"If not Lubricant…then what?" Wed 21-Dec-11 05:48 PM by elec164
I did not think it proper to continue this discussion and hijack someone else’s thread, even though it appears to be the same issue and a relevant discussion. So I started my own thread.
There have been a number of users whom have complained about the D7000 sensor being a dirt magnet compared to their other cameras. Some of us seem to be experiencing a similar accumulation on the side of the sensor showing on the right side of images. I don’t know how many units have been produced in the approximately year and a half of production, but assume it could easily be in the hundreds of thousands. There have been about 12 or so Nikonians who have admitted to having this issue, and if you searched the web you may find a hundred more. There are also people I imagine that have just chalked it up to life in the digital world and just don’t mention it. So even if the number were to reach 1000, it would be a small representation of the total production.
Some mention lens changing technique, others lens pump from zooms. Fair enough, but I used the same lenses on my D80 in the same manner and technique for three years without feeling the need to clean my sensor once. Yeah there was dust, but it only showed up with small apertures and was easily dealt with. My D7000 on the other hand is not so lucky. After just 6 months I felt compelled to clean the sensor. And now about 6 months after that cleaning, I feel compelled again. This is a shot 6 months in:
And this is about 6 months later
It’s not that I’m obsessive about this (3 years of use and not cleaning the D80 should testify to that) but the spots are problematic even with normal f-stops. For example this shot was recently taken at F/8, and several of the larger spots are clearly visible in the sky.
I had to clone out every shot taken in portrait orientations that included sky (or any even-toned area even in landscape shots). Normally wider apertures or images with detail in the area mask the spots, but they are becoming annoying.
Some attribute the difference to the higher pixel density, fair enough. The larger spots average about 15 to 20 pixels with some as large as 30, and at about 4.7 microns per pixel that is about 70 to 141 microns in size. That I would think put it significantly larger than most dust particulate size, but within the realm of possibility for large specks. But that still does not explain why a concentration of particles on one side with virtually nothing on the rest of the sensor. And being that the particulate size that is more problematic is larger than my D80’s 6 micron pixel, I can’t see the pixel density being that much of a factor.
In this example of the enhanced crop, I make out what appears to be lighter more irregular shaped spots that I attribute to dust.
One reason being is that while on the AA filter, they seem to be irregular enough in shape that light is able to get underneath them and are not lying flat on the filter and blocking all light (that’s why they are grayish not black). The larger spots on the other hand seem to have their edges flat against the filter blocking all light (why they all appear black) with concentric lighter rings, making me feel they are some sort of viscous fluid that is spattered.
So there is my issue, not that I am saying the D7000 is flawed. The probably hundreds of thousands of units without this issue should be evidence of that. But I am growing weary of the comments suggesting that we unfortunate few are the problem, not the camera.
I give kudos to Canon for admitting to the issue and offering free cleanings to its users of their problematic camera. And I can understand Nikon’s reluctance to admit to an issue for a small fraction of units for that would open the flood gates for thousands more without the problem that just wanted a free cleaning. But just cleaning the sensor for those of us with new cameras only a few months old with this issue, then handing us a bill with no further explanation to me is unconscionable.
Well that’s my ranting for the day. Any suggestions or comments?
#1. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
I, too, have what appears to be lubricant along the right side of the image. If brushed, it smears and streaks, so it is not dry. My sensor looked similar to yours before my first wet cleaning. The wet cleaning produces a totally clean sensor for about 1000 shots until it starts to show several spots, again. I have had my D7000 since April 2011 and have wet cleaned it 3 times to get rid of the spots. I do think they are recurring at a lower frequency over time, so perhaps at some point we will rid ourselves of the excess lubricant. I'm a gear head engineer, so I don't really mind doing the cleaning from time-to-time. I use Sensor Swabs and Eclipse (methanol). Now, I'll get lots of irate responses to this, but I swipe multiple times with the same swab (perhaps 4 swipes, maybe more) with no ill effects. The sensor comes out clean each time until the next series of lubricant spots show up.
#2. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
There can be dust, liquid drops and in my case pollen issues. A quick way to check for image sensor marks is to photograph either a white wall or a white sky at the smallest aperture on the lens. Dust is more noticeable on DX sensors than FX because, whatever the size of a speck of dust, it appears proportionately 50% bigger on the smaller DX sensor. Like the D300s and D3s I have found the D7000 clean image sensor very efficient - and have it set in the set up menu to clean on start up. On a detail if there is not time to complete the cleaning cycle prior to taking the first image the cleaning cycle does not complete. There are menu options for :- clean on switch off, both - or disable. I have not had the degree of problem being illustrated with pre sensor clean bodies - but did use a "rocket blower" after each session. Keeping dust at bay (film, digital or lenses) is part good housekeeping, as in regularly cleaning equipment, bags, and avoiding changing lenses in dusty conditions - or rain Tiny drops of liquid on the sensor whilst changing lenses in rain or bad housekeeping such as breathing on the sensor to remove dust often leaves drying marks which need a wet clean to remove. Some plant pollen has a sticky surface to help it cling to surfaces - and leaves sticking marks when attempting the first clean - so do not change your lens in high pollen conditions such as walking through a meadow at the time plants are releasing pollen. With the latest sensor clean bodies I find I need to do a specific clean no more frequently than every 6 months.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#4. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 2
St Petersburg, RU
Dry dust is the easiest dirt for the camera to shake off but often it is not dry due to humidity or the source of the dust. The natural enemy of sensors is pollen and spores which is small, airborne and sticky. It can be as small as 6micrometers in diameter and has a coating of waxes and proteins that allows it to stick to plant stamens on contact. Same with nice landing surfaces like AA filters. The smallest grains are not visible on a sensor but some of the more common pollen sources around houses and development are just large enough to cause problems. The photos shown above look a lot more spherical than a liquid, since the greatest light absorption is in the center, where a liquid would be the least in the center and furthest boundaries. I have no idea what it is, there are literally a million possibilities and until someone does a an analysis of the composition of the specks it is all a guess. The least likely causes are those that the forums jump to conclusions about because of how firmly their belief is that it is an assembly defect the less plausible it becomes. A look on any surface with a microscope will reveal another world unseen and unrecognized in daily life. That world is filled with microscopic particles coating every surface. What is amazing is how little dirt appears on sensors when everything else is covered with it. Some dirt, in daily visible life, is large and can be seen, it is not unusual to have to clean lenses, both outside and inside tightly screwed on filters, I do it routinely before every shoot of any importance, because it is needed routinely. If dirt accumulates enough to be detrimental for sensors, say, on 6 months intervals, that really is pretty good and cleaner than any other surface involved in ones life.
