Does your sky look like it’s filled with shadowy black dots? Have you taken a macro shot and instead of a nice smooth blurred background, you get one filled with grey blobs? If so, then you probably need your sensor cleaned! Click on the image to the left to have a closer look at what a really dirty sensor can do to your photos!
There are basically three things you can do…
- Send the camera back to the manufacturer for cleaning.
- Try doing it yourself (see our tutorial here) since we sell all the supplies you need.
- Bring it to us to clean it! That is what this page is all about…
The standard Sensor Cleaning Service is $65 plus taxes.
The standard service, which is all that the majority of sensors we clean need, includes up to 8x Visible Dust swabs and whatever cleaning solutions are required. If the camera’s sensor is very dirty, or is exceptionally hard to clean, and requires we use more swabs, then we will charge for additional swabs at 10% off the retail price of $5.25, which works out to $4.73 each.
There are a few things we need you to do before bringing the camera in…
- Firstly, note that we only clean interchangeable lens DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Once it a while, a fixed-lens point&shoot camera might exhibit sensor dust, but that must be sent in for servicing with the manufacturer.
- COVID-19 Update: You can drop off your camera at any time since we will quarantine the camera for 72 hours before performing a standard sensor cleaning. If you are in a big hurry and make an appointment in advance, we will make an exception and clean your camera immediately. We will sanitize our hands and wear a mask when handling your camera for sensor cleaning. If you dropped off the camera, once the cleaning is complete we will call you, and it will be up to you whether or not you pick the camera up immediately or if you’d rather we quarantine it for another 72 hours.
Make an appointment! If you just bring your camera in, you will need to leave it with us for at least 24 hours, however if you make an appointment for a specific date and time, you can just wait for it to be cleaned. It usually takes between 20 and 40 minutes to clean a sensor, possibly quicker if it’s not too dirty.
- Ensure that you supply us with a fully charged OEM battery (not a third-party battery) and in the case of DSLR cameras, it really needs to be FULLY charged. Many cameras do not allow you to activate their sensor cleaning mirror-lockup modes if the battery is even “one bar” down from full! Many mirrorless cameras will have an exposed sensor when they are switched off, so the charge level is not as critical, but just to avoid possible delays and be on the safe side, please bring a fully charged battery.
- Do not supply a DSLR camera with a battery grip. Just the body with one charged OEM battery. The reason for that is that we’ve seen battery grips that exhibit a poor connection with the body, and when slightly flexed, the power can cut out. If the power cuts out during cleaning and the camera’s shutter snaps closed, it could cause serious damage to the camera. So please, no battery grip!
- Please supply the camera with a mid focal length lens in the 35-85mm range. While our rental dept. has many Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon and Sony lenses, if you have a different brand of camera, or if we are busy and have a lot of lenses out in the field, then not bringing a lens could delay things.
- If you have a non-standard bulky strap on the camera, please remove it before bringing the camera in since they can sometimes get in the way.
- Lastly, we will ask if you’ve ever had reliability issues with the camera, where it has unexpectedly shut down or crashed, or required the battery to be pulled for a reboot. If so, then we will not clean the camera. Also, if the camera is in very poor shape, beat up or damaged, we also will not clean it. In those cases, sending it to the manufacturer for a cleaning, or attempting to clean it yourself (here is our tutorial link again) would be your best options.
COVID-19 Update: Unfortunately, we are currently not officially offering the sensor cleaning training option, sorry. However, we will be happy to answer any quick questions you might have about cleaning while we are working on your camera, being sure to maintain the requisite physical distancing!
Finally, if you’d like to watch us clean your camera’s sensor and ask questions, basically be trained how to to do your own sensor cleaning, we will do that at no extra charge – the same $65! Just make an appointment for a specific time and we will show you how to clean your own camera, by cleaning your own camera! Training sessions usually take 30 minutes or so, give or take. If you are comfortable with trying it yourself afterwards, we will sell you any sensor cleaning supplies at 10% off, when on the same invoice as the cleaning.
Take your sensor from being dirty, to being clean by calling us today and bringing your camera in! Below is the actual “before” and “after” of a very dirty sensor that we had cleaned…
Disclaimer: The totem pole shot is a composite of a photo I took with my Fujifilm camera, and a dirty sensor test shot from a different camera. Since I have never had such a dirty sensor and thus have no good examples, the spots are a composite of the “Before” shot above, which was taken with a DSLR that a customer brought in for cleaning, and a shot taken with my Fujifilm camera. Just a simulation in other words! However, were I to actually have had that much dirt and dust on my sensor, that is indeed what the photo would look like if I had shot it at f/22 like I did with the “Before” dust reference photo! — Mike Mander, Beau Photo Supplies