"Poll question: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" Wed 07-Jul-10 03:30 AM by agitater
Please vote and also post the reasons and the method/tools used for frequent (or infrequent) cleaning. We're trying to figure out what products active photographers are using, what they find easy or difficult to use, why they're cleaning (e.g., major swabbing to get rid of one tiny dust mote vs. major swabbing only when dust becomes a headache to eliminate in software; bulb blowing to eliminate a few motes vs. dry brushing). If you clean only once every few months, please choose &quot;Once a Year&quot; in the poll.
For the record, I shoot primarily a D700 with a 24-70 during research and photography travel (mainly street shooting), a D700 with either a 50mm or 85mm at home (mainly street shooting). I run about 1,500 shots per month. I use an Arctic Butterfly once every two months, but rarely find a need to wet swab (using Eclipse E3 solution &amp; Sensor Swabs) more than once every few months and before &amp; after a trip.
Absent any lens changes, months can go by without a cleaning of any kind.
BIG NOTE: I AMENDED THE VOTING CHOICES ON THE FIRST DAY OF VOTING TO ELIMINATE "ONCE PER DAY" AND REPLACED IT WITH "NEVER". I WILL ALSO COMPILE THE STATS TO INCLUDE POSTED "NEVER/ZERO" VOTES BY BRIAN TILLEY AND A COUPLE OF OTHERS.
#1. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I have not voted, because...
I've had my D700 for over a year, and (cross fingers) it has required nothing other than use of the built-in Sensor Clean function. If I did need to clean it, I'd be using a Rocket blower first, then an Artic Butterfly if required.
Maybe I'm lucky, but I've only needed to wet-clean a sensor once in 5 years of DSLR use.
#4. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I have been using my D700 for close to two years, frequent lens changes, about 7.5K pictures taken. I mainly use Nikkor f/2.8 zooms and Zeiss prime lenses. Often working under adverse environmental conditions (rain forest, salt spray, wind, rain, snow). I once had to use a blower to remove a large dost particle and once I had to do wet cleaning (eclipse) to remove sticky pollen.
#5. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
San Jose, US
You have no vote for Zero. My two DSLR's D200 and D700 have never had a wet cleaning. I just use a blower on a periodic basis and with the D700 the built in sensor cleaner seems to do the trick. I just reread the message, so will go back and check once as year as even bulb blowing is infrequent.
#7. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 6
Well it makes sense that the first responders rarely clean. I`m deeply interested in knowing just how many (or how few) D700 users actually have to (or think they have to) do a sensor cleaning of some sort more frequently than `never` or `rarely`. Judging solely from active threads on Nikonians and other busy photography forums, sensor cleaning is one of the most uncomfortable maintenance issues for an awful lot of photographers.
I`d love to see polling results which indicate that Nikon`s built-in sensor cleaning mechanism is working well. It`s certainly working well for me too, but some of the working environments in which I`m changing lenses apparently exceed the cleaning mechanism`s capacity. I tend to discount such extremes because they`re not normal for me either.
#8. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I rely exclusively on the D700's in-camera sensor cleaner and my Giotto rocket blower. After a year, I haven't encountered any dust or spots that would warrant a wet cleaning. I've used the same approach with my D300 for even longer, with similarly good results. I have the internal sensors set to clean at startup, and I use the Giotto rocket blower on the camera and my lenses before every shoot.
I did have to wet-clean the sensor on my D200 and D50, neither of which has the internal sensor cleaner. So maybe the cleaner actually works!
A couple of other things that might have helped my good fortunes.... I store both the D700 and D300 camera bodies in soft cases inside a drawer when not in use, and I use a HEPA air filter in the room where I store my gear.
#10. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 7
I had to clean mine for the first time yesterday. The rocket wouldn't hack it. I had ordered a VisibleDust "kit" from Adorama to clean the sensor on my D300S and used only one of the four swabs that came with it (and a proportional amount of the VDust Plus fluid). So I used some of the same stuff to clean the D700. Quick and easy.