#5. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 4 Thu 22-Dec-11 09:05 AM by nuffsaid
I am intrigued by the fact that the "dust spots" are mainly accumulating on one side of the sensor. As a matter of interest, do you shoot mostly in landscape or portrait "mode" or a mixture of both? My thinking is that if you shoot mainly in portrait "mode" then that could be a clue as to why one side of the sensor is more contaminated than the other. In other words, when you shoot in portrait "mode", does the RHS of the sensor/image become the top or the bottom of the sensor? Don't mind me; just thinking out aloud.
'Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore' - Albert Einstein ‘I did not invent chimping, I just perfected it.'
#7. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 6
Yes, upside-down and good point, but right is still right.
The Lube spots are always (I repeat, always) on the right side and I shoot Landscape orientation 99% of the time. They are mostly toward the bottom of the right side, so top as viewed on the photo. The pattern on my AA filter of the spots is nearly identical to those who've posted their Lube spots.
I always change lenses carefully for the last 45 years with no problems like this before.
Some things are pretty certain based on the patterns. Its coming from inside the camera and it is liquid that does not evaporate. On one of my first cleanings, I verified it was clean then took about 100 frames immediately and looked at the sensor (AA filter) again and it had 3 new spots on it.
I do believe the occurrence of the spots is diminishing, though. They do not seem to be as prevalent as when I first noticed them (frequency of recurrence is diminishing).
I don't mind cleaning it and I think the finite amount of Lube will eventually decrease to where the splatter is no longer a problem.
#8. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 7 Thu 22-Dec-11 12:25 PM by billD80
>I don't mind cleaning it and I think the finite amount of Lube >will eventually decrease to where the splatter is no longer a >problem.
Does the D7000 actually have wet lubrication that could conceivably get into the mirror-box, and then deposit itself onto the sensor?
I would think something amiss like this would have to be involved with the shutter blades. Could wet lube drops coming from elsewhere float around long enough to wind up on the sensor? Wouldn't they have to be almost like in an aerosol form to do this?
As a test, clean the sensor, put on a clean prime lens, take a base-line image (doesn't have to be perfectly clean). Throw on the High speed shutter setting, shoot in Manual, and zip off 100 frames of a blue sky (or like subject) at f/22. Then look. If the camera is generating the issue, I'd think you'd see dots increasing in the frames.
That being the case, I'd send the images and camera to Nikon. If not, then I'd look elsewhere for the root cause.
#9. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
I want to thank everyone who has participated thus far.
As to particulate matter, if you check the link I provided you would discover that only a third of that list could be of the size that my spots average. Again, my spots average 70 to 140 microns whereas a typical atmospheric dust is only about .001 to 40. So that leaves only the upper one third which is particulates that are possible but unlikely. Especially since the environment and habits I used the D80 and D7000 in are exactly the same. I do live in a heavily populated urban environment that is 25 miles from a metropolis, but the average size of particulate of typical smog is about 60 microns or smaller eliminating them as the source I would think.
Len brings up a good point of the self cleaning. When I first got the camera I turned it off thinking that I would only activate it when I felt I needed to. After the first cleaning, I set it to activate on turn on and shut down. I think that accounts for the difference in the first 6 month shot and the recent one. You might notice the first 6 month shot had quite a bit of debris on the whole sensor with a bulk on the right, whereas the recent shot the left half is virtually free of debris. So it appears the self cleaning is effective. So that leaves the ugly spots on the right which seems to stick upon contact and nothing but a wet cleaning will do. Although I must admit I don’t have a brush so haven’t tried that method. Brian brings up a good point with magnification, but I don’t have FX so am comparing two DX cameras so I feel that eliminates that as a possible cause. As shown in my real world shot, those spots will appear even in that reduced resolution image (about 8x12 print); and at what normal f-stops that would be used (f/8). I even noticed the larger spots in an f/7.1 shot.
Stan is correct, until someone does an analysis of the spots there will be no definitive answer. Nikon would be the likely one to do it, but I doubt they will. But what prompted this tread was his reply to me in that other thread that stated “before the D90 have not used liquid lubricant. There is no lube spec or instruction in the service manual because there is a permanent dry low friction surfaces. How did lube get into your camera”. So if no lubricant is used, what else can it be? I find it hard to believe that a few of us living in different parts of the world whom are experiencing this just happen to be in an environment which would be conducive to this issue while the bulk of the rest do not. I would think statistically if environment was the issue, there would be a greater percentage of people with the problem. And while the spots have a different appearance, the lube issue is also seen in the D300/D700 and I believe the D3 forums. The only thing they all have in common is that the D7000 is the first consumer end camera that is using the more pro shutter mechanism. For that 1/8000th shutter speed and longer MTBF would mean that the mirror mechanism needs to be similar if not the same. Could that be a reason the issue is not found on the consumer cameras such as the D90, D80, D40, D5000….etc? And only appears in the cameras with the more robust shutters?
