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dust on sensor

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Bob Cole
dust on sensor
on Dec 20, 2013 at 4:16:47 pm

The holiday season must bring out some paranoia in my personality, because I asked a similar question a year ago (and got an excellent answer from Todd Terry). But it still bugs me, so here goes with the annual Dust Question:

I'm not really asking about the art of Safe Lens Changing. I do that. And, like Todd, I try not even to attempt to change lenses when in a dusty environment. When I shot film, I even used an otoscope to "check the gate." And I rarely had problems with a hair in the gate.

But it seems much more difficult to check a video sensor (whether DSLR or a dedicated video camera) than a film camera. I think I'm pretty careful, but nonetheless, I have had one incident with dust on the sensor. Yes, it was subtle, and it could've been much worse, but that's just it: it could've been much worse and I didn't notice it until I saw the footage on a big monitor in the studio.

I appreciate the advantages of using primes, but I want to make sure I have my act together as far as dust detection. I have a complete kit for cleaning the sensor, but the only part of it I have ever used is a fancy blower which allegedly is built for the purpose and won't introduce new dust while attempting to blow out the old. Should I be using that blower every time I change lenses, or does that present more of a risk than a help?

Long-winded question, but the short version is this: Is there a protocol for dust detection on ANY video camera or DSLR? Does the ritual of "checking the gate" in film cameras have some analogy in the world of video?


Bob C

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