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Cleaning the sensor of a D7000

cymroDan 11 174
28 Jan 2013 11:33AM
Hi all, I made a topic a good 6 months ago when I was noticing some dark patches on my images. It was infact dust, but also there appeared to be some marks on the sensor itself too. The marks, in fairness, don't seem to bring up anything on most images (I don't tend to shoot much higher than f14 anyway). But still, I still feel I'd like to try and clean this, so I can know for sure if it's actually just greasy marks, or whether somehow the sensor has some damage on it. If I do choose to sell my d7000, I'd like to be able to tell the buyer exactly what state it's in.

So, previously I got advised to try and find a sensor cleaning pen. Does anyone else have some specific (if within rules of EPZ, can you link please) product and/or technique they'd recommend on doing it? Also, if I wanted to get it done professionally (the camera is still under a year old and I've registered for the warranty), where could I go to get this done? There tends to be mixed opinions on how cleaning your own sensor is straight forward and hard to do wrong.

Here is picture of the sensor I took on my phone back in the original post:

I wrote to Nikon a few months back about this, as the marks concerned me and I genuinely don't think I've accidentally come into contact with it when cleaning dust off of the sensor with my rocket blower. Their response was:

Quote:We are sorry to hear that you have been experiencing some issues with your Nikon D7000.

If you would like full written instructions on how to clean your camera please visit page 283 of your user manual:


However, if you wish to send the camera to us for cleaning you are more than welcome to. It may be important to note that cleaning is not generally covered under warranty. A sensor clean costs 32.50.

We suggest that you send the equipment directly to our Service Department for checking and possible repair. Please note that the turnaround time is generally between 2 and 4 weeks - depending on part availability or parts, testing requirements, etc.

We request that you register the equipment for repair via the URL listed below. Once you have completed the form you will receive an email advising you to print a service returns label which entitles you to free postage through your local postal service. The return address will be included on the label.

Request a Repair Service from Nikon:
(If this link does not work, please copy and paste it to your web browser)

If your product is being returned as a warranty repair, please ensure that you include the following:
1. Copy of the Proof of Purchase
2. Copy of the Warranty Card

When the equipment is received it will be booked in for repair and a confirmation sent to you. The Service Department will send an estimate should there be any charges for repairs that are not covered under the warranty. All communication in this regards will be dealt with directly by the Service Department Team on the following telephone number:

Appreciate all input,

Thanks kindly - as always,


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User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Jan 2013 11:43AM

I think that regular - or at least periodic - sensor cleaning is going to become a fact of life with digital SLR cameras.

Some recent Nikon models have had two things noticed and reported upon. Oil spots on sensor when brand new and quite a quick build up of dust specks. By no means all cameras are affected but it is something to be aware of. The good news is that no further oil contamination seems to occur after a few hundred exposures and the dust problem seems to reduce after a few thousand. (Don't ask me why.)

The problem is that if you use a dry cleaning technique - such as the Arctic Butterfly - when there is oil present, you simply smear the oil and make it worse. To remove oil, you need to use a wet-cleaning method with an approved solvent.

My suggestion would be to clean your sensor carefully with swabs (one-use only) and a solvent to remove any oil or grease that may be present and hope that this problem does not recur. Alternatively you might prefer to entrust this process to a Nikon service centre or a retailer like Calumet.

For routine dust removal, I like the Arctic Butterfly which uses an electrostatic charge to lift dust from the sensor. But do be sure there is no oil there before first using it.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
29 Jan 2013 11:34AM
Nikons price seems very reasonable, assuming it includes return posting.
40, including posting it to them, is likely to be about half the price of buying swabs and liquids if you are not confident about learning how to clean a sensor.
Arctic Butterfly (the brand I use) have a normal sensor wet clean liquid and a separate one for difficult to remove smears.
Page 288 of your D7000 instructions explains how foreign matter can get onto any camera sensor.
In summer some dust is pollen - and leaves a sticky residue if removed with a blower or a suitable brush Sad
Sometimes tiny drops of water from the atmosphere also get onto the sensor and leave drying marks when they evaporate.
The need for occasional wet cleans is close to inevitable.
Whether you do it yourself with the appropriate materials or pay to have it done is personal choice.
While learning to do it yourself is not difficult, usually it takes more than one try to get it right at the first attempt.
Part of topic, regularly brushing your lenses and lens caps with a soft brush helps reduce the chance of dust getting onto the sensor.
cymroDan 11 174
29 Jan 2013 1:40PM
You are both very helpful, thank you.

Can I just confirm in what you said Len, that buying swabs and liquid will cost near 80? Or did you mean it the other way around, 20?

I'd like to learn I guess, I don't plan on ditching photography and I will need to do it in the future. I guess the thing that made me hesitate is not knowing what specifically to buy, and making a mistake in what I actually buy. Also, I was concerned about the warranty. Even if it is how LeftForum said, I doubt Nikon are going to say it's covered by warranty. But if I clean it myself, would it otherwise void my warranty? Or if I can't get rid of the marks and then want to send it to them, would they tell that I've tried to clean it already?
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
29 Jan 2013 2:17PM

Quote:You are both very helpful, thank you.

Can I just confirm in what you said Len, that buying swabs and liquid will cost near 80? Or did you mean it the other way around, 20?

What you buy is up to you.
The Arctic Butterfly liquids are about 35 for the two, and a pack of 12 swabs is over 30.
The Arctic Butterfly brush (an anti static dust removal brush) is about 65 or nearly 100 with LED illumination.
A magnifying sensor loupe with lights that sits on the lens mount is from about 70.
You could spend 200 though I am sure there are some lower cost options.

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