>The fact is that most users will not notice dust on their >images from a dirty sensor. Dust on a sensor only reveals >itself at small apertures settings like f18 or f22, and then >only on light backgrounds like a blue sky or a white wall. >The only time I noticed dust (except for dust test images) was >on wedding dresses I shot for a bridal shop.
I typically don't get involved in discussions such as this one, but I could not disagree more and feel compelled to respond. In my experience... - I did not have much problem with dust on the D200, D300, or D300S sensors. - Moving forward to the D700, I had a lot of "dust" problems...spots on my photos that needed removed in post processing. I shot less photos with this camera and still had to send it in for cleaning two times already. - With my D800, I had several spots at less than 1,000 photos. - I would say my use with the D700 and D800 are comparable to the earlier cameras, thus I feel it is something to do with the newer cameras and not due to a change in my shooting habits. - These spots will appear at apertures more open than f18, and they will appear on darker backgrounds as well. I completely disagree with your statement on this.
My take on the "truth", is anyone using the newer camera bodies should anticipate the need to manage the sensor spots. My suggestion to those who may need a suggestion is either... - Plan on cleaning the sensor if you are sure you can handle it yourself, or - Consider buying from a local dealer who will help you manage the sensor cleaning issue.
I do agree that I would not avoid these cameras just because of this problem. These are very fine cameras. I currently use the D700 and D800, and would only give them up if financial circumstances force me to do so.
I do not mean any offense by disagreeing with your statements. I just don't want people buying these cameras and expecting no spots on the photos based solely on your experiences because my experiences are significantly different.