Do you have your cameras professionally cleaned? If not, I would encourage you to have it done and check the results.
From Spring through Fall I am out leading workshops in the field and my cameras get a fair amount of use in a variety of conditions. From rain to blowing dust/sand, my cameras are exposed to the elements quite a bit. And from Oregon to Washington, Alaska and Wyoming….these cameras have seen their fare share of varied conditions over the year so far As part of photographing in the field, I change my lenses quite frequently while out in order to have the right focal length for the shot I’m going for. What that means is that my sensor is exposed to the elements. What results is an accumulation of dirt and dust on my sensor which is readily visible in the photographs I take. I just spent a long time cloning out dust spots on some of my latest images from the Tetons and it was exasperating! It’s especially visible in those shots that have a lot of sky or clouds, or even snow fields, and my aperture is at f/16 or smaller.
Of course I do take as much care as I can when changing lenses in the field; seek shelter away from the wind/rain, turn my back to the wind to shelter my camera, etc. Plus, I do carry a bulb blower with me and use it frequently to remove as much as possible with just a puff of air. In addition, I do have a sensor cleaning kit that I use at home in-between workshops, but to be honest, I still am always nervous when doing it myself. Plus, I don’t do a great job generally.
So, at the end of the year, or when I have a break in my shooting schedule, I take my cameras in and have them professionally cleaned and serviced. I am fortunate enough that a highly rated camera shop is near my house and they’ve worked on all of my cameras through the years, so I trust them. Because I have a few weeks until my Winter workshop in the Tetons, I thought now would be a good time to get my sensors cleaned.
Yea yea I know….cleaning sensors is not a sexy or entertaining part of photography. I get it. However, if you do take photography seriously then you know that every element in the signal path is important, from before capture all the way to print. In my opinion having a dirty sensor degrades the overall image, either through a thin layer of dust across the sensor (remember the sensor is electrically charged and attracts stuff) and/or visible dust spots in the final image.
So, what are you waiting for? Now is a good time to get your sensor cleaned.
About me: I am a full time photography workshop leader and creative educator based in Portland Oregon. I lead group and 1×1 workshops across the western US and Canada. Check out www.johnpedersenphoto.com for more information