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The Sony A7 III is a mirrorless camera with a CMOS sized sensor. It is one of Sony’s E-mount lenses and after a while, it accumulates dust. Here’s how to clean a Sony A7 III sensor.
How to Clean a Sony A7 III Sensor
To clean a Sony A7 III sensor, first, check if dust has accumulated on the sensor. Then you need the right tools to clean it. You have many options such as automatic cleaning and manual cleaning options such as dry cleaning and wet cleaning.
Check for Dust
Normally, you would see dark spots on your pictures if dust had accumulated on the sensor. However, sometimes it is not obvious that dust has accumulated on it and you first need to check if any residual material has gotten inside it. You can do that in any of the following ways:
- Option 1: Set your camera to the narrowest aperture (around f/16 would do). Then take a picture. The dust might be visible in the picture if the dust is large enough.
- Option 2: Take a picture with your camera and upload it on your computer. Open it in Photoshop, and in the Image Menu, choose “Auto Tune.” This will show if there are dust particles in your sensor.
- Option 3: Capture something white and while you are at it, shake your camera so that the photo is blurred. This will also show if there are any dust particles in your camera’s sensor, and it will be easy to see if the photo is blurry.
If there are any dust specs, then you should proceed with further steps. Also, you can use these steps to check if the dust has been adequately removed after the cleaning exercise.
Use Automatic Cleaning
The Sony A7 III comes with an in-built cleaning mode. You can use this to get rid of the dust. Follow these steps to clean your sensor automatically:
- Charge your camera’s battery. It’s recommended to have your battery 50% charged when doing this.
- Go to the Menu and select setup. Then choose Cleaning Mode.
The camera will then vibrate to shake the dust off. After it stops vibrating, check if dust particles have been removed by performing the steps outlined above. If the dust is still attached to the camera sensor, try cleaning it with the ideas we share below. Rerunning the cleaning mode will not help your cause most of the time.
Try Dry Cleaning
If dust still remains on the camera’s sensor, you can try manually cleaning it with a dry tool. This involves first cleaning the outsides of the sensor and then the insides. You’ll require the correct equipment for this, including a brush and an air blower.
Before starting, ensure you are in a dust free location as you do not want more dust to enter your camera. You can use a sensor loupe to check your work when you are done cleaning. This allows you to see any dust particles left in the sensor. If you do not have one, use one of the above mentioned techniques.
Also, never leave your sensor exposed for too long as more things could get into your sensor while you are waiting. Furthermore, do not shake the camera as it will damage the interior.
Cleaning the Outside
Before you proceed to clean the sensor itself, you need to first clean any dust particles on the exterior of your camera. You can use a simple brush to remove the dust. After that, use a blower on the exterior parts of the camera. This is essential because when you open the sensor, some dust might fall in.
Cleaning the Sensor
After you have wiped the dust off from the outside, proceed to clean the sensor. Make sure your camera is charged adequately (3 battery icons) before you proceed. Then enter cleaning mode and after the vibrating ends, switch off the camera.
Now, detach the lens. Tilt your camera slightly and then use a dust blower to blow the dust off. Make sure the dust particles are coming off of the sensor, and not staying inside. Make sure that the blower does not touch the surface of the image sensor, because this can damage the sensor.
Also, when using the blower tool, apply light pressure. If you press too hard, it might damage the interior. Do not use a spray blower as it might leave water droplets inside the camera. Furthermore, ensure the camera is not subject to any shocks (there is no access to electricity nor it is plugged in) during cleaning.
Try Wet Cleaning
When both automatic cleaning and dry cleaning fail you, you should try wet cleaning. This is extremely useful when your dust spot has turned into a smudge and a blower is not sufficient to remove it. You will need a sensor swab for this. Follow these steps to wet clean the Sony A7 III:
- Make sure your camera is adequately charged. Ensure at least three battery icons are present before you clean.
- Enter the cleaning mode. After it stops vibrating, switch off the camera and open the sensor.
- Place your camera on its back, preferably on a flat surface, so that the camera lens is facing upwards. Then remove the lens.
- Take a sensor swab, make sure it is clean. You need to choose the right size of the swab as different sensors require different sizes. For the Sony A7 III, you can use the 24mm or “Type 3” swab.
- Apply some solvent to the swab. Make sure you use the right amount and moisten the edges. You should do this step with extreme caution.
- Use a blower to blow off any particles from the swab.
- Take the swab and gently move it from one end of the sensor to another. Then turn it over and use the other side of the swab. You are supposed to move it in one direction and not back and forth.
- Use a sensor loupe to check the results or close the sensor and perform one of the above techniques to see if it worked.
When you are using this method, make sure to not use a microfiber cloth in any case. Also, make sure that you use your sensor swab only once and then discard it. Moreover, do not touch the camera’s sensor with anything besides a sensor swab.
If this method does not work either, do not try anything else yourself. You should now contact the Sony support department or a local camera store to help you with this task.
How Often Should Camera Sensors Be Cleaned?
Camera sensors should be cleaned every one to three months. If you use the camera regularly and change your lenses very often, or photograph outdoors a lot then you should clean the sensors once a month.
However, if you use your camera sparingly, do not change the lenses very often, and mostly shoot indoors, then you can clean the sensors once every two to three months.
How Does Dust Get Into Camera Sensors?
Dust gets into the camera sensors primarily when you change lenses. When you change the lenses, even if it is in a very closed dust free room, dust can get settled into the camera. So, it is good to keep changing lenses to a minimum.
Another way dust could get in is when you capture photos outdoors. Also, every time you press the shutter, the friction between the components of the shutter and the shutter itself can create dust, which can then enter the camera.
You can clean the Sony A7 III sensor through the automatic cleaning feature. If that does not work you can always use dry cleaning or wet cleaning methods. Moreover, before you start and every time you attempt you should check for dust by capturing a white surface or use a narrow aperture.