Dirt on sensor
I'm curious about what the advanced DP's on this forum do about dirt on the sensor. It is a big topic in the DSLR world, but I haven't heard much about it on the pure-video camera side.
This problem arises especially when switching lenses. I'm looking now at advanced cameras (Sony F3, forthcoming F5) which call out for prime lenses. For those of you who are already into primes, and hence into switching glass on-set, do you have a standard operating procedure, akin to checking for "hair in the gate" in film cameras? What do you do to check for it, and how do you fix it? Is it a non-issue? If so, why is it such a big topic in the DSLR world?
I've never had to clean a sensor, and it sure not something I'd want to think about doing. There mere thought of it gives me the willys.
I shoot primes probably 95% of the time, so yes, there is a lot of lens changing. The best thing to do is just keep your lens unmounted for as absolutely as short a time as possible. That, and try to work in a clean envirnoment is about all you can do.
Without actually spelling it out we've sort of developed a protocol as to how to do things. When shooting, I'll usually call for a new lens before unmounting the present one. Usually (in a perfect world), as I'm unmounting the lens on the camera my AC is standing there ready to hand me the new one. As I'm handing him that one, he removes the rear cap on the new one and we exchange lenses. I give it a quick look to make sure there is no dust or anything on the butt end, then mount it. In a perfect world that leaves the sensor exposed for only about five seconds or so.
I don't use zooms too much, but I sometimes will if I know I'm going to be on location in a dirty or dusty environment (recent examples that come to mine are a cat food manufacturing plant, and a landfill). I'd much rather use primes, but just don't want to risk uncapping the camera in those environments.
And, while it has nothing to do with sensor protection, if you go to using primes you'll do yourself a favor by getting a swing-away matte box. I worked without a swing-away for years, and got so used to changing lenses with it I was like "Ahh pshaw... who needs a swing-away?" Until I started using one.
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[Todd Terry] "I've never had to clean a sensor,"
I'm wondering whether DSLRs tend to attract more dust than professional video cameras. If they do, it could be (1) because of the mechanical action of the mirror and attendant static electricity; and/or (2) the users of video cameras are more careful with their lens changes.
The idea of using a zoom in dusty, potentially sensor-damaging situations, makes a lot of sense.