How I Clean My Camera Sensor

by | Mar 26, 2016 | Tips & Tricks | 0 comments

Have you ever taken pretty pictures like this . . .

4240_Salem-West Virginia-_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 25.0 sec at f - 22, ISO 200

. . . only to find that there were spots all over it, like this?

4240_Salem-West Virginia-_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 25.0 sec at f - 22, ISO 200-2

I noticed spots like this in my pictures very soon after buying my first DSLR camera. My family was just beginning an amazing vacation through the southwestern United States, and it concerned me that some of my pictures were very clean while others were chuck full of these specs! I didn’t learn till later that the specs were just dust on my camera sensor, and that they would only really show up if I was using a narrow aperture. But that’s content for a whole other blog post. In this post, I’m just going to talk about how to get rid of them once you see you have them.

Here’s how to get rid of the specs:

1. In Aperture Priority, set the aperture to the highest f/stop possible

In this example I was using f/22.

2. Set the lens to manual focus, and turn the ring to as-out-of-focus as possible
3. Take a picture of a blank, even surface

I’ve used the blue sky before; in this example I used a white sheet of paper. This is a close-up crop of the left corner of my sensor and you can see how dirty it was:

1 No cleaning

4. Set up the camera on a tripod, facing downward


5. Activate Mirror Lockup, lock the mirror, and take off the lens
6. Use a Rocket Blower to blow the loose stuff off the camera sensor

This is the one I use. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. It didn’t work too well for me this time:

2 After blowing

7. Use a SensorBrush to physically remove dirt that can’t be removed by a Rocket Blower

This is a kit similar to what I have. Be aware that physically touching the sensor could void the warranty on your camera. This is an extremely delicate process, so do this process with the utmost of caution. As you can see, it really helped:

3 Swiping first time

8. Repeat as necessary

I decided one more wipe with the SensorBrush was good enough for me.

4 Swiping second time

9. Remove stubborn spots with tools like the SensorWand

Thankfully, I didn’t need to go to that extreme in this situation.


It took me a while before I mustered up the courage to clean my sensor for the first time, but now I do it quite often. It makes post processing so much easier, not to have to try to remove all those spots with Lightroom’s Spot Healing Brush Tool!

Would you like to get rid of the spots that keep showing up in your pictures? Feel free to follow the steps I’ve outlined in this post and ask questions on the latest free forum topic, DSLR Cleaning, along the way!


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