As to Leshec’s comment, I shoot mainly landscape but do shoot portrait when the occasion calls for it. I would say maybe 70/30%. I shoot portrait with shutter button on top or counter-clockwise in your examples.
My hope is that Charles is correct in that if it is some sort of lubricant, it will abate over time and eventually not be an issue any more.
Again it’s not much of an issue, more of an annoyance. And I would much rather have to clean the sensor every 6 months than have the focus issue. Although having said that I never was pleased with the performance of the 18-105 kit lens and prefer to use my 17-55 and 70-300 VR. But that is fodder for a different thread.
#10. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 8
BillD80, that is pretty much how I did that test I mentioned above. And, yes, the spots increase as you expose additional frames. The spots are indeed small. With a headband magnifier, they are just visible on the AA Filter.
If it does not abate, then it will go to Nikon for a fix.
#11. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 8
>As a test, clean the sensor, put on a clean prime lens, take a >base-line image (doesn't have to be perfectly clean). Throw >on the High speed shutter setting, shoot in Manual, and zip >off 100 frames of a blue sky (or like subject) at f/22. Then >look. If the camera is generating the issue, I'd think you'd >see dots increasing in the frames. > >That being the case, I'd send the images and camera to Nikon. >If not, then I'd look elsewhere for the root cause.
That would be a good test Bill, unfortunately I don’t have a fixed focal length lens; at least none that will affix to the front of my D7000. Perhaps Charles does, or someone else experiencing this might wish to try it and report the results.
But if I recall correctly, about 100 shots in and about one month after that first cleaning, due to another thread about this I checked and three large spots already reappeared on the right.
#12. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 4
>The photos shown above look a lot more spherical >than a liquid, since the greatest light absorption is in the >center, where a liquid would be the least in the center and >furthest boundaries.
Stan, you raise an interesting point, but depending on the composition of the viscous fluid, it may or may not behave as you state.
For instance if you scroll down to page four of this PDF it seems that all the spread patterns are contrary to what you state. And I believe that a viscous lubricant used in mechanisms such as these would have a higher viscosity leading to a drop form more toward glycerin in figure two than would the ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. But in all cases, the equilibrium state is densest in the middle.
So my spots seem to be more bead like in that wider apertures, enough light gets underneath them to make them less visible, but from about f/7 and smaller they become more pronounced. Whereas dust which is more irregular in shape, light can get under it until the more narrower apertures of f/11 or smaller.
But I’m no chemist, so it’s only a layman’s observation and opinion.
#14. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 13
Critical of the D7000 as I have been, I have now had it for 14 months (8000 shutter actuations), I change lenses regularly out doors and have never had to clean my sensor. I regularly take a gin blue sky image and examine for sensor spots and have had none. Maybe I am lucky, but I am fastidious in facing the open camera downwards when changing a lens.
#15. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 11
Yes, I did use a prime lens for that test. AF-S DX 35mm f1.8G. So, no pumping of air into the mirror box and I took the 100 frames all within about 5 minutes with no lens changes. It is splatter that increases with frames shot.
Now I see that someone else has seen this on a D3, as well.
Is the right side the side with the shutter arms/actuators?
#16. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 9
St Petersburg, RU
If the D7000 was getting lube, when it was not specified and has no lubrication points on the very long list of preventative maintenance and mirror box replacement instructions, that might be an issue of an assembly line change order that never got into the documentation. I do not have a service manual for a D3 but the D2x series did have PM lube points. The advent of better materials has probably meant that need for wet lubricant has been eliminated in all current cameras. I have manuals for the D50, D70, D200, D90, D5000, D2x and D7000, SB800, SB600, and SB900. I also have a service manual for my old Canon A1 that I don't have any more, which like the D2x, had lube points. For me, old manuals are more of a collectors item than old cameras. The image is not just reversed top to bottom but left to right also so the spots are on the physical left side, and towards the bottom. Gravity might not be much of a factor as electrostatic charge. The D7000 sensor has a lot more signal activity per dimensional unit so possibly a electrostatic repulsion system might be a useful addition as a clean-sensor feature for future high density sensors. Static attraction of the particles would tend to be concentrated in the regions of the sensor that had the most dense signal paths. There are just so many possible causes of the dirty sensors, but from talking to D3 owners, cleaning is needed a lot less often with the d7000. One of the reasons oil is not likely the cause is the range of spot size. None are large which would be expected if some mechanical throwing was involved, the spot size is constrained to a range of limited variability. Try oil on the end of a surface and flip it towards black construction paper and you will see a wide range of spot sizes, and an occasional large one far larger than the average. Seeing how the mirror and shutter are made, it is hard to imagine how some reservoir of fluid would accumulate and meter itself out slowly over many months. Since most owners reporting the problem had its first occurrence months after acquiring it, a problem at the start of its life seems less likely. The size range, and higher density in the center sure looks closer to pollen or spores, and the fact that the individual spots do not change shape. But then, at this point it could be anything, Nikon only says it is dirt and not oil.
#17. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
Do you store the camera the same way every time?
