View Full Version : Grease Spots on Nikon D700
09-25-2010, 01:27 AM
At approximately 4,500 activations, I noticed a lot of spots on my images. Turns out they were grease spots from the shutter or mirror mechanism. I had the sensor cleaned. (Cost me $65 as I was on vacation and didn't have time to send it to a Nikon service center. Was I glad I had the "spot removal tool" in Lightroom!)
Again, at around 7,500 activations, the spots reappeared. Nikon says it's uncommon. Has anyone else experienced this?
The attached image is approximately 1/4 of the original.
09-25-2010, 10:44 PM
I'm wondering why you think it's grease and not dust, which is quite common in DSLRs and shows up in my photos all the time. Mike
09-26-2010, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the question. I have several reasons why I do not believe these are dust spots.
1. I rarely detach my lens from the body, especially when I'm away from home. I use a D90 for telephoto shots.
2. The spots showed up all of a sudden, although I have the dust removal function turned on.
3. Neither the dust removal function nor numerous blasts with the Rocket Blower helped.
4. Some of the spots have a "ring" like light perimeter. (See image below.) The fringe of the liquid seems to be refracting the light. (Strictly my conjecture.)
5. The spots are quite small and hardly noticeable on a monitor. Once I started looking for them, they were all over the top third of the images -- bottom third of the sensor -- not the entire sensor.
6. The technician at BorrowedLenses.com who cleaned the sensor the first time mentioned that it was his "toughest ever cleaning job." He had to apply the cleaning fluid numerous times to "soften" the larger spots. This leads me to believe that the grease had dried up. (Again, conjecture on my part.)
7. When it happened the second time, I dropped off the body at Nikon's Service Center at Melville, NY. The service order stated, "CCD CLEANING GREASE SPOTS ON SENSOR" The service write up did not contradict this and added "CKD OVER HAUL". I dropped it off on September 9. It was not ready for pick up until September 22. A simple dust removal should have taken less time and wouldn't have required an overhaul.
09-26-2010, 10:19 AM
If it continues to be a problem you might take a look at Products ? DSLR sensor cleaning (http://www.visibledust.com/index.php)
I have never used the product but have read a couple of good reviews not associated with their website. Hopefully Nikon cleans enough of the mirror lube off so you don't get any more splashes. Good luck.
09-26-2010, 01:36 PM
Hi there Leroy,
Although I have not had this problem, I have heard of it indeed. I have heard that it comes from the mirror mechanism in action and that action can cause 'splatter' in some cameras. I am not an expert at all in this, but the marks you point to, look like grease marks to me. good luck!
09-26-2010, 06:29 PM
Thanks for the information. Yes, I better pick up a kit in case it happens again.
Actually, the first time I got those spots, I was in San Francisco on vacation (to be precise, South San Francisco). I took a train to a shopping center about 10 miles away expecting to buy a cleaning kit at Ritz Camera to do it myself. When I got there, I was told that they no longer carry sensor cleaning kits because they feared that customers could ended up damaging the sensors and that they didn't want to be held liable. Interesting, huh? So I returned to my hotel and found BorrowedLenses.com on the internet. Their standard price was $45 if you leave the body overnight, $65 to have it done in one hour. Considering that I needed the camera right away, and having had to take the train back and forth, which runs only once every hour, I think it was worth the price. But, in the future, I'll do it myself. I guess I better practice a couple of times at home -- once I build up my courage.
09-26-2010, 06:31 PM
Thank you for the input. I'm starting to get a little paranoid about looking for spots on my images. Sure hope Nikon took care of the problem, permanently!
09-27-2010, 02:56 AM
I am not an expert and probably you know this by now but it's better to avoid narrow apertures like f16 or f22 as this spot will be more elaborate on these f stops. :twocents:
09-27-2010, 09:36 AM
Yes, you are definitely correct. Thank you.
10-08-2010, 06:00 PM
My D700 is still quite new (bought March 2010) and I've already had to clean the sensor twice. I don't do many lens changes and when I do it's usually indoors with the body turned downward. I also have my auto cleaning set for every shutdown, and use the blower from time to time. The larger sensors just seem to attract more dust- I rarely had to clean my crop sensor bodies I've owned in the past (Pentax K100D, K10D and Nikon D70 and D300).
As for grease/oil yes I have read that this is usually more of a problem when the camera is new, and I have also read this is why your first cleaning should not be attempted with a lens brush (dry cleaning) because it will likely pick up the shutter oil from around the sides of the sensor and smear it onto the sensor (or something like that). One place I heard that was on Scott Bourne's photofocus podcast. I live out of town and didn't like the cost and inconvenience of professional cleaning so when blowers and dry cleaning weren't getting rid of the gazillions of spots on my D700 sensor a while back I braved my first wet cleaning. I went through like 5 sensor swabs to finally get it clean. They're not cheap either. It was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience, but I survived and so did my sensor (I think).
My theory FWIW is that if you have a full frame camera, change lenses, and shoot enough up around f11 - f16, and if you are firmly against the idea of cleaning the sensor yourself, you're going to either have to accept a lot of cloning/spot removal in post processing in your future, and/or spend a lot of money (and time without your camera) getting it cleaned....because they are dust magnets (I've heard the same about the Canon 5D)
P.S. I am surprised to hear that some shops are discontinuing the cleaning kits... wow!
10-10-2010, 08:47 AM
Thanks for the input. I was quite alarmed when it first happened since it never happened to my D70, D80, D90. This was the first time with the D700 for me. I'm hoping that since the Nikon Service Center checked it out, the problem has been taken care of.
As for stores not carrying the cleaning kits, that was only one store, Ritz at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, CA. I was on vacation and my mode of transportation was limited to CalTrain that ran only once every hour so I didn't explorer the other shops. Besides, I was too keen on the idea of cleaning it for the first time while away from home and messing up. Anyway, I do most of my shopping online these days (if I'm home) so I'm not that concern.
Thanks again and cheers!
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