Thursday, May 25, 2006

Review - Update

Since posting the original review, I've now used the Sensorklear successfully on another 10D and a 1DMkII without any problems. In addition, I've received the following information from Parkside Optical Inc., makers of the Sensorklear.

In terms of expected longevity of the Sensorklear: "Depending on the level of contamination of the sensor, 100+ applications is standard."

With respect to cleaning the chamois tip: "SensorKlear is self-cleaning. Simply put the cap back on and give it a half-twist."

So, it appears that two of the three "unknown" questions have been answered. With respect to the potential damage issues, further monitoring is warranted and updates will be provided as experience dictates.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Review - conclusion

To summarize my initial experiences with the Sensorklear:

  • Compact and portable. No messy liquids, cans of air, or cutting required.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Proven technology on lenses though long term effects on sensor surface unknown.
  • Relatively effective and easy to use - cleaning the majority of significant dirt from the sensor.


  • Triangular shaped tip was a bit small and easily snagged on shutter components.
  • Didn't clean completely - a few stubborn spots remained after two cleaning attempts.


  • Item longevity. If the lenspen is any gauge, then one could expect that the Sensorklear will last.
  • Damage potential. Will repeated use cause any scratching of the sensor surface? Again, using the lenspen as a guide, it seems unlikely.
  • Inability to clean the Sensorklear surface. Will reusing the Sensorklear repeatedly be a problem?

Review - SensorKlear, 2nd attempt

Although, I was pleased with the initial attempt using the Sensorklear I wondered whether my abbreviated cleaning was sufficient. Could I do better job with this method? Consequently, I performed another cleaning using the Sensorklear, this time focusing on the edges where the dreaded spots were lurking. This was followed by another rocket blast as directed.

Of the four remaining spots, one disappeared and the others remained. Feeling satisfied, I abandoned any more attempts at cleaning and was left with three rather inconsequential spots, thus making grey skies blue ;-))

Review - Sensorklear cleaning time

While the rocket partially cleaned the sensor, it was time for the Sensorklear to shine. Following the instructions, I started rubbing the tip gently from the center of the sensor, working my way outward towards the edges. Initially, I was concerned about exerting an inappropriate amount of pressure on the sensor, but these fears were quickly allayed and it became apparent that any liklihood of gross damage was negligible.

The only potential risk I encountered was related to the design of the shutter assembly. The Sensorklear's triangular tip frequently became caught underneath or bumped against the edge during the cleaning process. Whether this represents any significant risk, I can't be certain however, it was a bit disconcerting.

Being uncertain of how hard to rub the Sensorklear and not knowing what duration was necessary to effect a sufficient cleaning, the first attempt was rather abbreviated - a couple of quick rubs followed by a quick exit from the sensor's surface. This was followed by another couple of blasts from the rocket blower, presumedly to remove any stray particles of carbon.

The results were rather impressive - Of the remaining 14 spots which weren't affected by the initial cleaning using the blower, the Sensorklear removed all but 4 spots, the majority of which were at the extreme edges. Of note, one "new" spot appeared in the lower left hand corner. Whether this was a bit of dust introduced by the rocket blower or one of the other dust particles which was moved a bit by the Sensorklear, is unknown and the implications uncertain. Nonethless, the sensor had never been that clean even when new and was in fact cleaner than after a professional servicing about a year earlier.

Review - initial cleaning - rocket power!

Next, following step 3 as outlined in the Sensorklear's instructions, the sensor was cleaned using a rocket blower. The blower worked reasonably well and the fiber disappeared, though some of the dust remained or appeared to move a bit - 13 spots were identified.

Review - test methodology

For the test, I employed one of my backup bodies,a Canon 10D. This camera has seen a fair amount of use and its sensor had not been cleaned recently. I followed the Sensorklear's instructions precisely including: 2) Hold the camera opening down away from the user at a 15-30 degree angle. 3) Use a large rocket blower to thoroughly blow loose dust off the sensor... 5) Insert the tip of the sensor klear into the chamber and place it in the center of the sensor... rub the tip of the Sensorklear back and forth on the sensor. Work from the center to the edges and then finish up by going around the edges. 6) Repeat step 3.

Of note, the Sensorklear folks remark in step 7, "if you have one or two stubborn dust spots that resist your best efforts, it is most likely because you have neglected cleaning your sensor for too long... Use approved wet cleaning method or send to manufacturer for cleaning.

They also provide a disclaimer, stating that "SensorKlear is a highly recommended tool for cleaning CCD sensors, but... assumes no responsibility for any damage to the sensor during the cleaning process.

Methodology: Using a Canon 10D with a fully charged battery, and clean "L" lens, I first took a RAW photo of the rather bleak appearing skies af f/22. The RAW image was processed in PS and evaluated at 100% for the appearance of any spots suggestive of sensor dust. These "spots" were identified and appear circled in the photograph below. Of note, these photos have been stored as .jpgs and as such may contain some additional artifacts. Please click on any photo for a larger version.

23 spots including what appeared to be a small fiber were identified before cleaning.

Review - initial impressions

I ordered the Sensorklear directly from Lenspen (of CN) for $16.95 postage included. The Sensorklear arrived in a padded mail envelope in about a week. In terms of appearance, the Sensorklear bears a striking resemblance to the lenspen mini-pro. It is about the same size and shape and has a similar nylon like retractable brush on the end. Whereas the mini-pro has a round tip, the Sensorklear's tip is triangular and appears to be manufactured of a slightly "softer" more "flexible" material.

It comes with rather explicit step-by step instructions, which I followed precisely for this review. Click on any image for an enlarged view.

SensorKlear Package

Side-by-side comparison with the Lenspen Mini-pro

Tips compared (SensorKlear - left, Mini-pro - right)


A variety of sensor cleaning methods have been espoused, though for reasons I won't discuss here I've rejected them in favor of using a blower.
After experiencing several years of unfettered success using the Lenspen to clean my lenses , I began wondering whether my trusty device would be appropriate to clean my DSLRs' sensors?

Essentially, a lenspen is a soft microcloth like fiber tipped device which is coated with carbon black. It retails for approximately $6-15 and is widely available in camera stores and by mail order. Among lens cleaning methods, the lenspen is the only convenient device which is supported by fairly good research and reportedly doesn't harm delicate coatings.

As a result, I ventured first to try it on an older DSLR body's sensor and contacted the manufacturer about this application. Lenspen wasn't forthcoming, so I decided to proceed cautiously. I was surprised by its ease and success and discussed my results on the forums. Despite my initial results, I was hesitant to use the lenspen on all of my DSLR bodies. A few months ago, Lenspen announced the release of the "SensorKlear". a lenspen like device designed specifically for use on DSLR sensors.

What follows is a review of the SensorKlear.


This site is dedicated to the use and review of Sensorklear, a device created by Lenspen designed exlusively to clean digital camera sensors.

Disclaimer: I neither work for nor have any connections to Lenspen, its suppliers, or manufacturers. The information provided here is based on my personal experience with the product and in no way guarantees that similar results will be achieved with the SensorKlear. In addition, there are no implied or expressed warantees against damage to your own equipment.

Copyright: All information contained herein including photographs and text is the exclusive property of Sensorman and may not be republished in any and all forms without permission. Linking to the site is permissible and welcomed. Your comments and experiences are appreciated.