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Author Topic: A question about dust...  (Read 3479 times)

sparkle999

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A question about dust...
« on: September 03, 2012, 06:04:31 PM »
Hi, I have a question about how well the latest generation of cameras handle dust.

I have a trusty 5D mark 1 which I picked up new (but cheap!) when the mark 2 was introduced. It's undoubtedly a fab camera and if I'm brutally honest I can't strongly claim that my "capabilities" as an amateur photographer are constrained by what the camera can and cannot do.

I have 3 lenses that I use: the 16-35 f2.8L II, the 24-70 f2.8L USM and the 70-200 f2.8L IS USM, and invariably I need to swap from one to the other and back again when I'm out and about. Despite my best efforts, I do have problems with dust getting onto the sensor and I end up cleaning the sensor with pec pads / e2 solution before any significant trip - but although the camera starts off clean enough, a few days later and I'm back to square one.

My question is, does the latest generation of cameras fare much better? I know they have some sort of ultrasonic vibration mechanism built in, but how do folk get on with the dust issue these days? I'd love an excuse to pull the trigger on a new camera (e.g. a mark 3), what with the advances made with low light photography, live view and better autofocusing - all sound fantastic. But what about the dust?!!

Thanks!
Nige.

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A question about dust...
« on: September 03, 2012, 06:04:31 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2012, 06:33:26 PM »
My 5DII did get a fair bit of dust, and required cleaning every couple of months.  I've had my 7D for longer, and it's never needed cleaning - I expect the smaller sensor is better for that.  The 1D X has an improved cleaning system compared to the 5DII and 5DII (which are the same), I hope it does better than the 5DII...
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Ophthaltographer

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2012, 07:20:51 PM »
My 5DII did get a fair bit of dust, and required cleaning every couple of months.  I've had my 7D for longer, and it's never needed cleaning - I expect the smaller sensor is better for that.  The 1D X has an improved cleaning system compared to the 5DII and 5DII (which are the same), I hope it does better than the 5DII...

Which 5D models have the same cleaning systems?  So far after 5 months of heavy use my 5D3 remains clean.
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DB

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2012, 07:26:35 PM »
My local Canon camera store offer a wet or dry sensor cleaning service. It would seem that if your sensor does not stay clean for very long, it might be worth spending fifty bucks and let the pro's have a go - that way if the sensor is dirty a week or two later, you can bring it back to the store and show them, then they might investigate further (at zero cost to you) and discover if there is any other problem. Just a thought.

dlleno

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 10:45:52 PM »
dont be afraid of cleaning the lpf yourself.  i use the "copper hill" method with an inspection loupe and quite happywith the results . 

neuroanatomist

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2012, 11:03:54 PM »
Which 5D models have the same cleaning systems?  So far after 5 months of heavy use my 5D3 remains clean.

The 5DII and 5DIII have the same cleaning unit. The original 5D didn't have self-clean.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 11:56:33 PM »
I think I have a far greater tolerance for dust than most.  I did not clean my 5D MK II for almost two years, and by then it was really dirty.  Even so, I only noticed the dust when viewing at large image sizes.
I do have a sensor cleaning setup, and have a long working length inspection microscope that I use to check it after each pass of a sensor swab.  It usually takes 5 swabs to get it clean.  A few seconds later, I can see microscopic bits of dust begin to settle on it.  There is no such thing as perfectly clean, its just a matter of how large the dust particles are, and how many.

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 11:56:33 PM »

Tcapp

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 12:08:37 AM »
I think I have a far greater tolerance for dust than most.  I did not clean my 5D MK II for almost two years, and by then it was really dirty.  Even so, I only noticed the dust when viewing at large image sizes.
I do have a sensor cleaning setup, and have a long working length inspection microscope that I use to check it after each pass of a sensor swab.  It usually takes 5 swabs to get it clean.  A few seconds later, I can see microscopic bits of dust begin to settle on it.  There is no such thing as perfectly clean, its just a matter of how large the dust particles are, and how many.

I too, only cleaned my 5d2 once the entire time I had it. I only ever noticed any dust on macro shots with a narrow aperture. ANd even then it was usually easier to remove it in post on a few shots then to risk a cleaning or spend money.
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Aglet

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2012, 01:33:21 AM »
I find that my newer bodies, 7D, 60D, do not seem to collect dust as bad as my 5D2 and older bodies.
I think there's a slight change in the coating of the low pass filter on the newer cameras that's less static-attractive to dust particles, therefore improving the effectiveness of the self-cleaning.

I don't swap lenses often and when I do, I'm meticulous about it.  Despite that, stuff still gets in thru the lenses and open lens mounts.

