Rodney Campbell's Blog

Nikon D600 Dust Spots on the Sensor…

by on Dec.11, 2012, under Photography

There has been quite a lot of chatter on the Internet regarding dust on the sensor of the D600 so I’d though I’d just add my little voice to the cacophony…

Firstly my D600 did come with quite a lot of spots on the sensor straight from the box. One of my very first shoots with the new camera (literally the day after I purchased it) was an evening landscape shoot with some long exposure work and using stopped down apertures (e.g. f/11, f/16, etc).

Looking at those shots now I can see a number of dust spots on the sensor which are easily seen at f/11 and they are mostly clustered around the top left corner of the frame.

Firstly I’m not the sort of photographer who’s incredibly anal about changing lenses in a dust free environment (e.g. lens change bag or inside the car and so on). I take reasonable normal care when changing lenses but I do change lenses often and I’ll change lenses any time I need to wherever I am (even in windy/dusty/etc conditions). Given that I do expect some material to accumulate over time (using zoom lenses also breathes dust in anyway) and this has proved to be the case with my previous cameras – however what I guess I’m looking at here is a matter of degrees – how quickly the dust accumulates and how much (in total).

Internet rumours appear to indicate that the D600:
– comes with dust spots on the sensor from the factory – I’d agree with that – I actually expect most cameras do but I think the D600 probably has more than “usual”
– accumulates dust more in the top left corner of the image frame (this is actually the bottom left corner of the sensor) – I’d also agree with that – the problem for me appears more there
– possibly has an issue either where the shutter blades or the shutter curtain inside rubs near that spot on the sensor each time you trigger the shutter and thus sends more fine dust onto the sensor (even in a “closed” environment – i.e. the dust is being created internally)
– the dust appears to be just that and not oil spots or mechanical fluid, etc – I’d also concur – so far I’ve only done rocket blower cleaning and it appears to have fixed the problem each time – I’ve yet to need to go to a wet clean (e.g. eclipse fluid on quick strips over a sensor swipe)
– the problem appears to go away after a couple thousand frames (presumably whatever was rubbing has finished rubbing off the black paint or whatever)

I’ve had to clean my sensor a couple times so far since the dust does seem to have re-accumulated quickly even after cleaning. Each time I clean it however with the rocket blower it appears to fix the problem and the vast majority of spots are removed (I use a LED lit sensor loupe to check my sensor).

I hadn’t cleaned my sensor in ages and I had a landscape shoot at around the 6,500 frame mark and I had an inordinate number of spots to clone (over 100?). However again cleaning the sensor with the rocket blower fixed the problem and removed the vast majority of the dust.

I’ve had two D-SLR’s so far (the D90 and D7000) and I can easily say that they had far less initial dust problem than the D600, also the D600 in it’s early days does seem to collect an inordinate amount of dust spots.

I cleaned again at around the 7,500 frame mark and will see how it goes from here. I may also do a wet clean sometime (I’ve ordered the wider sensor swipe and quickstrips to suit my FX sensor). I’ve wet cleaned a number of times in the past on my D7000 and it really cleans the sensor up. I may even try the Sensor Sweep (the statically charged brush) on the sensor next time to see how it goes (should be good for non gunked on stuff on the sensor – e.g. dust.

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4 Comments for this entry

  • karl

    Hi Rodney,
    For me it is kind of incredible that a “high” cost camera get so much trouble with dust. I think NIKON should have a solution for this, may be a good idea will be to establish a global collect of all people who have this problem and push NIKON to act on a good solution.
    For now,I thank you for your information about cleaning. I will do my best doing it.

  • Richard

    I’m pretty disappointed with this dust/oil on the sensor and with Nikon’s apparent apathy on the issue.
    In New Zealand the camera had a hefty markup over the US price and I don’t know how much difficulty I will have in getting the sensor cleaned (or the camera fixed) here through the local reseller.
    Nikon must have known they were shipping a lemon as the anecdotal evidence is that most D600’s have this problem and yet it is very easy to test – shame on them!

  • Willie

    Hi Rodney, considering it’s been quite some time since you posted this entry, how has the dust issue evolved? have you had any other problems, do you still get them? My D600 has around 5500 actuations and I still get oil spots, they are noticeable at f16 or lower appertures, they can be easily removed with software as there are a few of them, but I still wonder if these oil spots will decrease over time and use. This is mainly a problem to me as I normally use small appertures to take long exposure pictures, with regular pictures with exposures higher than f9 I can’t see any spots.

    Thanks for your post.

  • Rodney Campbell

    Hi Willie – I don’t think I’ve had much oil on my sensor if any – since most of the time all I needed to do was rocket blower the sensor to clean it. I’ve only wet cleaned my sensor twice since owning the camera and that pretty much totally cleans it.
    The last time I wet cleaned was probably about a month ago and I’ve taken at least a thousand shots since then and I’m not noticing many dust spots (at least not an unusual number for that timeframe – given I change lenses often).
    I also take a lot of landscapes and long exposures at higher apertures so I would normally see them.
    I think at this point I’m probably back to where I was with my D7000 – i.e. I get dust spots consistent with my use. I am at 15,000 clicks now however.

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