PMA: Keep an eye on your sensor

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It’s probably a well-known fact among the digital photography crowd attending the PMA trade show in Las Vegas, but less so among the growing number of photo enthusiasts turning to higher-end cameras—dirt and gunk can build up on the sensor of your digital SLR. As my colleague Christopher Breen noted in a column from last year in which he talked about the tricky process of cleaning out a digital-camera sensor:

When you switch lenses on your SLR, it’s possible for the camera to collect small specks of dust on the sensor—the light-sensitive silicon chip that samples incoming light. Even without changing lenses, you can collect dust when shooting in dry, dusty environments. These bits of dust manifest themselves as tiny (and sometimes, not-so-tiny) spots on your pictures.

So how to tell just how dirty your digital SLR’s sensor is? The SensorScope from Delkin Devices will show you. Sold with Delkin’s DigitalDuster cleaning kit, the SensorScope is a 5x magnification lens that fits over your camera’s sensor and lets you look into the camera.


The scope shines four bright LED lights onto the sensor to display grit, dust, and other grime in its full glory.

sensorscope lens

You can then use the kit’s SensorVac, SensorWand, and Sensor solution to clean your sensor, if needed.

sensorscope kit

The idea is to prevent unnecessary cleaning that could scratch or otherwise damage your camera. The SensorScope System costs $189.

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