D600 problem with lubricant on sensor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rick_donnelly, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. I was wondering if anyone out there knew the latest status on this problem being corrected on the latest D600's coming from the factory. I considered buying this camera a little while back, but there were enough confirmed stories of problem cameras having to go back for repair that I chose to wait until a later serial number when they have a permanent fix. Nikon has been typically closed-mouth about any change from what I have seen. Do any Nikon followers here know what they have done, if anything?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Last year, I used very early samples of the D800, D800E, and D600, and I never had a single problem with them, despite endless AF and oil/dust discussions on numerous web forums. I would not hesitate to buy any one of those models, but I would check it out thoroughly immediately and if there are any issues, I would get an exchange.
    It is very costly for Nikon to provide warranty services and supply exchange cameras, as they won't make an extra penny for those post-purchase services. Therefore, I am sure there is a strong incentive for them to fix those production issues.
    Matt Laur, who starts our weekly Wednesday image threads every week, bought a D600 a few months ago. You can take a look at his results here: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00br0x
  3. I bought a D600 that ended up having the oil spot issue. It was only visible on images with large uniformly light toned areas and I easily fixed those in Lightroom with the spot healing tool. It was annoying but not really a big deal. After a couple of thousand images, most of which had no problem, and when I was confidant that it had splashed around all of the oil it was going to, I got a full frame sensor cleaning kit at the local camera store, cleaned the sensor and have had no problems since. Yes, the oil problem is real and it does happen on at least some D600s. It is not however as big a deal as everyone seems to be making it out to be. If I had it all to do over again I would buy the D600 again in a heartbeat! It is an unbelievably good camera for the money.
  4. As Shun mentions, I've been using a D600 for several months, now. Other than some dirt I picked up while changing lenses while standing in a cloud of dust kicked up by the rotor wash from hovering camera drone (which was totally worth it!), I've never had a single problem. And the fact that I got some dust on the sensor is not a problem. It's just normal business. Lots of oil would not be normal business ... but I've never seen even a little oil.

    I've kicked on the camera's sensor self-clean a couple of times, just pre-emptively, but for the dust mentioned above, I put the body in mirror lockup (the cleaning mode, not the shooting mode), and used a Giottos blower to puff away the contaminants. Which took less time than it's taking me to type a paragraph describing it! Even then, I only noticed the dust when I was shooting against a bright sky and stopped down to f/16.

    It's a great camera for the money. If you're really worried about getting stuck with an early-early-early body, just buy from a retailer with high turnover (Amazon, Adorama, B&H, etc). You'll get a nice, fresh body. And then you'll have a great time, because it's a lot of fun to shoot and the results are stellar. Just be sure to plan on skipping a lot of dinners out, because you're going to be buying some lenses!
  5. I have had oil on the sensor of my Canon EOS 5D. At the time (ca. 2007) I understood that oil on the sensor was a problem with full frame bodies. The D600 problem may be different but I wouldn't call the remedy a repair - it's just sensor cleaning. Nothing to worry about. Prior to an important photo shoot I check the sensor, I'll clean it if needed. Dust blower, static brush or wet cleaning; in that order until the sensor is clean. I would not hesitate buying a D600/800 because of the oil issue. Buy it, use it and enjoy it.
  6. I had the oil on the sensor problem with my new (12/12) D600 after less than 2000 shutter actuations. I sent it back to Nikon under
    warranty, they replaced the shutter assembly, cleaned the low pass filter and checked a few other things. It took a total of four weeks for
    the repair to be completed. I hope the oil spots don't come back because I really like the camera.

    Nikon advised they extend the original warranty period for an additional six months on any covered repair performed by them. I assume that means if the oil spots on the sensor or the shutter mechanism issue returns a week before the original warranty period expires, they'll fix it again and then extend the warranty for an additional six months. If the problem comes back in seven months, it could get expensive.

    Before sending it back I had several interesting conversations with Nikon service representatives about the nature of the spots. I told them I had not done anything more than initially program the D600 to self-clean the sensor when turned "on" or "off", and later attempt to blow the spots
    off the sensor with a blower bulb (not canned compressed air) after I observed them on my images. The service representative pursued this particular point, so I again emphasized I had never touched the surface of the sensor/LPF with either a brush or chemical wipes.

    He told me it was "a good thing" I hadn't done so because that could void the warranty and I would then have to pay for any sensor repair/cleaning myself. I inquired about these chemical wipes and cleaning kits (mentioned here by others); he told me not to use these while the camera is/was under warranty, and also referred me to the following warnings on their site:

    "Remove dirt and dust from the filter with a blower. The use of any type of brush is NOT recommended as the bristles may damage the
    filter. Dirt that can not be removed with a blower can only be removed by a Nikon-authorized service center. Under no circumstances
    should the filter be touched or wiped."

    "Cleaning the Filter with cleaning liquid: There are various types of imaging sensor cleaning products available that may include a liquid
    cleaner together with image sensor wipes. It is possible that these liquids can be used, but as stated above the low-pass filter is
    extremely delicate and easily damaged. Any damage that maybe caused by the use of these products, by the user, may result in a
    chargeable repair for replacement of the Filter/sensor unit. Nikon does not recommend cleaning the sensor with anything other then
    gentle air."

