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What is on the front of the sensor? Glass? How durable is it?


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I've heard the front of the sensor (X-Trans IV in my case) is glass, and that it is very fragile or pretty durable, and I think the manual says never touch with anything, but many 3rd parties sell little cleaners that look like a cross between a Q-Tip and a spatula. I've seen things about just scrubbing it with a dirty shirt, and similar, which I guess are jokes but it's never clear.

How scratch resistant is it? And how strong, is it very thin like a microscope slide cover? The back illumination manufacturing process used to make it sounds like it would be thin.


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The sensor is behind several layers of glass. There is an anti static cover glass, an infra red reject filter and the micro lenses for the sensels. Then there are the colour filters for the photodiodes. So you are not actually cleaning the sensor, only the cover glass. It is coated though, so you definitely can't use your shirt sleeve :) It does have an anti reflection coating but is actually quite tough. The main thing is to make sure that you blow off any loose dust before you use the swab, only use the fluid supplied with the kit and don't press hard. I have been cleaning sensors for years with no problems. Don't use those sticky pad things, they are dodgy. Most dust can be blown off with a rubber "rocket" blower. Never, never, use canned air. If the propellant gets on the glass you will never get it off, plus they are too powerful and can damage the shutter.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Regardless of what is in front of the sensor.  When folks say they scratched the sensor, it's the actual glass on the front of the sensor that is actually scratched.  However, those are wafers of glass on glass.  So when the glass is scratched the entire unit is replaced, not just what's in front.  It's more cost effective as far as material and labor to do it this way unfortunately.

I used to clean my Fuji Finepix S1 pro and S2 pro (dslr's from 2002-2006) with a lens wipe cloth wrapped around the handle of a Wendy's plastic knife.  Yes, a knife, not a spoon, not a fork.  It literally covered the sensor PERFECTLY.  Neat little trick.

Good Luck!


Edited by jlmphotos
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