Dust Control Digital SLR Cameras

Page updated: October 2009

A dust control digital SLR camera ensures that every photo you take is perfectly clear.

Why are more and more cameras including this special feature?

It's because of one of the key differences between digital SLR and compact digital cameras: you can remove the lens.

Every time you take the lens off your digital SLR, you're exposing the interior of the camera (and the digital sensor) to dust contamination.

Dust in your home won't cause a lot of problems, but dust on your sensor appears as little black spots on every photo you take.


The Issue of Digital SLR Sensor Dust

The Problem

Here's the 10-second summary:

  • Dust can land on your digital SLR's sensor every time you change the lens
  • The sensor is a charged plate that captures a digital image
  • Dust appears in all of your digital photos as small black dots

A year ago, NO digital SLR cameras did anything about this: if you got dust on your camera's sensor, you had to clean it yourself (a delicate and dangerous operation) or you had to have it professionally cleaned (an expensive operation).

If you'd like to read more, I have another page that goes into more detail about digital SLR sensor dust.

The Solution

Olympus was the first to introduce what they call a SuperSonic Wave Filter - in laymen's terms, a sensor that "shakes off" dust particles.

Every time you turn an Olympus digital SLR on, the sensor vibrates to "throw off" any dust attached to it.

This dust control technology was soon adopted by both Canon and Sony, and has developed into a multi-faceted feature.

Today, dust control digital SLR cameras don't just shake off the dust, they actually repel it (with static charges) and include software that can identify the spots of dust in your images and automatically remove them.

Alternative Names

In an effort to make their version of dust control sound unique, each camera maker has a special name for it.

In the end, however, all of these names just mean that the camera can either repel or remove dust attached to the sensor.

ManufacturerName for Dust Control
CanonEOS Integrated Cleaning System
OlympusSuperSonic Wave Filter
PentaxDust Removal (DR) System
SonyAnti-Dust Technology

New Dust Control Digital SLR Cameras

This one's pretty simple...

Every new digital SLR of 2009 includes a dust control system.

If you're considering buying a used camera released before 2009 and dust control is high on your must-have feature list, then use my Digital SLR Timeline to see if the camera has dust control.

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