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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Ithaca, NY

    My future DSLR--tips on care/cleaning;also AF question


    I had recently posted a question on the general digital forum about choosing between a 10D and a MarkII when I get my first DSLR camera within the next 2-6 mths or so. (I already own a film SLR--the Elan7E--which is aging, and I take too many pictures such that the cost of film/processing is moving me to digital). I have pretty much decided that I will get the 10D, unless its successor (if it costs about $1600 which it probably will, which is where the 10D started at) proves too tempting in terms of added megapixels (presumably) and other features (who knows).

    I have been doing more reading about digital SLRs, and it's a little scary how often they warn about keeping dust away from the sensor. Now I am pretty sure that there is dust in my film SLR (it's overdue for a cleaning), but it still works.... How vigilant do you have to be about keeping your DSLR safe? I am usually taking pictures outside, rarely indoors (nature, wildlife, zoos, waterfalls, possibly horse racing in the future) quickly do you have to change lenses? I change lenses *a lot* (from wide angles to midzooms to teles), and often, yes, in a hurry, but not necessarily carefully. I guess I will have to learn to point the camera down when I do change them, but my question is, how often have you experienced getting your sensor dirty and do you send it in for cleaning often or do you do it yourself? Is it possible to do it yourself without damage?

    There was an article in the recent Pop Photo about this, and using a speck grabber. It seems like you have to be very careful. Any thoughts on cleaning and what to use? How often do you worry about this?

    Also, randomly: what is better for cleaning lenses? Tissue lens paper or the microfiber cloths? I tend to like the silky cloths, but have often wondered (and the books never really advocate the better of the two), as sometimes it seems the tissue paper does a better job. I have mostly generic Tamron/Phoenix lenses, and a Canon 28-135IS, but will be getting L lenses (if I can) in the future.

    And, lastly....I was reading a post in about 400mm lenses and how the 10D won't autofocus past 5.6 when using a 400mm lens, and that you would pretty much have to focus manually. Any experiences with this? I have a 100-400 Phoenix, and hope to get the Canon 100-400IS, and was wondering if I'll have problems autofocusing. I mostly use the 400 end because I am trying to catch an animal from far away, and so am photographing movement....which I know I have to have a fast shutter speed, but if I can't focus fast enough, the particular moment will be gone. And often I am shooting several shots in a row, fast, while the animal is moving in hopes of getting a keeper. Any experiences with this?

    Thanks so much!


  2. #2
    Powder River Imaging EOSThree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Like no place on earth

    Hi Vanessa

    First don't get caught up in the megapixel race. If you put more pixel sites on a give size sensor, you will increase the noise of that sensor. Cameras like the 1Ds and MkII have larger sensor to go with their increased pixel count. The number of pixels result in higher resolution, but if the size of the pixels decrease in size, so they fit on a certain size chip, the accuracy of the information they record goes down, resulting in noise. So if the new "10D" increases the pixel count without increasing the chip size, the new chip will be noisier. The new 8mp cameras: Canon Pro 1, Minolta A2, Sony 828, etc, are somewhat hamstrung by noise.
    I try to keep my camera turned off, pointed down, and caps on everything, until they're used, when changing lenses. I have had to blow dust off my sensor a few times since I bought the camera 6 months ago. I have had to use the copperhill method once to remove some stubborn dust, but generally a good blow with a Giottos Rocket does the trick. On a film camera you get a new "sensor" every frame you take, on a DSLR the same sensor takes all of the pictures, it's not surprizing it gets some dust on it. When you change lenses the mirror is exposed to the elements, and right under the mirror is the sensor, or film, it's no wonder that some dust gets in there. I have the Kinetronics Speck grabber but I am wary of using it on the sensor, I don't know what it uses for it's sticky, but I don't want to risk getting whatever it is on my sensor.
    I personally prefer microfiber to clean my lenses, I try my best to keep my fingers off them so most of my cleaning is just a very light wiping with micro fiber or brushing with a lipstick brush. If I do have some kind of smudge, I use a small amout of lens cleaning fluid with my microfiber to carefully remove the smudges.
    Your lens focuses with the lens wide open, your focus sensor needs a certain amount of light to be able to "see" the contrast to focus on. If 5.6 is wide open for your lens, it is just enough light to allow your auto focus to work properly. Any less light than that, such as a 2x tele coverter on a 5.6 lens and the auto focus just lacks the light needed to focus properly.
    Rule books are paper they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal. --Ernie Gann--
    What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. --Oscar Wilde--

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Ithaca, NY
    Hi EOS3,

    Thanks for responding to me again, and telling about number of pixels per sensor size--I did not know that. What I am really hoping for is that they would increase the sensor on the next new one, but that's probably unlikely, right?

    What's a copperhill method?

    I've seen the Giottos Rocket on B&H's website, and was planning on getting it soon. The only blower I have right now is the cheapie one that comes with a brush. Does anyone actually use the brush for anything besides the exteriors (and I use my cloth for that too) seems the brush would be bad for glass and other sensitive components. I tend to be too generous sometimes with the lens that bad?

    I have also heard of the Kinetronics Speck grabber, and am interested in the fact that you don't use it, due to your concerns/wariness. Does anyone use it? It does seem risky to me to put something sticky in your camera....

    So, if I don't use a teleconverter on a Canon 100-400IS lens on my future 10D (or whatever), it should be ok?

    I have a lens annoyance question, but I should probably put that in the Help forum (fogging of lenses that takes forever to go away...)


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