Cleaning a mirrorless sensor

I’ve had the Canon R5 for 18 months now and only recently began to find some dust spots. That is amazing, as I always had to clean the DSLR sensors every few weeks. The 1DX2 threw oil from the shutter and needed cleaning almost weekly. I assume the shutter protects the sensor better than the mirror did. But now it has a few more spots than I want, and they won’t blow off so it’s time to swab.

I saw something somewhere recently about an extra caution for cleaning a sensor with IBIS, but it was for something other than Canon – didn’t note what. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t apply, though. Canon gives the procedure for getting to the sensor for blowing off dust and won’t say anything beyond that except send it in for professional cleaning. But at over $60 a pop (last century’s prices) and over a week downtime, no way. I can do the same cleaning they can, but would appreciate the best information about it. I found some videos using Canon mirrorless bodies that do the same swabbing as everyone did with a DSLR, with no further steps with regard to an IBIS sensor, so maybe at least with Canon, it’s not important?

Here are the steps I found for that other mystery camera:
set IS to OFF (presumably IBIS?)
change shutter to ES so it won’t accidentally trip (what is different about ES?)
turn “shoot without lens” to OFF (should be default)
turn power saving mode OFF so camera will not power down in 2 min

I would think that going into cleaning mode would set whatever is necessary. I will test the 2 minute power down thing.

The Canon R5 manual does say if the battery is getting low it will beep to warn you before it shuts down and closes the shutter.

Is there anyone out there who cleans their own sensors in the mirrorless world? I’ve been cleaning my DSLR’s for 24 years with excellent results, and have a tutorial on my web site on the best way to check for dust spots.

What I didn’t say, and should have, is to check after swabbing, as it can sometimes take several tries and it may get worse before it gets better. I seriously doubt that any commercial cleaning operation would go to this much trouble after swabbing.

Hi Diane, those are the steps I follow and I think posted here for Fujifilm mirrorless cameras with IBIS. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work for Canon. The main idea is to have the camera on with IBIS off so the sensor is locked in place.

ES is the electronic shutter, so there’s no danger of triggering the mechanical shutter while you’re swabbing.

I haven’t had to clean my mirrorless sensors much, not nearly as much as with Canon DSLRs. Partly it’s because Fujifilm places a glass protector a few millimeters in front of the actual sensor so most dust on the glass is so blurred that it’s not visible. I think I’ve cleaned my current camera once in almost two years.

Thanks, David! (I should worry about my competence when I didn’t realize the part about ES.) All that makes sense and probably no way to find out if any of it is implemented into the R5 Clean Manually setting.

Could IBIS be triggered with no lens on?? I’d rather take multiple precautions than miss one.

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Not sure if Canon’s Clean Manually puts IBIS in lock mode, but I would be surprised if it didn’t.

You can check the IBIS mode with no lens on by turning the camera on and going to the menu item where it turns IBIS on or off and see what it says…I think… :slight_smile:

Scrolling thru to find it, I found an item for Touch Shutter. It’s disabled, but would be another possible gotcha. BUT the menu setting shown in the manual for IS is not there!! If it might be lens-dependent, it should be grayed out as other items have been. The other items shown on that menu “page” are there – that one is just missing. Then I found the fine print – the item disappears with an IS lens – turning IS on with the lens switch causes the camera to manage between the lens and sensor stabilization.

So that sounds like it could maybe be ON with no lens?? With no lens attached, I had the option to turn it it off and will leave it at that. I’ll try to remember to turn it on if I use the wide-angle that doesn’t have stabilization.

Thanks for helping me think about something besides software. But I’m increasingly finding that thinking about anything gives me a headache.

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