Back on the 6th of February, I first noted the presence of some kind of opaque foreign matter on the sensor of my Canon Powershot A510 digital camera. Today, I examined what has taken place since.
The state of the sensor:
Note: the colour cast on the original is just because I shot it using auto white balance and tungsten illumination. The second was taken using sunlight. The general speckle pattern all over it is from the wall, not the sensor.
Both shots were taken at the smallest aperture allowed by the A510 at the shortest focal length (f/8). To me, the comparison indicates a worsening situation. There has been speculation that the foreign substance is not dust, but mold. That would be consistent with the fact that it seems to be worsening, as well as to how the problem first emerged after a period of particularly dismal and rainy weather.
Why it matters, and what to do
Shots that involve areas of solid colour as well as small apertures frequently require touching up in Photoshop to remove the blotches. Sometimes, that isn’t even possible for me. (Look near the ground, to the left of the chapel.) Cleaning the sensor would require paying a technician rather more than the value of the camera. I bought it in North Vancouver for C$273.55 (£132), which included a 512 meg SD card that can be used with a new camera. Replacing it with a comparable camera would cost less (because this model has been replaced by newer ones) and more (because everything costs more in England). The big choice is whether to replace the thing, or start putting money into a digital SLR fund.
Having a camera small enough that I literally carry it everywhere has quite a bit of value to it. Having a DSLR would probably improve the quality of photos that I put on here, but it would definitely be more of a conspicuous item to carry and use. It would also further stress iPhoto, with larger image files…
…wanders back to his reading, pondering…