I wish Canon would also move the LPF farther from the sensor, that'd do much to reduce distinctness of dust particle shadows on the sensor.  Their competitor(s) do and I don't have dust issues in images from those bodies even when I can see the stuff stuck on the LPF.

dlleno

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2012, 01:42:05 PM »
its true that lpf cleaning should not be needed very often but if you just happen to be in a situation where you can't avoid changing lenses in a dirty environment, you gotta do what you gotta do and soon or later, hopefully later,  you're gonna need a wet clean to get the so-called "welded" dust off (thats the dust that won't blow or shake off). For example, one time I had to change lenses out on the beach -- no dust there, not even any blowing sand (I was out on some rocks at low tide),  but as near as I can tell the sudden exposure to high humidity ended up welding dust already there to the lpf.  at the time I was without my cleaning supplies so Lightroom's spot removal got a lot of use :D  .  If I had remembered to blow things out before hand I might have avoided or reduced the severity of the problem. 

often, dust can be corrected in post; other times, well no, or at least it would be less work to have cleaned the lpf than to correct the image :D

I have to admit I was once one of the faint at heart, not wanting to touch my lpf.  its totally a personal thing;  some are comfortable doing it and some are not.  for me, once I understood it the mystery was over -- and the right sized swab and two drops of eclipse solution does the magic.   YMMV of course, and you may be just fine with Canon cleaning every 1-2 years.  two cleanings will pay for a lot of DIY supplies BTW :D

I know this isn't a thread about cleaning, so appoligies for the thread drift -- its just important to be able to know and detect if your sensor is clean or not.  If you don't notice anyting on a real photo you can claim success -- but for a more sensitive/severe test, snap a photo of blue sky at some really small aperture (like f/22) with manual focus at infinity -- then look at the result,  In the absense of blue sky I fire up "dead pixel  buddy" (freeware LCD excersizer) in solid light blue and take a picture of the computer scrreen).   


sparkle999

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2012, 03:13:20 PM »
My 5DII did get a fair bit of dust...

Thanks - helpful to know, if I go with a 5DII or III, dust will still need to be managed.

dont be afraid of cleaning the lpf yourself.

I do, often! That's the problem! :)

The 5DII and 5DIII have the same cleaning unit. The original 5D didn't have self-clean.

Thanks, and yes it was this point really that prompted my question. I have the original 5D, so I'm trying to get a feel for whether these cleaning units are effective. It's helpful to know that the 5DII and III both have the same cleaning unit.

I think I have a far greater tolerance for dust than most.  I did not clean my 5D MK II for almost two years...

That's an interesting point and useful feedback, thanks. I guess it depends on the aperture that you shoot at, and also your own tolerance levels. Plus with a mark II it has the cleaning unit within it.

...the right sized swab and two drops of eclipse solution does the magic...

yes, sadly I am well versed with this technique!

There's also the question about my technique: am always careful/quick as I can be when changing lenses, but more about the aperture I shoot with. With landscapes because I'll have my tripod with me I'm probably going for too narrow an aperture just so I get a good DOF. So any dust shows up on the sky. The upside is I'm pretty good with the RAW file corrections now! :)

The intent of my original question was an attempt to understand if one of my major bugbears would be solved or not by the advent of new technology. Based on the helpful feedback from this forum, (thanks everyone!!!) I'm concluding that the situation would definitely improve. Of couse as a hobbyist with no good business need to upgrade, I would say that wouldn't I?! I am looking for good excuses to make the leap from a MKI to a MKIII :)

dlleno

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2012, 04:24:22 PM »
ahh -- yes indeed thats a good reason!  to be sure, a combination of lens-changing technique, ultrasonic dust-shakers in the camera, and a good Giottos rocket blower can go a long way to postpone your next date with The Eclipse solution :D  . 

my beach experience is suggesting to me that I should try some PM activities -- the internal shakers are one thing but a good blast of air in combination should be even better.  I'm thinking if the sensor "cleaning" treatment in-camera can run every time you cycle power, then I can arrange  to blow things out more often  :D .   no results yet -- that's just just my latest set of neurons firing.   

risc32

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 08:45:54 PM »
I also bought a 5d just a couple months before the mk2 came out, and I preordered the 5dmk3. I use them a pretty good amount yet i've never cleaned either of them.

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 08:45:54 PM »

victorwol

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2012, 09:46:13 PM »
In my experience, the camera cleaning is only for big and lose particles of dust. The kind of dust that shows up in Macro photography at f16 and up, no cleaning system get rid of it other than real cleaning, that has being my experience on 7D, 5D2, 5D3 and 1D X.
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dlleno

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 11:04:13 PM »
incidentally, more to your question sparkle999 according to this review:

http://the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-DSLR-Camera-Review.aspx

the 5D3 has an additional fluorine coating intended to provide additional incremental improvement, compared to the 5D2 The comment is buried deep inside the review, so here is the text (emphasis mine):

"A clean sensor is a strong contributor to good image quality. The 5D III inherits the 5D II's Integrated Cleaning System with the addition of a dust-avoiding fluorine coating. I have read in Canon documentation that the 5D III's self-cleaning sensor system incorporates a more efficient ultrasonic vibration but I'm not certain that this is correct. It was perhaps copied in from 1D X documentation...I have changed lenses on my 5D III a huge number of times and have not needed to clean the sensor since I blew the single factory dust bunny out when the camera first arrived."

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Re: A question about dust...
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 11:04:13 PM »