Hi Everyone, I felt compelled to vent my frustrations in this forum in view of the fact that just today I took my recently purchased (off eBay D700) to my local (Adelaide, Australia) Nikon Service centre to get the sensor cleaned out of shear desperation. It cost me $110 cash - no cards accepted, which I thought was a little bit sus!! But I have to admit, it came back as new.
But the reason I relented was that I tried to clean this one pesky spot off my sensor myself - and that's where the fun began. I started with this pathetic blower brush I've had for years that has bristles incorporated into the nozzle. After a few attempts at just trying to blow the spot off, I decided in my wisdom to "brush" the spot away. After reviewing the image following that first attempt it became a "WTF have I done" moment. I thought I had destroyed the sensor on my newly acquired D700....and what was I going to tell my wife as to the reason I stopped using my camera.
I started researching the internet and compiled a whole heap of information about sensor cleaning to work out how I'm going to get this thing clean again.
Headed to Adorama on the internet and spent $243 on the Arctic Butterfly Pro kit with all the various brushes, a Giotto Rocket Airblaster and the Eclipse Sensor Swabs (couldn't buy the methanol liquid over the internet, nor did any photographic store in Adelaide carry either the Eclipse product or any methanol based liquid for sensor cleaning, so I resorted to getting it from a chemical supplier through a colleague). After a week my kit arrived and I went through the steps outlined by Thom Hogan in his article on "Cleaning your sensor". Seemed simple enough. Started with the blower - no luck. Used the Arctic Butterfly Brush - a complete disaster, dust and smear everywhere. Lord only knows what happened. Finally resorted to the Wet Swab - after reviewing the image I nearly passed out. I could not believe what I just did. The image was completely covered in spots and grime!!!! for a moment there all I could think of was how much would a new sensor cost me and how was I going to hide that little expense.
Hence my decision to get the sensor cleaned professionally. My conclusion, and some of you already alluded to this, you need a lot of patience and time to clean your sensor and just having the right gear isn't going to help you any if you aren't prepared to spend that time. I guess I'm getting inpatient in my old age and prefer to be out there taking photo's so for me, I'd rather spend the money and get a professional to do what probably many do successfully. Considering what I spent on the gear I bought (and the stress I suffered), for me $110 is a bargain for a professional clean.