Sensor cleaning, especially if you’ve never tried to do it yourself, is a scary prospect. Sure, taking off your lens and using a rocket blower isn’t all that nerve-wracking, but start talking to someone about wet cleaning a sensors and beads of perspiration will immediately begin to accumulate on their newly-furrowed brow.
Fortunately, there’s a cleaning solution now available that is easy and safe enough that many a sensor-cleaning newb will want to give it a try: the Sensor Gel Stick.
The Sensor Gel Stick is nothing new. In fact, it’s what at least a few manufacturers use in their service centers (check out this video and skip to about minute 13:30 for proof). But until now, we’ve not seen it available for the average consumer.
The basic premise is simple: it’s a stick with a piece of sticky gel on one end that you simply press and remove over and over to pull all of the dust and oil off of your sensor. When the gel gets dirty enough, you pull out a piece of sticky paper, remove the dirt and keep going.
The folks over at Fstoppers got to take the gel stick for a test drive, and were pretty well impressed. Bellow you see Patrick Hall cleaning first an ND filter, then his D300s and then a D600 — and all seem to show remarkable improvement after just one go-around:
As you can see, it seems both easy and safe to use. Just stick and pull… over and over again. You won’t have to worry about leaving behind a residue like you might with wet cleaning, and since the big guys use this in their own factories, it seems likely they’ve deemed the process safe.
The one thing we wouldn’t do if we were you is clean the mirror like Hall does in the video above. Not that the gel stick wouldn’t take dust off well, but messing with that mirror could throw it out of alignment and then you’d have an entirely different set of issues to deal with.
To find out more about the Sensor Gel Stick, or if you’d like to pick up one of your own, head over to Photography Life by clicking here. The stick will cost you $40 and packs of the companion sticky paper are $13. If that seems expensive, just compare that to how much it costs to send off your DSLR to be cleaned at the service center… in very short order, you’ll end up ahead.