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Re:Yet another What-camera-to-buy-question Cleaning the D200 Sensor

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  • Paul Fretheim
    The D200 lacks a fluorine coated vibrating filter to shake dust. But the filter on the D200 is impervious to alcohol so you can clean it with a small piece of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2009
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      The D200 lacks a fluorine coated vibrating filter to shake dust. But
      the filter on the D200 is impervious to alcohol so you can clean it with
      a small piece of wood with a lint free cotton cloth fastened around the
      end soaked with vodka. I like Smirnoff because it is "triple distilled
      for exceptional smoothness" and "ten times filtered for ultimate
      clarity." I figured anything that smooth would not scratch my lenses or
      filters.

      Don't try using Vodka on the D300 or D700 though. The alcohol will
      dissolve the anti static coating. You have to use a special solution
      made for that purpose on those cameras. Methanol is a no-no too on the
      anti static coated filters of the D700 and D300 for the same reason.
      Methanol will also dissolve the coating. While the filter is pretty
      cheap, the labor to replace it will cost a lot, so don't mess it up.
      You never really touch the sensor as the filter is in front of it. I
      get the mirror up in lock up mode and then blast everything with canned
      air and then vacuum with a small vacuum I use on my scanners. Then I
      sweep gingerly with a lipstick brush. I vacuum off the lipstick brush
      first before putting it in the sensor cavity. Then I vacuum out the
      cavity again. Don't touch anything with the nozzle on the vacuum
      cleaner. Use two hands so you have complete control of the vacuum
      cleaner. Canned air is not allowed on airplanes I hear, so you might
      want one of those bladder things instead of canned air if you travel a
      lot by air.

      Then I put everything back together including a lens on the camera and
      go take a picture of the sky. If there are no dust spots in the sky
      when I am finished, then I'm done. If there are some stubborn dust
      spots I go back and wipe the surface of the filter with a cotton swab
      moistened with vodka. I have a mahogany "stick," a piece of mahogany
      from my workshop that was trimmed in making a cabinet. It is about 3-4
      mm thick and 10-12 mm wide. I probably should make one that is 15 mm
      wide so it covers the entire width of the sensor filter and then I could
      cover in one pass the entire filter. Anyway, I take a well used and
      just laundered 100% cotton dish towel and fold it, one thickness deep,
      over the end of the mahogany stick and then take a rubber band and wrap
      it around the towel and stick to hold the towel in place. You don't
      want to touch anything, especially the sides inside your camera with the
      cotton and the rubber band on the sides of the stick help keep the
      cotton away from the sides in case you mess up and bump the side. The
      sides of the cavity that holds the sensor have grease on them and oils
      from the mechanisms of the camera and that's why you don't want to touch
      them. You might transfer the grease to your sensor filter and it's hard
      to remove.

      Take the swab and wipe across the sensor filter gently. I try to always
      go from left to right and then after a couple of passes I sweep down the
      right edge of the sensor filter to remove and dust that may have piled
      up from the passes from left to right across the entire sensor. Don't
      press down because there could be hard dust like quartz and it could
      scratch the surface of the filter if you press down as you sweep it off
      the filter.

      That's it. I have done it many times. Sometimes you have very stubborn
      dust that is "welded" to the surface of the filter and it is hard to
      remove, but keep trying and you will get it.

      Here is a video tutorial on cleaning a DSLR sensor by Thomas Hawk.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z11mBKz22Uw

      And a written tutorial by Thom Hogan:

      http://www.bythom.com/cleaning.htm
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