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Categorized | Articles, Gear, Jason DiMichele

Gear – VSGO Sensor Cleaner (full review)

Reviewed by Jason DiMichele

Dust/dirt has always been a problem for photographers. It used to be on film and now it’s on camera sensors. It’s not a particularly fun aspect of photography that we must perform periodic sensor cleaning, but the minimal effort required is more than worth it. I had the opportunity to review a sensor-cleaning solution from VSGO, who has been in the industry for a while. Read on to find out if my camera sensors are cleaner than yours.

VSGO (www.uesproducts.com) produces professional quality cleaning solutions for digital products. As stated on its website, they have gone into partnerships with big companies such as Nikon, Fujifilm, Rollei and Manfrotto, most likely to be used in their service departments.

VSGO sells a variety of cleaning products, and I will be reviewing their 35mm full frame ($29.99 CAD) and APS-C ($25.99 CAD) sensor-cleaning kits. These kits include a 15ml bottle of cleaning fluid and 12 sensor swabs (individually wrapped). These kits are available on Amazon and at Walmart.

Many photographers shy away from cleaning their camera’s sensors, for fear of damaging the sensor. The reality is that you can’t damage your sensor because you aren’t actually touching it. The sensor swab is only touching the filter in front of the sensor. This filter will be an anti-aliasing/low-pass filter, IR or optical glass, depending on your camera model and its features. As long as you’re gentle, use the proper tools and follow the instructions, both with camera-cleaning settings and VSGO sensor cleaner, you’ll be fine.

Always purchase the proper swab type/size for your sensor size. When cleaning a sensor, you want to do it as quickly as you safely can, so as not to expose the camera to more potential dust.

VSGO includes instructions in the kit, and there are numerous videos online on how to clean your sensor. The process is very simple. You put 1-2 drops of cleaning fluid on your swab, place it against the edge of the sensor and drag the swab across the sensor filter. Once you get to the other side, simply turn the swab over (you don’t want to rub the dust you just cleaned off back onto the sensor filter) and go in the opposite direction.

Camera sensors are dust magnets, since they create a static charge when powered on. 

Depending on the thoroughness of their post processing, a lot of photographers aren’t aware that they have dust/dirt on their sensor, but it’s easy to check. Some of the fastest ways to check are to use an ExpoDisc (check out the Spring 2018 issue of OPC), or by photographing an object without much high-frequency detail (such as the sky, a plain white sheet, etc). You want to use a small aperture, such as ƒ22, and ideally manually focus it so that your subject isn’t in focus. When you zoom into your image you’ll probably see plenty of spots if you’ve never cleaned your sensor before. You’ve been warned; if you’re a clean freak, you might want to sit down before zooming in.

I take very good care of my gear and am careful when changing lenses to ensure that I have minimal sensor dust/dirt issues. I clean a few of my cameras regularly with VSGO, but since my sensors are usually fairly clean I wanted to find a challenge for the VSGO sensor cleaner. I was able to find some ancient cropped sensor cameras sitting in storage bins without dust caps on. Well, Mr. Clean would have been proud. Although it took two swabs instead of the usual one to get rid of the grime on the sensor, it was now clean.

A little bit of dust is a nuisance to have to clone out all the time, but a lot of dust or dirt can hinder detail being resolved by the sensor in your images. Over months of using the VSGO on various cameras and levels of sensor dust/dirt, I can say that it is a product to be trusted and relied on for quality sensor cleaning. Cleaning your sensor with VSGO is so quick and easy; you can finally say good riddance to dirty sensors.

To read more of this not-to-miss issue please pick up the Summer 2018 issue today online or at your local newsstand. To never miss an issue you can subscribe here

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