Here I am again, in my role as Uwe’s personal ‘food taster’ for sensor cleaning products. So far, my sensor has survived everything he’s thrown at me (I might get suspicious if I get a box of steel wool from him some day). This time, it’s the Delkin SensorScope System . The system consists of a vacuum cleaner (SensorVac), swabs and solutions (SensorWands & SensorSolution), and a magnifying scope (SensorScope). Since I’m always looking for that magic-bullet of sensor cleaning, I have been looking forward to trying this product out.
The System comes in a very nice case, with foam insert that keeps everything in it’s place. Since I’m a little disorganized (chaos incarnate, as my wife puts it), this really helps in keeping everything in one place. In addition to the above mentioned items, there is also a small portable power supply that can be used for the SensorVac (which can also be powered by the USB port on a laptop or desktop computer).
So let’s look at each item in the System.
The SensorScope – The Good
This is a product I’ve been waiting for. Normally, cleaning a sensor consists of repeated cycles of cleaning, taking an out-of-focus picture at a small aperture, importing that into a Raw converter, processing it, and reviewing the image to find out if you’ve either removed everything, or just moved it somewhere else on the sensor. The SensorScope fits nicely in the lensmount, and allows for a magnified view of the sensor. It contains a light source that will illuminate everything to assist in the viewing. The button is a push to illuminate type, removing the pressure will turn out the light. Personally, I’d rather it have been a simple on/off switch, since I found myself losing my grip every so often with the result being no light.
Using the scope, I was able to clean the sensor of all debris as effectively as if I were reviewing an image on the computer. I used this with a Canon 1DsMk2, which required a little bit of moving the scope around to see into the corners. This wouldn’t be the case for APS sized sensors, and was not a deal-breaker for a full size sensor.
The SensorVac – The Bad
I was hoping this would be a better experience, and maybe others might find it so. I’ve always felt that blowing debris around in the sensor chamber was counter-productive. A mini vacuum seems like an ideal solution. The SensorVac’s tip has a small brush on it, to be used to dislodge dust as you vacuum it up. This was not the case. The brush left very small brush marks on the sensor, everywhere it touched. This was a new unit, not used by anyone else prior to myself, so whatever was on it, got there before it was sold. In addition, the vacuum didn’t appear to remove anything from the sensor. Not only did this not work, it actually made things worse.
SensorWands & SensorSolution –The Ugly
What can go wrong with using a Sensor Wand and Solution? Well in this case, things got ugly. I’m not entirely sure what the swab was made of.. but in using it, quite a bit of debris was left behind. Debris that looked like either paper or cloth fiber. It appears that it is very easy to abrade the swab when getting into the corners of the sensor… something that I haven’t seen with other brand swabs. As a result, although the streaks from the SensorVac were removed, there was additional fiber left on the sensor. A product that I had previously reviewed made short work of this and the sensor was clean again.
The system sells for $189 (US). Personally, I feel that this is too high. I suspect the SensorVac accounts for a good deal of this price, and frankly, I would not recommend that unit. If Delkin sold the SensorScope as an individual unit (say for below $99), then they’d have an excellent product that has not been available before. Although I would love to own the Scope, I feel the $189 is too much to pay for that and Sensor swabs/solution. My recommendation would be for Delkin to offer just the scope (before any other vendor starts) for a reduced price.