KYC #8: Acne on the Sensor

Acne on the Image

Acne on the Image


Do you know what sun-spots are?

Forget technically, but to the human eye they look like dark dark tiny spots on the sun. Sensor spots/dust have a similar feel on the image.

Have you ever come across a set of images that have a tiny out of focus black dot repeated at the same place? Well, if you have then you know our friend, the sensor spot.

If you want to check whether your sensor is clean or not, one of the best ways is to point at a bright area, set your aperture to a very small size (f/22) and click an image. The Dust spots appear as out of focus black dots on the screen. 

See the image below


The easiest way to get rid of them is to send the camera for cleaning. Now, if you search for DIY sort of solutions, there are a lot of them available and there are a lot of gear available for the same as well. Sensor Swabs for e.g. Now as far as I am concerned, I know that I am not very good at dealing with these things so I choose the easiest route out. I go to the nearest service station, get it cleaned in an hour or so and forget about it.

Now that you know how to fix it, lets take a step back and see how do they actually happen.

Well, your sensor almost acts like a magnet for dust, especially when the camera is switched on. This means that any change of lenses in the field for e.g. could be a potential situation for the sensor to gather some dust. Most cameras these days come with an in-built Sensor Cleaning functionality which works for a certain % of dust but a slightly stubborn dust particle can be too much for the in-built mechanism. 

In addition to dust being drawn in by the sensor, there have been many cases of camera units having oil-leakage issue which cause appearance of oil on the sensor and needless to say any minute amount of oil will hold on to those dust particles like there is no tomorrow. 

When I started out photography I was very careful not to change lenses in the field. A few months down the line I was faced with a situation where a Tiger came very close to my vehicle, and I wanted to make a wide-angle shot of the animal. What should I do in such a case? I had only one camera body and most of us still do have only one camera body right? 

These are situations where you have to take a calculated risk I guess. If you feel the shot is more important, i’d say go for it. Just make sure you carry a plastic bag or some cover to put your camera in while you change the lens and make sure that your camera is facing downwards when doing so…

Have you experienced dust spots earlier?

Share some images with me….

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