#12. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 1 Wed 07-Jul-10 02:49 AM by ScottChapin
Powder Springs, US
I have not voted, because in 7.5 years and 4 bodies, I cleaned one once with a blower just to see how it worked. Once one was cleaned as an ancillary service at a repair shop. I do not use the built in cleaner in the D300 or D700.
OK.....knock on wood. I have probably put the maloik on myself.
Scott Chapin Powder Springs, GA, USA Nikonians Team Member
#13. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 8
At first i used only the rocket blower once a month or so when I noticed bust bunnies. Later, dirt got on the sensor that the blower would not remove.
So, I bought a mascara brush, CO2 gun, sprayed the CO2 on the brush to get it charged (I dont know if it worked or not but that is what the commercial products do) and brushed the sensor. I then used the rocket blower to blow off the loosened dust.
I now have a clean sensor.
I am hoping to not have to do it again but at least I know that it can be done.
#14. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
Your query forced me to look into the fearsome abyss. Tiny amount of dust in front of the mirror, none on the sensor. This D700 sees lots of lens changes but the built-in sensor cleaner (set to clean on shutdown) seems to work well. One vote for Zero which I attempted to evidence by checking once per year.
#15. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 14
Once per year is the appropriate selection then for sure. It might as well be Zero for all the good such infrequent need for a cleaning product will do the manufacturers of such products. Relatively expensive products servicing an occasional need which is largely met by a camera maker perhaps? We'll see how the polling turns out.
#17. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 5
I think the absence of a "Never/Zero" choice was a mistake on my part. It was not necessary to include "Once a Day" so I've now amended the first choice in the poll. I'll record your actual "Zero" vote (and a couple of others now posted in the thread) when I compile stats.
#19. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 18
El Segundo (Los Angeles), US
Of course it depends on what I am doing but this past 4 day weekend trip to San Antonio I probably changed lenses about 6 times a day even though I only had two lenses with me. Indoors shots and outdoor shots throughout the course of each day. Didn't bother taking a flash.
Even when I know exactly what I will be shooting (often surfers and birds) I am still adding or changing teleconverters.
If I am not equipment-limited I usually take enough bodies to accomodate whatever lenses I will require.
#20. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I'm not sure how but about three months ago my D700's sensor had some oil like spots on it and which I decided to take straight to Nikon. Since I live in Bangladesh and there are no Nikon service Centers here waited and took my D700 to the Nikon center in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. They apparently did a wet cleaning and there after (until now) my sensor has been completely spotless and working great.
#22. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 20
There have been quite a few similar reports on a variety of forums regarding what appear to be oil or oil-like spots on the sensor. One of the possible explanations seems to be errant droplets of perspiration which fall onto the sensor during a lens change.
#24. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 21
There is a condition known casually as "welded dust" which can occur when a dust particle which has absorbed some sort of environmental pollutant falls on the sensor. The pollutant can cause enough mild adhesion which, occasionally, resists the built-in sensor cleaning and the persuasion of a blower and/or sensor brush. It's not uncommon and the frequency of occurence is highly dependent on the environments in which we're shooting.
#25. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 23
Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
My D700 is OK so far but how are you all judging this?
My D200 has been cleaned twice by me, where I live in Malta I have no chance of a professional clean, I would have to fly 1000 miles for the day to England whatever to a suitable Nikon dealer.
Anyway I take a snap of a clear blue sky on wide aperature and I increase the % as far as I can in NX2 and thats where I see blobs and they cannot be moved with a blower.I am very careful and seldom change lenses. Dont neccassarily see any marks on the PC screen at normal birds eye view its at high magnification where they show up. Otherwise I could turn a blind eye and say theres nothing there.
#27. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 7
Howard, I have found that the D700's sensor cleaning function works well almost all of the time. I have had to use the Arctic Butterfly twice since I got it a year ago and even then there were only a couple of small spots that probably resulted from careless lens changes in a dusty environment. All in all, the build-in function does a great job. Cheers, Ray
#30. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 23
>I guess, but wouldn't the shutter blades really look afoul >then?
