Question 550D sensor issues?

Jun 3, 2020
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Hello I was wondering if someone could let me know if the issue I have is something to do with the sensor and is there a way of fixing it? My camera is Canon 550D. This "artifact" is popping up on any lens attached, and tried different memory too. It is barely visible "line" looks like light streak, but it is not.
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Thanks in advance for any advice.
Dawid
 

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Jun 3, 2020
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Have you recently cleaned your sensor? Or had it cleaned? Or only recently started shooting with narrower apertures?

It looks like it may be a streak of residue from whatever cleaning fluid was used.

Since what is actually cleaned is the front of the various filters stacked a few millimeters in front of the sensor, anything on the surface will be more defined when narrower apertures are used and the light coming to the sensor is more collimated. If the artifact is more defined at very narrow apertures and less defined at wider apertures take a look at your sensor. Keep in mind that images are inverted by the lens. Anything that shows up in the upper right part of an image will be on the lower left part of the sensor from behind the camera , which is the lower right as you're looking at the sensor through the front of the camera.
 
Jun 3, 2020
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First of all, thank you Mgradyc for your time! :)

I'm photo amateur and never cleaned the sensor nor have any need for it to be done by someone else. I only used the built in auto clean function in it. My camera is pretty old (bought it in 2011) but never had any issues with it. I have recently using my camera for making sunset time-lapses but as far as I know sun shouldn't make damages like this.
I have checked the mirror and I don't see anything on the mirror. It is spotless, no dust, dirt, streaks, nothing. I can see this streak from the camera LCD screen though. It doesn't matter what focal length is set it does stay in exactly same position. Perhaps it is something with the mirror that I cannot see. Just to let you know, I did use manual clean mode to make sure that I looked at the mirror not something else by mistake. Do you have any other ideas?
 
Jun 3, 2020
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First of all, thank you Mgradyc for your time! :)

I'm photo amateur and never cleaned the sensor nor have any need for it to be done by someone else. I only used the built in auto clean function in it. My camera is pretty old (bought it in 2011) but never had any issues with it. I have recently using my camera for making sunset time-lapses but as far as I know sun shouldn't make damages like this.
I have checked the mirror and I don't see anything on the mirror. It is spotless, no dust, dirt, streaks, nothing. I can see this streak from the camera LCD screen though. It doesn't matter what focal length is set it does stay in exactly same position. Perhaps it is something with the mirror that I cannot see. Just to let you know, I did use manual clean mode to make sure that I looked at the mirror not something else by mistake. Do you have any other ideas?
Anything on the mirror will not be visible in images. It flips up out of the optical path when you take a picture or view the scene via Live View. You need to look at the sensor. If your camera does not have a "manual sensor cleaning" option , then you can set the exposure time to "Bulb" and hold the shutter button down to raise the mirror and open the shutter to see the sensor. If your camera does have a "manual cleaning" option, then follow the instructions in your camera's user manual for how to view the sensor. You don't have to actually clean it, but using the "manual sensor cleaning" option will also allow you to see it.

Whatever it is could have been there for a while and not have been noticeable as long as you were using fairly wide apertures (low f-numbers). Shooting sunsets often result in using narrower apertures (higher f-numbers), which is when things on the surface of the stack of filters directly in front of your camera's sensor will be more noticeable.
 
Jun 3, 2020
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Anything on the mirror will not be visible in images. It flips up out of the optical path when you take a picture or view the scene via Live View. You need to look at the sensor. If your camera does not have a "manual sensor cleaning" option , then you can set the exposure time to "Bulb" and hold the shutter button down to raise the mirror and open the shutter to see the sensor. If your camera does have a "manual cleaning" option, then follow the instructions in your camera's user manual for how to view the sensor. You don't have to actually clean it, but using the "manual sensor cleaning" option will also allow you to see it.

Whatever it is could have been there for a while and not have been noticeable as long as you were using fairly wide apertures (low f-numbers). Shooting sunsets often result in using narrower apertures (higher f-numbers), which is when things on the surface of the stack of filters directly in front of your camera's sensor will be more noticeable.
I'm sorry, I meant I was looking at the sensor not the mirror. Also, it doesn't matter what settings I'm using, it is always there. I'm afraid I will have to clean the sensor but the problem is that I really looked at it at any angles and literally I don't see anything. Perhaps will have to take a risk and clean it by myself. This camera is too old to give it to professional as I believe the cleaning cost will be similar to what camera is worth now.
Thank you guys!
 
Jun 3, 2020
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A quick update:
I have dry cleaned the sensor using microfiber cloth and used the blower too.
I checked this with other lenses too and unfortunately there is no change at all. The "streak" stayed as it was. It is also visible when I record the video. I also went through the dust correction process together with Canon Digital Professional but there is no difference after making this too. I'm thinking if I eventually damaged the sensor by exposing the camera to the direct sun. But that would be really strange. I could imagine this if I shoot the pictures during sun peak hours but not during sunset. Is this possible at all?
I really doubt it is a scratch too. I have never exposed the sensor. The only times the scratch could be done - was during the swapping lenses but I'm always very careful about it.
The last step I didn't make so far is to use professional camera cleaning equipment kit but honestly I really doubt it will make a difference hence the situation hasn't changed at all after cleaning it by microfiber cloth.
Below is another picture of this IMG_2212.jpgwhere this can be seen easier.
 
