Can I ask the Nikonians if they generally use a loupe to check for dust etc on their sensors or do you usually just wait until the dust spots appear on your pics? If it's generally accepted that a loupe is used to check, I would be interested to know what is the best brand/type etc?
What most of us do is to take a picture of the blue or gray sky. Set your aperture to f/16 or f/22, and manual focus so that your camera dosen't hunt and refuse to release. Review the images in your editor, preferably enlarged to a 100% or higher crop, and you should be able to see any dust spots or other foreign debris that may be on your sensor. You could also use a light colored wall, but the important thing is to use the small aperture.
I use a loupe, but in the cleaning process, which I would not undertake unless I had noticed dust spots on my images. The advantage of the loupe in cleaning is tremendous, because I can easily see any dust or smudges on the sensor, instead of having to re-shoot an image to see if the sensor is clean. This has simplified cleaning more than you can imagine.
I use the one by Visible Dust. I believe it is 7x magnification, A loupe makes it so easy to check your sensor and see if it needs cleaning. It also makes so easy to see how you are doing at the cleaning routine. For me it revolutionized the ease with which I can clean my sensor. No more running outside with every pass. I highly recommend getting a loupe.
Thanks for that Jim. I did read up on the 'Visible Dust' loupe and the reviews rate it fairly highly, so I think I will go ahead and order on your confirmation of its effectivness and as you say, it should eliminate the need to run outside wirth every pass (lol) Thanks once again for your advice.