DSLR Camera Image Sensor Cleaning

Clean Image Sensor function

If you suspect that dirt or dust on the image sensor is appearing in photos, you can clean it using the Clean Image Sensor option in the Setup Menu. The sensor can be cleaned at any time using the Clean Now option, or cleaning can be performed automatically when the camera is turned on or off. This tool is most effective when the camera is placed base down. Note that some older DSLR cameras may not have this function.
If foreign matter cannot be removed using the Clean Image Sensor option, the image sensor can be inspected and dust can be blown away as described below.

How to inspect for dirt and dust

In some cases, this dirt or dust, may appear in photographs and the sensor will then require cleaning.

  1. Charge the battery or connect an AC adapter. A reliable power source is required when inspecting or cleaning the sensor. Turn the camera off and insert a fully charged battery or connect the optional AC adapter.

  2. Remove the lens and turn on the camera.

  3. Press the MENU button and select Setup menu > Lock Mirror Up for Cleaning (see user's manual for more information).

  4. Press the shutter release button. The mirror will then be raised to the cleaning position and the shutter curtain will open, revealing the sensor. The camera viewfinder and top LCD will display a row of dashes, this is normal.

  5. Holding the camera so that light falls on the image sensor, it is possible to examine the surface for dirt and dust (Image 1). Should a foreign object/s be found on the surface, it should be cleaned as described below.
    If there is no visible dirt, turn the camera off and the mirror will return to the down position and the shutter curtain will close. Replace the lens body cap.

User-added image 

Image 1. Holding the camera for filter inspection.

Manual Cleaning

  1. Raise the mirror as described in the first five steps above.

  2. Remove dirt and dust from the sensor with a blower (Image 2). Dirt that cannot be removed with a blower can only be removed by Nikon-authorised service personnel.
    IMPORTANT: Note that the sensor is extremely delicate and easily damaged so please follow the instructions carefully.
    Nikon recommends the use of a blower to remove dust and lint. Do not use a blower-brush as the bristles could damage the filter. Under no circumstances should you touch or wipe the sensor surface. Nikon recommends that the sensor surface be cleaned by Nikon-authorised service personnel

  3. When you have finished blowing away dust, turn the camera off and the mirror will return to the down position and the shutter curtain will close. Replace the lens body cap.

Image 2. Using a blower to remove dust.

The use of cleaning liquid

There are various types of imaging sensor cleaning products available that may include a liquid cleaner together with imaging sensor wipes. It is possible that these liquids can be used, but as stated above the sensor is extremely delicate and easily damaged.  Any damage that may be caused by the use of these products, by the user, may result in a chargeable repair for replacement of the imaging sensor.