We've all been there: you're sitting at your computer reviewing photos from your recent trip and you notice every single one has a dark spot in the same space. While a Lady Macbeth diatribe may make you feel better for a moment, learning how to care for your camera may prove more fruitful...
Of course, the best cleaning for your precious DSLR would be in the hands of a professional. But for those who are confident in their cleaning skills, there are some fairly simple DIY maintenance solutions.
1. Removing dust via air. Do not use canned compressed air. Use an "air blaster" like this one from Amazon which is pictured in the top image. The air blaster is inexpensive, $12.50, and is useful for more than just cleaning your camera (we also use ours to clean our laptop screens).
2. Cleaning the camera sensor: If the air blaster doesn't do the trick, you probably need to clean your sensor. This friends, is where things can get very dicey. The sensor is a very, very delicate piece of equipment that is easily damaged. The nasty part is if damaged, the cost of fixing the sensor is almost the price of a new camera! We've cleaned sensors ourselves and also have had cameras cleaned by professionals. We will admit that having a pro clean the camera gave us much better peace of mind, so consider if this if you're not confident about damaging your photography gear. Here are a couple of videos discussing the process:
If you decide to clean the sensor yourself, it's vital that you use the correct tool. This tool is the sensor cleaning kit (like the one shown above which costs $32.79), which are specific to the model of your camera. Remember how much we emphasized how easily the sensor can be damaged? Buy the right sensor cleaning kit and follow the directions. Sensor cleaning is not the time to experiment with that nifty homebrew cleaning solution or to whip out a cotton swab and have at it. Get the right tool for the job and exercise caution, your camera (and wallet) will thank you.