VisibleDust cleaning solutions - Sensor brush
by Mladen Sever
One of the most irritating problems with most DSLR cameras is without any doubt dust issue. I wish more manufacturers has provided some kind of dust protection as Olympus did in their E-system units. Until camera manufacturers will decide that they can earn some significant market points with integrated dust protection we are forced to find alternative solutions. And by that I mean: one easy, safe, economical and functional way of cleaning our digital toys
Well, I have great news, for all you proud 7D users. After I've tried almost all commercial products based on various swabs and liquids I decided to try Visibledust products and see for myself if all that raving on various websites was true.
At the moment I have only tried Sensor brush (and the smaller SBF-fan style) so this report is just a little preview I would like to share with you. Very soon I will update this report with my impressions on sensor brush, sensor clean, and chamber clean products which are in my bag now (thanks to Visibledust).
I own various lenses, and I don't use (at least at the moment) any of those super zooms that can cover a big range. This means changing lenses is something I'm often forced to do on the field. Guess what? After a few weeks I have collected a pretty large family of dust particles on my sensor. To get things worst, my focus screen was dusty too. Before using the Sensor brush I have tried the method KM has recommended in 7D manual: the air blower. Geez, I have done things even worst. I have waited for Visibledust package despite the fact that I already own another very popular solution for sensor cleaning. My goal was to see how good those products cope with a very dirty sensor. Well, I'll leave the final judgements to my full report, but let me just say that I didn't need to use sensor cleaning products (for the so called welded dust) and that the whole process was over in less than 10 minutes (including photographing the target for report purposes).
Target shoots are taken with closed aperture (f32) on a white sheet of paper. Images have been manipulated with the levels command to make dust more visible. This is the state of the sensor prior cleaning. Not really a clean sensor :(
The result after one pass with the smaller SBF brush. I wanted to see if this small brush can be used in the field as one quick solution. This brush can be cleaned with a common air blower we all have in the bag.
As you can see the result is great. Take note that for report purpose I did just one pass with the brush.
Once opened I cleaned the main Sensor brush with a little aquarium pump. It does the job very well. Once again, this is the result from just one pass.
As you can see, the sensor is almost clean. I opened the mirror once again to do the final touch. Voila…
... the sensor is like new.
If I haven't had in mind this report, I would do the cleaning much more faster: a few repetitive passes with the main brush, and the sensor would be perfectly clean in no more than two minutes. And that's not the main point of this product.
Like I said before, I have some experience with other products. I will not mention which products I have used in the past. It's not important for this review. The point is that Sensor Brush from Visibledust works as advertised. I have no doubt about it. And the most important thing, it's fast and safe enough that I can recommend it to all of you as the perfect solution. All of you who have tried solutions with swabs or other tools know how it feels when cleaning the sensor. The constant fear not to push it too much to avoid sensor scratching. And sometimes it takes awhile to clean the sensor completely. This product feels safe from the moment you open the box. At least I have this feeling.
Did I mention that my focus screen was dirty too? Well, few gentle passes with the little brush have completely removed the dirt from the screen. Awesome. "I can see clearly now the brush has come ." ;)
update 03 August 2005
I do receive many mails about cleaning the sensor and Visibledust product reviewed at this site. Many users are confused with various articles and statements over the net about efficiency, cost or even safety. With those mails in mind I have decided to update this review and share my personal opinion.
I have expressed this before, and I will say it again: manufacturers are those to blame the most when dust on sensor is concerned. Apart Olympus, no other manufacturer has done NOTHING to prevent dust falling on the sensor. It's not that it can't be done. I'm sure we will find various anti-dust mechanism in the near future. I even tend to believe that most manufacturers already have designed such a mechanisms but they simply wait "the right" moment to provide us with such a "feature". It's strictly business.
Until marketing sections decide that "the right" moment is arrived we are "convicted" to find ourselves a best solutions to fight against dust.
I don't know if Visibledust products are the best. I even don't know what should the best tool look like. But, as far I'm concerned Sensor brush is the fastest and easiest tool that I have tried so far. ( and I have tried many of them) It's very effective and very safe as far I can say from my experiences.
Photography isn't a cheap hobby. Lenses, filters, bags, tripods, software ... if you want the quality you must be prepared to pay it. This is valid for all photographic accessories and sensor cleaning products are not one exclusion. If you are prepared to use various cheap artistic brushes .. that's your choice. I wish you all the best. As far I'm concerned, I learned long time ago, that there are things worth saving on, but on some things savings is not a good idea. Sensor brushes from Visibledust are not that expensive if you consider that they will last for long time if used and maintained correctly. Personally I would say that this is one of the smartest investment a DSLR user can make. They are just that good and effective. And yes, after using them many time, I can say that they are very, very safe too.
I want to express my gratitude to Visibledust company. They have found dyxum.com worth sending their products for review purposes.
However, the overall impressions of Visibledust products that you can find on dyxum aren't in any way influenced by their donation. We write our contents and validate various products considering exclusively their quality point of view. Otherwise dyxum.com would not make any sense.