Cleaning an M8 or M9 sensor with a Rocket Blower

UPDATE: I have gotten a few emails recently telling me that you should NOT clean your sensor like this. I am told that opening the shutter using B mode charges the sensor and is not good for the camera. So, if you feel this is true then do not use my method! You can always set the M9 to SENSOR CLEAN MODE and do it that way, BUT I will continue to do it the way I show in the video. I have done it like this for 3 years and over 600 times with no ill effects (on the M8 and M9). Besides, why would opening the sensor in B mode have the potential for damage? I use B often when shooting at night. So I have to say it…clean at your own risk! The video I show below is how I do it on a weekly and sometimes daily basis and will continue to do so. The small charge the sensor gets in B mode will NOT attract more dust to the sensor in the 3-4 seconds it takes to blow it.

An alternate way to do this is to use the M9 Β “sensor clean” mode in the menu. Just make sure you have a full battery.


Just a video showing how I clean my sensors. I have NEVER done a wet clean as the rocket blower usually gets most of the gunk out. I highly recommend thisΒ Rocket Blower if you do not have one! I also believe in the power of YOUTUBE as it makes it easy to show what I am talking about so enjoy!


  1. Hi Steve,
    I bought a brand new M9-P two weeks ago. A beautiful camera but it came with a dirty sensor. I don’t think it is dust, because I cannot clean the sensor with a blower. The spots can be seen from aperture f8 and smaller mainly in the corners and the edges. When I look at the uploaded photo’s of M8- and M9-users in the gallery of LFI I see that almost all photographers, shooting at f8 or smaller, have this “problem”, so it seems to be normal. I do not understand this; it is a brand new € 6.000,= camera! I haven’t read anything about this issue officially on behalf of Leica, while this problem should be recognized by them.

    • I have literally had hundreds of e-mails from M9 users who have the dirty sensors and unfortunately feel it can not be avoided. I have never had an issue as I shoot smaller than f/4 maybe 1-2X a year πŸ™‚ So for me I never see it. But I do blow my sensors clean and never in my life have I “cleaned” a sensor any other way. My findings from others is that even if you wet clean, not long after you will have more dirt/dust.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I can back you up on this one, NO harm at all and it DOES NOT attract more dust, been doing that to all of my digital cameras for ages, much faster than going through the menus, especially Canon EOS.

  3. Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick. If it works for Steve & many others then that his/their prerogative. Ya know, As PRO photographers, we do what works best individually. Sensor cleaning mode or bulb, whatever works for you.

    Really this tech obsession, it’s about the imagery,too many technophobes and not enough “photographers” today, too many who got into photography because of the tech and NOT the “in camera” image or love of the Photograph. Go ask any art director about the unsolicited crap they get sent on a daily basis now days from ex accountants/it professionals who think they are now “photographers” cause they have a 1D & PS (and no photographic ability). I have seen some of the submissions and they are laughable (mmm they really know how to RAW process files with the best of them but nothing else), do they know who Bresson is, or Atget, Eggleston, Alex Webb etc. I 100% doubt it. I bet they DO know all about how a sensor works, and the in and outs of all things IT but cannot take a creative photo in camera to save their life. Rant over. Just not mine BTW, all Art Directors, the guys at Magnum that have to sift through emails from new gen photogs with zero natural ability and submit 2000 “street” photos without things such as composition, decisive moments, structure, narrative etc etc etc. God, photography has become so supermarket today, so low rent.

  4. Hi Steve! Nice video. Only- you forgot to blow off the back of your lens before replacing it πŸ˜‰

  5. In theory this is true, but in practice I have never had an issue with it and this simple action, once a week keeps my M9 95% dust free. The M9 does have a sensor clean mode as well, but I use B mode for speed and simplicity, and because it always seems to work! Thanks!

  6. hi steve. isn’t putting the cam on bulb electrically charging the sensor which attracts more dust? not familiar with mirror up function as i don’t have an M8 or 9. just a thought.

    great site btw. love it.

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  1. WOW! The M9 is a real dust magnet. - Seite 2 - Leica User Forum

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