I store my camera upright resting on the bottom of the camera. In my camera bag, it is stored on its side with the right side down and the lens mount facing the bottom of the bag. My camera bag is a photo backpack stored upright at home but stored flat on the straps when I travel. All this means that my camera is always stored in a manner where dust will not collect on the sensor. I rarely have a problem with dustspots or other debris on the sensor.
#18. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 17
When at home and in a bag, I always store it as you do, resting on the bottom of the camera. The only exception is when it's in one of my back packs as there's no choice but to mount it lens downwards. Both orientations I feel limit the chance of dust falling on the mirror. I always also set the cleaning to operate both when camera is switched on and off. Also, all the above is also the case with my D700.
#19. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 16 Thu 22-Dec-11 11:38 PM by elec164
>One of the reasons oil is not likely the cause is the range of >spot size. None are large which would be expected if some >mechanical throwing was involved, the spot size is constrained >to a range of limited variability.
But the spots do vary in size and I think my enhanced (equalized and sharpened) example is not an accurate representation of the spots. I stopped being lazy and setup my two flash units on stands to properly expose the white paper instead of processing it to make it look better. This is a 100% crop of the bottom right corner (should be upper right looking into the mirror box from the front).
As you see the spots do vary in size and some are even irregular and not round. You make a good point in that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how the mirror mechanism could sling oil back at the sensor. I provided the crop straight from the camera so you can view as you wish. I did a threshold adjustment on it and it really shows the variation in size and shape well.
But then I found this discussion over at DPreview which I believe you took part in Stan. Jostian who made the last post (when I looked) stated that Nikon repaired his D7000 stipulating that the mirror drive motor in early production units was the cause. Under certain conditions lube would push past the seals in the motor and spew lube. Again the oil spots shown by Canon and others are clear in the center and darker rings where these are blurry spots. And that’s why I state lubricant and not oil.
It would be nice to verify the statement by Jostian in that DPreview thread, for if that’s the case and the drive motor is pushing out lube, it will eventually fail out of warranty and be a costly repair I would think. If I can document it now, even though the camera is over one year, they might replace it for free. Assuming that is accurate and I have one of those early production cameras (I did purchase in 11/2010).
Edited to add:
Stan, I know it’s probably prohibited by Forum rules to post an illustration from one of the Tech manuals. But can you verify that there is such a mirror drive motor, where it would be located and if the armature shaft is in such a location that lubricant leaking from a seal could spin off the shaft toward the sensor. I know I said I had trouble wrapping my mind around the mirror mechanism itself, but I could see lubricant flipping off a rotating shaft if that’s the case. And bearing lubricant for a motor would be more opaque than precision oil used on a mechanism. Just curious.
#20. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 18 Thu 22-Dec-11 08:20 PM by billD80
Here are two shots just taken on my D7000. One of the first in production, I've had it over a year, just over 6,000 actuations, indoors and out, with 5 lenses in use. I've done a Rocketblower treatment once, and a Visible dust dry-swipe once... I can't tell the difference in results from when I'd check my D200. Is there dust present? Sure. But in selling 20x30" prints, I've never had anything to worry about. Not saying others don't have an issue. But my sample is a very early production model.
#22. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 20 Fri 23-Dec-11 03:36 PM by elec164
>Is there dust present? Sure. But in selling >20x30" prints, I've never had anything to worry about. >Not saying others don't have an issue. But my sample is a >very early production model. >
Sure Bill, rub salt in a guys wound why don’t ya!! Wanna trade???
Seriously though, I don’t know what your target was, but having the background for the spots being middle gray (which most dust spots will show up as) will help mask some of the less egregious spots. Just as the average detail of a scene would mask them. Its only when there is a lighter even tone area that the spots will be more apparent. If I play with your f/32 sample in an editor, I can see quite a few spots. And they appear as what I would think dust spots should look like. Irregular shaped specks randomly distributed across the whole sensor, not accumulated on a side in a more or less regular pattern and shape. And I guarantee you would not even thinking of making a 20x30 print for sale of some of the problem images from my last shoot without going through the trouble of cloning/healing out the spots. Even on the f/8 images, the spots were an eyesore. My less than 1 MP resample that’s severely compressed for posting clearly shows the spots. I even have a landscape orientation shot which shows the spots on the siding of a building.
I’m not taking anyone’s comments lightly or dismissing them out of hand. I’m putting a lot of time and research into this, and my rebuttal to some comments is not a denial of them, but just the regular discourse one would use in trying to get to the root of an issue with intelligent reasonable information. For instance Stan’s comments about pollen or spores is a valid one, except if one checks the average size of such things I would most likely encounter in my environment and regular usage, the largest is about 50 microns compared to my spots which average twice the size. His electrostatic theory sounds interesting, but then why are just a minor amount of units affected with right side collection, while the majority such as yours does not. It just does not make sense, and as the great philosopher Judge Jude says “if it doesn’t make sense, it’s usually not true”.
And that’s the rub really. I would like to say your experience and examples gives me some peace of mind. But actually it gives me more room for concern. I never said this is systemic, and the fact that it affects such a small percentage of units (got my 11/2010) might make it a real uphill battle to convince Nikon something is amiss. When I only thought it was excess lubricant from a mechanism, I was not to concern for I knew it would abate eventually. But now with Stan stating that no lube is used in the mirror mechanism and with the Drive Motor idea thrown into the mix (if that is true), my concern is that when the spots begin to abate, it may mean that the motor is now low on lube. That may and probably will result in premature failure well past warranty and wind up being an expensive repair at my cost for a fault from manufacture defect, not routine wear. Pete
#23. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
An update, I cleaned my sensor last night.
