Fullbean Camera - Sensor Cleaning

Steps for Cleaning the Sensor of My Sony A7iv Camera

If I notice spots on the images that I shoot with my Sony A7iv camera, here is how I address the issue
NOTE: Spots are easiest for me to see if I look at a cloudless blue sky. When as I view such an image on my computer monitor, I may notice small circular areas in the sky that shouldn't be there.

The first thing that I do is to check my lens to see if it needs cleaning. If after cleaning, shooting another image of the open sky and spots are still visible, I change lenses and shoot another open sky photo.
If the spots disappear, I know that the first lens was the culprit. If the second lens still shows spots in the same location, I am then confident that the camera image sensor is the problem.

To fix this, I make sure that the camera is fully charged, Then I turn off the camera, remove the lens, turn the camera back on and navigate to the camera's anti-dust/sensor cleaning function.
Here are the steps for using the camera's built in sensor cleaning function
  Remove the lens
  Turn the camera on and keep it pointed downward
  Press the Menu button
  Go to the Setup folder. It is the last one listed
  In the Setup folder go to Setup Option
  In Setup Option, go to Anti-dust Function
  Go to Sensor Cleaning
  Press the center ring button
  With the camera still pointing downward, press Sensor Cleaning
  The camera will vibrate, hopefully clearing the dust from the sensor screen.
  Turn the camera off, reattach the lens and do another test shot of the sky to see if the spots are gone
  If they still remain, you may want to repeat the same Sensor Cleaning procedure again several times

  If this doesn't resolve the issue, the next step is to use a commercial sensor cleaning product.
I use the UES DKL-24 DSLR Camera Full-Frame (24mm) Sensor and Lens Cleaning Travel Kit
This kit contains swabs the width of full frame sensors. If your camera has an APS-C sensor or one of some other size, purchase the kit whose swabs are sized appropriately for your image sensor

Cleaning Instructions Using a Commercial Product
Follow the instructions above for navigating to the camera's anti-dust/sensor cleaning function.
This time, repeat the sensor cleaning function but DO NOT turn off the camera. If you do, you will not be able to access the sensor screen
You may first want to try using the blower bulb that is included in the sensor cleaning kit.
Hold the camera facing downward and squeeze the blower bulb, directing the force of air to the sensor.
Keep the bulb 6" away from the camera body, no nearer.
Under no circumstances spray compressed air on the sensor
Turn the camera off, reinstall the lens and shoot a test image.
If the spots are gone, you are done and can skip the next section.
If spots still remain, proceed to sensor cleaning with Camera Lens and Sensor Cleaner

Remove one of the 24mm swabs from its wrapper, being careful not to touch the brush area
Spray the brush area 4 times with the Camera Lens and Sensor Cleaner
Hold the brush at a 60 degree angle and swipe it from left to right across the image sensor
Lift the brush then swipe the image sensor in the opposite direction with the other side of the brush.
Turn off the camera, reinstall the lens and shoot another test image of the clear sky,
If you notice no spots, you have successfully cleaned the image sensor.
If spots still remain, repeat the swab cleaning process with a new swab


Links to other resources for image sensor cleaning A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Camera Sensor
Tips for Cleaning Your Lenses and Image Sensor
How to Clean Your Camera Sensor Yourself. Sony A7siii and a7iv Mirrorless Camera

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