Is this stubborn dust, or something worse?
I bought a DSLR which the seller claimed had a dust speck that should be easy to clean up. I have tried cleaning the sensor carefully following all the guides etc. First I tried the blower, which didn't help, then I tried a swap with lens tissues and a small drop of sensor cleaner. I tried the swab several times, each time checking if I had gotten rid of the dust but each time the "speck" was still there. Each time I used a new tissue etc..

I am wondering if this really is a dust speck or could it be something else? Maybe a scratch on the sensor filter? Its definitely not on the lens as I tried 2 different lenses and the spot was there in both..

Here is a 1:1 crop of the spot with lens set to max zoom, and smallest aperture (f34 I think), and lens focused manually to 0.5m. Photo of a blank wall..

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Comments (14)

Can you return it to the seller? Seems like the dust speck was not that "easy" to clean up...

Comment #1

I'm not sure, I probably could try, but I would prefer to get rid of the dust if it is possible... Like I mentioned I tried to remove it but I am no expert... If people think that it's almost certainly just stubborn dust then I might just get it professionally cleaned... But if it's likely to be some kind of damage to the sensor, then I will think about returning it...

Comment #2

I had a spot like that on mine. The first thing I did was set the camera (Nikon D40) to mirror lock up, and blew on it. It took the piece of dust right off. Give it a shot if you haven't yet. Mine looked exactly like that. (it took a minute to do). I didn't try the crazy sensor cleaning techniques because that sounded too drastic (and a little dangerous)..

Comment #3

Like I mentioned in the 1st post, I already tried a blower several times, before I tried the swab cleaning technique (which is more drastic). Neither method made a difference...

Comment #4

One more comment to add. If the seller knew that there was a dust spec on it beforehand when he was selling it, why wouldn't he just clean it up and say there would be no need to clean out of the box? I can't think of any reason why the piece of dust won't go away. it looks like a fairly large piece...

Comment #5

So is it worth taking it in to get professionally cleaned? I don't want to pay big money for professional cleaning if it wont help ..

Comment #6

I use a 'Dustbuster' which is fluid and swab system. The swabs - which are sealed in plastic - are shaped like a little flat-ended paddle and you drop some fluid on the broad end and wipe one way and then back the other. If something like that doesn't move the 'dust' it is likely to be some kind of crud that has stuck itself onto the protecting filter over the sensor. It might be a piece of bristle from a brush that someone foolishly damped and caused a sticky glue to form.I'd give it a go with something like Dustbuster, wiping in different directions..

To have the camera professionally cleaned could mean a lot of money, so get a quote and a guarantee that it will actually be fixed only if the camera has a satisfactory value still..

John.Please visit me at:

Comment #7

I'm with John on this being a short piece of brush bristle, because of it's well "focused" appearance and it's regular, geometric shape. Normally, airborne dust has a rough, irregular shape..

I'll take a long shot here and guess that it's caught between the back of the low pass filter and the face of the CCD (where it's inaccessible). Could this be possible, or does the filter/CCD geometry preclude this scenario?.

I also have to ask  why didn't the seller remove it himself? Particularly as he said "it should be easy to clean up"..

I don't wanna sound cynical, but maybe THIS is the reason he sold the camera?.

Cheers ..

Comment #8

Yeah I'm starting to think it's something other than dust too... And like you said, why didn't the seller clean it himself?.

I suppose I can't really ask for a refund yet as I haven't had a professional camera place look at it yet, so I can't really prove that it's not dust..

I doubt something could get behind the filter, between it and the sensor... Surely thats not possible is it?..

Comment #9

Update: I took it to get looked at under a sensor scope at the Brisbane Pentax distributor. The guy who checked it out told me he could say for sure that is wasn't a scratch, but it looks to him like a small fiber of some kind, perhaps from a brush or cloth etc. He recommended getting it sent to the Pentax lab, for a them to take a closer look. Apparently if they come back saying that sensor is scratched and needs replacing, all I have to pay is a $27 fee for them having taken a look at it. If on the other hand, it CAN be cleaned away, I pay the regular camera servicing fee and they clean the entire camera, including sensor. I think this is a pretty good way for me to go as then at least I will know with 100% certainty if it's a scratch or something which can be cleaned away..

A big thumbs up to Pentax, especially the guy at CR Kennedy (the Brisbane distributor) for taking a look at it. It's not often we get good service these days. Pentax on the other hand proved they care about those who own their cameras, and especially since they knew I had purchased the camera 2nd hand, I was impressed...

Comment #10

Zadam wrote:.

I think this is a pretty good way for me to go as then at least I will know with 100% >certainty if it's a scratch or something which can be cleaned away..

Yep, I think this is exactly the right outcome. It also gives you ammo to front the seller if it *is* a physical scratch that needs a professional repair. I'd expect him/her to pay at least 50% of any repair costs if this turns out to be the case (but you might end up whistling into the wind with this!)..

A big thumbs up to Pentax, especially the guy at CR Kennedy (theBrisbane distributor) for taking a look at it. It's not often we getgood service these days. Pentax on the other hand proved they careabout those who own their cameras, and especially since they knew Ihad purchased the camera 2nd hand, I was impressed..

I'm pleased to hear that you've had such a good response from CR Kennedy in Brisbane  I've had the same favourable service from them in Melbourne..

Incidentally, it's also of interest that CR Kennedy absolutely refuse to carry out any grey-market warranty repair work on shonky cameras, which I personally endorse and support them for..

Top marks for Pentax and CR Kennedy..

Cheers ..

Comment #11

Hey guys, just wanted to let anyone interested know that I get the camera back today after it's professional clean by Pentax, and the sensor speck is gone! Looks like it must have just been a very stubborn bit of dust/fiber. Interesting that even home sensor cleaning kits wouldn't shift it. I wonder how the Pentax lab were able to get rid of it..

Anyway, I am very relieved and pleased to have my camera back, and all in perfect condition now...

Comment #12

I'm very relieved for you, really. I'd hate to know that you bought a camera that turned out to have a damaged sensor. The cost to clean it wasn't so bad either and it sounds like you are very happy with the customer service you received. Happy shooting!My humble photo gallery:

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Comment #13

Glad to hear it's all sorted. Would've been very disappointing if the flaw was irreparable. And kudos to CR Kennedy too..

Cheers ..

Comment #14

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