It’s the dirty little secret of digital photography. Dust on the sensor. My Nikon D3 bodies were the worst. They were a bear to clean and were constantly getting dirty. Fortunately the D3s finally came with a built-in sensor cleaner.
But what about us as photographers? What can we do to reduce the chances of getting dust on the sensor? It’s mostly common sense, but in case you’ve never thought about this, here are seven ways you can reduce sensor dust.
1. Be sure to turn your camera off before changing lenses. This reduces the chance of a static charge pulling dust into the sensor – among other things.
2. Simple but true – don’t change lenses any more often than you have to. The less time your lens is off, the less dust you’ll see.
3. Avoid push/pull zooms since they often pull in outside air and allow more dust on the sensor than non push/pull zooms.
4. Always store your lenses in your pack with both lens caps on – especially the rear lens cap. This reduces dust attaching to the rear of the lens and then being passed onto the sensor.
5. Don’t change lenses in dusty, windy, dirty environments. I know – DUH – but I’ve seen people do it when all they had to do was take 10 steps to their car to shelter themselves and the camera.
6. Generally speaking you’re better off if you point the camera down when changing lenses. Pointing up allows particles from the air to fall into the mirror box and onto your sensor. Gravity can be pesky.
7. When you’re just unable to get rid of the dust, shoot as close to wide open as you can to reduce the visibility of dust on your sensor.