Before I swiped I looked inside. I don’t have a sensor loop or anything like it. But as I looked inside angling the camera with the bright light source I could see reflections where the spots would be that are indicative of light reflecting of a shiny surface which was different than the surrounding sensor area. And as Charles (N4TVC) stated, it appears some of the spots smeared, so it would appear that the spots are definitely not solid/dust but some type of fluid/paste.
So Stan, do you have any information or comment about the location of the Mirror Drive Motor Unit that was suggested in that DPreview post?
#24. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 22
>Sure Bill, rub salt in a guys wound why don’t ya!! >Wanna trade??? > >Seriously though, I don’t know what your target was, but >having the background for the spots being middle gray (which >most dust spots will show up as) will help mask some of the >less egregious spots.
I shot the only sky available, and sure, it's not a perfect test target, but at f/32, it's not horrible.
Still, I hope yours isn't a technical issue, just greasy pollen, or perhaps grease coming from a zoom lens?
#25. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 23 Sat 24-Dec-11 10:18 PM by TheDraftsman
I have the same issue and I can say I am glad I'm not the only one.
I shoot RAW and use Aperture 3 enough said as far as getting rid of these spots that show up on my photos and living with this issue until I clean the filter again.
I was annoyed that after I cleaned my sensor filter, the spots would show up again after a few hundred shots.
I was even theorizing that the actual act of activating the in camera sensor cleaning made it worse by of some kind of static charge on to the sensor!!!
BTW: Pentax O-ICK1 is the way to go in cleaning this stuff off your sensor filter, after I saw a Leica tech use it to clean a M9 filter, I was convinced that is what you need. Not a fan of wet cleaning at all.
My theory is, over time this is all going to go away if it is a lubricant!!! It's just going to get worked out over time.
#27. "OK... what now? RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
Get this.. I have had my D7000 for just under a year and I too started to see spots. I set the camera to clean the sensor (first time ever) and now have a huge verticle black line down the right side of the images. I tried to clean the sensor again and still there. I checked out the sensor using manual cleaning setting and discovered a strait verticle scratch down the sensor low pass filter. It's HUGH! This is a first for me? I've been shooting a long time and have never seen anything like this come up. It's got me wondering if the vibration that cleans the sensor jarred somthing loose or damaged it some way. Im at a loss? Anyone ever see or hear of anything like this? I'm sending it off to Nikon to see if they what they say and have them fix it.
#29. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 26 Sun 15-Jan-12 02:27 PM by mikesrc
OKLAHOMA CITY, US
>I ran into a long term, now EX, Nikon rep, works for another >brand now. > >He said that Canon and Nikon techs use filed down chopsticks, >and a solution of 70/80 % acetone (aids fast drying) and >30/20% denatured alcohol. > >On the other hand, over time does the lubricant reach a >nominal state? > >The D3S has a bit of this, and I'm used to spot checking or >shooting an NDF. > >Haven't read the entire thread here BTW. > >My $.02 cents. > >Rob > > > >
#30. "OK... what now? RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 27
St Petersburg, RU
Is it a physical scratch or a line seen in the VF , LV and image files? Is it perfectly straight or rough looking with little jogs? Unless you mixed a little diamond dust in the cleaning solution( Isopropanol) it hard to imagine cleaning would scratch an AA filter. If it is a pretty straight but not perfectly straight line it could be a streak much like using a squeegy for cleaning a window and lines appear at the end of the squeegy line of travel. If it is perfectly straight and the line in a image is black and uniform width it could be a dead vertical column date line. Each photo-site is read buy addressing a pixel by its row and column. All the cell in a vertical column connected together and each row, all the of pixels on that row are connected together. Any individual pixel is addressed by looking at the row and column information for that pixel, where the row and column intersect, the data for that one cell is read. So is all the pixels in a column are dead( a scratch would not result in no light on that column being detected but would be diffused)it is usually the address line for that column that would have nothing to do with cleaning, just a fluke of a microscopic transistor failing.
#31. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
I have an update on my particular camera (purchased in March 2011). As I had stated earlier in this thread, I was hoping that the oil/lubricant spitting would eventually subside. I started thinking about this and decided that since my camera would soon be out of warranty that I probably ought to do something about it aside from cleaning the sensor monthly.
I documented my issues with photos showing about 25-30 perfectly round spots, mostly toward the right edge, printed these photos on 8X10 sheets and included the images on an SDHC card. I also stated that I was uncomfortable with oil being sprayed in other parts of the mirror box and possibly onto the CAM4800 separator lens and secondary mirror. I followed the instructions on Nikon's Service and Repair site and included my receipt from back in March, boxed it up and shipped it to the Melville, NY Service Center.
Nikon immediately (well, within 2 days of receiving it) acknowledged the issue (their words "oil on sensor") and set it up for "B1 - minor parts replacement". 2 days after that they marked it as "Shipped".
A total of 16 days back to me with the following on the repair sheet:
Replace Mirror Operation Adjust Autofocus Operation Adjust Mirror Angle Clean CCD General Clean and Check
Yes, I thought it odd that they called it a CCD, too.
So far the camera is working extremely well with no new oil spots on the sensor after 100 shots (before, 100 shots would yield at least 2 new spots). The autofocus is much better, a remarkable improvement. Either the adjustment or the cleaning of the CAM4800 lens or, probably both has rendered the focus operation worlds better than before.
It's really great to shoot now without accumulating oil spots and with improved AutoFocus accuracy. Mark me one very happy customer.
