If you have a DSLR, you know that your sensor is a magnet for dust. You also know that taking the lens or the cap off your camera lets dust in, and that the mirror flapping around inside your camera sends whatever dust is in there flying all over the place. You also know that dust is bad. If you don’t already know this, well… you should.
Does this mean you should leave your camera locked up in a dust-free environment forever? No. What’s the point of owning a great camera if you don’t use it, right?
The simple solution is to clean your camera regularly. If the thought of mucking around inside your camera makes you nervous, you can also pay professionals to do this. I’d rather pay to have my sensor cleaned, but that’s just me. You might be a DIY type of guy.
Before everything, how do I even see the dust?
If you always shoot at large apertures, don’t fret too much. Dust usually shows up at narrower apertures. It also shows up against large areas of flat color – think clear blue skies, light walls, and other plain backgrounds.
If you want to see how much dust you have on your sensor, drop your aperture, slow down your shutter speed, and grab a shot of the sky, a light wall, a blank piece of paper, or some other plain subject. Dust will show up as fuzzy spots throughout the frame. If you’re lucky, or if you just cleaned your camera, you’ll get a clean frame.
Another way to check the dust on your sensor is to use a loupe, like the Lens Pen Sensor Klear Loupe.
A loupe is basically a magnifying lens held at a specific distance by a cylinder or cone from whatever it is magnifying. In this case, the Sensor Klear Loupe sits on your lens mount and gives you a magnified view of your sensor.
The Sensor Klear Loupe does a bit more than just magnify though. It comes with four LED lights in the cylinder to illuminate your sensor. It also has a cutout in the cylinder that the manufacturer describes as an “Access Window.” This window allows you to use a blower or other cleaning device without removing the loupe.
Ok, so how does it clean my sensor?
The loupe doesn’t clean your sensor, you need other tools for that. Lens Pen recommends their own products, the Sensor Klear II and the Hurricane Blower, but there are other similar devices in the market.
Despite not being used directly for cleaning the sensor though, the Lens Pen Sensor Klear Loupe makes the task a whole lot easier. It and magnifies your view of your sensor and lights it up pretty well, making it pretty easy to spot all but the tiniest dust spots.
I get it now. How much does it cost?
You can have the Lens Pen Sensor Klear Loupe for PHP 1,550. While this may seem like a lot for what amounts to a magnifying glass and a flashlight, I think it’s worth the price.
The first reason is that you need two hands to hold the other two items mentioned, leaving you with no free hands to clean your sensor. The Sensor Klear Loupe sits on top of your camera and frees your hands for other tasks.
The second reason is that having your sensor cleaned by a professional isn’t exactly cheap. Depending on where you normally have your camera cleaned, you can make up the cost of the Sensor Klear Loupe in three or four uses. If you frequently change lenses or often find or yourself in dusty situations, running to the shop for a cleaning every so often can get expensive.
Are you really sure it’s worth it?
Well, I do have one very minor complaint. The shiny stickers they put in for branding sort of make the loupe look like a cheap toy. Otherwise, the thing looks pretty well built.
That’s nitpicking though. The stickers are placed on the body cover and the eyepiece cap. These pieces protect the lens and the LEDs from damage when you toss the Sensor Klear Loupe in with the other gear in your bag.
More importantly, the stickers have no effect on the loupe’s functionality. The point is that it does its job and makes it easier for you to clean your sensor. That’s what matters, right?
Ok, can we do a quick recap?
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