How to Keep Dust off Your Sensor in the First Place

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One of the cool things about point-and-shoot digicams and other cameras with fixed, non-interchangeable lenses is that you never have to worry about getting dust on the camera’s imaging sensor. Not so with DSLRs, and even less-so with mirrorless digital cameras. Because we live in a not-so-perfect world, every time you uncouple a lens from your camera, the interior of your camera becomes the dust-borne equivalent of open mic night at your local comedy club. With a bit of thought and planning on your part however, you can greatly reduce the need to perform post-production dust removal from your image files.

The B&H Three Point Dust-Prevention Checklist

  • Turn the Camera Off: As with most electronic devices, the electro-magnetic fields created by battery-powered cameras tend to attract airborne particles, and more so with cameras made up of higher amounts of dust-attracting polycarbonate materials, i.e., plastic. When you turn the camera off, so go these electro-magnetic fields.
  • Keep the wind to your back: Back in the day, sailors quickly learned the functional difference between the windward and leeward side of the ship, and for somewhat similar reasons, photographers should also make a habit of turning their backs to the wind when changing lenses. By using your body to block the wind, you’re less likely to have stray air-doodle blow into your camera’s mirror chamber. When changing lenses on mirrorless digital cameras, in which the imaging sensors are entirely exposed to the elements, it’s that much more critical that you take the time and effort to reduce the degree of ambient air turbulence whenever the lens or body cap is removed from the camera body.
  • Aim you camera face-down when swapping lenses: Think about it―dust falls down, not up. Down. Keeping this in mind, always aim your camera downward whenever you uncouple and couple lenses, unless of course you’re swapping lenses in an updraft.

By following the above recommendations, you can greatly reduce the possibility of introducing dust particles onto the surface of your camera’s imaging sensor.