I have a D3s for 18 months now and love it. I shoot sports. But I've noticed in the last couple of shoots that my images are not as crisp as they were. Settings are the same, location is the same. Could the sensor need cleaning? How often do you all clean the sensors on your cameras? There are no dust spots on the images, they just look a little off.
I did get stuck shooting in the rain the other day and also wonder if moisture might have created a problem. It could also be the lens I suppose. I usually create a cover when I need to shoot in the rain, but got taken by surprise this time.
Anybody else ever experience an unexplainable loss in image quality? Any advice?
#1. "RE: Sensor cleaning" | In response to Reply # 0SRFast Nikonian since 22nd Dec 2004Sun 07-Oct-12 12:02 PM
Have you tried a different lens on the D3S? Have you tested the lens in question on a different camera body? Can you post a before and after image?
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#2. "RE: Sensor cleaning" | In response to Reply # 0
#3. "RE: Sensor cleaning" | In response to Reply # 0Ferguson Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004Mon 08-Oct-12 11:34 PM
Trying other lenses or bodies is the most obvious, but if not practical...
Take some live-view shots, very carefully manually focusing fully zoomed in. See if those are also soft, as this takes all the focusing out of the issue.
Take some at very high shutter speed, bright light, VR off - make sure it's not some kind of motion blur, vibration that wasn't there (or VR that stopped working), etc. If better add back in one by one to your normal shooting setup.
Perhaps on a tripod, live view focus manually on stars or other point source lights, and take some images with a short exposure, but enough that you get a very bright somewhat over-exposed point. Not too over-exposed. Is it very sharp when zoomed to pixels, or is there haze or flare, that might indicate a dirty light path. Some flare is normal if too over-exposed, but a hazy area around it is not (unless, well, it was hazy that night). Dust won't cause this generally, but a film, fog or other wide spread dirt might. Getting a lens objective rained on might leave some residue, or if not well sealed may have gotten moister inside which is not coming out.
I've never seen a sensor dirty that presented as haze or blur, but I guess it is possible -- I would think that would show up if you examined under a magnifier as you might to clean it.
Damage to the lens? Any recent jolts, drops or jars? Trying on other equipment is one of the only ways to easily tell.
Oh... very silly question perhaps but... you didn't accidentally change from Raw to JPG or something like that? I once managed that somehow by accident, and was very surprised. Short of noticing the "JPG" they just loaded in lightroom, popped up to edit, etc. Same/same. Not nearly as good of quality though.
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#4. "RE: Sensor cleaning" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 09-Oct-12 09:34 AM
A dirty sensor definitely will not cause lack of sharpness. I clean the sensor before every shoot, at least with a rocket blower. (I don't have any of the newer models that have sensor shakers.)
> I did get stuck shooting in the rain the other day and also wonder if moisture might have created a problem.
I seriously doubt it.
> I usually create a cover when I need to shoot in the rain, but got taken by surprise this time.
My advice about this is to get the rain cover or two that's necessary (I have a ThinkTank HydroPhobia for camera and regular lenses and an AquaTech for my 400/f2.8) and just put them in the bag with the gear. They're expensive (I probably have $400 in those two covers) but that's nothing compared to a trip to Nikon for a D3 and 400/f2.8. Especially these days, with Nikon's repair prices jacked up by 30-100%. I'd rather give the money to ThinkTank than to Nikon.
> Anybody else ever experience an unexplainable loss in image quality? Any advice?
It could just be drift, but more likely it's a mechanical problem - that's why many (lots?) of pros send cameras in for a CLA every once in a while.
But every time I've had this, the problem has been behind the viewfinder.
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