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Cybershoter Jul 19, 2004 9:36 AM

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Look at the ugly picture of the boat! See the spot to the left (the boat's starboard)? How about those splotches in the sky?

I get spots on any pictures I take in bright daylight, especially in zoom mode. This suggests thata largeF-setting for bright conditions, plus the zoom, make any debris on the sensor (or hind side of the lens) stand out.

Can a sensor be cleaned? How? Or is it sealed and easily damaged by tinkering? I unscrewed the back side of my camera, only to find that any further probing would require a lot more disassembly. I decided not to go futher without asking more experienced people.

Ifa dirtysensorcan only be replaced, is the cost likely to be a big increment over the circa $150 base charge that companies tend to levy for any repairs or consultations? Bottom line: is the diagnosis "dust on sensor" a kiss of death? Does it translate to "easier to replace the whole camera than to fix"?

My camera is a year-old Sony DSC P-72. It worked great until around last March, when I noticed spots in certain pictures. I always assumed it meant a dirty lens, so I cleaned it. However, the problem always recurred when I took pictures in bright light. Just this past weekend, I figured that the problem is definitely more than just dust or sea spray on the outside of the lens. It has tumbled from my pocket two or three times, but (except for the spots) seems to work fine.

Thanks for any tips or guidance.

choeschen Jul 19, 2004 10:47 AM

You can always clean you sensor, it just depends on how much work there is to get to it and if you feel comfortable with doing it yourself. Since it sounds like you have to complete disassemble you camera to get to the sensor I would have to bet you will void any warranty (if not already expired) you have. The sensor in a digicam is about the most expense part as that is the digicam. You can always bring it into a camera service center and get it cleaned.

ohenry Jul 19, 2004 8:01 PM

IF you can get to the sensor in that camera, there isa very nice tool called "Speckgrabber" that may work well for you. Basically, it is a very sticky pad on a stick that grabs dust easily without leaving residue on the sensor (or surface of the lens) and do not require significant pressure being used so potential damage is minimized. The Speckgrabber is a very reasonably priced tool.

If you cannot obtain easy access to the sensor, it will probably be best to take it to a repair shop and let them clean it.

Cybershoter Jul 20, 2004 5:55 AM

I note that you qualify the advice, "IF you can get to the sensor in that camera..." Is it the case that the sensors of most or all fixed-lens digicams are sealed? Are they nearly impossible to open? It would be wise to know before I start extensive disassembly.

All the sensor cleaning advice I find elsewhere on the Web appears to relate to DSLR cameras, whose sensors get exposed each time the lens is changed and therefore need cleaning rather often. Perhaps reaching a DSLR sensor is rather easy and routine. Some ads for fixed lens cameras boast that they are "immune" fromsensordust. My DSC R-72 owner manual says nothing about cleaning the sensor. None of the "trouble shooting" or website FAQ address the question at all. Has anyone, amateur or pro, really done this?

Thanksfor any tips or warnings.

choeschen Jul 20, 2004 8:33 AM

If the sensor is sealed and there for "immune" fromsensordust than maybe you are seeing a bigger issue than just sensor dust. It could mean that that part of your sensor has become damaged and not reacting to the light in the same way as the other areas of the sensor. You did say it is old and has tumbled fromyour pocket two or three times.

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