Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?
I am in the market for a digital camera and am seriously looking at the D1H/X's. However, when I get close to making a decision to buy I read a review here and there about the dust problem getting on the CCD. Is it a major problem? Or is it just the handling of the camera when changing lens'? Is it easy to clean? Like cleaning a lens?
Many have said they have had their cameras back once or twice to Nikon service for cleaning. One person commented that when he/she called Nikon about the problem they told him/her to stop changing lens, which defeats the purpose of even owning the camera body.
I am on the fence with this purchase issue. Maybe you all can shed some further light on the subject and knock me off the fence one way or the other. Thanks in advance.
The Arkansas Nikonian
#1. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 0Wed 10-Apr-02 05:47 PM
The D1x/h do suffer from problems with dust on the CCD - or to be more accurate, the anti-aliasing filter which is bonded to the front of the CCD - so if you're thinking of buying one of these cameras you will have to be prepared to deal with this issue. Incidentally, this is not a problem that's specific to the D1 series: it occurs with all of the current generation of digital SLR's and is a "fact of life" of owning such a camera.
How much of a problem it would be for you is very difficult to say: it depends on how frequently you change lenses and the environments in which you do so. There's also the fact that the dust is far more visible at smaller apertures - at f/5.6 you're unlikely to be able to see it whereas at f/22 it will show up very distinctly as small, black blobs - so how you use the camera is a determining factor in how big a problem it becomes.
To give you some perspective, I've owned a D1 for approximately two years and in that time I've cleaned the CCD three times. It’s about 9 or 10 months since I last did so but the camera still seems perfectly OK: I use zooms, I've become pretty cautious about where I change my lenses and I generally try to keep the camera away from dusty environments.
I’ve previously posted on the subject of cleaning the D1’s CCD; the process for the D1x/h would be identical. I hope reading this doesn't put you off completely: it's not an easy process like cleaning a lens but, as long as you are careful, it's perfectly possible to do yourself and I believe the vast majority of owners of the D1 series cameras do so.
In the end I’d say don't let the dust issue put you off: just be aware that it will eventually happen and be prepared to deal with it.
#2. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 1
#3. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 1spacer Basic MemberWed 10-Apr-02 10:11 PM
I'm also planning to go digital at the middle/end of the year. Your experience gives me the creeps
I usually carry along 2 zoomes and frequently swap lenses. Especially outdoors there might be a greater chance of getting sand particles on the CCD.
How long is the turnaround time for getting the CCD cleaned and how much does Nikon charge?
I wonder why they don't make a perfectly sealing back on the digital cameras that swings open like in a film camera. Should make cleaning much easier.
Great job in writing a detailed 'cleaning the D1's CCD' manual!
Learn more about me and the Nikonians team on ourTeam Page.
#5. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 3Thu 11-Apr-02 06:31 PM
I'm afraid I can't give you any personal experience of how long it takes to have Nikon clean a camera since I've always done this myself. I guess the time will depend on where you're located, and how busy your nearest service centre gets: I've heard it can take up to a week in the US.
Your point about making the cameras easier to clean is a good one: I wish Nikon would design their future SLR's with the thought of allowing the end-user to clean the CCD in mind. Kodak and Fuji officially endorse the use of Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs to clean their cameras but Nikon and Canon both say the job should only be done by their service personnel.
Having said that, I think it might be worth reiterating the point that I've never heard of anyone damaging a D1 while cleaning it using the method I described in the previous post. The issue is simply that you have to be extremely careful since any damage would be very costly to repair.
#6. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 3Moon Basic MemberSat 13-Apr-02 04:38 PM
I'm using my D1x now since August last year and had to send it in for cleaning one time till now, as I made a support contract with NIKON, it took only 1 week and in this time I had a spare D1x from NIKON (this means that I send mine in after I received the spare one), both where covered through the support contract.
P.S. As for the cleaning they did a really good job. The contract I made here in Germany is for 2 years and costs 950.- Euros.
#7. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 3Kntfst Basic MemberWed 17-Apr-02 04:48 PM
With the Eclipse Celaning system (Swab & Cleaner). Cleaning the CCD is very easy. On par with regular cleaning lens & filters, CCD cleaning is a DIY job. Most times just a blower with do the job. Until the dust no longer gets blown away thats when swabbing it time.
Gone 10 months without a CCD swab cleaning. Holding the camera facing downwards during Len changes. I think reduces dust from floating into that area.
#8. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 7Nicholas Registered since 25th May 2002Sat 25-May-02 10:32 PM
I've had my D1X several months now and I've come a long way in dealing with the dust. Now,I don't consider it a problem; more a minor quirk or idiosyncrasy.
The first and only time I sent it to Nikon, it came back fine but acquired an equal amount of dust in just a few days. No matter what protocol you have, you're eventually going to get dust stuck to the CCD.
OKAY - let's clean the CCD ourselves!
I tried an electric blower, canned air and bulb blowing (as per manual) with very limited success. To really see the dust, take a shot of the sky stopped at 22, Photoshop, auto-levels, view 100%.
I took Thom's "Wendy's" method and found a great appliance - a small kitchen spatula. I cut the end down to the same width as a Sensor Swab (11/16"), wrap it with a pec-pad, 2 drops of Eclipse and double wipe. The spatula has both a certain amount of give and also rigidity to loosen the stubborn particles. I clean the CCD about once a week and it takes no more than 5 minutes.
One other thing I came up with is a plastic sleeve which fits over my zoom lenses. Most telescoping lenses are very UN-airtight and I've had great luck keeping the dust to a minimum with this sleeve.
Am I happy with the D1X? Absolutely. Is it overpriced? Probably. Is dust a problem anymore? No.
If and until Nikon comes up with a solution, I think it is a must for all of us to use the camera with reasonable care and to swab the CCD ourselves. Don't let Nikon's disclaimers put you off. The filter is pretty tough. I was white-knuckle at first, but now it's a piece of cake.
Lastly, I photograph landscapes and florals. This camera is nothing short of spectacular.
#9. "RE: Does the D1H/X's CCD Have a Dust Problem?" | In response to Reply # 8VidCam Registered since 10th Jul 2002Thu 11-Jul-02 09:12 PM
Before I purchased my D1X, I contacted Nikon and asked about this dust problem I was hearing about. Asking, and know problems with this type of camera, reply was none known....!
Got mine new, out of the box, first so many shots proved to have spots already the same day. Wrote back to Nikon again, got no reply.
I figured out my own way of cleaning the CCD without touching it and haven't had any spots for weeks now and use it quite abit.
I felt sick when I thought I had to send this new camera in for cleaning which I didn't even use yet.
Don't worry though, the camera is great and the spots can be dealt with easily.