Sure - and service technicians will tell you that shutters are really designed to take a 'beating' from dust, condensation and other assaults. Also, people have been known to change lenses when the mirror is in a cleaning lock-up, thereby providing a direct path to the sensor filter for all manner of small detritus. Even during a normal lens change (mirror down) during intemperate weather, enough of a temperature differential can occur between cool outside air and the warm interior of a camera which has just been shot off to cause slight condensation. That sort of thing is anticipated by camera designers insofar as minor moisture resistance is concerned, but no currently practical design can prevent natural condensation. If there environmental pollutants present, minor condensation can capture oily particulate. The permutations and combinations of lens change conditions, I think, are quite extensive. That the polling results - though still really early - show a definite trend toward significant amounts of time between cleanings by people who change lenses on a fairly regular basis seems to show that the built-in sensor cleaning technology is working quite well. Let's see what the poll looks like next week though.
Somebody should mention here that the best reason not to direct compressed air into the mirror box when the mirror is down is that the shutter is also closed and can easily be permanently damaged by the pressure of a blast from really short range.
#31. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 25
>My D700 is OK so far but how are you all judging this?
I'm really not judging anything. The stats will be provided to Nikon, reported online (if the response rate is significant enough). I'm a Nikon fan, without doubt, so it's always an effort to provide accurately balanced stats from this sort of polling, but with some care (and a lot of parsing of posts for supporting data) it can be done.
If things go well for the D700's built-in cleaning routines, it will give a lot of people the confidence they need to perhaps go back to a camera bag with two or three primes and the accompanying lens changes as needed while shooting. For some other photographers, a positive result from the polling will relieve them of the minor worry they experience when anticipating having to consider the possibility of doing a sensor cleaning.
If the polling results show that there is a perceptible need to clean the D700 sensor with some regularity, then people may take some time to delve more deeply into the subject in order to prepare themselves for the inevitable maintenance task.
A marginal result from the polling may indicate to Nikon that, while obviously useful and possibly also fundamental to the fullest and most confident use of the D700 (and other great Nikon cameras which incorporate similar built-in sensor cleaning), the technology needs improvement.
#33. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 29
I got about a dozen oily spots on my D300. I tried the Arctic Butterfly, two different wet solutions and finally had the pros clean it. The D700 now has one large spot that will not come off with the Nikon sensor cleaner. I have not tried to remove it other than the blower and Nikon sensor cleaner. I am shooting about 2000 images a month, change lens once or twice in a shoot.
#34. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 31
Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
Sorry Judge was the wrong word, what I mean is how far does everyone go to determine if they have dust or sticky marks on the sensor? I am simply saying that I thought mine was clean but after deeper checks it was not.
#35. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 34
>Sorry Judge was the wrong word, what I mean is how far does >everyone go to determine if they have dust or sticky marks on >the sensor? >I am simply saying that I thought mine was clean but after >deeper checks it was not.
Great question! You've discovered something that many other photographers have also run across. Increasing contrast during editing can often reveal lots of dust. As well, doing a sensor inspection using a loupe can sometimes also reveal dust which is hard to see without help. In both situations the photographer's eyesight (or partial lack thereof if the shooter is, say, over 40) is a factor.
The main caveat in these situations is whether or not the newly discovered dust actually affects the quality, impact or inherent value of any particular photo. Most of the time, common experience seems to indicate that the main effect is the amount of time needed in a photo editor to eliminate the dust. Many photographers seem to feel that a cleaning is only needed when the impact on editing time becomes significant. I hope this poll will help clarify some of this anecdotal information.
