Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Dust-Aid Platinum Sensor Cleaner - A Trial

I had seen people on my social network talking about sensor cleaning and a few people mentioned a new product Dust-Aid Platinum.

Note: The image is linked from the Dust-Aid website and is not mine.

For loose dust I generally use an Arctic Butterfly static brush which works quite well but stubborn spots have needed a wet clean. I've written about this process before on my blog "Got Dust Bunnies? Wet Clean Camera Sensor" and to be honest it's pretty frustrating. Most recently I've just paid someone else to do a professional clean and written about it in the article "Is it worth getting a professional optical path clean?".

There seems to be only one supplier of Dust-Aid Platium in Australia and that is Camera Check Point in Dubbo. Everyone else seems to still be stocking the old adhesive based product which I wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

This product uses a plastic wand with a silicone pad on the base. The silicone attracts and picks up the dust from the sensor or so they say, well the proof is in the pudding as usual. I grabbed Matt's camera which was quite spotty as it had not been cleaned for a couple of years and shot this test image at f/22 focussed on infinity of the clear sky.

Yuck it's got measles. Spots everywhere. I started by cleaning the outside of the camera thoroughly with a micro fibre dusting cloth then set sensor cleaning mode and cleaned around the image box with a swab and did a single pass side to side with the static charged Arctic Butterfly.

Next I opened up the Dust-Aid and used one of its cleaning pads to clean the silicone as recommended in the directions and cleaned the sensor with a number of direct down presses of the silicone pad on the wand. I followed their directions exactly except for the bit about using a rocket blower - to my mind that just blows in more dust unless you've got a filtered blower that you keep sealed. The result is below.

While the result still has some spots and there is some residue from the butterfly brush in the top left this is pretty impressive for a single pass of their cleaner. This is considerably better than a wet clean first pass. There is still some more work to do to get it truly clean but this is pretty good.

The brush solutions tend to clump dust up and drop it in piles. The wet cleaners often leave streaks.

I'd be happy to use Dust-Aid Platinum as a field cleaner when I'm away on trips and didn't want to try and tackle a wet clean. Give it a try - for about $40 you can't really go too wrong.

To be clear I've got nothing to do with Dust-Aid.

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