Last year I racked up over 150,000 accusations on my Nikon D3s. Needless to say thats a heck of a lot of chances for dust particles and other image crapping articles to work their way onto my camera sensor. I tend to switch lenses a lot too. After researching what it would take to have a camera shop clean my sensor I was somewhat happy with the cost, but as soon as I came across horror stories about messed up sensors and negligible cleaning being returned… I began to look elsewhere. Enter Visible Dust.
With the tools offered up by visibledust.com you can quickly and easily remove those pesky dust specs from your camera’s sensor. Have something worse than a dust spec? Small hairs, dirt, or (god help you) a smudge? You can still look to visible dust stuff to deep clean your camera sensor back into crap-free shape!
My experience with the quality of visible dust products has been mixed. I own the Artic Butterfly 724, the full frame sized Sensor Loupe, and I’ve purchased (and used all of) their various sensor cleaning swabs. Most items were of fine quality (sensor loupe, swabs) however the most expensive piece, the Arctic Butteryfly 724, is built on the cheaper end. It works perfectly fine, but feels cheap. Very cheap. It’s not cheap. It’s $120.
the Arctic Butterfly 724: the key tool in removing your dust specs. it takes two AAA batteries to power an on-board light, and to spin the bristles vigorously before use. the spinning removes dust from the brush and statically charges the bristles. this is the key ingredient to it’s magic. swipe your Arctic Butterfly only once or twice across your sensor (GENTLY) and all the specs cling to it with ease. there’s also a built in LED light that allows you to see what you’re doing.
the Sensor Loupe: this little guy is insanely useful. it basically does what it looks like! place it over your d-slr (set in cleaning mode (make sure you’ve got a full battery charge)) and you can easily see the annoying crap that you probably noticed in many of your “could have been award winning” New Zealand landscapes photos shot at f/16
Cost will vary depending on what you need. the combo kits range from $170 ( Arctic Butterfly + Sensor Loupe) to $270 (Arctic Butterfly + Sensor Loupe + V-Swabs & Liquids). Everything can be purchased ala carte.
Since i purchased my combo kit many months ago i’ve noticed that visibledust has streamlined their website. I’ve also noticed that they’ve changed some of their product designs a little bit. The new Arctic Butterfly 724 appears to have TWO led lights build into it, while the 788 has just one. I imagine that the overall function of their product is the same so take a look around what they have to offer and leave here knowing that I DO recommend what I’ve used. Visible Dust offer various other products for deep cleaning possibilities. Swabs (custom sizes called V-Swabs) and liquid cleaners combine to swipe away smudges and other residue. You take this step AFTER you’ve used your Arctic brush and still see issues in your photographs.
I don’t know many photographers that like the idea of cleaning their own sensors. Many will pay big bucks to take their cameras to a pro camera shop and have things tweaked up there. I’m here to tell you… you NO LONGER have to do that for simple sensor cleanings! Over time I’ve found that 90% of the time just using the Arctic Cleaning brush has solved issues I see in photos shot at small apertures.
Make the jump. Stop feeling like a part of you dies each and every time you change a lens. Clean your own sensor.