> It sounds like we can clean the sensor ourselves?
Yes. Really, you need to learn how to do it. I know some folks always take it in to have it done, but I don't see doing that.
> Is this easy enough to do?
It really isn't very hard. Especially not the rocket blower:
1) set exposure mode to manual, then set shutter speed to BULB. 2) remove lens 3) turn camera so that the lens mount is facing down 4) press shutter release and hold; this opens the shutter and keeps it open 5) with the nozzle of the blower outside of the camera, blow several blasts of air up at the sensor 6) let go of shutter release 7) remount lens 8) return exposure mode and shutter speed. 9) delete resulting "picture"
And I probably made it sound a lot harder than it is. Seriously, this is a 20-second operation or less.
If you have to do a wet clean, I recommend the stuff from Copper Hill Imaging. It comes with good directions. As I noted above, I haven't had to do a wet clean in almost two years, or about 30,000 frames, and I would think that I'm a bit more at risk than most other folks.
> I store it with this lens attached as well. Is this ok to do?
That's what I do. I've always just plopped the camera with a lens into a camera bag, and they've always been fine with that. So far my Nikons have made it as long as 26 years without issues... If you're not going to use it for a while (a month) take the battery out. Obviously store them away from excessive humidity and heat. I sometimes store the camera with no lens, but I put a body cap on immediately. The cameras are a bit easier to put in smaller spaces that way.
Just use common sense. The cameras are a LOT more rugged than most people give them credit.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!