Nikon D600 sensor oil splatter / spots back after shutter replacement?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by a_arun, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Nikon USA returned my D600 to me after I sent it in for warranty repair for addressing the oil splatter marks on the sensor; according to the note the shutter mechanism was replaced (B2- shutter mechanism replaced). I verified the sensor was totally clean when I got it back.
    Now, 500 shots or so on, without a single lens change & shooting exclusively with the 50/1.4 indoors (and the lens has a dust gasket), the oil splatter is all back! There are dozens of oil spots (not dust bunnies) on the top left (I reckon the majority, about 60% of them) and top right (the rest 40% or so). DOZENS.
    That's a third failed "moment of truth" in my book in regard to this camera. First, the camera has a problem they do not acknowledge; second, they promised to send me a shipping label but did not until I escalated the issue, and third the 'repaired' camera comes back with a creaky seam and a sensor that still develops the (unacknowledged) oil splatters. To say I am disappointed is understating it.
    Question: has anyone faced this issue? According to my web research, the spots are all supposed to go away when Nikon USA replaces the shutter mechanism on the D600. So what could be happening?
  2. Nikon screwed up?? Send it back for a proper repair.
  3. According to my web research, the spots are all supposed to go away when Nikon USA replaces the shutter mechanism on the D600.​
    There are a few reports in the D600 groups on flickr that state that this isn't necessarily the case; i.e. the users got their camera back after the shutter was replaced and the oil splatter issue returned - sometimes even after the second replacement.
  4. Why not just clean your sensor with a wet clean and the problem will go away once the shutter settles in. Seams replacing the shutter is just going back to square one.
  5. The dust problem will resolve itself, but not the oil problem.
    Send it back. You aren't likely to be unlucky a third time.
    Or just get a D610. . . .
  6. Personally, I wouldn't touch the sensor lest Nikon try and blame you for the "new" problem--send it back to them as-is. Also, I think I'd be asking for a D610 at this point as well.
  7. The oil problem does sort itself out after some use and all that is required is a few wet cleans. Dust problems will always be a problem as it is in any DSLR camera and is no worse on a D600 as it is in any other model.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    While I don't have a D600 (or D610), both of my D700 and D800E have developed some stubbon dust particals on their sensors. I have used a blower repeatedly and that doesn't work. So I bought a new bottle on Eclipse liquid and sensor swabs to clean them.
    Since the OP's D600 has a new shutter, it is practically a "new camera" again, and some initial dust/oil spots on the sensor is unfortunately not uncommon on the D600. By no means I am suggesting that it is a small issue, but if you get all work up on every issue on your D600, large or small, and post to multiple threads (the OP also posted this same incident, in the same day, to the following thread:, you are merely driving yourself crazy. It is only worse if you immediately go through the trouble to send your D600 back to Nikon.
    Since this is a "new" D600 with a new shutter, I too would follow the advices above and wet clean it and use it for a little longer. If the problem comes back again, I would clean it one more time. If the problem persists after 2, 3 more cleaning, I would send it back to Nikon and perhaps demand them to replace your camera, but you need to be patient and demonstrate that the issues on this particular D600 are not repairable.
    Since Nikon replaced your shutter, there is automatically a new warranty for another 6 months, regardless of whether the original warranty is expiring soon or not. (If the original warranty has more than 6 months to go, that one dominates.) Therefore, you have some time to get this right. Plenty of people have trouble-free D600 cameras. There is no reason that yours is not.
  9. Send it back and get them to fix it properly.
  10. It seems that Nikon has a huge stock of parts for all their DSLRs.
    So the new shutter installed to your D600 is exactly the same thing as the original.
    Expecting Nikon to install a D610 shutter to your D600? I don't think it's even doable.
  11. Folks, thanks for the responses, all of them very helpful and knowledgeable as always on this forum.
    To clarify my point:
    1. Remember I have lived through the whole oil splatter issue for a year and seen it evolve - it does NOT go away. I sent my camera in for warranty repair only near the end of the warranty period, when I could no longer afford to wait. The spots DO NOT resolve themselves. I do happen to know what I am talking about when I see this recurrence, and basis direct past experience, have zero confidence the issue magically disappear (AKA in finance circles as "this time is different") :)
    2. The spots cannot be lived with... if you look at my images on & elsewhere I shoot at small apertures, f/8 and f/11, also f/16, f/22 (travel/landscape and studio portraiture). Retouching each image/having less than total confidence in the usability of the image is not an option for me (nor would I imagine it to be an option for you).
    3. I had spent a load of time AF fine-tuning the camera/lenses a second time (with multiple lenses) after I got it back from service ... all down the drain.
    4. Today I took the camera to the dealer I had purchased it from and showed it to the folks at their Nikon desk- they unequivocally asked me to send it back to Nikon.

