Time-Lapse of Dust Accumulating on Nikon D600 Sensor

We stumbled onto this video that points out the biggest issue with the Nikon D600 right now: the dust accumulation. Bloggers and reviewers across the internet are crying foul at the issue, and in case you are unfamiliar (unlikely) or just curious (most probable) about the issue, this simple video does a really good job of showing what a brand new D600 suffers from. Biggest deal to me? He never changed lenses. All the dust is internal.

Really interesting, and gets me wondering how this wasn't noticed. Nikon and Canon both put their cameras through extensive testing before they hit the market. My personal opinion? Camera companies are becoming too hasty when it comes to bringing their new bodies to market. I don't know about you, but I don't need a new body every year. What do you think? Will this stop you from grabbing a D600 this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tam Nguyen's picture

I had high hopes for the D600, really thought I was gonna grab one for sure eventually, but after seeing all the fuss and especially this vid, thanks, but no thanks.

the dust problem and the fact that the highest sync speed is limited to 1/200 is in deed a deal breaker .. i cant afford a d800 .. so even it has a DX sensor i would rather going for the D7000.

 Or an new/used D700

Spy Black's picture

Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to see what my own sensor looks like on my D5100. I've never cleaned it since I got the camera. I've never noticed any spots on my images, but I took a shot at a wall at F32, knocked out of focus, moving the camera while exposing for 8 seconds. I then brought the RAW file into Photoshop at 16-bit, converted to 32-bit, applied auto levels, desaturated and then whittled down to 8-bit. This is what I got: http://tinyurl.com/b8e6tvq

This shot is the 4055th shutter actuation on my D5100. Now, I change lenses. A lot. Mind you, I don't see any of this crap under normal exposures (although I may notice some of the larger ones now ;-). But if you look at the upper left, you'll notice a similar pattern to what D600 camera is doing. If you were to see this image at full res you'd see a lot more crap in that corner, but I think you get the idea.

I have a funny feeling that most people will see something similar if they start looking for it. I think this may be part and parcel of camera shutter mechanisms, and for some reason it's stuck out on the D600, but I bet all cameras do this, whether it's a Nikon, Canon, etc. Obviously the D600 is seemingly doing it a lot more, but ultimately I think this whole issue is being blown out of proportion. Remember, you have to go out of your way to find this crap. I bet a few simple cleanings on the D600 will bring it around. I'll also bet if I clean my sensor I'll still get crap in that upper left corner again.

the D600 does it without changing lenses and i have never seen such thing with my canon or pentax DSLR´s.

sure every DSLR gets dirt on the sensor.... but this IS an issue.
otherwise no nikon D600 user would complain about it. 

i am extremely picky when it comes to sensor dust.
i love to shoot sun burst pictures at f16 or f22 and i notice dust immediately. 

Spy Black's picture

As I said, the D600 appears to do this more, but I bet if you try my test on any of your cameras right now, you're going to see crap like this. It will probably do it less or over a much longer period of time because you've had you camera(s) for a while and apparently have cleaned your sensors, so most if not all the initial gunk has gone out. I bet a couple of cleaning on a D600 will do the same. Also remember that all these images are extreme contrast processes. You don't notice 99% of it in real-world shooting.

I own two bodies, neither of which are Nikon (Canon), but dSLR's pretty much work the same mechanically as Spy Black said. I change my lenses a LOT and very OFTEN when I shoot. Mind you I shoot a lot of concert photography and my 7D can handle the low light for the most part, and not my XSI (thus the frequent lens changes). My point being though, I clean my lenses and my sensor before each time I go out. Nothing major. Anywhere from just a few puffs from a blower to some light cleaning of the lens with a microfiber cloth. But my sensor always gets dust particles on it. I mean I shoot in clubs! What I'm trying to say is clean your gear as often as you feel you need to. There's a reason why there's a sensor clean function on most cameras now, why there's blower bulbs and microfiber cloths for sale. There's also a reason why there's the heal brush in Ps and Lr. Quit babying the stuff. The manufacturers don't when they put them through QC. They're meant to go through this stuff. If its dusty, clean it. If you're half way through shooting an event or a wedding where you've shot 500+ shots already and you don't have time to clean it, there's usually an option for that ultrasonic vibrate sensor cleaning option in the camera to use at your discretion.

Sorry for the rant... I say go and shoot, and learn how often it takes between good maintenance cleaning and stick to that cleaning schedule. 

the D600 gets dirty even without changing lenses..... in case you did not notice
this is a fault... not something you just ignore.

Spy Black's picture

Again, I don't think this is a big deal. It appears as if these units were lubed more than they should. A few cleanings and it'll be normal. This certainly is not going to stop me from buying a D600.

it's grease not dust, it is also on the D800(E).
So you clean it (a lot) the first months.
it is a great camera.