#38. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I have had my D700 for two years and have never cleaned the sensor. I have it set to clean on shutdown. I change lenses frequently and shoot mainly garden or street. I always try to keep the camera facing downwards when changing lenses in the hope it minimises dust falling in. Jaqui
#39. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 38
El Paso, US
I had my D700 for a year before I cleaned the sensor. I was taking some shots with a clear blue sky and I saw the dust on the sensor. I tried to blow it off but had no luck. I had a recommendation from one of the Nikonian instructors about the Copper Hill Sensor Cleaning Kit. I bought it and with much trepidation, I tried to do the cleaning. I think I was prepared for a mess and then was going to send the camera off to Nikon. I was very pleasantly surprised at the excellent results that I got. Still have one speck but it has moved to the outer edge of the frame and is very hard to see. When something starts showing up again in visible areas, I'll do another cleaning.
Does anyone know how to tell if the D700 sensor cleaning is actually working? I can't feel any vibration and can't hear anything.
#40. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 39
I have not needed to clean my D700 sensor as yet, only 4 months old. The sensor cleaner appears to be doing a great job and i have it set to startup and shut down. If i did need to clean the sensor myself i would have no fear in doing so as i have cleaned my D300 & D80 many times with great results using Green Clean Filter Cleaning System. Once when i was away (many of you will cringe at this), i had some welded dust that just would not shake loose from the D300. Using a cotton bud wrapped tightly in a clean micro fibre cloth and dipped lightly in distilled water, i successfully removed the dust without any damaged to the sensor at all. Obviously i would not reccomend this but it has given me more confidence in cleaning, and i now believe the sensors are more robust than everyone thinks, and should not be something to fear.
~ -------------- ~ "While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see". ~Dorothea Lange
#41. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 38
>I have had my D700 for two years and have never cleaned the >sensor. I have it set to clean on shutdown. I change lenses >frequently and shoot mainly garden or street. I always try to >keep the camera facing downwards when changing lenses in the >hope it minimises dust falling in.
Many people don't notice fine dust in photos unless they're shot at f/22 or even smaller apertures, or contrast is significantly increased during post-processing/editing.
#42. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 39
>Does anyone know how to tell if the D700 sensor cleaning is >actually working? I can't feel any vibration and can't hear >anything.
You'll never feel any vibration or sound during the cleaning cycle mainly because the built-in routine operates at ultrasonic frequencies. By contrast, I think that any shaker operating at sonic frequencies isn't going to be working well enough to force dust to release.
#43. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 40
>Using a cotton bud >wrapped tightly in a clean micro fibre cloth and dipped >lightly in distilled water, i successfully removed the dust >without any damaged to the sensor at all. Obviously i would >not reccomend this but it has given me more confidence in >cleaning, and i now believe the sensors are more robust than >everyone thinks, and should not be something to fear.
You're right - the technique is not recommended because quite often the application of a microfibre cloth leaves behind fine bits which show up on small aperture shots.
We should remind less technically minded photographers that the physical sensor surface is never actually exposed in a DLSR. The 'sensor' surface we can see when the mirror is locked up for cleaning is actually a very tough filter undereath which the sensor is sandwiched.
#45. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I voted for once a year, but really I'm somewhere between a month and a year, depending on when I see spots.
I shoot mainly outdoors, nature and sports stuff, and I change lenses often.
I have the camera self-clean whenever I think about it (once every few weeks).
When I clean, I use a rocket blower first, and if that doesn't fix it, I use Eclipse 2 solution with a Pec pad on a cut spatula (same method I started using with a D100. I certainly do less cleaning than I had to do with a D2Xs.
#46. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
Once a year is enough with my D700 as the in-camera sensor cleaner works great (set at startup), it is done for free during "open doors day" at my usual photo equipment retailer in Brussels and by a Nikon technician present in the shop the whole day. I swap regularly my lenses when working during events (24-70 and 70-200VRII) but it seems I am lucky... For my D200 and D300 I use more often the Kenair compressed air when on the field, it is fast and easy !
Pol Nikonian's "French Café" Moderator Nikonians® - Worldwide Home for Nikon® Photographers "Share, Learn and Inspire..."
