What is a stain?
A stain is a build up of liquid that has accumulated on your sensor and usually comes in two variant types: water and oil. Water can build up from humidity, rain, spittle (it happens), etc, while oil or any type of lubricant is usually the result of spatter from the shutter or mirror mechanisms inside the chamber area.
What is a smear?
For an in depth explanation of what a smear is, check out: smears. The short answer is that a smear is a stain that has been spread across the sensor.
What liquid should I use for cleaning my sensor?
Our liquids are specifically tailored toward the type of stain that you have on your sensor. So logically that next question is "how can I tell what kind of stain I have on my sensor?" to which the roundabout answer is you can´t. We therefore recommend using VDust Plus™ because it will remove any water based stains and will remove light oil based stains. If VDust Plus™ does not remove the stain, then you know you have a stubborn oil based stain to which we recommend using Smear Away™. Unfortunately what happens when a tough oil stain is encountered is that residual streaking will be left behind after cleaning. We then recommend using Sensor Clean™ which will effectively remove any streaking and also provide an anti-static and anti-fogging barrier. We recommend that if you, as a photographer, know the type of environment you are going to be in whether it is extremely arid or extremely humid, that you give a quick coating with Sensor Clean™, even if you don´t necessarily need to do a cleaning. Over time you will get to know your camera and the environments that you are shooting in, which will help you determine what type of stain may have developed.
What type of swab should I use?
VisibleDust created two types of swabs for the two different types of stains that may occur, but after time we realized that our green series (MXD-100) will work with all of our sensor cleaning liquids while the orange series (DHAP) work best with VDust Plus™ and will work well with Smear Away™.
Why do you not recommend using products with a methanol base?
Products that have a methanol base should not be used for sensor cleaning for many reasons. A) Methanol is very corrosive and many deteriorate the O-ring that separates and seals the sensor from the low pass filter. B) Methanol is very hygroscopic, meaning that it readily absorbs water. If you clean with methanol the debris on your sensor may dig into the glass because the water, which usually provides a buffer, has been removed. C) Methanol based products are not travel friendly meaning you can not fly on an airplane with them.
Are your products safe to travel with?
Yes. All of our products are travel friendly, meaning that you can readily travel on an airplane to any country with them.
Won´t the liquid damage my sensor?
No. The sensor is hermetically sealed by an O-ring. You are actually cleaning the low pass filter (glass) that rests atop the sensor.