The kit is about $50 shipped but you can clean the sensor at least 30+ times (figure 2-3 pads per cleaning). I called a local authorized Nikon repair shop and told me it would cost me about $100 for one cleaning.... So I bought the kit above (also bought the size for DX cameras) and already have the rocket air blower. Spent about $100, but now I'm good to clean for a long time, when and if needed...
Everyone is concerned about damaging their sensors, but it seems that the majority, including myself, feel that there are enough high-tech products on the market designed specifically for sensor cleaning, that if you carefully follow instructions, it can be done safely and is fairly easy to do. Read over the post, and see what you think. I was nervous the first time I did it, but quickly saw that it is not that big of a deal. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully, follow them closely, and you shouldn't have any problem.
I have struggled with cleaning my camera and specifically, the sensor. I do not want to damage the sensor. Yet, many people are telling me I can easily clean the sensor.
Might I suggest someone who is experienced in camera cleaning provide a class on the care and cleaning of your camera? I would gladly pay for a class to learn how to clean the sensor. I'd like to try and clean the camera myself but I want to do this under supervision first.
A few months ago, I had to clean my sensor due to dirt etc on it. I was absolutely freaked out about cleaning it. I got the solution and wipes as listed on the liks above, and it was a really simple process. I ended up cleaning it 4 times to remove all the junk etc. I now had no problem with cleaning it.
Give it a shot. Remember, the sensor does have a protective layer of glass on it.
Jean, it was nerve racking for me also the first time as I was worried about scratching the "sensor". But the sensor has a layer of optical "glass" over it (AA/Low pass filter). Think of it as the front element of one of you lenses. It's glass but just use caution not to apply to much force with the cleaning tools. It will take a few tries to get it clean, my first wet cleaning left streaks on the optical glass. Just take your time and do it again until it's clean enough. Don't worry if there are a couple of small spots left after a few tries. They may fall off after some use of the camera. Just clean when you start noticing spots in images. Also look for some wet cleaning videos online as there are many from what people say.
Always, always, always blow off the sensor with a hand blower before you do wet cleaning. The kind of hard stuff that might scratch the AA filter is more likely than softer material to respond to the blowing.
Thom Hogan, a well respected Nikon expert, has an excellent article on his website that goes into a lot of detail about cleaning Nikon sensors that you really should read. It provides a lot of information and should help address your concerns about damaging the sensor.
He points out that in Japan, Nikon sells a sensor cleaning kit with intstructional video to consumers. So, their postion in the US refusing to make this same kit available must have more to do with marketing than it does with the actual risk of damaging the sensor.
Aren't support groups wonderful? You, like the rest of us, were almost paralyzed by a bad case of "sensorcleanophobia" - but now you're free!! Dust happens, there's no escaping it. But the knowledge you've gained will empower you to live free from the fear of that next spot!
Seriously though, sound knowledge put into action is very empowering. We are all glad to share what we've learned; and on this issue, you can now do the same! That is what makes Nikonians such a great group!