Photography is all about telling a clear story, a narrative that connects the view to the subject matter. Professional photographers will buy the best equipment, but it’s always worth noting no matter what you spend on a camera it will need looking after and while prevention is better than cure, it’s not always possible to stop muck.
After a recent trip to Anglesey to do some HDRI photography, I noticed some of my pictures had blobs on them and needed correcting. I bought some nice Zeiss swabs (ideal also for cleaning the MacBook Pro and my glasses), cleaned the lens and took a test shot below.
The wall is textured, but you can make out the black blobs that were appearing in my photos. Here’s the 24-105mm at 50mm – I did alter the RAW file to make the blobs stand out more. The lens itself has a filter on it (it’s never been used without the filter) and this was looking exceptionally clean after the Zeiss treatment.
To my surprise, this didn’t clean up the picture. So I swapped the lens and tried another one.
Still there in exactly the same place on the 50mm Prime (which also had a quick clean but hadn’t been used much).
It was then I realised the blobs were somewhere in the camera body itself rather than the lens.
The biggest take-home message I can give here is don’t try and clean anything in the camera yourself. Damaging the interior of the camera (the sensor) is going to be a costly experience in terms of getting it fixed and not having a camera to use.
Instead, find a trusted third party. I chose Newton Ellis in Liverpool. Why? Well, they’ve been around forever and small businesses don’t usually last very long if they’re no good. I also wanted to avoid the bigger suppliers as they have no real personal connection to the consumer – they’re all about shifting massive products and services.
The full camera clean cost me £90 (including VAT) and was completed within a week. Here’s the result.
As you can see, all the blobs have gone (though I didn’t quite use the same RAW settings to get the textured wall) and I’ve not got a perfect picture ready for my shoot at the weekend using a white screen.
Based on the time it takes to Photoshop out glitches and blobs, getting the camera cleaned actually made economic sense, I don’t need to worry about trying to remove them.
If you’ve got an interesting photographic assignment you’d like to collaborate on DM me know and we’ll have a chat.