Discussion Forum Leica M System M9 Leica M9-P Sensor cleaning
  • #2807
    hmarkweidman

    Does anyone have any advice, pro or con, on cleaning the Leica sensor of dust and what appear to be very small moisture spots? I attempted to clean a Canon DSLR sensor (actually, the filter in front of the sensor) years ago and created quite a mess. I know I can send the Leica in to Leica service and have it cleaned, but it means giving up the camera for probably 2 or 3 weeks. I have the proper materials and supplies for cleaning a sensor, just not the confidence!

    Mark W.

  • #2808
    Jack MacD

    For dust, I use compressed air carefully to not let the liquid portion out of the can .
    For what appear to be spots? That would definitely be a job for Leica. David F would tell you he uses LR spot remover in post production, or back to Leica, he never touches his sensors, probably because he experiences so many horror stories from those who do. Right David?

  • #2809
    Josh Lehrer

    Mark:

    I avoid any kind of wet cleaning of the M9 sensor, I find it tends to make things worse. I frequently use a Giottos Rocket Blower to blow surface dust off the sensor. For more thorough cleanings, I send the camera to a local service shop that will do a wet cleaning with the proper facilities and equipment. A few touch-ups in Lightroom or Photoshop is a lot cheaper than replacing a scratched sensor.

  • #2810
    David Farkas

    Jack MacD;2931 wrote: For dust, I use compressed air carefully to not let the liquid portion out of the can .
    For what appear to be spots? That would definitely be a job for Leica. David F would tell you he uses LR spot remover in post production, or back to Leica, he never touches his sensors, probably because he experiences so many horror stories from those who do. Right David?

    Well…. first off, I use a Giottos rocket blower to remove loose dust. Ask Jack points out there can be a small amount of propellant that can come out of the nozzle, so I stay away from canned air. And, yes, I usually just remove whatever remains in Lightroom with the spot removal tool. The dust generally only shows in blue sky areas, not in areas of detail. Removing spots from the sky is really quick and easy.

    For really dirty sensors, I will either send to Leica for warranty cleaning or use the local camera repair shop for same-day service. They do a great job on sensor cleanings and we haven't had any issues so far.

    I really haven't heard too many “horror stories” about sensor cleanings. There is one about an S2 sensor getting scratched, but only because the cleaning swab was cheap and the plastic edge came through the cleaning material on the swab. If you stick to brands like Eclipse you should be fine if you decide to clean yourself.

  • #2817
    hmarkweidman

    Thanks for the replies and input on this. I posted this on several different forums and got a variety of responses, but most of them were positive by people who were cleaning their camera sensors using various quality products. I plan to attempt to clean the M9-P sensor and my Canon EOS-1DS Mk III very soon and will report back.

    Cheers,

    Mark W.

  • #2818
    hmarkweidman

    Well, today I decided to attempt cleaning the sensors on both my Canon & Leica. I started with the Canon (EOS-1DS Mark III) and had it pretty darn clean, first using a Visible Dust sensor brush, then Sensor Swabs with Eclipse. There were a few stubborn spots, probably either moisture or perhaps camera lubricant. By time I had gone through almost a full box (12) of Sensor Swabs I was only making the sensor worse. So, I decided not to attempt to clean the Leica sensor. Both cameras will ship out to their respective service centers via FedEx on Monday. I was disappointed because I really would have liked to been able to do this myself. Anyone interested in buying a few Sensor Swabs, Eclipse, or a new Sensor Lupe, let me know!

    Mark W.

  • #2867
    Crispsting

    Hi I went to Leica in Mayfair london and asked about dust on my M9-P sensor. I had only had it a few days and the dust was noticeable. They advised that the camera has a static charge which dissipates over time – about 1000 shots and the dust will be less of a problem. Since being told this I have also seen this referred to elsewhere and I can agree dust is less of a problem now then it was at new.

    I use a blower brush by the way.

  • #3216
    jaapv

    It takes about five minutes to get the M9 sensor perfectly clean. First I vacuum it with the Green clean vacuum cleaner, then I swipe it (if needed) with the wet and dry swabs by Green Clean. For the odd oily drop (very rare) I use Smear Away by visible Dust.
    Spotless – and I check it under a surgical operating microscope.
    Those commercial services must be raking in the money.:rolleyes:

    I might add that the sensor needs less and less cleaning over time. Now it is maybe once every three months or less.

  • #3321
    fotografz

    I also use the Giottos bulb … but only after pumping it a couple of times to get rid of any dust it may have ingested. I turn the camera sensor down so any dust gets dislodged and falls away from the sensor.

    However, the best tool to date, the one I use on all my cameras, including MFD sensors, is the Arctic Butterfly brush. You run the brush at high speed to build up a slight static charge, turn it off, then lightly swish it over the sensor. The static in the brush attracts dust like a magnet and leaves none of it in the opening to just be re-attracted to the sensor again.

    Once I have finished, I run the Butterfly again while blowing it out with compressed air , then immediately put it away in its case. This assures a perfectly clean brush for the next time.

    -Marc

  • #3634
    albireo_double

    I have cleaned the M9 and S2 sensors many times using the Giottos Rocket, Eclipse and sensor swabs. The sequence – blow with the Rocket, wet clean, blow with the Rocket again. Yes, it takes a few tries before the sensor is clean (what helps is to start cleaning in the middle of the sensor and push with the swab gently towards the edge. Then turn the swab around and use the clean side for the other half of the sensor. I rarely use more than 2-3 swabs before the sensor is clean. I know that other people advocate sending the camera to a service centre and discourage wet cleaning but, given the rate at which a new M9 sensor gets covered with dirt/lubricant drops during the first months of use, the camera would have to be in the service centre permanently. And what else do Leica technicians do to clean the sensor? I don't know but I suspect they just use sensor swabs and Eclipse…So I see no other solution than to persevere and do it myself.

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