#47. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
Blue Rapids, US
I guess I'm unlucky or something but I've had to clean my sensor probably ten times in the past year. I often work in dusty or windy environments as a photojournalist (shot a rodeo two weeks ago from the arena, almost got clobbered by a horse), plus I travel a lot and alternate between 14-24 and 24-70 lenses. After doing my first wet clean with the Visible Dust system, cleaning holds no fear for me. As an aside, a friend sent me a landscape photo that showed at least a dozen dust spots in the sky. When I mentioned this to him, he said it couldn't be dust because his sensor cleans itself every time he powers up the camera!
#49. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 48
There seems to be a direct, initial, correlation between frequent dry cleaning and a reduced need to wet clean. It is not as obvious as it might seem because doing a dry cleaning (using an Arctic butterfly or something similar) immediately after a shooting session that involved a few lens changes seems to lift any and all dust before it has a chance to set. Checking later - after the camera has cooled down and any dust has set - can sometimes reveal dust that is more difficult to lift. It would seem to follow then that setting the D700 to clean on Shutdown in particular is a very good idea for shooters who do frequent lens changes.
#51. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
This is a great thread. In the past eighteen months I have been involved in more than a dozen photography classes and seminars, a number which constitutes more than 360 hours of instruction and involves some 120 fellow photographers. Nearly every one of these courses, workshops and seminars involves some kind of portfolio review. I have lost track of the number of times an instructor has had to point out to a participant that their camera sensor desperately needs cleaning. In fact, I don't think it's an exageration to say that it has come up in just about every review I have witnessed.
I am using my D700 and D3s almost every day and do a lengthy "shoot" at least once a week, and often two or three days per week, averaging 2,500 frames per week. I have shot over 70,000 frames since January 1, 2010.
I use a Rocket Blower at least once a week, and often use it more frequently. Maybe it's just coincidence, but I find the D700 seems to attract more dust than the D3s. I use the built in sensor cleaner at start-up and shut-down and during the course of shooting.
I probably use a dry brush once a month and I'm loathe to wet clean the camera myself. In fact, despite purchasing several kits to do just that, I will confess that when push comes to shove, I take the offending camera into Nikon for servicing. The idea of me rooting around inside my Nikons? Can't bring myself to do it! I am steeling my resolve to learn how to do it sometime this next month because I'm going to be in Africa -- I've heard horror stories about the dust -- and abroad for the better part of two months and I'll just have to bite the bullet.
Since purchasing the D700 in August of 2008 and the D3s in December of 2009, the D700 has been cleaned by Nikon three times and the D3s once. And frankly, I waited too long to take the D700 in for its first service. It needed it at six months and I waited until a year. Since then, I drop off the bodies about every six months. I'm lucky, because I am only a twenty minute drive away from the Nikon Service Centre and the staff now knows me by face and name. They have never been anything other than outstanding. And often, if a technician notices something that's not perfect, they make it perfect.
Since reading this article by Thom Hogan (see below), I have tried to follow a very specific lens changing technique to minimize sensor exposure to the elements. I often shoot two bodies specifically so I don't have to change lenses very often on location. If I do change lenses, I try to do it in my vehicle.
Because of the volume of images I have been taking in the past year, I am hyper-vigilant about dust on the mirror and sensor. The less work I have to do in post-production to fix a dust spot means the more time I can focus on improving my skills in other areas.
One bright spot about my dust paranoia? I now think ahead about what I am going to be shooting, what my artistic vision and concept is for the shoot, and plan my lens selection beforehand accordingly.
#52. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 51 Sat 10-Jul-10 10:33 PM by agitater
>This is a great thread. In the past eighteen months I have >been involved in more than a dozen photography classes and >seminars, a number which constitutes more than 360 hours of >instruction and involves some 120 fellow photographers. >Nearly every one of these courses, workshops and seminars >involves some kind of portfolio review. I have lost track of >the number of times an instructor has had to point out to a >participant that their camera sensor desperately needs >cleaning. In fact, I don't think it's an exageration to say >that it has come up in just about every review I have >witnessed.
