Although I don’t actually name my gadgets and electronics, I take them very seriously. When my camera hurts, I hurt (maybe I’m guilty of a bit of personification, too).  A couple of weeks ago I started seeing dirty spots through the viewfinder of my Nikon. One was very distinct and practically in the center, although it didn’t appear on the images themselves (dust on the mirror?).

Other stuff couldn’t be seen through the viewfinder but appeared in the pictures. When I made the (in)courage desktop wallpaper for October, nine spots of sensor dust had to be edited. Nine.

Last week at the lake more dust (or sand, heaven forbid!) made its way inside my camera body. I’m really careful and fast, too, especially after learning Ben Willmore’s quick lens change method (Nikon demo video at bottom of this post) at a Kelby Training LIVE tour. At this point I could see multiple spots through the viewfinder; put my camera away without removing the memory card and looking at the last batch of photos; and felt physically ill just thinking about it.

Obviously, this is not a healthy state of mind for someone who sells and blogs photography.

After much Google searching and watching of do-it-yourself demos I felt fairly certain of two things: there was dust or dirt or whatever on both the mirror and sensor inside my camera, and I didn’t want to stick anything in there to clean it. Scary stuff!

Photography is supposed to be my outlet, not my stress point.

I really need my camera now, too: my sons and I have a mother/son camping trip next weekend and two boxes of products arrived this week to be photographed for the DaySpring Christmas catalog. Sending the baby off to be cleaned isn’t a good option at the moment.

Enter the Giottos Rocket Air Blower  . . .

If you research dirty sensors, you’re going to read about Giottos Rocket Air Blowers:

The Rocket Air has an air valve to prevent it from breathing in dust and blows out a powerful stream of air to blow dust away, to make cleaning lenses, cameras, filters a breeze.

Giotto Rocket Air Blower LargeI dropped the large model—which interestingly enough costs less than the medium—in my B&H Photo shopping cart (with my free shipping for NAPP members) and spent two days watching for the UPS guy.

When my rocket arrived I:

  1. turned off the ceiling fan
  2. pointed my camera body down
  3. removed the lens
  4. blasted 3-4 shots of air inside (to clean the mirror)
  5. locked the mirror up to clean the sensor (Google search this or check your manual. It will not work unless your camera is plugged into a power source or has a fully charged battery; I had to switch to a fresh battery to lock mine.)
  6. blasted 3-4 shots of air inside
  7. put the lens back on and looked through the viewfinder


(The large rocket is 7 1/2″ tall. My daughter thinks it’s strange that I photographed it next to a bottle of nail polish, but I thought it made a good point of reference.)

Here’s Ben Willmore’s quick lens change method for Nikon. Click here for Canon.

{Disclosure: This is a what-works-for-me post and should not be taken as professional advice. B&H link is an affiliate link.}

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