    Selling a defective product and then returning it as fixed when it's not does not sound right to me, but that's clearly what has happened to me and to many folks who bought this product.
  12. The oil issue will go away after around 10,000 images. It is not time dependent but based on the number of shots you take. If your not using your D600 much then it will take you longer to get rid of the oil spots. They will however eventually disappear and you will have an amazing camera. They do seem to be a variance on the number of shots taking before the oil issue disappears but most reports on the net have been around 10K.

    I suggest that you learn how to give your camera a wet clean. If you want your images to be dust free then this is something that you should learn to do as oil issue aside you're always going to end up with some dust on your sensor and being able to clean this yourself is a huge advantage. It's not rocket science and very easily done.
  13. Actually, I know how to do a wet cleaning. Have been doing that since 2006, always for dust.
    The 10,000 actuations you quote is a moving target. I have heard lots - Lens Rentals thought 3k (nope), others suggested 5k (nope), and I am not now going to wait till the 10k mark (maybe get a new target after that). t56
    Given the effort taken in processing each RAW image and spotting the oil marks, I cannot comprehend living with oil splatters for another 10k images (2 years in time terms for me)!
  14. A Arun,

    I sympathise with your problem. I bought my D600 a year ago but as I shoot around 40k to 50K images a year the oil issue was gone in the first three months a few wet cleans was all that was required. It is now oil spot free.

    One solution maybe to speed up the process by shooting lots of images then cleaning your sensor. I agree it is not something that you should have to do, but unless you want to keep sending your camera back to Nikon for repairs might be your best option. I assure you that the problem does eventually disappear. It is an amazing camera and worth the trouble....
  15. Thanks for your note; the experience is not translatable to my case: a few months' shooting @4k images/month as you describe could mean 10-20k images. At amateur usage levels, won't work.
    I agree the sensor of the D600 is awesome. Given my personal experience, unfortunately I cannot say that of the camera.
  16. @ John, not all D600 users experience the oil issue. And it appears that most that have their camera serviced by Nikon do not. As Nikon will pay the return shipping, it only makes sense to return the camera to them to have them correct the issue properly.
  17. Life is short, who needs the aggravation?

    Sell the D600 and get something else.
  18. This is an edit from my original D600 oil sensor problem post over at Rangefinderforum (
    I purchased a Nikon D600 in November 2012, just after it was announced. I was a very happy owner as it promised to be an affordable, high quality, and compact full frame camera. It would, conveniently, replace a sold D700 and a dead D3 that I had owned previously.

    Within a few months, I started reading horror stories of dust and then oil spots appearing in the top left and bottom corners of images. My D600 was fine, until about 9 months later - this would be July/August 2013 - when I started noticing spots after doing a particularly gruelling 6 hour product shoot (hey, gotta pay the bills, right?) against white background. All 250 images had to be photoshopped in post because I stupidly didn't zoom in on the corners during review. Thankfully most were in the same position and relative size so they could be batch-fixed. When I look back at other non-professional (ie candid, travel) I notice about 80% of the images I shot in the preceding 9 months contain spots in the top left, bottom left and right corners. I had just never shot on a plain white background before.

    Take the D600 to Nikon where it gets cleaned and when I bring up the dust / oil sensor issue that is making the rounds on the internet, the Nikon staff simply shrug and say they haven't heard a thing about it.

    Jump forward about 2 months and I'm coming to the end of my 12-month warranty. I notice a few light specks in images and, fearing having to pay for future cleanings, I take it to Nikon and have the same conversation (with shrugs) with Nikon staff while they clean the camera. This time they promise the spots won't return as the problem was 'solved'.

