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IMS sensor cleaning sticks ship worldwide
(Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 20:27 EST)

Intelligent Mobile Solutions Ltd. has today announced that its DSLRClean sensor cleaning sticks are now available worldwide.

Photographers using digital SLRs quickly find out just how much of a problem dust on their image sensors can be, showing up as blurred dots and squiggly lines in their images. Software solutions exist to remove the problem after the fact, but can either degrade image quality by mistakenly identifying image details as dust, or rely on your having a photo which shows only the dust to help in removing it. With the exception of Olympus, whose digital SLRs offer a built-in system for removing dust, most camera manufacturers have done little to solve the problem. Indeed, they almost universally recommend against photographers trying to clean the dust themselves, instead recommending cameras be returned to the manufacturer for cleaning (something that can leave you without your camera for days). Using blowers or compressed air can potentially make things worse, putting even more dust on the sensor or coating its surface with liquid propellants.

Of course, film cameras suffered from dust problems as well, but the effects when actually taking the photos were perhaps less significant. Since the film itself was only used once, dust inside the camera had little opportunity to cause problems; instead the main problem film photographers had to deal with was cleaning their negatives and slides before scanning them. With digital SLRs, your sensor stays in place for the lifetime of the camera, however, and dust gradually builds up more and more.

Because of this, numerous companies have sprung up to offer an array of cleaning solutions at wildly varying prices, mostly relying on techniques including cleaning fluids and static-charged brushes. Each company claims its solution as the best, and notes potential problems with competing methods. To be sure, there are potential pitfalls with each solution, so it is left up to photographers to decide which method they feel safest with.

UK-based IMS's DSLRClean solution involves gently wiping the surface of the sensor, using sticks tipped with a soft microporous pad that the company says is lint-free. The system is said to work by creating a slight vacuum that sucks dirt from the surface of the sensor, and usually does not require the use of any cleaning liquids (although IMS does recommend its IClean liquid for removing stubborn particles).

IMS says that its products are covered by a 45-day unconditional guarantee, and further notes that if it is determined that use of its products damaged your sensor when using them in accordance with its instructions, it will cover repair costs "upon presentation of proof of purchase, camera manufacturers repair invoice and the damaged sensor". Some competitors seem to offer similar guarantees; others don't seem to mention guarantees on their sites at all.

We've not currently tried the DSLRClean method ourselves, so can't vouch for its efficacy and safety, but with pricing set at $29.95 for 10 cleaning sticks it is far from the most expensive method available, and may be worth trying if you're looking for a cleaning method you personally feel comfortable with. Like any other method though, it is unlikely to be approved by your manufacturer, and could conceivably damage the camera's sensor.

Original Source Press Release:

IMS DSLRClean Now Ships Worldwide A Revolutionary No-Liquid Way To Clean Digital SLR Sensors

23 March 2005 - Intelligent Mobile Solutions Limited (IMS), announce that its groundbreaking new product DSLRClean™ - a specially created cleaning stick for removing dust from digital SLR camera sensors - is now available worldwide.

The DSLRClean™ sticks are designed for use without liquids using a unique micro-pore swab that creates a mini vacuum effect to gently lift dust from both CCD and CMOS type sensors.

IMS, based in Bristol, UK, has created the most effective and safest solution for sensor cleaning at less than half the cost of other available products.

"Although dust has always been an issue with any photographic system, whether on lenses or slide negatives or in the camera chamber, the problem has sharply increased with the advent of the digital SLR," said IMS managing director Andrew Stagg.

There are several solutions on the market which either involve static charged brushes or liquids. IMS have created a solution that does not involve either the insertion of a static charged brush (which can have a negative impact on CMOS devices as they are incredibly sensitive to charge build-up) or the use of hazardous liquids.

Since it's UK launch last year DSLRClean™ has filled a gap in the digital SLR cleaning market. Satisfied customer E.Elwell of Leicestershire, UK, said: "They certainly do the job, without question, a WONDERFUL invention. These cleaning sticks are indeed a GOD send."

DSLRClean™ is available online from www.intemos.com at a cost of $29.99.

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