Product Review: Firefly cleans your camera sensors on the fly

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This is a product photograph of the Firefly.Nowadays, with today’s state of “digital” photography, there are many, many things that photographers can complain about. After all, the digital age has completely made photography infinitely more complicated. With all that delicate digital gadgets and gizmos that you have to use just to be able to do photography, something is bound to go wrong–sooner than later.

Batteries can die just like that in the middle of a shoot, lenses can break into millions of pieces when inadvertently dropped, a computer can stop working for no reason at all, and dusts, tiny specs that are almost invisible, tenaciously sticking into your camera’s sensor, can create huge globs of irreparable damage to your shots. The list goes on and on.

But if there is one complain that’s high on the list of most digital photographers, it’s that tiny, tiny spot of dust–6 microns tiny, to be exact. This is why, most of the newly released DSLR camera models offered by leading brands such as Nikon and Canon, as well as that of the other leading brands, Fuji, Olympus, Pentax, and Sony, now offer a built-in dust reduction system. The dust remover is one of the most requested camera features, and now, manufacturers have already started building it into the system. However, while this new built-in cleaning method is helpful, it does not totally do the cleaning job completely right.

How does the camera’s built-in dust cleaner work?

The technology is almost similar in all of the camera models: the sensor or the glass covering it is introduced to high-speed vibration, which is supposed to shake off dusts, pollen and other types of dirts. The problem is, introducing a vibration might actually create static electricity, in which case, can lead to the dirt actually getting stuck instead of being shaken off. Because of this, it is possible that the built-in technology that purports to clean your camera’s image sensor can actually make it more dirty.

A common image sensor pixel is about 6 microns wide, while typical dust, polen, lint and dirt particles can be larger than 20 microns wide. This explains why, under the right conditions, it’s easy to see undesirable shadows (spots) in your images. A common reason for stuff sticking to a surface is the presence of electrostatic charges.”

The common way to clean stuck dirt is to swipe it with a wet cleaning swab, which, as most photographers know, if not done properly, is an invasive and potentially dangerous procedure. Other common ways to clean a sensor includes using an anti-static and static brush that’s directly swiped on the sensor, manual or compressed air blowers, vacuum cleaner, and adhesive pads or tapes. Almost all of these cleaning methods are categorically intrusive, and therefore, it is possible that the delicate sensor can get accidentally scratched. And as everyone knows, this can be a very, very expensive accident. It almost surely means you have to buy a new camera.

If you want, therefore, to avoid further problems, or suffer from the painful and unnecessary prospect of spending hours and hours retouching digital photos because of dust, you might want to look for another, better solution.

That solution is to use the FireFly.

Most photographers who have used the Firefly agree that this is the most perfect sensor cleaning tool that’s available out there. This cleaner has a rocket-style air blower bulb that you squeeze to blow a burst of air into the sensor. Simple enough, yes, but attached to the tube where the burst of air passes thru is an ionizing component that removes the air’s static charges. The air that hits the sensor, therefore, is anti-static, and the dust will not cling to it but simply fall or be blown away and out. The Firefly therefore cleans the sensor by blowing air into it but unlike ordinary manual or compressed/canned air blowers that swirls the dust until it settles again someplace else, the dust is actually repelled out of the sensor, and with camera pointing down, can be gravitized out of the camera’s cavity. With this method, your camera’s sensor can be cleaned without having to resort to the common invasive but potentially dangerous methods.

The Firefly is easy to use. Professional and amateur photographers in the studio and on location can use it any time. The company who makes this product, NRD, has a 30-year experiene in the field of static elimination or ionization. It can be operated with a 9-volt battery. And, it has a momentary on/off switch that will make it readily available only at times when you need to use it, thus, conserving battery.

According to the manufacturer’s website, Firefly is the only one that provides “convenient, safe, and effective method to neutralize electrostatic charges on components of the mirror box shutter chamber, and image sensor filter, clearing them of undesirable stuff without contact.”

Because this is such a great use of technology, we give this product a rating of 4.5 out of 5. And our buying advise? Go get one right now. Better yet, get three of the product so that you can put one permanently in your studio, one in your on-the-go bag for location shoots, and another one, well, to give to your photographer friend. It is that good.

Go to to learn more about the product and to order now.

About The Manufacturer – NRD LLC, a MARK IV company, is the world’s largest and most experienced manufacturer of ionization sources for the home safety and industrial ionization markets. Founded in 1969, NRD is an innovator in technology and products using Alpha and Beta emitters in encapsulated metallic foil. We also offer advanced AC Electrical ionizers in a variety of configurations. Our proprietary technology is used in a wide range of products and industries, including industrial static eliminators, analytical equipment, gas chromatographs, smoke detectors and explosive detectors. Our specially designed equipment and processes, along with a comprehensive quality assurance program, ensure our products meet the highest quality standards. Our experienced sales engineers and customer service personnel will help you select the best products and technology to meet your ionization needs. Our worldwide network of representatives and distributors is also available to provide in-person assistance on request.

Contact Information – The highly trained staff of NRD’s Sales Engineers and Customer Service professionals stands ready to meet your needs and assist with any application questions you may have. In addition we have a network of representatives and distributors who can provide in-person service when requested. At NRD, providing our customers with the best possible products and support is our highest priority. For assistance or information, please contact NRD at NRD LLC, 2937 Alt Blvd., PO Box 310, Grand Island, New York 14072-0310, USA. Telephone: 1-800-525-8076 – Toll-free within the USA; 1-716-773-7634 – Outside the USA; Fax: 1-716-773-7744; Email:


Written by dominiquejames

April 11, 2008 at 3:32 AM

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