AF-D Lens Dust Issues - Dust Sealing?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dan_brown|4, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. I really like several of the D-AF Nikkors, such as the 28-105/3.5-4.5D-AF, the 35-105/3.5-4.5D-AF, the 70-210/4.5-5.6D-AF, and especially the 28-70/3.3-4.5D-AF, and have been using them quite a lot on the D800 and Df. Also, the 28/2.8D and 50/1.8D.
    My D800 sensor got pretty darn dirty, so much that I had it professionally cleaned, now good as new. The Df had lighter dust levels that I could clean myself with Eclipse swaps. But, I'm thinking that this issue has become a problem now. And I think the air-pumping D-AF zooms are mostly to blame, but hoping the modest range of the 28-70 isn't a big culprit.
    Anyway, hoping to get some input from others with similar experience, and also a discussion on the importance of lens dust sealing as related to sensor dust more so that internal lens dust.
    Thank you for your thoughts.
    - Dan
  2. I think this is one of the pitfalls of working with zooms, afraid to say.
  3. Indeed, I think it is inherent to zooms, and actually I think the widespread belief that switching lenses a lot is causing a sensor to get dirty is a bit false. I've got the faint impression my 24-120 f/4VR is at least as good at making a mess of my sensor as the constant switching between primes.
    Sensor-cleaning just seems inevitable, no matter what you do.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Dust is simply part of life. It was an issue before digital for those of us who did traditional chemical darkroom work. Once I had a tiny piece of lint stuck around the shutter on my F5, and every slide from that trip had a shadow of that on the edge. It even moved around a bit from frame to frame, but unfortunately it was there on almost every slide over some 20+ rolls.
    Today, dust remains an issue for digital photography. It is not specific to AF-D lenses or zooms; I have the same issue with fixed, AF-S lenses, although zooms may make it worse. But for the most part, cleaning the sensors yourself is not that difficult.
  5. This is probably going to be famous last words...
    I bought my first Nikon dslr - a D70s - about 8 years ago. I gave it to my son and daughter-in-law a couple of years back. I now use a D700 (five years) and D300 (two years).
    I have about 10 lenses in active use. About half are primes. Three zooms are afd. I have taken at least 50k images.
    I have never had the need to clean a sensor, but within months of my son and daughter-in-law taking over the D70s they had dirt on sensor problems, although they have only one lens.
    As I say, probably famous last words...
  6. Interesting Mervyn.
    I learned about sensor cleaning with my D100, which had a CCD sensor (read: statically charged) that required cleaning several times per year. Can't remember how the D200 was, but I don't think it was as troublesome as the D100. Then I got a D700 and shot that for about 5 years, and never needed a sensor cleaning.
    Next came the D800, which I originally shot with the 24-85G-VR and some primes, then added the 70-200/4G-VR. Seemed fine until I started shooting the D-AF zooms (anecdotal evidence only). The Df is still pretty new, and it hasn't gotten as dirty as the D800, but the Df has been shot with the 28-70D-AF a lot.
    Don't know what to think. I'm just glad the local camera shop has a guy the specializes in sensor cleaning, he did an amazing job, and let me hang with him as he did my camera. The illuminated magnifying tool seems to be the edge the pros have (along with lots of experience).
    But, I'm thinking the D-AF air-pump zooms are heading for the archive shelf...
  7. I've never had to clean a sensor either.

    I always point the camera down when changing lenses, and am anal-super-careful about when and where and how I do that.
  8. Some Zoom lenses indeed prove to be air- and Sust pumps, but mostly so for ppl who tend to zomm from one extreme to the othe extreme of the available range.a lot. Ppl who zom in and out over shorter stretches of the available range and ppl who utilize the zoom more cautiously also seem to have less problems with sucking in dust then ppl who operate the zoom function more vigorously too..
  9. Mervyn,
    What kind of f-stops did you use and what kind of f-stops do the kids use?
    Dust problems are greatly mitigated by wide apertures.
  10. Tom, you ask what kind of f-stops I use. Well the answer is most of them, except f22. The fastest lens I have is f1.4 and it is true that I would not normally use that beyond f8. However, I have two macro lenses and f16 would not be uncommon. One is the Tokina 100mm that I also use more generally - it has the floating element. On one occasion I accidentally left it set at f16 for a while after doing close-up work. There was no evidence of dust problems.
    On some other lenses f11 and f16 would be used on occasions.
    Like other contributors, I take steps to minimise dust. I try not to change lenses in the field. When I change lenses I always remove the back cap from the 'new' lens and place the lens horizontally. I then remove the 'old' lens with the camera pointing downwards, fitting the 'new' one whilst it is in that position.
    I do not regularly clean glass unless there is obvious dust, but I do carefully attend to body and lens mounts to remove dust. I never, ever - even for seconds - leave a body without a lens or body cap.
    When I had the D70s, smaller apertures would not be unusual because at the time I had some lenses that demanded such for better performance.
    I can't tell you what apertures my son and daughter-in-law use. However, I have no reason to believe that they are small aperture fiends.
  11. I once had a camera sensor professionally cleaned. It came back with dust albeit in different locations proving some work had been done. I have cleaned my own sensors ever since. My FX D700 is frequently dirty (has at least some dust) while my DX bodies (4 of them) almost never need cleaning. That said, one should really get one of the sensor magnifiers if one cleans the sensors.

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