After a recent trip to California, I found every photo that I’d taken with my Canon G9 had three distinct smudges on them. Cleaning the lens did not help. The local camera store confirmed the sensor had dust on it, which is a “major repair.” They wanted to send the camera to Canon, requiring at least a month to repair and cost in excess of $150US. No thanks. I’ve cleaned my DSLR’s… how hard could it be to clean the G9?
The cleaning process took about an hour. Have a clean area, a good set of screwdrivers (000 Phillips, 00 Phillips, and a small standard), and cleaning products. For the actual cleaning I used the same solution and sensor swabs that I use with my DSLR. Everything in the camera is tiny so get into your best Zen state before proceeding.
Remove the screws holding the back of the case. Don’t miss the one under the USB port cover.
Remove the screws holding the keyboard controls. Insert a pin through the holes in the cable to the keyboard. You will need to bend the ends of the cable up to do this. The pin will act as a spanner tool and more uniformly transfer force to the cable thereby protecting it. Proceed to remove the cable by gently working with the pin to pull the cable free.
Once the keyboard is free, remove the diopter assembly and unscrew the LCD panel.
After the LCD panel is lifted up, the sensor cover is visible. There are three screws holding the cover as well as some sort of “glue” under the cover near the screws. After removing the screws, you will need to gently pry the cover up with the standard screwdriver. Use your best judgment here. The sensor is exposed under the cover so be careful.
Pry the sensor cover up to expose the sensor. Use your cleaning materials to clean the sensor. I used a sensor swab and followed the directions on the sensor swab. Mainly, make a single authoritative pass with each side of the swab. Reusing the swab could redeposit dust or scratch the sensor. In my case, there was also dust on the filter in front of the sensor. The filter is a tiny piece of glass surrounded with a gasket. Remove the gasket and swab each side of the filter. Do not touch the sensor or the filter with your fingers. Doing so would leave oil and create an even larger cleaning challenge.
Reverse the steps to reassemble the camera. Before final assembly you may want to turn it on and verify that the camera is working and that the image is clean. After the first experience of cleaning the camera you will be a lot more comfortable. Hopefully, the camera will never need to be cleaned again. Good luck.
For additional amazing photographs of the internals of a Canon G7, please see these images as Fotokala.