I've recently started doing timelapse clips using my Canon 60D and interval shots. Because this often involves pointing the camera at large areas of sky and using small apertures to obtain slow shutter speeds, dust bunnies have suddenly become very noticable - maybe ten or a dozen faint but obvious spots on each image. I searched the internet on how to assess the extent of the problem and discovered how to shoot an out-of-focus area of sky and then use auto-levels on the image to show up the spots. SHOCK! It looked like a passing car had run through a puddle of dirty water and showered my sensor with it - there were dozens and dozens of spots.
In my normal photographic use these spots rarely show up at all, and if one or two do they are easily cloned out. The camera is four years old and has rarely had the 18-135 lens off. I do know that zoom lens pump action can introduce dust, but I was flabbergasted at the apparent extent of the problem.
I seek the wisdom and experience of the Alamy community...
1. Is the use of auto-levels on an out-of-focus image likely to give me a true assessment of the dust problem, or does the technique overstate the extent of the problem?
2. What is the likely cost of getting the sensor professionally cleaned (in the UK)?
3. How long before I have to do it again?
4. Does anyone know of a reliable cleaning service in the Lancashire/Manchester area or is the best bet to return it to Canon?
5. Has anybody had successful and repeated experience of DIY sensor cleaning?
Cloning a few spots on an image is one thing, but cloning 10 spots on each of 500 slightly different frames on a timelapse becomes something of a chore. Something will have to be done, what is the best course of action??