The Copperhill Sensor Brush Method

Copperhill Sensor Brush

There comes a time in the life of each Digital SLR owner, when he (she) starts to wonder about dust on the sensor of their expensive cameras. While Film cameras do not have too much of a problem with dust, since the film is transported after each exposure, the image sensor of a DSLR stays in place. Worse than that, due to its function it stores charge, which attracts dust.

Everyone knows that you should be very careful when you change the lens, but regardless how careful one is, dust will collect on the sensor.

There is a big controversy going on in the world of digital Photographers about what to use to clean ones sensor. The original sensor brush was "invented" by Visible Dust and sold at an exorbitant price. It didn't take long for people to find out methods on how to wash and clean art brushes so they could fulfill the same functionality as the original sensor brush. However this do it yourself method never appealed to me, since you had to make absolutely sure that there was no glue or oil residue on any of the fibers of the brush.

Now you can buy pre-made sensor brushes from multiple sources. I recently bought the Sensor Brush from Copperhill (Mark II) and worked up my courage to try it out. I wasn't particularly eager to do this, but after I tested my sensor for Dust particles, I decided that I should try it out. I bought the version with the battery powered blowere, since the brush itself was sold out but was still sold as a package.

In order to test my sensor, I pointed my camera at my laptop screen, with a complete white background. I set the camera to aperture 22 and shot a couple of test shots. The dust was immediately visible. It was never visible on any of my "real live" shots.

There are plenty of online tutorials available on how to clean your sensor, so I am not going to go there.

I downloaded the manual for my Canon 20D from here and set up my equipment on my desk (see picture above). I then set my camera to its cleaning mode and took off the lens. I blew off every little remaining dust from the brush while statically charging it. I followed the instructions that came with my sensor brush to the letter and brushed off my sensor twice, without applying any force. A test showed that all dust spots that I had seen previously were gone.

The whole procedure took about 3 minutes. Even though Canon does not want you to use anything but a blower, it may not work properly due to the static charge. Since the brush is also statically charged, it seems to be an excellent method of removing dust from your sensor.

The pictures below are the test images. The first image shows the sensor before cleaning and the one blow shows the sensor after cleaning.

Before Cleaning

After Cleaning

Evidently the dust spots appear to be gone.

Turns out this whole sensor cleaning business is far easier than I thought. I didn't damage my sensor.

Cleaning house

Thanks, you have given me the cougage to give it a try.

I disagree with Copperhill methods

Yes the brush may give you some immediate results with alot pf passes on the sensor but it does wear off as it is very much a brush bought from art store. for the money you invest in your gear, get more quality cleaning tools Photosol or Visible dust, they are great companies and thet invented a well reliable tools but copper hill is just n immitater at cheap level. it is you camera after all

Really? And why is the

Really? And why is the Visible dust brush any different?
If you read between the lines on their website it becomes apparent that their brush is no different.
I don't know why you say it wears off.
It took me two passes and all the dust was gone.
But please, go ahead and spend a lot of money on a product that is virtually identical. I am not trying to sell you a product, I gave an honest review based on a test I performed myself.
I am not claiming to be scientific I just tried it and it works well.
The bottom line, I have tried it you have not and if you choose to believe the marketing claims from Visible Dusts "magical" brush, go ahead and buy it.
Are you wearing one of those magnetical bracelets to give you strength?

The tinfoil hat he wears to

The tinfoil hat he wears to stop the aliens reading his mind is obviously having a detrimental effect on his intelligence

The visible dust brush is a

The visible dust brush is a much lower quality brush. It's even cut unevenly. Read this:

And only a total dumbo could pay that much money for the brush that they buy from China for $0.2 Visible dust is all marketing smoke and mirrors.

I tried too only the

I tried too only the SensorSweep on a new EOS 400D (rebel XTi) that has a lot of dust.

I could confirm that it took me quite a lot of passes before being able to see no more than 10/15 visible spot, which I suppose to be sticky dread due to the lubricant used during manufacturing.

I charged the brush using a Giotto Air Blower, so it could be I'm not already keen on it :P

But I think that ALL my original spots were from sticky lubricant so the SensorSweep was able to remove them (with quite a lot of passes, I think about 50/60 passes)

Anyway it's recommended (especially for Canon gear) to have a wet pass (using Eclipse and PecPads or SensorSwipe) before sweeping because excess of lubricant is well known on Canon models.