    Roughly 6 weeks later in January 2014, the spots are back and darker and larger than before. I take it back to Nikon and after I leave the camera at the service centre for a few days, they call to inform me the shutter assembly will be replaced. A quick fistpump and a silent thank you to Nikon, and I'm happy again. It went some way to assuaging the frustration at constantly having to return to Nikon to 'fix' what was a US$2199 camera at launch. When I return to pick up the camera, the staff proudly tell me the problem has been repaired for good. I'm happy.

    About a month later, I'm halfway through a restaurant shoot for a new client when I start seeing a dark trail across a few images like the shutter is dragging. Boom. Camera throws up an ERR sign on the top LCD. Shut it down, remove battery. Let the camera cool, finally do a soft reset. Nothing. Nada. Don't have a second body with me as I can't afford one and my D3 had died of corrosion about a year ago. Stupidity on me. Beyond bemusement at Nikon.

    Return to Nikon (lost count now) and they hum and haw over it for a good half hour. The manager comes out and apologises profusely after I kick up a fuss at how much of a joke Nikon has become at its handling of an obviously poorly designed D600.

    With the reshoot scheduled for two days later, Nikon promises it'll be ready on the morning of my shoot. It is, thankfully. But I no longer have any faith in Nikon at all. I am a hair away from packing it all in and selling all my Nikon gear except that it would take weeks to offload it and my options in Canon world aren't exactly stellar: 6D or MKIII with banding issues, subpar dynamic range and poor high ios performance? No thanks. Crop frame for full time work? Not there yet, Fuji / MFT / Sony.

    And this is when I sell a kidney (aka a Zeiss) and pick up a D800E. My alternatives aren't great. I could have bit the bullet and shot that reshoot with the twice-repaired and thrice-cleaned D600 but I don't trust it to last more than 1000 shots before the issue comes back. It's not a fluke anymore, this is a concrete issue despite replacing the shutter assembly with a new one (contrary to rumour mongering, Nikon doesn't replace them with D610 shutters). It WILL come back. Switching to Canon puts me out of action for weeks. No good options.

    I've lost track of how many follow up calls I've had with Nikon Hong Kong management - this happened a lot more after I told them I was also a journalist as well as a commercial photographer and was more than happy to highlight the issues in local magazines and newspapers. I tried not to get angry and threatening but it was hard at that point.

    I ended my rant in front of them with:

    'I don't have anything against any of you here but it is painfully obvious that something has been wrong with this camera design from day 1. If I have to come back a 6th time to repair or clean this camera - you can keep it. I will gift it to you (the manager) so you can use it as a paperweight to remind you of just how much Nikon has let it's customers down. I won't want it. I won't need it. Because it simply does NOT work.'

    There is no D610 replacement program here in Hong Kong / China / Asia as far as I am aware. I have only seen forum posts on the topic from users in the USA so far.

    I would have switched if I didn't have 3 big projects lined up for the next two weeks, not to mention a travel story happening this weekend - all of which require a camera I'm familiar with and the required lenses. It isn't really an issue with Canon's 5D MKIII sensor or the ergonomics I dislike - pretty much all high end cameras can perform at a good enough level for what I do, and half the enjoyment can come from learning a new system. Since subscribing to Diglloyd and reading Ming Thein, perhaps my standards have risen and I demand more?

    I am confident in the D800E I just purchased. It's a proven camera now that the early left focus issues were resolved. All cutting edge cameras have their issues, the D600 ones have just been ignored up until mid-February when Nikon issued their latest 'unlimited cleanings' repair advisory. That's not good enough though. Any company who values professionalism and customer service in the face of a faulty product should issue a recall. Sadly, Nikon isn't doing that.
    I won't post his name here but when asked, the manager of the Nikon service centre in Hong Kong - after much exasperated prodding - finally admitted to me that he would be 'very upset at Nikon' if he was in my situation.

    When asked if he would have wanted Nikon to recall the product? No comment.
    I don't dare use the D600 for anything approaching professional work. I am going to baby it like its been injured. Except it hasn't been injured, it was born this way.

