that my pictures donโ€™t show any spots, so do you think I should worry about spending tons of money getting my prism cleaned?

  26. Screw all that, my camera just does it automatically evrytime i turn it off. I can even hear the noises.


  27. 1:04 Name the damn country ffs.
    "I was in Africa" Africa is 54 goddamn country it's not the same everywhere

  28. I use a 50mm lens on my camera to look for the dust on the sensor or mirror. On my Sony A57 it has a almost clear mirror in front of the lens, and while you can click open, and remove the mirror it seems risky…so I would click the release for the mirror, and when it's out of the way blow on the sensor, and right away push the mirror back down to lock it…I hit my mirror with the rubber end of the blower.and put a mark on that mirror, and had to take a chance and put a cotton on that same blower and rubbed the mirror being extremely careful…and got it off..thank god for that one..

  29. To bad they don't make dumb shit tattoo cleaner….don't get it….you seem like a smart guy….have fun with the liver issues ….hard to clean that one !!!

  30. I don't have dirt on my sensor but i do have dirt on my lens mirror which doesn't bother me since it doesn't come up in photos

  31. 6:08 i would do this opposite. First; use this air blower to take off all of dirt (some of it may be little quartz which is very high on mohs scale of hardness and can damage a lens if it's pressed hard) and then wipe it with that cloth.

  32. Fast forward a few years, but the start of the cup reminded me of Tea with Monty ๐Ÿ˜‚
    Maybe you could do Coffee with Pete

  33. Yeah I rather not touch the sensor myself, ill send it rather to a professional cleaner or take it there myself. I rather not have the problem of possible problems.

  34. This video is back 2 years ago. And now almost 4 Million ๐Ÿ™‚ Man, Pete, I will love to see that number turning into 4M ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. YOOo guys i just started my videography channel and posted my first few videos,i would really appreciate if could check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. I have heard that TSA will confiscate rocket blowers because it resembles a bomb or something like that. Have you had any issues or do you just pack it in your checked bag(s)?

  37. with the rocket air blower, consider dirt can get into it, and unless you blow it out first, you'd be sandblasting the sensor

  38. Oh, My Dude!
    I'm trying to translate and make subtitles in Persian for your Vlogs to share with my Persian audiences (if you are ok with that โ™ฅ ).
    I started with this video and sometimes you speak incredibly fast, I'm dying to understand :))))))))

  39. This video was nerve racking watching, totally a much needed video for me. Shout out to Peter for the bathroom steam weighting dust down, Most Impressive

  40. I don't even have a camera and don't intend on buying one because I don't have the money and would have to save at least a couple years for the shittiest body, but I've been watching your and other camera techies' videos on YouTube for quite some time. I learned almost every term there is to learn, as well as how everything works, tips, tricks, editing etc. Hopefully it will all prove worth my time one day..

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