Nikon did a superb job of acknowledging receipt and problems, updating the status online, and getting it back to me quickly. They have done everything I could have expected.
I submit this so those of you who might be experiencing this particular problem will have confidence in Nikon's willingness to "make it right".
#33. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 31
Thanks for your update and relating your experience. Unfortunately for me, I've had the camera just over 1 year.
I just sent Nikon an E-mail relating my experience, I just hope they will accept my documentation that the issue occurred during the warranty period and will repair it for free.
I should have trusted my gut and contacted Nikon months ago, but instead I doubted myself and listened to all those whom insisted it could not be lubricant and must be dust. Hopefully it won't be an expensive lesson learned.
#34. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 33
Pete, I am curious about what Nikon has to say. After reading your post I took the time to check out my camera as well and believe I may have a similar issue. My camera is out of warranty as well and I am curious as to what they quote you to have it fixed if they do not do it under warranty.
Marc There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams
#35. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 34
>Pete, I am curious about what Nikon has to say.
I will most definitely update and let you know what Nikon's reply is. So far all I have received is the boilerplate response with the incident number and a note that says I should here back from them within 24 hours.
We'll see, but quite frankly I am keeping my expectations low.
#37. "OK... what now? RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 27
The line was strait and appeared as black. Set the mirror up for cleaning and took a look. For sure there is a predominate line, scratch or streak strait down the right side of sensor filter. I didn't want to use something to try and clean it cause I did't want to damage it further if it is fixable. I did hit it with a puff of air and it didn't move so it's not a hair or piece of fuzz. I thought about this too. If some foreign object (fuzz, dust, etc.) is on the bayonet end of the lens and you use live view or video, it can really make the sensor filter susceptable to get a foreign object or substance on it. I was using live view the night before to set my horizon line. Got me thinkin if somthin got in there. Anyway, I sent it off to Nikon for them to take a look at. It arrived on the 19th, so lets see what they say. But get this... the day I sent it off was exactly one year to the date of purchase. Talk about under the wire if it's a warrantied repair. If not.. I know what I have to do. I did asked for a quote from another repair place caller Percision Camera in case Nikon said no and is too outragious. They quoted an estimate of $130. Not as bad as I thought for plan B. Lets see what plan A has to say though. Anyone ever use Percision Camera? They seem to be okay from what I have read so far.
#38. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 36
Yes, do keep us informed. Mine is worlds better now, and with the AF working much better, too, its like I got a new camera. Nikon knows the problem is a flaw with one of the motors spitting oil through the seals and they know how to fix it. Hopefully they'll cover it in warranty.
#39. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 38
Charles, have you updated your D7000 firmware? I've read where others have sent their D7000 in for cleaning and Nikon updated the firmware. You didn't mention this but I was just curious if they do this to all D7000s.
#40. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 39
Wayne, I don't know if they do that as part of the routine, or not. Mine was already updated. It's a simple process to update with complete instructions on the firmware download site. I've updated mine twice, now.
#41. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 36
>Same problem here. Mine is 3 months out of warranty. Maybe >Nikon will be nice to me? > >Nikon received my D7000 yesterday. Hope to hear something >soon.
Just sent mine out today, should get there tomorrow. Here's crossing my fingers and hoping they'll cover it under warranty. Needs to be fixed either way because wet cleaning the sensor that often is becoming tiresome.
#43. "RE: Follow up to my previous post" In response to Reply # 42
The perfectly round spots are probably oil. You should call then and discuss this. Cleaning your sensor will only last for a couple hundred shots and you'll be right back where you are now. They know about this and are performing the fixes currently. So tell them you are aware of the problem. Can't hurt. Several others have been fixed.
#44. "RE: Follow up to my previous post" In response to Reply # 42
Assuming the image is not rotated or flipped 180 degrees, the more offending spots in your example are on the opposite side of the image (left side) of those who claim a lubricant spray issue (right side).
And as far as I know, everyone who claims this issue experienced the spots within a few months of use, and the spots reappear within a few weeks after cleaning and they always appear on the right side.
As an example, I just did the second wet cleaning of my sensor on 12/23/2011 and when I checked on 1/17/2011 there where 10 major spots back on the right side. But as my examples earlier in this thread show, the rest of the sensor from about 1/3rd in from the right side all the way to the left side is virtually free of debris.
But if you truly believe your camera is one of the possibly affected cameras, I would calmly and assertively argue your position.
As an aside, didn't you have to approve the repair before the could proceed? Just trying to be clear on their procedure because the correspondence I received seems to indicate I have to approve repair and provide payment information if its not covered under warranty.
#46. "RE: Follow up to my previous post" In response to Reply # 45
>I'm curious what a new >sensor costs?
Technically speaking you would damage the hot filter not the sensor. Don't know what Nikon would charge but Life Pixels cost for conversion (which is basically the same procedure of a hot filter change) is presently about $250. I would think Nikon's price would most likely be similar.
Just checked the status and it appears Nikon is willing to repair my camera under complimentary service. So it appears they agreed with my plight and are doing a pseudo warranty repair.
Now the bad news, IT’S ON PARTS HOLD!!!!
Hands shaking in withdrawal, notice on the internet that my local brick’n’mortar has a slightly used D90 for $525 and a D300s for $1099!!! Maybe the Mrs. will not notice the missing funds from the bank account!!!
Perhaps if I load a roll of film and carry around my trusty old SPII in the mean time I can stave off the shakes and the NAS!!!
#49. "RE: Repair update" In response to Reply # 48
>Probably take to my bed for the duration until the >postman calls with its safe return!