    /end rant
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jonathan, sorry to learn about your D600 problems. I have a couple of comments on your timeline:
    As far as I know, the D600's dust problem was first discussed by Roger Cicala, the owner of Lens Rental, in October 2012. Cicala is in a unique position to deal with a lot of cameras for rental. Apparently they had twenty D600 bodies for rent, so he has experience with a lot of samples. Of course, as a business owner, it is also in his interest to keep his name and his company's name in the headlines. On this forum, we had our first thread on this topic on October 26, 2012, with a quote from Cicala's article:
    other words, there was already discussion on this topic when Jonathan bought his D600 in November, 2012.
    Nikon issued their first service advisory on the D600 dust issues in February 2013. We had a couple of threads on that topic.
    If it was indeed the case that in July/August, 2013, Nikon repair service told you that they had never heard of this issue, they were lying to you.
    Nikon is never going to announce that if your D600 has persistent dust/oil problems with many repair attempts, they would replace it with a D610. Otherwise, a bunch of unethical people will pretend as if they had problems so that they could get a free new camera. However, if your D600 has a long record of repairs, they may do something for you.
    With Nikon's second service advisory on the D600, the warranty for this problem is essentially extended forever. Every time you bring your D600 in for free repair, it costs Nikon a fair amount of money. After a few times, they will understand that it is cheaper for them to replace your camera.
    There are a lot of useless noise and nonsense on the web, including on this very forum, but it pays to follow the discussion a bit so that these problems won't catch you by surprise.
  20. Hi Shun, thank you for responding. Indeed, some of the 'horror story' posts regarding the D600 were from and other sites I frequent. As far as I know, the amount of times I've had the sensor cleaned and shutter replaced (now on two) any more and I'm hoping it makes sense for Nikon to give me a D610. I don't hold much hope for that, as Nikon Hong Kong is essentially Nikon China, and for them to officially start exchanging D600s with D610s would likely cause a riot on the mainland.
    I meant what I said about the paperweight thing though. If there is one more single problem with my D600, it will be gifted, along with a caustic note attached to upper management.
    Long term, it has made the prospect of an all-Fuji system very appealing once their lens lineup is more suited to the type of photography I do. I feel extremely let down by Nikon but have just applied to NPS, so let's see if there is an improvement in service there.
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you have a D600 that is a "lemon," i.e. it has gone back for repair many times and the problem remains, there is a chance that Nikon will replace it with a new D600, or a new D610 in these days since new D600 are pretty much all gone:
    Similarly, after their recent D600 service advistory:, I checked with Nikon USA whether a shutter replacement is automatic, and they did not give me a straight answer, as they merely repeated the same wording that is already in the service advisory.
    To me, it is very obvious that Nikon is guarding people from abusing their service advisory. If they announce that anybody who comes in for a D600 repair will automatically get a shiny new D610, there would immediately be a run on those D610. Likewise, if you read the earlier thread on the service advisory, some people are trying to get a free shutter replacement, although there is nothing really wrong with the D600 at this point.
    However, if you have genuine problems, be persistent and make it clear to Nikon that you are not going away quietly until your problem is resolved, hopefully they'll do the right thing for you. I, for one, would not tell them that you are about to give up.
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Today, 28 March, 2014, Nikon Japan announced that will continue to repair any D600 that still has this dust/oil issue and if necessary, they will replace it with a new D600 or "an equivalent model," which obviously will be a D610.
    With regard to the issue with which multiple granular black spots are reflected in images captured with the D600 digital SLR camera, Nikon sincerely apologizes for any concern and inconvenience suffered by D600 users, retailers, and all concerned.
    Because Nikon takes this matter very seriously, we will continue to offer users of the D600 a special service with which cameras are inspected, cleaned, and if necessary, shutter and related components are replaced free of charge, even after the product warranty has expired. However, if a number of multiple granular black spots are still noticeable in images captured with a D600 upon which the above service has been performed several times, Nikon will replace it with a new D600 or an equivalent model.
    Nikon will continue to work to improve the quality of its products and services even further.
    We hope that you will continue to choose Nikon products for your photographic needs.​

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