Do I need a sensor cleaner? How to recognize sensor spots, how to fix them

Sensor cleaning
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

Sensor spots are an unfortunate side-effect of owning a camera with interchangeable lenses. The advantage of being able to swap lenses outweighs the aggravation of occasional sensor spots, but you still have to deal with this issue from time to time.

We've just updated our guide to the best camera sensor cleaners, so it seemed like a good time to explain what they do, when you might need one and whether you actually need one at all.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at