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Cleaning the Sensor

Cleaning camera sensors used to be a nerve-racking process that required leaving the sensor exposed to scratching and even more dust. Now cleaning the sensor is pretty much an automatic function. Every time you turn the camera off, the SteadyShot technology vibrates the sensor to remove any dust particles that might have landed on it.

Every now and then, though, there will just be a dust spot that is impervious to the anti-dust vibration technology. If this happens, you have two more options to clean the sensor. First, you can dig into the camera’s menus and activate the Cleaning Mode function. Doing so essentially does what the automatic anti-dust vibration technology does when you turn the camera off.

Using the Cleaning Mode Feature

  1. Press the Menu button, navigate to the Setup submenu, and select it by pressing soft key C.
  2. Highlight Cleaning Mode under the Main Settings section. Select it (A).
  3. You will be instructed to turn the camera off after the cleaning (B). Press soft key C to start the cleaning process. That’s it. After the vibration technology does its thing, turn the camera off.
  4. Turn the camera on and continue shooting.

After you perform a cleaning, however, pesky pieces of dust might still persist. This will require manual cleaning of the sensor. If you choose to manually clean your sensor, please use a device that has been made to clean sensors (not a cotton swab from your medicine cabinet). There are dozens of commercially available devices—such as brushes, swabs, and blowers—that will clean the sensor without damaging it. To keep the sensor clean, always store the camera with a body cap or a lens attached.

The camera sensor is an electrically charged device. This means that when the camera is turned on, there is a current running through the sensor. This electric current can create static electricity, which will attract small dust particles to the sensor area. Even though the NEX-6’s sensor includes a static-free coating, it is always a good idea to turn off the camera prior to removing a lens. Cleaning the sensor yourself requires that you repeat the steps for activating the Cleaning Mode function. You can then use a blower, brush, or swab that is dedicated to cleaning sensors to remove any dust before shutting the camera off.

You should also consider having the lens mount facing down during lens removal so there is less opportunity for dust to fall into the inner workings of the camera. Since the NEX-6 is a mirrorless camera, the sensor is immediately exposed upon removing a dust cap or lens. Keep this in mind when you are changing lenses the next time. But keeping your camera’s sensor clean is part of owning and using the camera, so don’t let the idea of a little dust keep you from shooting.

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