With a good bottle of Scotch for good measure!!
I feel a need to give Nikon a tip of the hat and a big thanks for covering this even though its out of warranty. It brings back my faith in people and large companies that was crushed by GM some time ago.
#51. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
Well I'm happy to finally report that my camera has come home.
Reason stated for checking, oil on sensor. Nikon's original work order was "sensor, check and clean". On the the same day it went in shop,it was put on parts delay that night.
My repair invoice is almost exactly as Charle's except for one item.
Replace Mirror Operation Adjust Mirror Operation Adjust Mirror Angle Adjust Auto Focus Operation Firmware Upgrade Clean CCD General Check and Clean
I'm of the camp if it ain't broke don't fix it. So I never updated the firmware, so Nikon did it for me. I believe that in this or one of the other threads some inquired if the update firmware as matter of fact, it appears they do.
I'm a bit nervous though being that I didn't appear to have any focus issues before, but I' hoping Charles is correct and it will be working even better than before.
When I opened the box and removed it from the bubble wrap I could feel through the plastic bag it was sealed in that it was very cold (sitting in an unheated UPS truck) so I am letting it warm up before unwrapping it. Can hardly wait, but I will.
Also I must give a HUGH tip of the hat to Nikon. Being my camera was two months past warranty they had no legal obligation to repair my camera for free, but gave me a complementary service. Perhaps they agreed to because even they were a bit slow on recognizing the issue. So while there was no legal obligation, the appearently felt there was a moral one(plus a little good PR doesn't hurt either).
So if anyone is experiencing the right side debris issue, but your camera is just out of warranty, contact them and send a nice letter explaining your situation. They most likely will extend the same curiosity.
As soon as I do some test shooting, I will report on how things are working.
#53. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 52 Sat 18-Feb-12 02:41 PM by elec164
I feel your pain, hang in there!!
I did some testing last night, and so far all looks good. I'm really interested in doing more testing with the kit lens (18-105). I never really was satisfied with it's performance and want to see if their recalibration of the AF system made any difference.
Last night I was only using the on board flash goofing around (much to the annoyance of my dog!!). Hopefully today I can get outside and do some more testing in good light, time permitting (the wife actually expects me to do things around the house!!).
In a few weeks we'll see if the spots stay away, hee's hoping.
#54. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 53
Pete, I'm delighted that you got it taken care of and that Nikon saw fit to take care of the issues under warranty for you. I think you will be very pleased. I'll be interested in your impressions of the fixes after a month of use.
I continue to be pleased with the fixes on my camera. I took some family photos yesterday of folks I only get to see every 3-4 years and I was really proud of how they turned out. I've not needed to clean my sensor since it came back from Nikon with the oil spot issue fixed and that was about 500-600 frames ago. Still looks clean. My focus operation is outstanding and I'm happy that wasn't operator error, after all.
Please continue to update the thread with your experience. Have fun with your "new" camera.
#56. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 53
Hey Pete, glad to hear that things have so far worked out and that Nikon did the right thing by you even though they did not have too. I am interested to hear if your AF performance is better than before service even though you were happy with the camera from that aspect before servicing.
Marc There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams
#57. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 56 Wed 22-Feb-12 08:37 PM by elec164
>I am interested to hear if your AF performance is >better than before service even though you were happy with the >camera from that aspect before servicing.
Well Marc, you ask an interesting question, but I honestly don’t know if I can give you a good answer at the moment.
What I have done so far is first trying out the 18-105 kit lens again. I never really liked the performance of that lens, so I thought I would see if things improved with the re-calibration. While I feel it may have improved a bit, I’m still not overall pleased with it. For one thing I feel the VR on that lens is nowhere as effective as the one on my 70-300 VR. And it initially appears that the Sigma 50-500 OS is also better, but I have not really put it through any real usage yet (only got it yesterday). And the general quality is not near to what I achieve with my 17-55 and 70-300 VR. I’ve mentioned that in another post that perhaps I’m asking too much from a consumer kit lens compared to the other two; but others claim the kit lens is a fairly decent quality. So I need to persist and give it more testing.
I’m not one of the more experienced or talented shooters that frequent these forums, but that does not stop me from having fun. And occasionally I get lucky.
I’m one to define reach in the digital world as the amount of pixels placed upon the subject. In the past I assumed one could crop and get better results than a 10 or 12 MP image could. And to an extent I could, but not as much as I expected.
But since getting the camera back, I cannot help but wonder if there was a slight miscalibration of the AF system.
So a day or so after getting the camera back I mounted the 70-300 VR and my dog and I headed to the park. As we were walking along the river I heard a bird call on the other bank (I would estimate about 50 feet or so). So I quickly swung the camera up and caught a female belted Kingfisher.
This is the full frame to give you an idea of what the camera AF had to deal with.
Hand held at 300mm with VR on, f/5.6, 1/200th and ISO160.
And this is a 100% crop of the bird.
I guess the focus could have been a bit better, but overall I was pleased. And perhaps a more experienced shooter might have done a bit better.
After I do more shooting and comparisons, I have a better idea if indeed the AF is better now than before. But at the moment I can definitely say its no worse than it was.
#59. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 57
"But since getting the camera back, I cannot help but wonder if there was a slight miscalibration of the AF system."
Before or after
The bird shot looks pretty good to me especially at 1/200 and a focal length of 300mm through those branches. It may be hard to tell if performance is any better because your D7k was working pretty well for you from an AF standpoint anyway.
