Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
b nolen wrote: Do you clean it yourself or bring it it? I've never cleaned a sensor or mirror. I'm at 12k shots right now.
Its easy. But do it only as needed (when you start seeing blurry dark spots on your images). Take a picture of a plain bright subject. A white wall... or a blue sky. See if you see dark spots. If so, then you clean.
i use dust-aid.com products and do a wet cleaning myself when needed (not very often on my 5D MK II). sometimes it takes a bunch of passes to get it clean. sometimes just locking up the mirror and using a manual rocket blower does the trick but not always. some say they use canned air but that stuff can freeze.
some camera stores and repair centers will do it for you.
i've done many cleanings of my 20D and 7D with methanol and some of those disposable wrapped up wipes on a stick, works like a charm and takes about 30 seconds start to finish. never damaged anything. once you do it you'll realize it's really not a big deal and you can do it as often as necessary. if you're going to use any form of compressed air just keep some distance and use something in front of the air to filter it. i've taken compressed air at work and put some lint free wipes in front of it and blown out the mirror box with no harm.
you're really going to have to try to destroy your camera to do so by cleaning it.
This made me literally laugh out loud. Most awesomest picture ever.
Anyway. 12k clicks or 12. Depending on how often you change lenses and how your treat your camera, you could have a mess. Cleaning really depends on how much clean up you have to do with each shot. Or, if you're shooting video, if the debris on the sensor shows up in your panning or dollying shots.
If you're not comfortable buying a pen or a swab kit and doing it yourself, then look around and see if anywhere local does it for you. It might be $40 to $60, but it's well worth it if you don't know what you're doing. Peace of mind is priceless.
I used to have someone else clean it, and I've recently started doing it myself, however, it's really not as fool proof as people would lead you to believe. I put a nasty smudge on my sensor with my kit's vacuum brush that I couldn't remove with the wet swabs. I thought I had permanently scratched my brand new D800's anti-aliasing filter. But a trip back to the guy I used to take it to fixed me up.
If you're extremely methodical and careful, cleaning your own sensor is kinda fool proof. But I'm often a fool. And I screw up.