    Note: If anyone does have to return a camera to Nikon under warranty for the oil spots on the sensor problem, I suggest not telling them you first tried brushing or wiping the surface with chemicals on your own. I got the distinct impression the service representatives routinely record
    statements such as these during initial conversations; if that's the case, Nikon may not cover sensor issues under warranty and you may end up
    having to pay for the work yourself. The shutter assembly replacement is another matter, though. I don't think they could get out of covering that repair
    under warranty if you try to brush or wipe the sensor yourself.
  7. I had got my camera in 12/12 from Costco. This was initial batch of D600. I could see spots on most of the pictures. I did contact Nikon end of June , sent them samples. They requested to send Camera for service with promise to return in a week. After 4 weeks ( 14 calls, 12 emails and many false promises by Nikon LA- Was on parts old for 2 weeks) I got D600 yesterday - in Next day air courier, thanks Nikon. I was told that shutter mechanism was changed along with Sensor cleaning. They did calibrate auto focus.
    I hoping not see any more spots. I love my 600 major upgrade from D50 which I used for 7 years.
  8. I hoping not see any more spots.​
    If you do, just clean the sensor yourself - it's simple, and something you're going to have to do along the way eventually, no matter what. Don't worry - if you're reasonably careful, you'll do just fine - on the D600 and every other DSLR!
  9. I have been told that the problem with cleaning a sensor yourself with any device that actually touches the sensor is that although you may remove the oil/dust, you may also be causing minute scratch marks on the sensor - anyone care to comment on the truth of that ?
  10. I once got a Canon 1Ds III with a big glop of oil on the sensor. It can happen with any brand and any model.
    At most apertures, it had no effect whatsoever on the image.
  11. Chris, I cannot say it's 100% untrue.... but highly unlikely. The sensor itself isn't exposed, there are filters in front of it. I'd be more than surprised if those are made from materials that could scratch that easy. Sensors get dirty, need cleaning. Nikon knows that, so they'd be very stupid to use easy-to-damage materials there where the cleaning needs to be done.
    One thing to seriously keep in mind with this oil-on-sensor story of the D600 is that the Internet effect of blowing things way out of proportion. For sure, it seems the first D600 batches had a problem, and reading here that Nikon also replaces the shutter mechanism means they have replacement parts to reduce the problem (solving it 100% will never happen) and hence made an improvement to its design.
    Now, if those replacement parts exist, then for sure they're used in production as well. So, buy a D600 now from recent production batches, and the "risk" you take is about as big as it is when buying a D7100, D700 and so on.
  12. Just bought D600 about a month ago. Yes, Nikon is STILL having the same problem. Problem showed up after my second wedding and around 4,000 shots. The store where I bought it, cleaned it for no charge for me. We'll see how long it takes for the problem to show up again. I hope it does not.
  13. Mike - what did you do with the wedding shots ?
    Was it bad enough that you had to retouch all the photos or not that bad.
    I noticed for the first time yesterday a small oil drop showing up on my photos, though only visible on plain backdrop such as sky. It's very small, and I cannot even see it on the sensor. Easy to edit out with NX2 auto retouch.
    My D600 is about a year old but lightly used.
  14. Sorry not a year old, about 9 months
  15. Been a happy D600 user since they were first available, did not know that I had oil/dust until I read about the "problem" on the net a while back. "Tested" for it, sure enough I have some blobs and dust that show up if I am looking for it.
    Does not show up in the normal pics I take which tend to be at larger apertures. I will probably send the body to Nikon before the warranty expires (petty soon), but I am not loosing sleep over it.
  16. Chris, it only showed up on light backgrounds and outdoor shots where the sky is showing. I had to go in and fix each file. This wedding had a lot of outdoor shots, so it added about two hours to my editing. I see some on here believe it's no big deal. It depends on the type of photos you are doing and the number you have to go in and fix. So it may or may not be a big deal, but that is not the point.
    The point being this is a $2000 camera from one of the big two and it should not be happening to any of the D600's. I believe this problem is wide spread and not just a few here and there. There are many more people who do not comment on sites like this than do, so I'm guessing this problem is way under reported. Plus a lot of people may not notice the problem and never know there is one. I believe Nikon knows what the problem is. I believe the problem can not be fixed without a redesign and/or repairs costing more than the camera is worth. I refuse to believe a company like Nikon with the amount of time they have had to work on the problem has not figured it out yet. This has to be a design problem, not just a random thing. This problem has been seen since the first D600's came off the line and it is still happening to new cameras currently being built. So that is why I believe they know what the problem is but there is just no way to fix it without a redesign. If it was juts a single part causing the problem, they would have fixed it and we would not still be seeing the same issue with new cameras. Nikon works just like the auto makers. They are not going to do a recall unless forced to do so. And since this problem is not like a safety issue that a vehicle might have, no one is going to force Nikon to recall the D600 for repairs. They will just continue to fix the ones that people send in and hope for the best.
    And a note to those who say "never had an issue with my D600". Good for you. Does not mean it is not a problem and a wide spread one at that. I've owned a number of vehicles over the years that had recalls for problems that were wide spread with that model. None of my vehicles showed signs of said problems, but that does not mean that there was not a problem with the design. It just meant I was lucky and did not have an issue.
  17. Chris Letts - I wet clean my D600 sensor 2-3 times a month from all that oil splatter. Do remember that you are not wiping the sensor itself but a glass on top of the sensor. If you use the proper materials and wet clean it, you shouldn't have any problems damaging your sensor.
  18. Actually, it is the low-pass filter that is being cleaned. It covers the sensor.

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