My experience jives with yours — there are a lot of photographers using cameras with dusty sensors, don't realize it, and are burdened with reduced photo quality as a result. One of the best investments I've ever made was a purchase of the Visible Dust Sensor Loupe. What's not visible to the naked eye under room light or an LED flashlight, shows up readily with the Sensor Loupe. Quite often too, the Sensor Loupe shows a perfectly clean sensor, which in turn prevents me from wasting any time on a needless cleaning.
#53. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 10
>I had to clean mine for the first time yesterday. The rocket >wouldn't hack it. I had ordered a VisibleDust "kit" >from Adorama to clean the sensor on my D300S and used only one >of the four swabs that came with it (and a proportional amount >of the VDust Plus fluid). So I used some of the same stuff to >clean the D700. Quick and easy.
Tom - did you examine your sensor first with a loupe of some sort, or was the wet cleaning based on your plain/unaided visual observations of dust on the sensor?
#54. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 52
I have only had my D700 for about 6 weeks, but it needed to be cleaned after about 3 weeks! Having researched this, it appears that this can sometimes happen from factory due to oil spatter from an internal part or some such thing, so some have suggested.
I only noticed it two days before I was to go on an overseas trip and thererfore didn't have time to send it to Nikon to do it under warranty and so had it done by a camera repair shop at my expense. I doubt whether Nikon would come to the party after all this time, either.
The repairer was recommnended to my by the camera shop where I purchased all my gear and I am very happy with the result and the service provided. The repairer showed me before and after shots of the sensor and all is good now and I haven't had an issue since and the clean and this is about 2,500 photos and many lens changes ago.
The only reason I noticed that the sensor required cleaning is because I was using f11+ for quite a few photos and, as I am sure most know, it is these small apertures that dirty sensors start to show themselves.
Having used Pentax DSLR's for the past 6 years, I have never needed to have them professionally cleaned as I always did it myself with a blower or the sensor swabs and Eclipse fluid but that was rarely. I did need to clean a couple of my Pentax DSLR's with the sensor swabs and the Eclipse fluid, but I think I only did that maybe twice on two of my 4 Pentax DSLR's that I owned over that time period. During that time, I probably took 60,000 photos or more and had countless lens changes as I had a full kit of the very best Pentax fast glass including their famous Limiteds, FA* zooms and their latest DA* digital lenses, US$20,000+ worth.
With the D700, however, the sensor is quite a bit bigger than the APS C versions and there is alot less room in the mirror/sensor box and it makes it very difficult to get in there with sensor swabs, so I decided to get professional help. Not only that, but the sensor swabs I had were for APS C sized sensors and to FX sized sensors.
#55. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 52 Mon 12-Jul-10 08:19 PM by JohnA_BatonRouge
Baton Rouge, US
I learned about how to clean my D700 sensor the hard way - I inadvertently forced the problem! After using my camera for over a year, I odered a Visible Dust Loupe to see if I had any embedded dust on the sensor - which I suspected would be the case because of the lenght of time I used the camera. When I looked at the sensor it was pristine - not even a trace of dust or anything else. I wondered if the mirror box had any imbedded dust so I used a mini hand vacuum (with bristles on the end) to try to suck up anything in and around the mirror box. That was my fatal mistake! When probing around in the mirror box with the vacuum, I must have accidentally passed the bristles over the sensor and pasted what I thought was dust streaks on to the sensor. When I looked at the sensor through the Loupe, I was horrified! I then compounded the problem by using the Artic Butterfly - which "smeared" the goop all over the center of the sensor. So, I ordered Visible Dust "Smear Away", the green FX swabs, and cleaned the sensor - following the instructions precisely, while holding my breath all the while. To my great relief, after a couple of passes with the FX sized swab - the sensor was in its original immaculate condition again. This was truly a harrowing experience - but gave me confidence that I would be able to tackle any sensor cleaning problems in the future! I used 92% propanol to clean the Artic Butterfly and let the brush airdry.
