Tip of the Day: Three Ways to Clean a DSLR Sensor

1) Send the camera to a pro.This is your safest bet. If you send your DSLR to the manufacturer or a repair shop for cleaning, you’re in the clear if something gets damaged. Take it into your own hands and mess up? You void the warranty. Of course, sending it out can be costly ($50 or more), and you’ll have to live without your camera for a few days or weeks.

Getting dust on the filter covering your camera’s sensor is inevitable, even if you rarely change lenses. There’s almost as much conflicting advice about how to remove dirt from the sensor as there are products to do the job. Here are the three main approaches, along with a couple of affordable products to keep it clean:

1) Send the camera to a pro.
This is your safest bet. If you send your DSLR to the manufacturer or a repair shop for cleaning, you're in the clear if something gets damaged. Take it into your own hands and mess up? You void the warranty. Of course, sending it out can be costly ($50 or more), and you'll have to live without your camera for a few days or weeks.

2) Blow it off.
Proponents of the canned air method often use Falcon Safety Products' Dust-Off ($14, direct; www.falconsafety.com) to blow off the dust. The key when using any type of blower is to use dry, compressed air at a very low pressure (max. 20 psi). We suggest using a blower brush, with the brush tip removed, to avoid too strong a burst of air.

3) Wipe it off.
There are plenty of sensor-swab products, so it's just a matter of finding the one you are most comfortable with. Dust-Aid (www.dust-aid.com) makes low-cost wet and dry wands, as well as cloth wipes. These methods are best for persistent spots and smudges.

—Candy Cuenco

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