I had an emergency that put me in a panic yesterday evening. It started about two days ago while taking photos with my DSLR camera in Norfolk Virginia. My daughter noticed that one of the pictures had a spot near the center of the image. When she showed it to me, I realized that it must be some dust on the lens. I took out a little cloth wiped off the lens and didn’t give it another thought. That’s what I thought until Until yesterday evening, when I noticed while taking photos for my photo365 project that the spot had not been removed, and actually looked more pronounced. It was now a big black dot that was very noticeable. The fact that a quick swipe of the lens surface didn’t take care of the speck cause me a bit of panic, because it meant the speck was either on the camera body side of the lens, or worse (gulp) the speck had found it’s way onto the camera sensor.
Switching lenses, and seeing that the speck had not disappeared confirmed my worst fear. The speck was on the camera sensor, and would need to be removed. Now I can be unashamedly, a bit compulsive at times, and obsessive compulsive at that. I had read over the procedure in the Canon user manual about how to expose the sensor for cleaning. But I had also read that such a task should not be performed by the average person, with household methods. My problem was that for me, the compulsion to do something about this spec on my camera’s sensor was much greater that the wisdom of doing it correctly.
I won’t go into the gory details of what I did, but lets just say that before it was all over, I was fairly convinced that I had ruined my camera. In the end I was able to remove the speck, (and the smears and streaks that I had caused). My tools were, (and please no ‘you big dummy’ comments), 3 Q-tips and a few drops of ammonia. Taking a Q-tip and placing the smallest drop a ammonia on it, I lightly wiped the surface of the sensor in one direction, from top to bottom. Flipping the Q-tip over, and using the dry end to absorb any residual ammonia, and to wipe away any film that may have been left behind from the ammonia. I repeated this three times in total. After this I shined a light onto the sensor to make sure I had removed any streaks left by the ammonia.
I would absolutely not recommend this procedure to anyone, and am aware that there is a chance that a procedure like this could cause damage to the sensor. But thankfully, everything seems to have turned out well. After cleaning the sensor, I took several photos that all look great, and “spotless”. I plan on purchasing a sensor cleaning kit as soon as possible, to be more prepared when something like this happens again, and from what I have read, it will happen again. But in a pinch, and the extremest of emergencies, or unhealthy compulsions, this process may save the day, But please remember, doing this may very well ruin your camera’s sensor. I consider myself blessed that this seems to have worked for me. Try this method at your own risk. Better yet have a bit more patience than me, and wait to get the proper tools for cleaning your sensor, and do it the right way.