I am in total agreement with Agitater that having the Visible Dust Loupe (or something similar) is almost indespensible to evaluating the true condition of the sensor glass. And if it's clean, for Pete's sake, don't do any "preventive cleaning!" JohnA
#57. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 56
The Nikon website makes a point of reminding Nikon users to turn off the power before changing lenses, as that reduces the static charge that attracts dust particles to the sensor. I actually make a point of facing the lens mount down towards the ground as well.
"Anytime you change the lens on an SLR, you risk letting dust enter the camera. That dust can settle on the low-pass filter which is directly in front of the image sensor and can result in what looks like smudges or black or gray dots on your photos. To minimize the chance of that happening, you want to expose the inside of the camera body as little as possible when changing lenses. That means having the lens you want to put on the camera ready to go before you take the current lens off the camera. Again, make sure you turn the camera's power off before changing the lens as the image sensor itself generates a static electric charge that can attract dust. Next, shield your camera by turning your back to the wind, rain or dust that could possibly blow into the camera."
#58. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 55
>I am in total agreement with Agitater that having the Visible >Dust Loupe (or something similar) is almost indespensible to >evaluating the true condition of the sensor glass. And if >it's clean, for Pete's sake, don't do any "preventive >cleaning!"
A jeweller's loupe, Visual Dust Sensor loupe, a 3x magnifying glass (or stronger) - any of them will do. I agree that it's best to use something other than the unaided eye to inspect the surface of the low-pass filter.
#59. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0 Wed 14-Jul-10 07:57 PM by Bob32
I have had my D700 for 17 months and have never used anything other than the built-in sensor cleaning system which I operate every time I change a lens and occasionally at other times for no particular reason.
Most of my lens changing occurs at home before a shooting session. I seldom change lenses during a shooting session, and if I do I seek out an enclosed environment in which to do it--like inside a building or inside my car. So far I have successfully avoided having to change a lens outdoors. Most of my shooting is done at sporting events.
I just passed 30,000 exposures with my D700.
I have had my D200 for three years, and it also has 30,000+ exposures on it. I have only cleaned it once with a large Giottos Rocket Air Blaster when I noticed a sizeable speck of dust on the sensor. I was pleased with how well the air blower worked.
If I had a sensor dust problem that couldn't be resolved by use of the air blaster I would feel very uneasy about trying to wet clean it myself and would likely take it to the nearest authorized Nikon repair facility--90 miles away--to have it professionally cleaned. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I never have to do this!
Addendum: Since reading through this thread I have modified my sensor cleaning procedure by programming my D700 to clean the sensor automatically after camera shutdown. I will also continue to manually activate the sensor cleaning function after every lens change.
#60. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I've had my D700 for 19 months with about 18K shutter clicks. I have the sensor cleaning set to startup and shutdown. No wet cleaning so far, just a rocket blower every few months even though I haven't seen any dust spots yet. Amazing, because I took a week-long trip to the Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde NHPs in NM and Colorado, it was dusty when I was there and I changed lenses frequently.
As you can see in my signature line, I also own a Canon 5D. No sensor shaker on this dSLR. I do the same rocket blowing on this camera, but it requires wet cleaning of the sensor 5-6 times/year.
Sensor dust-wise, the D700 is very low maintenance by comparison.
Nikon user for 40 years. F-Ftn, F3, F4S, F90, F100, D5100, D700
#61. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 60 Wed 14-Jul-10 11:34 PM by agitater
>No wet >cleaning so far, just a rocket blower every few months even >though I haven't seen any dust spots yet. Amazing, because I >took a week-long trip to the Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde NHPs >in NM and Colorado, it was dusty when I was there and I >changed lenses frequently. > >As you can see in my signature line, I also own a Canon 5D. >No sensor shaker on this dSLR. I do the same rocket blowing >on this camera, but it requires wet cleaning of the sensor 5-6 >times/year. > >Sensor dust-wise, the D700 is very low maintenance by >comparison.