That's why I'm waiting for my E2 fluid... :)


Doesn't the 400D have an ultrasonic sensor shake to remove dust automatically?
So from your description it sounds like its not as effective.
I have never had to use anything else but the brush, but I am also very careful when I change lenses.
Thanks for the feedback!

@Andre Well, with a quite

Well, with a quite new (December 2007) camera, I found a lot of spot when testing the sensor. I don't know if the auto-clean feature works only for big dust but I found that small ones are seldom removed by it.

Following to my last message I received the E2 solution and today I tried wet cleaning for an half dozen of times...

Maybe I have to learn more but I was able to remove all but one spots with a CopperHill SensorSwipe (with E2 and PecPads of course) and a lot of passes with SensorSweep.

The only one spot remaining it's very annoying but I prefer to stop here for today :)

Do you have some hints for that little spot? May it be a scratch ?!
(I'm waiting too for a SensorKlear pen that could finally remove it)


I am not an expert cleaner myself. I find it sufficient to use the brush and sometimes I correct obvious flaws in Photoshop.
That said, if your camera is still under warranty (it sounds like it is), you can send it to the Canon factory in Irvine (or whatever is closest to you) and have them clean it for free (you only pay shipping and insurance one way).
This way you will be able to find out if that spot can be removed.
It is probably best if you seek contact with them and let them know about the spot and claim its a broken sensor (asking for a new camera). Don't tell them that you have been cleaning it, as they may claim you damaged it and void your warranty.
Its ridiculous, but thats how they work.

SensorSweep & Mega Kit

I've now accumulated 3 DSLRs (D100, D200 and SLRn) I was debating whether to go for the Artic Butterfly kit ($180) to clean the different sensor sizes.
I came upon the CopperHillImages site while researching/surfing. Yes, the SensorSweep isn't as fancy looking as the VisibleDust brush but it's a fraction of the price and claims to do the exact same thing, but its only availabe in the one size.
After debating this and that, I ended up buying their MegaKit ($79) which had everything I would ever need for my cameras. You get the Pec wet cleaning kit for the sensor, the SensorSweep brush and the SensorView Magnifier, Giottos Rocket blower, plus the lense cleaning kit.
I followed their online instructions (which are some of the best documented on the web,very easy to comprehend) and the procedure was pretty straighforward.
As for the SensorSweep brush, It does look like a regular paintbrush, but I was surprised how well it worked. It took off all the loose pieces quite easily, but did leave a few stubborn bits back. I had to used the wet clean for that. The Sweep may look like a cheap paintbrush, but I'd rather use that than a paintbrush. The static properties do work in picking up the dust instead of just moving it around. The magnifier that came with my kit, SensorView, was a big help in inspecting the surface of the sensor.
I think the brush alone is about $28 - big savings over the VisibleDust basic version ($80). The Spinning one costs even more.
I recommend you get one of the kits as it comes with other essential items to help keep your camera in top condition. For a travelling kit, I'd pack the SensorSweep plus the SensorView for a quick clean out in the field.
Now I haven't tried or know of anyone personally that has tried VisibleDust brush, so I cannot make a performance comparison, but the SensorSweep has worked to my satisfaction.
And no, I'm affiliated with the company, just one happy customer who saved a lot of money and now has a set of clean cameras.

Copper Hill Brush

I get the Copper Hill sensor brush. This is the best sensor brush I ever seen, IS INCREDIBLE! Every DSLR user need this product.

Sensor cleaning

I have used this method to clean 800 cameras since late mid 2005, as a part time business.

This method works very well.

I have only had once accident which I believe was my own mistake for being too aggressive on a difficult spot.

You need to remember that sensor has a non reflective coating on it, and this can be easily scratched with incorrect technique and spatula.

Sensore brush method.

Thank you so much for valuable tips and beautiful share.Of course the brush may affect so fast their for we have to handle very carefully.The maintain of this camera is very essential which has chances to come react with dust particle.

team penske

The maintenance of camera

The maintenance of camera equipment is very important, even a small amount of dust can greatly affect picture quality!

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nice and thanks. You have to go places

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