How to Clean Your Canon EOS 6D Sensor

When you power off your Canon EOS 6D, the sensor is automatically cleaned. The camera accomplishes this by jiggling the sensor to dislodge any dust particles. This works well, but sometimes stubborn particles of dust don’t fall off the sensor with the automatic cleaning. You can, however, manually clean your sensor if the need arises.

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Clean your sensor on command

If you consistently see dust spots in the same area on several images, you’ll be happy to know there’s a menu command you can use to clean your sensor, whenever you feel the need, by following these steps:

  1. Press the camera Menu button.

    The camera menu is displayed on the LCD monitor.

  2. Use the Multi-controller to navigate to Camera Settings 4 tab.

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  3. Use the Quick Control dial or Multi-controller to highlight Sensor Cleaning and then press Set.

    The Sensor Cleaning options are displayed.

  4. Use the Multi-controller or Quick Control dial to highlight Clean Now, and then press Set.

  5. A dialog box appears, asking you whether you want to clean your sensor now.

    OK is selected by default.

  6. Press Set.

    Your camera performs a sensor cleaning cycle.

Manually clean your sensor

You may inadvertently get a stubborn piece of dust that develops a magnetic attraction to your sensor and needs to be cleaned manually. To determine whether you have dust on your sensor, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to Av (Aperture Priority) mode and choose your smallest aperture.

  2. Switch the lens to manual focus and rack the focus to its nearest point.

    That’s right, you want the sky to be out of focus. That way the dust specks will show up as black dots.

  3. Take a picture of a clear blue sky, download the picture to your computer, and review it in your image-editing program at 100 percent magnification.

    If you see black specks in the image, you have dust on your sensor.

The best way to clean dust off your sensor is to blow it off with a powerful bulb blower. Several blowers are on the market with generic names like Hurricane or Rocket. A good blower is made of natural rubber and features a small opening at the tip that enables you to direct a strong current of air with pinpoint accuracy.

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To clean the sensor manually:

  1. Switch to one of the Creative Zone modes and then take the lens off the camera.

    The option to clean manually is not available in the Basic Zones.

  2. Press the camera Menu button.

    The camera menu is displayed on the LCD monitor.

  3. Use the Multi-controller to navigate to Camera Settings 4 tab.

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  4. Use the Multi-controller or Quick Control dial to highlight Sensor Cleaning and then press Set.

    The Sensor Cleaning options are displayed.

  5. Use the Multi-controller or Quick Control dial to highlight Clean Manually, and then press Set.

    The camera mirror opens and you have access to the camera sensor.

  6. Point the camera at the ground and place the air blower inside the sensor chamber being careful not to touch the sensor.

    When you point the camera at the ground, any dust you dislodge off the sensor falls to the ground. Gravity works.

  7. Squeeze the bulb repeatedly.

  8. When you’ve finished blowing dust off the sensor, power off the camera.

    When you flip the camera switch to off, the mirror closes. Make sure you put a lens on the camera or a body cap on the camera immediately. After thoroughly cleaning the sensor, you don’t want dust getting back in the chamber.

Never touch the sensor with the blower. Never use a blower with a CO2 cartridge. CO2 cartridges contain propellants that can foul your sensor.

How to use sensor cleaning equipment

If you’re a DIY (do-it-yourself) kind of photographer, you may want to consider cleaning your sensor with commercially available products. Lots of products — brushes, swabs, and chemicals — that you use to manually clean the camera sensor are on the market.

Yes, that does mean you physically touch the sensor with a product. Therefore the product you choose needs to be made from material that can’t scratch the camera sensor. You must also have a very steady hand when using these products.

VisibleDust manufactures a lighted sensor loupe that you place over the lens opening to examine the sensor for any visible dust — hence, the company name. The loupe is made of glass and makes it easy to see any specs of dust on your lens. VisibleDust also manufactures an Arctic Butterfly brush, which runs on two AAA batteries. To use this brush:

  1. Push a button to spin the brush.

    This gives the brush a static electricity charge.

  2. Brush the sensor once with the charged brush.

    Dust particles are attracted to the brush.

  3. Remove the brush from the camera body and then press the button to spin the brush again.

    This discharges the particles into the air.

  4. Use the brush as needed to remove any dust that may have accumulated on the sensor.

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