While we are on the subject of sensors, it is important to realise that the sensor is perhaps the most important component in a digital camera, and it is also one of the most expensive.
It is vitally important to keep the sensor clean, as any speck of dust or smear or other mark on the sensor will show on your pictures. You need to be particularly careful when changing the lens that you do not expose the inside of the camera for too long or let any sand, rain, sea spray or anything else that might cause damage get into the works.
Most manufacturers have built-in systems for cleaning the sensor, which usually work by vibrating the sensor to shake off any loose dust particles. Canon's DSLRs, for example, clean the sensor every time you switch the camera on or off. It is worth checking, though, that there is a way of accessing the sensor to manually clean it if you get more stubborn marks appearing. The design of a DSLR makes it relatively easy, as the mirror can be locked up out of the way to give access, but in compact cameras and some CSCs you may not be able to get to the sensor to clean it yourself.
It is also worth mentioning that, despite the wealth of sensor cleaning products on the market (swabs, brushes, liquids, wipes etc), your camera's sensor is very delicate and easily damaged, and you may prefer to take it into a shop or send it back to the manufacturer's service centre to get the sensor cleaned professionally if gets excessively dirty.
Where you store your cameras and lenses is also important. When they are not in use the best place to store them is in cases or boxes in places that are as free of dust as possible. This is especially true for lenses that are not used on a regular basis. It is vital to ensure that before you connect a lens to your camera it is free of dust as it is relatively easy to transfer dust from a lens to a camera sensor.
Whenever you can make sure that the place where you change lenses is as free of dust and is as clean as possible.
Digital SLR Basics
Digital SLRs and Digital Cameras Key Differences
Digital SLR or Compact System Cameras
Digital SLR Handling
Help for Beginners
Lenses and Accessories
Buying a Camera Lens
Digital SLR Accessories
Learn More About Features
Resolution and Sensor Size
Manual Exposure Modes
Help With Tricky Lighting
Live View and Articulated Screens
Depth of Field Preview Button
Current and Recommended Models
Summary of Current Models
Recommended Digital SLRs
Digital SLR Guide Author
This guide was written by Ian Younger
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