Which basically means an amateur will/should destroy his sensor in the first month, because he/she doesn't know how to clean a sensor properly . Or he/she should pay a shit load of money to get it cleaned a few times?


i guess only around 10-20% of all DSLR user clean their camera sensors themself with a swap. it´s simply to technical for most.

You guys should have a higher esteem of the average Joe... Anyone can clean a sensor with a swab! If you're clumsy you may need more than one swab but you'd have to be really stupid to scratch your sensor.

It's not just scratching your sensor - it's voiding your warranty that some of us wish to avoid.

I'm sure I could clean this myself - but then if something else goes wrong in a few months, I'm out of luck.

Okay, let's say there are only 10-20% of users that clean their sensor themselves. A average price for a sensor cleaning is about 50-60€ (yes, it's that much). One has to do it a few times, let's say 3-4 times. Let's assume the worst. 60€ per cleaning and 4 cleanings till the camera is at a point where the problem, which shouldn't be there in the first place, is completely gone. This means a person has to spend 240€ extra, just to get rid of a problem that could have been resolved through better testing?!? I am a Nikon fanboy but even I have to say that this is kinda ridiculous. The person could have bought a cheap lens for that kind of money.......

Why? There is a filter sitting in front of your sensor, there is nothing to destroy, it's the same as the UV filter story, the stores hope that you're going to them for cleaning, you don't even need a real swap (sensor cleaning stuff, the new money maker).

no matter what it is.. dust or grease.... it sucks big time.
i hate dirt on my camera sensors.

and this happens without changing the lens at all.

where is nikon manufacturing the D600 cameras... china?

Patrick Hall's picture

I have two D600s and did a test on mine a few weeks ago....I too had a ton of dust on my sensor but it really doesn't bother me.  I hardly ever shoot past f5 and at those wide open apertures dust does not show up at all anyways.  The only time this is an issue is when I'm shooting macro at >f22 or I have a photobooth setup at f12 but that is usually a pro camera with the 10 pin connector.  

All in all I don't think it's a deal breaker and if you clean your sensor apparently it doesn't come back.  It is a bit of bad PR for Nikon though; I'd hope they would fix the issue on future releases and offer free cleanings for those who already bought D600s.  

It is funny how Nikon users are defending the company :) The true is you can live with many issues like dust on sensor, milky lenses with CA etc. But when you pay certain amount of money you should expect to get certain quality product.

Spy Black's picture

There's no doubt the D600 is doing more than most cameras, but the entire issue is really blown out of proportion. I bet if you take any brand new camera and do this kind of testing, you're going to find a similar situation, although probably less so than you're seeing on the D600. It's only because the D600 is doing more than others has this issue been noticed. No one ever noticed this kind of stuff simply because no one has looked for this issue before, because you're simply not going to notice it for the most part.

Corey Melton's picture

total shame, bleh

Is it acceptable for Nikon to make this mistake? No.

Is it the end of the world? No. 

I got some sensor swabs and cleaning solution. Two minutes later it was solved.

It's been just a little more than a month since I have my D600. I've taken about 1200 photos so far varying from family photos, still life, and landscapes. I haven't really noticed any dust in my photos until I started inspecting the sensor because of this recent news. Lo and behold, as I did the same tests on mine I saw the same pattern. The thing is, you really have to go out of your way of taking a photo of a white wall, set the lens out of focus, set it at f/22, and then increase the contrast in the final photo. How often will I be in the same situation? Probably 0. The closest thing is when I'm on the beach or landscape photography with plenty of sky. 

I bought a Sony A77 over the summer and returned it. But at that time, I had way more worse dust on the sensor on the first 10 frames! I can even see it on my photos taken at f/11.Yesterday, I wet cleaned the D600 sensor with Eclipse solution and the swabs, and blow air it with Rocket-Air and I could see the sensor looks great again. But seriously though, I shouldn't be doing this for another 2,000 to 3,000 photos or so, unless I'm constantly swapping lenses in a dusty environment. Or if I plan to have an all day session shooting at f/16 with plenty of sky. For the type of photos I take 99% of the time, the dust problem on the D600 isn't going to bother me. Overall, I'm very happy with the camera. One of the reasons I bought the D600 is the quality of image an FX sensor provides at 24MP. The other reason is that with a full-frame sensor, you get the nice blur effect even at f/4 (at which you don't worry of dust rendering in your photo). 

Hmm. My Olympus e-5 is dust free....Fail on NIKON's part for sure. Olympus gets slammed here pretty good on this site. I call it Karma. Enjoy your dusty D600's :P

Oh and I do want to add that i also use a Canon 1DX....

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