Reading the first part of your post I thought that you were just deceiving yourself into believing the D700 sensor wasn't polluted with dust, but your experience with 5D clearly shows that you know what to look for. By and large in this poll, the D700 seems to be performing admirably.
I'm now also on a hunt for shooters who do in fact have dirty D700 sensors and just don't realize it. I'm hoping a few Nikonians will read this post in particular, then go out and shoot a clear blue sky at f22 to see if any dust shows up in the images.
#62. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 15
Hi Howard. Thanks for doing this survey. I do have a question to those who have used Nikon USA service department particularly the one in El Segundo, Ca. 1. How much does a sensor cleaning cost for the D700? 2. What is the turn around time via mail? I don't think sensor cleaning is covered or part of the warranty. I have stubborn lints in my camera and I've been frustrated since I can't seem to find or get rid of it. The debris is just bothering me so much. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
#63. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I've had my D700 on several 4-6 week photo trips to the desert southwest of the US, and I camp out during them. I have had to wet clean my sensor after each trip. In high dust environments - at least with the frequency that I change lenses - my D700 sensor does get dust spots that the self cleaning and/or use of a rocket blower won't remove.
#64. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 0
I did not vote because there was not a category for my 'schedule'. I guess I am a 'wimp'... I don't clean my sensor myself. After a big trip and a lot of shooting I take mine into Advance Camera in Beaverton, OR for a complete cleaning - body and sensor. Not because I am a cousin to 'Pig Pen', just a precaution and my desire to keep my D700 in tip-top shape.
I don't take it in every month but regularly. If I haven't had it in for 2 -3 months I will take it in before and after a big trip.
Some might think my approach excessive but I did the same with my D200 (and my D100 prior to moving to OR it was Jim's Camera in SLO) and it kept them in great condition. I sold the D100 a while back and the D200 has been converted to B&W IR.
#65. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 64
>I don't take it in every month but regularly. If I haven't >had it in for 2 -3 months I will take it in before and after a >big trip.
Sheila - please consider voting either once a month or once a year. I'm weighting the voting according to the qualifying comments which many photographers have posted in this thread, so your particular 'schedule' will get due consideration.
#66. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 65
No problem. Glad to do it. ....... I have voted. As this is not a 'secret ballot', I will share with you that I voted for once a month. I just returned from 5 weeks in Italy. No apparent 'stuff' on the sensor but I will follow my usual routine.
The rubber grips on the RHS of the D700 body have lifted at the corners. Looks like I may have to have them replaced. I wonder, is this a common problem with the D700?
#67. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 66
>The rubber grips on the RHS of the D700 body have lifted at >the corners. Looks like I may have to have them replaced. I >wonder, is this a common problem with the D700?
The two most common D700 body problems are the left-side rubber flap door over the output ports opens unexpectedly), and the CF card door opens unexpectedly. The CF card door in particular, for me, is the bigger annoyance of the two.
Thanks for voting. I'm slowly compiling stats from both the voting results so far, and from the modifying comments made in the thread posts.
#70. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 69
Powder Springs, US
I've never had a problem with dust. Myabe if I used a loupe, I would become OC about it. Although I don't necessarily hear the high pitched hum of the cleaner, others do. I guess I don't want to annoy people, depending on the venue, so it's just as easy to leave it off.
Scott Chapin Powder Springs, GA, USA Nikonians Team Member
#72. "RE: How Often Do You Clean Your D700 Sensor?" In response to Reply # 70
Baton Rouge, US
>Although I don't necessarily hear >the high pitched hum of the cleaner, others do. I guess I >don't want to annoy people, depending on the venue, so it's >just as easy to leave it off.
You're the first person I've heard say that anyone at all can hear the sensor vibrating at that ultrasonic frequency - or to suggest the possibility that it could be annoying to others. You might want to take another "hear" because that ultrasonic shake seems to do what it was designed to do - and well! You just might be missing out on a good thing. JohnA