How to Avoid Getting Your DSLR Image Sensor Dirty

Your camera's image sensor is a very special part of your camera, which is responsible for converting visible light into electrical signals which can then be stored on your cameras memory card. All digital cameras have image sensors, however, most of them are never exposed to the elements.

Digital SLR cameras have removable lenses and this means that dust is able to collect on the sensor. While this has always happened with SLR cameras, it's only an issue with digital technology. In film cameras, a new clean piece of film will be exposed every time a photo is taken, however, in digital cameras, the sensor will be fixed. This means that any dust will affect every single photo you take.

There are a number of guides which can be used to clean your DSLR image sensor when it is dirty, but it's often much better to avoid this ever happening in the first place.

Equipment Needed

  • Lens Cap
  • Protective Covers 
  • Lens

Step 1: Changing Lenses

The only time your camera will normally be at risk is when the lens is removed from the camera; removing the lens will expose the CCD image sensor to the elements. If dust is allowed to enter the body of your camera, then this will quite happily cling to the surface of the sensor.

When changing lenses, you should do so in a clean environment. Try to avoid the possibility of any dust being around. Change lenses indoors and with the windows closed. This should limit the chances of dust being a problem.

Step 2: Using Multiple Cameras

If you are a professional photographer, then you might find it beneficial to use two cameras with two different lenses on them. Although this may be too expensive for some people, many professionals will be able to justify the time that this will save. Also, the fact that you don't have to continually remove lenses will also be beneficial to your sensor.

Step 3: Precautions

If you do remove the lens from your camera body for any prolonged period of time, then you should protect it by fixing a dust cap over the lens opening. Covers can also be attached to the lens itself to keep it clean and free from dust.

Step 4: Cleaning Lenses

You might also find yourself removing lenses to clean them and get rid of fingerprints. However, while you are doing this, dust could be waging war against your sensor. Fitting a clear filter onto your lens will make it much easier to clean the lens without needing to remove it at all. The filter can simply be unscrewed and cleaned.

Step 5: Cleaning the Sensor

If you do get any dust or grit on your cameras sensor, then you will need to clean it. The easiest way of doing this will be to use an air blower to blow dust away from the sensor without needing to touch it. If this doesn't work well enough, then you might also need to use a sensor cleaning brush to physically touch and remove dust from the sensor.

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