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Thread: Excessive dust on sensor?

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    Member gbradtke's Avatar
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    Excessive dust on sensor?

    Please let me preface this thread by stating it is not a complaint as I still have new member status.
    It is something that is really worrying me and I'd love some first hand advice from others that might have had the similar issues.
    Below is an image taken by me when my camera was appprox 1 month old. It was expensive.
    The camera was purchased new from a reputable Australian dealer and has full Australian Warranty.
    The image is around the 2,500'th but I photographed mostly football, at which I would often take 3-4oo pics per game.

    As you should see there is a lot of dust, possibly 40 or more easily visible specks?
    The black spots on the sand to the left are not stones, they are dust.
    When I first saw these I couldn't understand where they had come from.
    I was always pretty disciplined in my lens changes, having everything set for the smoothest and quickest transition.
    I spoke with the local camera store and they said it was most likely a problem with the carbon fibre shutter mechanism scraping and I should return to supplier for warranty repair.
    I took it back to the authorised repairer in my state and they cleaned it and told me it was just plain old atmospheric dust.
    This sensor clean was free. Anything subsequent will be at my cost. I have also been told cleaning the sensor myself will void warranty.
    I guess only time will tell now, but has anyone experienced this level of dust particles?
    regards
    Graham

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    dust is part of life when using a dslr. learn to clean it yourself using a kit from camera check point. We all have to deal with it. The Nikon D3 ends up like your photo above quite regularly. I'm constantly cleaning it.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Member adza's Avatar
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    That seems like a lot of dust for something with such little action from my experience.

    I am aware that some Nikon camera's (D600 was one) had issues with excess oil making it's way to the sensor, so if that's the model camera you have then it's definitely worth a trip under warranty (sorry to say).

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbradtke View Post
    ......
    This sensor clean was free. Anything subsequent will be at my cost. I have also been told cleaning the sensor myself will void warranty.
    I guess only time will tell now, but has anyone experienced this level of dust particles?
    regards
    Graham
    Hi Graham.

    That void warranty claim is just good ol plain carp.
    if you do it well, they'll never know.

    Getting this much dust can just be a fact of life .. and I've seen worse.

    Do like Rick says, get a sensor cleaning kit and DIY.

    If you don't mind the trip into Fitzroy, Vanbar has some of the necessary supplies to do it yourself too.
    They have pecpads and eclipse fluid, but I don't know if they sell the 'spatulas' necessary to do the actual cleaning tho.

    One thing I find extremely handy for cleaning and have used it for a good many years is a 'can of air'. You can get them from many places(Jaycar/DSE/etc) use the supplied straw to clean out the mirrorbox/sensor chamber(first) and then the sensor itself.

    I've found that the D800 is harder to clean than both the D70(easy peasy) and the D300(ok-ish).
    For some reason, I need to do many swipes with the wet clean process on the D800 before it cleans up better than it was before I started.

    As already said, D600 is notorious for getting oil on sensor, and if this is oil, then my D800 has been getting these oily spots from day one too .. and so has my D300.
    They all look the same to me anyhow, and never have I had problems cleaning them off myself(other than the difficulty in doing it with fewer swipes on the D800).

    While it may appear to be a slightly daunting process for the first timer .. it really is as easy as brushing your teeth.
    (although in saying that, I did break a tooth the other week! )

    .. and in answer to your question:

    D800E_DSC_4098_clean.JPG



    fwiw: that was AFTER cleaning, which wasn't quite as bad as that to begin with. But so far, it's taken me on average about 5-10 swipes to finally get it clean(er).
    Like I said, the D800 is harder to wet clean than either the D300 or D70 have been, and it 'feels' like the material used on the sensors filter packs may have something to do with it.
    it feels more slippery or something and that may make it slightly harder to get it cleaned up with one attempt.
    it does finally get clean .. it's just annoying that it takes so many attempts.


