Sensor Dust

There's a spot in some of my pictures. What's up with that?

It's probably sensor dust.

If you see a black, gray, or fuzzy spot in your images, there's a good chance it's sensor dust. This means that some little fleck of dust has gotten into the camera body and settled on the sensor. This happens to everyone, don't worry.

Sensor dust isn't always visible; generally speaking, it appears when you stop down to a smaller aperture.

The best response to sensor dust is to get yourself a blower bulb like the Giottos Rocket Blower and use it to blow the dust off the sensor.

To clean the sensor with a blower:

  • Make sure you have a full battery
  • Put the camera in mirror lockup. (In the "Setup" menu. If you don't see it, make sure you have menus set to "full.")
  • Remove your lens, hold the camera face down, and use the blower to blow air up at the sensor. Don't hit anything with the tip of the blower.
  • Turn the camera off to release the mirror lockup.

To check and see if the cleaning worked, point the camera at something bright and shoot with a small aperture. Check and see if the spot is still there.

If you have dust that just won't blow off, you can have your sensor cleaned by a professional, or use one of several different cleaning solutions/products, if you're brave. Be aware, you can do a lot of damage to your camera if you make a mistake while cleaning the sensor.

Note: If you see a spot in an image, it's probably not a spot on the lens; dust or smudges on the lens elements can degrade overall image quality, but they are unlikely to be visible as objects in an image.

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