The Solution to the Dirty Sony Sensor That Plagues Your Camera

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There are lots of fantastic things about Sony cameras. But one of the biggest flaws they all have is build quality. Do they work in the rain? Sure. Do they get dusty? Oh yeah. Unfortunately, it’s a problem with lots of Sony cameras. We just got done reviewing a few lenses on Sony bodies, and we ran into lots of dust issues. And guess what? Those issues seldom happen with other camera systems. So we broke this down and decided we’d help folks get around this issue (well, sort of). Here’s what you can do about your dirty Sony sensor.

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No, the Sony A1 Does Not Fix the Dirty Sony Sensor Problem

The big idea out there is that the Sony a1 fixes the problem. But that’s serious misinformation. What the Sony a1 does is bring the shutter down over the sensor when the camera is turned off. However, you have to enable this in the menu system. This is a great fix for when the camera is powered down. But the problem happens when you actually use the camera. In our tests, Sony cameras will get sensor dust when you’re using them in the field. So, unfortunately, no, the Sony a1 doesn’t solve the dirty Sony sensor problem because it’s not being fixed in real use. 

This, of course, has lead our team to believe that there’s an inherent fault with the mount. This hasn’t happened with Canon, Panasonic, Leica, or Nikon cameras when using weather-sealed lenses. 

What Lens Are You Using with Your Sony Cameras?

A big thing to consider here is your lens. Is the lens that you’re using weather-resistant? Is there a rubber gasket on the mount? If there is a rubber gasket, then there’s a strong chance of better protection. But still, the sensor will attract dust and you’ll end up with a dirty Sony sensor.

Sony 35mm f1.8 FE

The only time we’ve ever seen Sony cameras not get the sensor dirty is with Tamron lenses. All of Tamron’s FE lenses have ample weather sealing. We’ve done some pretty serious torture tests, and in every situation the Sony and Tamron combination worked most effectively. Sensor dust can still happen for sure with Tamron lenses. But generally speaking, they happen the least when this combination is made. We’re not saying this as a paid endorsement for Tamron. We’re saying this because we’ve tested the most lenses of any independent photo publication. 

As proof, we’re purposely not going to put any affiliate links into this blog post (where we’d then get compensation). Here’s a general breakdown of lenses and how you end up with a dirty Sony sensor:

  • Lens adapters: not weather resistant
  • Sony lenses: it depends
  • Sony G lenses: mostly weather resistant, though this varies. The 24-105mm f4 is a dust magnet.
  • Sigma lenses: usually pretty weather resistant, but there’s mount problems for sure
  • Tamron lenses: usually they’re the best with weather sealing
  • Zeiss lenses: better than Sigma, not better than Tamron
  • Other third parties: prepare to need to clean your sensor

A Rocket Blower

To start cleaning your dirty Sony sensor, use a Rocket Blower. This will gently blow air onto your camera’s sensor. In most situations, it will completely eliminate the dust. But that doesn’t always happen.

Hands On Cleaning of Sony Cameras

When you need to remove something stuck on the sensor, use an Arctic Butterfly or a Lens Swab. We’ve got tutorials on how to use them here. Isopropyl alcohol is often recommended, but I wouldn’t do it with your camera sensor. It’s much better for cleaning your lens contacts.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.