I know what you mean about the VR and overall quality of images from the kit lens. I work at a school where we have a photography course for adults at night and so many will ask if there really is a difference between a consumer lens and a pro lens (same thoughts I once had) or are they just more expensive. It is a kit lens and while certainly a very reasonable lens that is what it is. I bought mine used simply because I wanted a decent walking around lens with a decent zoom range that i could use for snapshots at family gatherings, parties, etc. I always have to remind myself of that when i start to look at the results a little too closely (pixel peeping), although when I do decided to look that closely when there is a lack of focus issue it is 99.9% my error and not really the glass.
It sounds like you can now enjoy the camera for what it is rather than dealing with the oil problem so go and enjoy it.
Marc There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams
#60. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 59
I'm sorry, I guess I was not clear in stating that.
I meant before the repair, and AF appears to be slightly better now.
As I was saying about reach being number of pixels on the subject, if I did a sever crop before, you could tell the difference in softness. But now if my technique is good, a severe crop is almost usable without tweaking the sharpening as the bird crop shows. I don't recall being able to go that far prior to the repair.
I just went out today to play with my new Bigma and was rather pleased with the results even with 100% view. I even got some decent BIF's (although I still need a lot of practice with that) that I never could do before the repair(not sure if I just got lucky, or the AF system was functing better).
#61. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
I got mine back today. Took a test shot and still have one spot in the lower left. I'm not sending it back for another 5 week turn around.
My invoice shows the following:
Rpl SQ base plate Rpl AF drive shaft Adj AF operation Ckd communication Firmware update Clean CCD General clean & check.
Anyone know what the SQ base plate would be?
My reason to Nikon for sending it in was "dirt or oil on sensor". They told me if it was oil spots they would cover it under warranty (it was 3 months past warranty). They charged me $43 and said it was not oil. The price doesn't sound too bad for what they did.
#62. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 0
I too have started noticing the dots on My D 7000. I also have the same problem on my D 200. I've attempted to clean the sensor on my D 200 several times without success. I'm real reluctant to send anything into Nikon for service because their service department seems to be run by idiots. I had a problem with the charger that went dead. It was still under warranty. I called Nikon technical support they referred me to someone who told me to purchase a new one from Amazon or something like Amazon and they would reimburse me. When I found out that they were going to send me another charger to replace the one I sent in I called their Customer service department and talked to a representative. Without getting anywhere I asked to talk to the supervisor. The supervisor gave me a phony name I'm pretty sure. After all is said and done I ended up writing to the Better Business Bureau in New York so my opinion of Nikon customer service is not good. I hate to say it but even with all my old lenses which I hate to give up I may be looking for a new manufacturer of cameras and getting rid of my Nikons.
#63. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 62
Here's my take.
Dust is a common fact of life on digital SLR cameras. The only alternative is a point and shoot with a sealed body. If you look close enough, you'll find dust on every sensor. Mike Hagan's recent blog post showed dust on every camera he owns.
We spend a lot of time talking about cleaning the sensor, but in the mirror box you also have a moving mirror that fans air - and dust. You also have a relatively large mirror box with lots of nooks and crevices. The mirror box can't help but collect and hold dust - and almost nobody does anything beyond briefly using a blower on the mirror box.
The FX sensor has more than twice the surface area of a DX camera. With the high pixel count of the D600 and D800, you have twice the resolution as well - and generally we are looking at dust at 50-100% zoomed.
The D4, D3, D2 etc still have dust. But in general the pro market is used to cleaning dust on a sensor and the relative number of complaints is small. So you have a large group moving to high resolution FX sensors for the first time, and they are not tolerant of dust and are not practiced at cleaning it off the sensor.
A quick cleaning with a blower is enough to clean 80% of the dust or more. Sometimes a blower needs to be used more than once. But a blower alone is probably enough for most photographers. A brush or wet cleaning is only done occasionally - a blower is normally enough.
There may be more dust on the D600 than earlier cameras, but there are a lot of sources of dust and more attention today than it has had since the D70.
#65. "RE: If not Lubricant…then what?" In response to Reply # 63 Wed 12-Dec-12 08:15 PM by km6xz
St Petersburg, RU
Excellent summary Eric, it ought to be a sticky at the top of the forums, not just this one.
From the film day it is habit to sit down for 20 minutes and clean all the lenses and filter and blowing out the mirror box with a blower before going out on a shoot. Spots are usually handled before they appear this way. It is a ritual that is pleasant, that reconnects me to the hardware. But if dust is left for a while, through a number of temperature and humidity cycles, otherwise harmless dust can become glued to the AA filter and mirror and require wet cleaning with a solvent. In the spring the air is filled with tiny spores that have a strong natural adhesive that stick to almost any surface. Luckily most of it get stuck before getting the chance to stick to the AA filter. Some of those places is nasal passages and lungs of hay fever sufferers.
Anyone who has shot commercial product shots know that more time is needed to clean the dust and lint from the view of the camera than actually setting up the shot. Dust is ignored most of the time because it is too small to see unless looking for it, but it is filling the air, all surfaces and......everywhere. The sensor/AA filter of any of these cameras being complained about as dust magnets are still, at their dirtiest, cleaner than just about any surface in one's daily life. I do not know where or when this notion that dust is a manufacturing defect, that warrants replacing $2000 cameras serially, came from but it is likely to drive prices up for everyone because someone has to pay for that faulty opinion. Sure, there are some cameras with defects such as when a motor seal ruptures and oil does get sprayed in the mirror box but those are rare and are repaired without question by Nikon or any other manufacturer. Stan St Petersburg Russia