The Road To Victory Begins With A Clean Sensor

They say “charity begins at home” to mean you should take care of family and people close to you before you worry about helping others. I like to think that my family including  my two Canon EOS 5D Mark II bodies are well looked after. When Reuben Chin tweeted about his dirty Nikon D700 sensor and his failed attempt at cleaning using a Marumi Low Pass Filter Cleaner I offered to help knowing from first hand experience that when all else has failed, wet cleaning usually saves the day. Back in the days when Canon DSLR bodies had no built-in sensor cleaning or “shake off” technology I acquired a lot of hands-on  experience  cleaning my EOS 20D, EOS 1D Mark II so much so I wrote a DSLR Sensor Cleaning Tutorial including a related article on Cleaning the Viewfinder.

With a clean sensor and renewed enthusiasm, Reuben went on to take part in Brunei’s First Canon Photo Shoot-out held this morning in the Brunei capital and emerged victorious!

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Using an LED lighted magnifying glass, Anthony and Reuben were able to see first hand just how shockingly dirty their Nikon sensors are. This low cost appliance also makes it very convenient to check before and after results without resorting to shooting bright skies at f/22, download to a PC then examine for dust spots.

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Prior to wet swabbing, I use 3M Scotch tape to lift lint and other debris from the side wall of the chamber to ensure they don’t add more dirt to the already dirty sensor. Behind that nonchalant smile is a nervous owner of a Nikon D700 unsure of his camera’s fate. The fact that I am so casual about it and not wearing a white “doctors” jacket, I suspect, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

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Anthony was quick to pass me his Nikon D3 for me to warm up. This happens to the first Nikon I cleaned a couple of years earlier and it’s come back for spa treatment.

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Using a PowerShot G11 Live View its large LCD offers an impressive view of the camera sensor through the lighted magnifying glass.

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The combination of a lighted magnifying glass and G11 Live View offers the convenience of those rather expensive purpose built sensor scope. I like to use tools I already have instead of adding more items to my inventory and less money in the bank.

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Handheld LED lighted magnifying glass makes the job of sensor cleaning so much easier than before even for my aging eye sight I am able to see every single trace of dust or streaks left from previous cleaning job.

[ The same hand-held magnifying glass used as creative light source ]

This close-up view of my EOS 5D Mark II sensor was photographed with a Powershot G11 shot through a Visible Dust 7X sensor loupe purpose built to aid sensor cleaning.

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Four used sensor swabs and two thumbs up. That’s me on the left and Reuben wearing a smile after seeing his rejuvenated Nikon D700 sensor and also knowing that he’s all set for Brunei’s first photo shoot-out competition. At time of this writing, Reuben has won 1st Prize for Theme B — congratulations!

[ All images courtesy of Gavin Goh ]

GIVING IT OUR 400%

This year Chung Ching Middle School celebrates its 71st anniversary and as early as a month and a half ago, Primary section supervisor asked if I would be available to handle photography of the event. I didn’t immediate given an answer because I had to juggle a number of prior engagements which hadn’t been confirmed. A week before the event, I invited Kantalensa, Gembo and Gavin to join me in an evening of fun after obtaining permission from the school to do so. Instead of giving my 100%, we gave our 400% and went home that evening completely justified and exhausted. Thanks guys for your time and contribution! [see also CCMS 69th Anniversary] I had to miss the 70th Anniversary celebration because it coincided with the Lexus Golf Tournament assignment.

Check out my FACEBOOK PHOTO GALLERY for other photos from the event

bt-ccms-storyRead this story on BT online

The first item on the evening’s itinerary was the Board of Directors Group Photo which we pulled this off using two Speedlite 580EX flashes each fitted with a Lightsphere diffuser and Pocket Wizard Plus II trigger. With minimal post processing, I was able to get this result without the burden and associated risks of lugging and setting up large studio strobes and extension cords for A/C power etc. I could have just as easily mount a 580EX on the camera and be done with the shot but I had Kantalensa and Gembo hold one rig on each side of the group.

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PocketWizard Plus II, Speedlite 580EX, Lightsphere II PJ diffuser

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Choir ensemble performing the Brunei national anthem marking the start of the celebration

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Guest of honour Pehin Bendahari China Dato Paduka Onn Siew Siong

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Dancers backstage getting ready for their performance

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A young violinist serenading the guests to kick off the evening

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"Chung Ching Boleh!" she says when asked why she liked the school

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"What a Wonderful World" handmime performance. Jewel is the face left of the letter U.

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"Rhythm of India" performance one of my personal favourites coinciding with Diwali celebration