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Dust on your camera's imaging sensor presents a real problem for a photographer. A speck or two is no big deal. Some shooting environments though can be a lot rougher. I was shooting a story for the Army a few years ago and was photographing helicopters picking up and lowering barricades in the desert. At one point I was only a short distance away from a hovering chopper and dust was kicking up all over the place. Even though I tried to shield my cameras, a lot of sand still got on and even in them. Even if you don't shoot under such conditions, if you change lenses a lot, it can still lead to dirt on the imaging sensor. A few spots can be cleaned up pretty easily in an image editing program. If you change lenses a lot though, the problem may be a lot of dust on your sensor.
LensPen, a company that has made a useful lens cleaning tool for years, also offers a sensor cleaning system called the SensorKlear Loupe Kit w/SensorKlear II. This is a useful tool for visualizing dust on the sensor and then getting it off of it. The kit comes with a sensor cleaning pen, bulb blower and a magnifying loupe that gives you a close up view of the imaging sensor. To make the loupe even more effective, it has a built in set of four LED lights to illuminate the sensor and an opening in one side so you can insert the cleaning pen while still visualizing the imaging sensor. And, for a nice touch, the button batteries necessary to power the LED lights are supplied with the loupe.
Considering the risk to one of the most important and expensive parts of your DSLR the SensorKlear system provides the user with a fair degree of confidence and security. By using the bulb blower to free up and remove loose dust, it reduces the amount of contact they have to make with the protective filter over the sensor. Once this step has been completed, the user then puts the loupe in place (it fits nicely onto the camera's lens mount opening) turns the lights on and examines the protective sensor filter. Once the user has examined the sensor, they can decide whether or not they want to use the LensPen tool's sticky pad to remove whatever dust remains there.
The LensPen features a jointed mid-point so the tool can be bent at an angle to make controlling it inside the camera easier. The user continues using the loupe to maintain precise control over placement and use of the LensPen while picking up dust. The tacky end of the LensPen does not leave any residue.
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I'm not a big fan of sticking things in my DSLR or interchangeable lens camera. Putting a scratch on the protective glass filter that shields the imaging sensor is a scary risk. The LensPen system provides a comfortingly safe approach to cleaning the sensor. Being able to visualize the inside of the aperture chamber under magnification helps the user maintain precise control of the cleaning tool placement and the LED light system illuminates the chamber well.
This system is easy to use and effective.
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Price to valueRating
At $79.95 the SensorKlear system offers a reasonably safe and effective way to visualize and clean your camera's imaging sensor.
Disclaimer: LensPen provided the author with an evaluation unit for the David Busch Quick Snap Guide to Photo Gear.