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Warning about Dust on Your Sensor in Video...
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Nov 12, 2012 14:55:15   #
gessman Loc: Colorado
 
I don't want to dash a cold bath on this new and appreciated section but I want to share my experience in the form of a post I made on another thread last week regarding the subject of having dust on your sensor for anyone who may have missed it. That said, you do have some accomplished videographers in uhh which I'm sure you will soon attract. I submit this in an effort to help others avoid the same pitfalls I experienced.

Here's my story:

Canon had this problem with the 5D2. Mine is #94 produced. The lube for the mirror was getting on the filter in front of the sensor. The spots are most pronounced the more you close the lens down. I shoot stills mostly for max bokeh (blurry background for those inexperienced) and didn't notice my spots 'til I did several hours of video around f/11 to f/22. Not aware of this as a problem, over the span of about a month, I put together a 1 hour video with a lot of sky in it, edited for days, processed it, and then burned it to blu ray at 1080p, currently the highest resolution available. I was not at all proud of the 19 spots that glared at me in an otherwise wonderful HD 1080p on a 70" screen that I worked on for a few weeks. The spots weren't visible on my stills up to then when projected onto the 70" screen because of the bokeh and even in the video I couldn't see them on my new 25" monitor. You can "clone" or "heal" the spots out with an editor for stills but there's no sensible way to get rid of them in video. You can edit them out of each video frame, a few million at 30 frames per second but since 1080p video is shot at only 2 megapixels, you edit a frame one time and save it back and you can see your 1080p fly out the window. About 3 edits and a frame is unusable and with current editing technology, you can only fix one spot at a time so if you have 19 spots...

I tried to clean the sensor and only smeared the oil everywhere making the problem worse. Had to send it back to Canon. I had tried everything available and nothing worked. Canon returned it to me in about two weeks clean and now, without the oil, I can use a Rocket Blaster blower and get rid of the spots.

Now, accumulating a few video clips as I go in between stills, and since I never know when I'm going to want to make a video clip, before I go out to shoot I walk outside, turn my auto-focus off to keep it from searching, aim at the sky, preferably a nice blue one, set the aperture on f/22, focus to infinity, go back in and magnify it many times on my monitor. Then, I try to not change the lens while in the field and if so, I honor the proven methods of getting out of any wind, turning the lens mount down, and getting it done right now, never leaving the body open for more than a split second.

As for it being a problem, it sure is for me. Currently, I do not attempt to sell what I shoot but that may change and I do not appreciate spending a lot of money, time, and effort just to have an equipment design defect spoil my work.

It would be a mistake to think that you can eliminate any spots that you might get in stills. Say you are shooting a wedding and you get a nice nasty black spot in the bride's eye area it just might turn out to be irreparable - especially if you like to include video clips in a slide show. It is very little different from spots on film in the end so it isn't a problem unique to digital but the sensor is a magnet for dust. I live in a dry, dusty area where both dust and static electricity are abnormally high and eliminating dust is an ongoing issue.

Please pardon the long and slightly off-subject rant but it isn't a problem unique to the D600 and can be used as a word of caution to anyone buying any new DSLR. I'm not convince my 5D2 didn't arrive with the 19 spots. So, you might want to check yours out of the box and if you have 'em and can't blow 'em off, I'd recommend sending the sucker back, Canon, Nikon, Sony, whatever. Warranty? Not a chance. If you opened the box you share liability for any dust spots present. Fortunately, it's usually less than $100 but still...

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Nov 12, 2012 16:52:40   #
n3eg Loc: West coast USA
 
Even I've heard about the oil spots on the Canons, and I've never used one. I remember when shooting video in the desert made a mess of my Sony Handycam back in 1991...I'll have to try that blue sky check just for the heck of it with my fixed lens cameras to see what happens. I guess it's similar to staring at a blue sky and seeing all the "floaters" in your eye.

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Nov 12, 2012 17:19:58   #
gessman Loc: Colorado
 
n3eg wrote:
Even I've heard about the oil spots on the Canons, and I've never used one. I remember when shooting video in the desert made a mess of my Sony Handycam back in 1991...I'll have to try that blue sky check just for the heck of it with my fixed lens cameras to see what happens. I guess it's similar to staring at a blue sky and seeing all the "floaters" in your eye.


You shouldn't have that as an issue on a sealed camera but on a DSLR, and some apparently more than others, it is an ongoing fight. This experience occurred before there was time for all the scoop on the dust issue to circulate, within a few weeks after the 5D2 was released which was the first to provide 1080p in a DSLR so there was no 'skinny' floating around for me to "go to school" on. That and a few others, I had to learn the hard way. Not pleasant or funny. Now, as of the release of the D600, Nikon has put out a unit that comes out of the box ready to screw up a bunch of video.

The saving grace is that much of the video currently being produced has some places that show spots on sensors, even on HDNet. Maybe expectations are being relaxed some. I would go with a sealed camera if it weren't for those stinkin' lil' ol' bitty sensors. Being aware of the fact that 1080p is shot at only 2 megapixels, and without benefit of doing any research, since I have no need to, it makes little sense to me how you can get only 1080p out of a full frame sensor and yet get the same thing out of a sensor only 1/4th the size of the full frame. Maybe someone here can make some sense out of that. With stills, I've resorted to not going past f/8, which is a suspected sweet spot with all that big Canon glass I have, with any of my lens and taking multiple shots with different focus points and then 'focus stacking' to get the desired depth of field in a shot covering any appreciable distance from 'here' to 'there.' I've also mostly resorted to only videoing subject matter that won't push the clarity of any spots that might be on my sensor, quite a bit of macro shooting, very little landscape. My philosophy has become, "you better make that first bite a good 'un 'cause you probably ain't gonna get no more of me."

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