Dec 16, 2019
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If it is something on the sensor, it may need a wet clean. Here in Toronto that is about $70 CDN, I do not know where you are it could be less.
 
Jun 3, 2020
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I live in the UK and I believe it would cost me around £50-£70 which is totally not worth it, especially because my camera is worth probably around £100 if not less.
 
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Jun 3, 2020
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A quick update:
I have dry cleaned the sensor using microfiber cloth and used the blower too.
I checked this with other lenses too and unfortunately there is no change at all. The "streak" stayed as it was. It is also visible when I record the video. I also went through the dust correction process together with Canon Digital Professional but there is no difference after making this too. I'm thinking if I eventually damaged the sensor by exposing the camera to the direct sun. But that would be really strange. I could imagine this if I shoot the pictures during sun peak hours but not during sunset. Is this possible at all?
I really doubt it is a scratch too. I have never exposed the sensor. The only times the scratch could be done - was during the swapping lenses but I'm always very careful about it.
The last step I didn't make so far is to use professional camera cleaning equipment kit but honestly I really doubt it will make a difference hence the situation hasn't changed at all after cleaning it by microfiber cloth.
Below is another picture of this View attachment 296where this can be seen easier.
Did you take a long exposure of a sunset where the sun followed the path of the mark yo are noticing in your images?

There is less danger of damage to a camera's sensor during sunset and sunrise than when the sun is high overhead. That does not mean there is no danger.
 
Jun 3, 2020
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Hello again Mgradys! I didn't make long exposure of the sunset. The only thing I have done was a sunset timelapse with hundreds short exposured shots. I would like to thank you very much for your suggestion as because of you I actually found out that I damaged my camera with a timelapse. The sun path has followed the same path I have the "streak" on the camera.
If you are interested below are two links. One with the original raw timelapse and second with edited timelapse to see where exactly sun was.




Now the questions are:
1. Is there any way to fix such damage?
2. How to avoid such damages in the future? Will i.e. ND filter be enough solution if at all? Ort something else? Apart not shooting directly.

I'm truly shocked as I never came across any videos nor info/warnings that I could damage eventually the camera by making short exposure shots of sunset.
 
Last edited:
Jun 3, 2020
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Hello again Mgradys! I didn't make long exposure of the sunset. The only thing I have done was a sunset timelapse with hundreds short exposured shots. I would like to thank you very much for your suggestion as because of you I actually found out that I damaged my camera with a timelapse. The sun path has followed the same path I have the "streak" on the camera.
If you are interested below are two links. One with the original raw timelapse and second with edited timelapse to see where exactly sun was.

Now the questions are:
1. Is there any way to fix such damage?
2. How to avoid such damages in the future? Will i.e. ND filter be enough solution if at all? Ort something else? Apart not shooting directly.

I'm truly shocked as I never came across any videos nor info/warnings that I could damage eventually the camera by making short exposure shots of sunset.
The only fix would be a sensor replacement, which would obviously cost much more than the camera is worth.

How avoid such damage in the future is a bit harder to say without more information. I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest you used Live View to set up the shot and may have even left it active during the time lapse? If so, you exposed your senor to the same light as if the entire process was a single long exposure! My advice would be to not use Live View for taking time lapse photos of sunsets. When using a mirrorless camera, I'd also caution anyone that pointing a camera with the sensor continually exposed to the sun can be riskier than doing the same with a DSLR that only exposes the imaging sensor for a very short time. Depending on focal length and maximum aperture exposing the independent PDAF sensor array in a DSLR for extended amounts of time can also be a cause for concern.
 
Jun 3, 2020
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The only fix would be a sensor replacement, which would obviously cost much more than the camera is worth.

How avoid such damage in the future is a bit harder to say without more information. I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest you used Live View to set up the shot and may have even left it active during the time lapse? If so, you exposed your senor to the same light as if the entire process was a single long exposure! My advice would be to not use Live View for taking time lapse photos of sunsets. When using a mirrorless camera, I'd also caution anyone that pointing a camera with the sensor continually exposed to the sun can be riskier than doing the same with a DSLR that only exposes the imaging sensor for a very short time. Depending on focal length and maximum aperture exposing the independent PDAF sensor array in a DSLR for extended amounts of time can also be a cause for concern.
Sorry, I did not provide such important info earlier. I did the timelapse by using an external intervalometer and making bunch of raw images. Sensor wasn't definitely exposed for the whole time of the timelapse. But it looks like such way of making the timelapse can damage the camera too. From the otherside I'm happy that this situation happened now and not later when I switch to the full frame. I guess I'll have to be very careful and use a ND filter when shooting sunset timelapses.
 
Jun 3, 2020
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An ND filter could actually make it worse, as it means you would be exposing for longer. Most ND filters do NOT attenuate for infrared light (heat), which is what usually does the damage from being exposed to the sun for too long.
 

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