Just returned from my local Auth. Nikon Repair Center Southern Photo for a round of sensor cleaning..
Did a beach shoot last weekend and everytime I go to beach, I have it cleaned..no questions asked....
The cost is $50 for full cleaning of the sensor and internal cleaning...it comes back perfect !!!
I've read alot of the various systems....just curious how many here do their own or have it done...I know there are huge risks to damaging the sensor if not cleaned properly.
What are the risks? What are the benefits?
Now, the team at So. Photo are great....walk in service..I dropped it (two (one)D700 and (one) D7K) of them off, went had a coffee at the local cofeee shop, by the time I got back, cleaned and ready to go. I know it's done perfectly, and I feel assured no sensor damage...
Dino -- If the cost is no great issue... if the service people do the job right and promptly... and if the coffee's good, I'd stay the course! I have cleaned my own sensors several times, but it always makes me a bit apprehensive. I try to change lenses as infrequently as possible and under the best conditions (like return to my car if I can.) Again, if the cost is not a war-stopper, it seems to me that you have a workable and working plan!
My problem is I'm really hard on the equipment with most of my photos being conducted in an outdoor environment...I'm limiting my lense changes by carrying two bodies when I'm out doing my fishing shots......
Still considering...but, to be honest, as you mention, I can get to the tech center by 0800, go grab a coffee and donut or eggs, and by the time I return, I'm out by 0845....they also offer one free cleaning within 30 days...which I'll begin to take them up on as there's a small chinese grocery store nearby....
So, it's not like I'm living 2 hours away...it's literally 30 min from the house and no wait....hard to ask for more I know....
It's just at $100 a pop (for two), it adds up I guess..but, then again, so does a repair..after you damage the sensor
Dino, It appears like you're leaning in the direction of having your sensor professionally cleaned instead of purchasing the kit and doing it yourself. I have cleaned my D700 sensors a handful of times, but always with apprehension. I think if I were in your shoes, I would probably stick with what you're doing since it's convenient and it's not cost prohibitive.
I wish i could follow your cleaning route. Here in Portugal we have to send it to Nikon Portugal (which is in Spain), and it takes about two weeks to return back. I would stick with the service cleaning.
Nikonians!!! My best investment made after my camera!!!
If you're really worried about damaging the sensor, you could always do what I did. I have an old D50 that I use as my high risk body, I used it to practice on. I purchased a cleaning kit complete with a dozen swabs and then cleaned the sensor weekly until I felt confident enough to clean my D700 and D300s. I don't think I spent more than a month cleaning the D50 before moving on, now I feel comfortable cleaning all my bodies. Now that I can clean my own bodies for less than $10 in supplies I tend to clean as soon as I see a spot on the sensor that will not blow off with my rocket blower. I've always wondered what the risk to cleaning infrequently, and putting up with a couple of spots until there was a big enough mess to warrant cleaning. I think that having something stuck to the sensor for a prolonged period of time might give it the opportunity to weld itself to the sensor. Now that I carry cleaning gear with me, I worry less about changing lenses and more about the best setup for the shot. I should also mention that a lit sensor loupe or magnifying lamp (I have one for fly-tying) is a great help.
Will shoot for fame...fun...food... a heck I'll shoot anytime anywhere.
My D700 has NEVER been professionally cleaned and NEVER wet cleaned. Essentially all I do I use the auto setting to clean my sensor and occasionally I have hooked up my power supply, locked the mirror and used my rocket blower to blow out the inside. I have shot in all kinds of environments from Iceland to South America, in he rain, in the heat, in dusty windy places. etc. Perhaps I am just lucky.
Oh I get occasional spots in the images but they are usually 1 to 3 at most and when they are there they are easy to remove. I just look at the images at 200 % and zap the one I see. You could also map the spots if you don't use the auto clean function. I have shot on beaches, in dust, in rain, etc. If it got to be a problem, I would have it professionally cleaned.
I constantly shoot in dusty, dirty conditions. Both the D700 and the D300 are set to clean the sensor automatically upon turning on, and again upon shutdown. In addition, I use a rocket blower any time I change lenses.
In addition, both bodies get serviced by Nikon at least every six months. This includes a sensor cleaning.
I let the pros do the serious sensor cleaning. The bodies are in for the once-over, anyway.
I live in Utah. Think lots of dry desert. The dry air creates static. Nearly every time I take off a lens I get dust. I use a rocket blower for what I can, but it accumulates after a few months. I have tried swabbing it myself but I seem to just make more of a mess. The dust ends up along the edges and I'm always unhappy with the result.
Hence, I take my cameras (a D300s and a D4) to my local shop about twice a year for a cleaning. $35 and a cup of coffee later good as new. Very much worth it in my book.
I have heard great things about the Arctic Butterfly cleaning tools. They're expensive but perhaps worth it if you don't have a good local shop. For me, I'll stick with the twice yearly cleaning done in-shop.