Why Do Mirrorless Cameras Have Exposed Sensors?
Usually headline questions are followed by the answer within the blog post, however in this case, it is a legitimate question.
That is me actually asking the world, why do mirrorless cameras have exposed sensors????
I had shot DSLR’s solely for 3yrs before adding a mirrorless system to my kit 2yrs ago for my personal photography.
Whenever you switch lenses on either system, you risk catching dust on the sensor. Having good lens changing etiquette is a must!
Whenever I see my photographer friends, or anyone handling my camera equipment, I make a big fuss about them changing the lenses quickly and efficiently. Always having the camera turned off and facing down at all times.
To be honest, I have NEVER cleaned my camera sensor. There was a stage within my photography life where I didn’t own a camera long enough for me to justify having it cleaned.
However, I now have a Nikon D610 which has been my daily workhorse for coming upto 2yrs with over 90k actuations, I’m starting to see dust spots, especially as I shoot real-estate daily at f/8-f/11.
I feel I have managed to get away with not cleaning it sooner for a few reasons…
Firstly, I rarely change lenses on this camera as its my daily workhorse, the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 is generally mounted to this camera at all times.
Secondly, when you change your lens on a DSLR, there’s a mirror and then the shutter covering the sensor. To get to the sensor on a DSLR, you have to go into the menu system to select a cleaning mode, then press the shutter for all to be revealed.
So this brings me back to my headline question…
“Why Do Mirrorless Cameras Have Exposed Sensors?”
I have been a mirrorless shooter for over 2yrs now and similarly to my DSLR situation, I simply haven’t owned a camera long enough to justify a clean.
I’ve had the Fuji X-E1, XM1, XT1, Sony A7II, A7s, A5100, and A7R II. Each camera I’ve own for under 6months before switching to the next. All except the A7R II (to read my review, click here), where I have not owned this camera for around 9months.
I have used the Sony A7R II a lot, as within the time of owning it, both my sisters have had babies, as well as my girlfriends sister, my cousins and a couple of my friends. This year has been baby crazy for me!
Whenever I see them I am shooting photos of my family and friends wherever possible which means I am using this Sony A7R II a lot and I’m regularly switching lenses.
As beautiful as it is to take the lens off and see a full frame sensor, it’s not practical. Why does the shutter not cover the sensor until cleaning mode is set like a DSLR?
The risk of sensor dust is just too much!
It’s not a big deal if it’s a Studio setup as you can have more control with your environment, however the benefits of mirrorless is so that’s its smaller/lighter for travel purposes (although this can be heavily debated, it was one of the benefits for mirrorless at one point at least), so if you were to change lenses in the field, you are simply opening up the opportunity to having your sensor covered in dust.
I am at the stage where I need to get my Sony A7R II cleaned, however sending it back to Sony for a clean is not an option for me due to their poor customer support service.
I have seen various YouTube clips on how to clean a mirrorless sensor, but the idea of cleaning my own sensor is daunting as I do not want to get it wrong regardless of how simple the videos make it seem.
I have gotten away with simply using a Rocket Blower and Compressed Air, however I am approaching a stage where I will eventually need to get the sensor cleaned properly as I’m starting to see stubborn dust particles on my sensor.
Sensor cleaning is inevitable if you own a camera long enough, however Nikon and Canon have authorised service centres around, as well as their professional services where you can send it directly back to them.
Sony however, there’s not much around, especially not locally.
So if anyone out there can answer this question for me and/or point me in the right direction for a tried and tested professional sensor clean in London, please do let me know.
However, in closing I am also posing an open question to all camera manufacturers and ask why they expose the sensors as they do on mirrorless systems rather than having the shutter cover it as further protection from the elements when switching lenses.