LensPen SensorKlear Loupe
A combined magnifier and light source to make sensor cleaning safe and easy.If you’ve purchased a DSLR camera in the last couple of years there’s a good chance you’ve never needed to think about cleaning its sensor. Modern dust removal systems do a pretty good job of keeping sensors dust-free under normal shooting conditions. But owners of cameras without dust removal and photographers who shoot in dusty environments and change lenses frequently need a simple – and affordable – way to keep their camera sensors dust free. LensPen’s SK-1A SensorKlear Loupe could provide a partial solution. . . [more]
If you’ve purchased a DSLR camera in the last couple of years there’s a good chance you’ve never needed to think about cleaning its sensor. Modern dust removal systems do a pretty good job of keeping sensors dust-free under normal shooting conditions. But owners of cameras without dust removal and photographers who shoot in dusty environments and change lenses frequently need a simple – and affordable – way to keep their camera sensors dust free. LensPen’s SK-1A SensorKlear Loupe could provide a partial solution.
Cleaning DSLR sensors isn’t easy and there’s a risk of damaging the sensor if you don’t do it properly. In most cameras, you’re not actually cleaning the sensor itself but the low-pass filter in front of it. However, if this is accidentally misaligned, it can affect the camera’s performance and may even interfere with the action of the reflex mirror.
Professional camera technicians use a magnifying loupe with built-in illumination to enable to see where dust spots are on the sensor and make them easy to remove without damaging the surface of the sensor. The SensorKlear Loupe aims to give everyday photographers a similar tool.
The Loupe itself consists of three components: an eyepiece cap, which protects the magnifying eyepiece lens; the magnifier/light assembly and a body cover that fits over the lower two thirds of the device, protecting the optics and preventing dust from settling inside the inner surfaces (from which it could be transferred to the sensor). Made from lightweight plastic, it is nevertheless well enough built for its applications.
From left: the body cover, the magnifier/light assembly and the eyepiece cap.
The main body of the device has an ‘access window’ cut out of the lower two thirds of the tube. This lets you insert cleaning tools while viewing the sensor cavity through the eyepiece. The lens in the Loupe provides a magnification of 6x and it’s focused by turning a ring on the housing tube.
Three AG5 1.5V ‘button’ batteries (supplied) fit into a small, covered compartment on the side of the Loupe to provide power for the four white LED lights on each side of the lower end of the optical components. A slider switch on the opposite side of the access window turns the lights on and off. A printed sheet with basic instructions for using the device is supplied.
Using the Loupe
Inspecting the sensor in your DSLR with the SensorKlear Loupe is straightforward. Follow the instructions in the camera’s user manual for raising the reflex mirror so the sensor is exposed. (Make sure the camera’s battery is fully-charged before you start.) Remove the lens from the camera and the eyepiece cap and body cover from the Loupe and position the Loupe on the lens mounting panel with the eyepiece at the top.
Slide the light switch on the Loupe to the On position. This illuminates the sensor with an even spread of light that is bright enough to show any dust on it. Focus the lens by turning the focusing ring. The tip of a blower can be inserted through the port in the side of the Loupe to remove surface dust. Dust that can’t be removed with the blower requires professional treatment.
The SensorKlear Loupe in use.
Because the Loupe magnifies by six times, accurate focusing is essential for locating small dust specks.
Unfortunately, we found the review sample impossible to focus when we used it on our EOS 5D. The focusing adjustment did not turn smoothly and ‘stuck’ at several positions when we tried to change the position of the lens. At no point in the range of adjustments we were able to make did we achieve a sharp enough view of the sensor to enable us to locate and remove dust spots.
The SensorKlear Loupe is an excellent concept that requires some refinement before it can be a truly useful tool for DSLR owners. Although it was offered to Photo Review as a stand-alone product, it is probably better considered as a component in the LensPen SensorKlear Pro kit.
This kit contains the following complementary cleaning tools: a cleaning pen with angled articulating head; three Spare SensorKlear Heads, each of which is good for up to 50 cleanings; a Rocket Blower and a MicroKlear Microfiber Suede Cloth. All come in a natural leather carrying case. The complete kit (SKK-1) retails for $109.95.
When you purchase the Loupe separately, it is supplied with a velour storage bag and is small enough to fit into most camera bags.
Components: SensorKlear Loupe, eyepiece cap, body cover, velour carry bag
Power source: 3x 1.5V AG5 batteries (supplied)
Dimensions (diameter x length): Approx. 195 x 79 mm
Weight: Approx. 83 grams (without eyepiece cap and body cover)
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