Wed 12-Dec-12 02:54 AM | edited Thu 13-Dec-12 08:18 PM by K64drb
Great post Mark.
A couple of weeks ago, I bit the bullet and invested in the tools and supplies needed to do all levels of sensor cleaning. After reading various posts, as well as the advice of Thom Hogan, and Darrell Young's "confession" in his D800 book that he wet cleans his sensor, I decided all of the paranoia about wet cleaning was probably much ado about nothing. I had some serious dust showing up and it was time to get rid of it.
The blower didn't budge a thing and the brush created streaks. Whatever it was was stuck to the sensor. So I broke out the Sensor Swabs and Eclipse. First swab made it worse - which I already knew was very common, so I kept going. Four swabs later the sensor was spotless! And as Russ and others have stressed cleaning it was no big deal. You simply have to use the right products and follow directions exactly.
One thing I would like to point out was that I invested in the Visible Dust Quasar Sensor Loupe that you mentioned. It was expensive, but worth it's weight in gold. It lets you easily visualize the entire surface of the sensor and the smallest speck or smudge is clearly visible. It's far better than just a illumuniated magnifying glass, but hard to describe. Having such a perfect view of the sensor made the whole process so much easier, and there was no doubt whether any speck was still on the sensor when I finished. From what I have read, there are other loupes out there that provide a mediocre performance, but not this one. It delivers as promised.
With this particular loupe it is very easy to inspect the sensor and keep it clean before anything shows up in my pictures. Some of the best money I've spent and highly recommend it to others. I trust what I can see with it completely, and don't bother with test pictures for dust. When I first used it, I discovered a lot more dust on the sensor with the Quasar Loupe than any previous test shot ever showed.
I don't want to be held hostage to having to pay Nikon, or anyone else, to do something that is really not difficult at all. There is a lot of sticky pollen where I live in Virginia, and I know wet cleaning my sensor is going to a routine part of owning my D800, but it is no big deal.
Get the right stuff and it is nothing to be afraid of.