And so the time came to polish the sensor; and all grimaced at the thought of the task ahead. The time came and went and dust grew thicker and formed minature colonies on the glass surface of the AA filter, resisting all half-ass attempts to remove it from it’s cosy existence.

Yes, I’ve got a dust problem. Wait, to be more accurate – Yes, I had a dust problem. Now I’ve got a dust, grease & streak problem. Woe unto the fool that goes near their digital camera sensor with anything but the finest of surgical materials. Well, either that or something that’s actually designed for the task. But that just wouldn’t be me. If I did a job with the right tools at hand It’d probably go so well I’d die of shock. To put it simply, my sensor is in a bad way. It now really needs a professional cleaning. REALLY needs it.

With that in ming, I rang Canon Ireland today to enquire about the time & money thing. I spoke to a rather helpful woman in Dublin who informed me that it could take anything up to 6 weeks. Err, no. That’d mean I’d have to medicate myself to cope with the loss for at least 5 of those 6 weeks. Apparently (and I must admit this doesnt exactly surprise me), Canon don’t clean sensors. Or at least Canon Ireland don’t. They fob that off to another Dublin company; Image Supply Systems (who now seem to go under Photologic). Again I spoke to a rather helpful chap who told me it’s generally a 24 hour turnaround time provided I book the timeslot about a week in advance and it’s done at a cost of €45 + VAT. (So around €55 quid then).

“Hmmm” I thought to myself and before thanking him and hanging up I proceeded to question him on the subject of how exactly camera sensors are cleaned. “What do you mean?” he asked, as if trying to hold in the secrets of the McDonalds secret sauce. “What exactly is the method by which they are cleaned?”, “What do you use?”. Again, rather unsurprisingly the answer came back “Swabs and an alcohol solution”. “Hmmmm” I thought again and wanted to say “Ohh, just like the famous Copper Hill method then?”.

Oh to have options. Wait, I do! So I could pay Photologic €55 for one cleaning, only to have to pay them €55 more in a few months (if I’m VERY lucky) to clean it again. OR I could buy a Copper Hill cleaning kit myself and do the exact same thing for ohh €52 (plus P&P). Now presuming I used my own bought kit and clean the sensor like an obsessive compulsive every, say 2 weeks, that kit would last me for at least three and a half years. Oh to have options eh. Lucky then that I leaped before looking on this one and have already purchased the Copper Hill kit from Chili-pix, their European distributor. It should hopefully arrive before the weekend to leave me with a shiny, good as new sensor for the weekend’s photo session.

If it works, and I presume it will seeing as it’s the sworn solution by many a pro, it’ll save me God knows how much money both in courier costs to & from Dublin and in the cost of the cleanings themselves. Not that I’m trying to beat Photologic down or anything, I’m sure the service they provide is top notch. As a technically competant and somewhat intelligent human being, I feel quite safe in saying I can handle the Copper Hill learning curve. I guess blowing air on the sensor to clean it just got old…

Update: the kit arrived this morning just before I left for work. Much of my Friday evening will now no doubt be spent swabbing and praying.