2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brush, no thanks! - Sensor Loupe, yes please!,
This review is from: Visible Dust Artic Butterfly SL724 + Sensor Loupe Kit (Accessory)I went a bit mad after doing weeks of research on the web about the various cleaning devices available, and bought a handful of different products, all recommended on various forums, all of which I have tried, so have some way to compare them.
I have a Nikon D300, and being an inquisitive type (always dangerous), and one who changes lenses quite a bit, I decided it was probably due for a sensor dusting. I'd taken a defocussed blue sky picture at f22, and there were two or three noticeable specks on there. Following guidance in the manual, I got my blower and gave the sensor a good few strong puffs to try to remove them. Unfortunately this had the opposite effect, and I ended up with rather more dust on the sensor than before. Presumably blown in off the sides of the mirror box.
I have a VisibleDust Sensor Loupe made by the same company as the Arctic Butterfly, and was able to clearly pick out the dust with it. The loupe is an excellent product, by the way, even if the brush isn't. But we'll get to that.
So, having tried several times to get rid of the dust with the blower and failing miserably, it was time for plan B - the Arctic Butterfly 724. Of all the methods at my disposal, I figured it was the least potentially damaging to the sensor. I followed the instructions to the letter and brushed over the sensor once, twice, several times - each time giving it a twirl in between to re-charge it with static and remove adhered dust particles from its filaments. It did move the dust around a little bit, but it had almost zero effect in removing it. In fact, it had the rather undesirable effect of smearing a couple of grains of something sticky (pollen?) across the sensor. So after using it I was worse off than when I started! I gave it a few attempts, but no joy. I cannot, therefore in any way endorse this product, and would not buy one again.
So I gave up on that little exercise. Next, I reached for my Dust-Aid Platinum - a silicon pad on the end of a stick which is supposed to lift dust off the sensor. It's supplied with special cleaning strips to clean it between uses. To cut a long story short - it did remove one or two of the dust particles, but there were still quite a few stubborn ones, plus the smears left by the Arctic Butterfly which needed removal. So I guess it might be more effective than the Arctic Butterfly, but it's not a magic bullet by any means.
I had also bought a Photographic Solutions Sensor Swab pack sized for the D300 plus a bottle of their E2 cleaning solution, which they recommend for the D300 and other Tin Oxide coated sensors which could reportedly in rare cases be damaged by their original cleaning solution. I was a trifle nervous about using a wet cleaning product on my lovely (and not very old) camera, but I figured I had nothing to lose at this point so I dove in. Worse case, I'd have to drop it off at a Nikon dealership for a professional clean.
I laid the camera on its back and surveyed the damage with the VisibleDust sensor loupe, leaving the loupe sitting over the lens mount to keep any dust from falling in until I was ready to go to work with my sensor swab. The loupe is really very good, even if the butterfly brush made by the company is worse than useless. I squeezed 3 drops of the E2 fluid onto the first swab and drew it across and back over the sensor as it details in the instructions (and on the YouTube video). It really wasn't as fiddly as I was expecting, but you do need to be a little careful to keep it flat. I disposed of the swab and checked again with the loupe, and saw that most of the dust was gone, but there was still a small deposit where the smear had been. So I repeated the process again, this time pressing slightly harder (I was a bit timid the first time), and bingo - the smears and all but two tiny grains of dust were gone. By this time, I was quite prepared to live with that.
So there you go - my recommendation would be to get the Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs, a bottle of E2 (or the other cleaner if you don't have a Tin Oxide coated sensor) and a VisibleDust Sensor Loupe. I spent a small fortune on all this stuff, and at least half of it is next to useless. Don't make the same mistake yourself.
And happy snapping!