    Also of note: One thing I really don't like to do(but others seem to have no issue with) is to use a 'rocket blower'. I tried that too, and it just blows many more dust spots onto the sensor.
    as I already said, I use canned air for an initial cleanout, with the caveat that the canned air must never be agitated prior to use otherwise it can blow out the propellant as well.
    not harmful, just annoying to get off the sensor!
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    gbradtke's Avatar
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    Thankyou guys.
    Arthur I am more worried for you than I am for myself looking at that mess on your sensor!
    I think I can manage to clean my own with a bit of research.
    It does seem to be a nikon problem though.
    I think my mess is dust and not oil which I think is a better problem to have of the two.
    The photos I take are mostly with the 70/200 zoom which is pumped in and out a lot during football games. So if zooms push dust around I will know about it.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I know, it's disappointing to get dust, but the camera acts as a mini-bellows, so particles will enter.
    The only good thing is that some may exit, too.
    Am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbradtke View Post
    Thankyou guys.
    Arthur I am more worried for you than I am for myself looking at that mess on your sensor!
    I think I can manage to clean my own with a bit of research.
    It does seem to be a nikon problem though.
    I think my mess is dust and not oil which I think is a better problem to have of the two.
    The photos I take are mostly with the 70/200 zoom which is pumped in and out a lot during football games. So if zooms push dust around I will know about it.
    Not a Nikon problem.. Is is a digital SLR usage matter. If you use a DSLR then at some stage you will need to clean your sensor. Your sensor is an electrically charged device and thus it creates a situation where dust is electro-statically attracted to it. All sensors do this, not just Nikon. I clean my D3 sensor about once a month, my D800 not so often cause it has the anti-static dust removal system built in. Own a DSLR, or any brand, get used to cleaning the sensor. Part and parcel of owning it.
    Last edited by ricktas; 01-12-2013 at 2:44pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbradtke View Post
    ...... .
    The photos I take are mostly with the 70/200 zoom which is pumped in and out a lot during football games. So if zooms push dust around I will know about it.

    Which 70-200 do you use?

    Most are pretty much sealed against the issue of zooming and sucking dust.
    Other lenses generally cause this issue.

    I only have the Tamron 70-200/2.8 from years back, and it doesn't suck in dust as you zoom/focus, and it has a sealed front element.

    So do both Nikons and the newer Tammy 70-200 with VR. I'm also sure that the Sigma 70-200 is sealed against dust sucking.

    Most of the lenses that do suck dust in whilst they zoom will have some amount of travel as they zoom.
    Most zooms extend whilst zooming into longer focal lengths, but some also contract.
    These are more likely the sources of dust sucking zoom features.

    FWIW: unless you deliberately try hard too .. I've never seen a situation where dust contaminates the sensor, either directly or indirectly with the changing of lenses!
    Some dust may enter into and settle in the mirror box area during a lens mount dismount, but this is likely to be insignificant I think.

    I've never seen it nor experienced any excessive dust collection on the sensor after a lens swap.

    But as I said, some lenses can ingest dust during zooming or even focusing.

    I think one of Nikon's worst lenses in this respect was the old 80-200/2.8 series. They had a fully open front on the lens, and dust was free to enter into the lens on a wholesale manner, which would then easily converge into the camera body.

    This lens(plus a few others) would be about the only lens(es) where a protective front filter would be advisable to have in use. A filter would provide a means to at least seal the front of the lens from the outside world.

    ps. don't worry for me, the D800 cleaned up perfectly(down to f/22 and f/29(test shots made) after a few more wasted pecpads. .. and good to see you're willing to have-a-go at it yourself. It really is easy and safe to do.

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    Oh thank you all you have opened up my eyes to dust on the sensor, I thought it was just that I wasn't cleaning my lens properly, I do not have the problems that you guys have and would be horrified to see that many dust bunnies!
    D7000, 18mm to 105mm Nikon lens & 18mm to 250mm Sigma lens.

    To know what you know and to know what you don't know...is to know.

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