Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nikon D600 spots diminish over time

LensRentals was one of the first to document that the Nikon D600 is more dust-prone than other cameras. Now, they have confirmed that new spots stop appearing after around 3000 shots. See this post. That is very consistent with my own experience (actually it's funny but I just said that in a comment the other day).
I also want to take this opportunity to emphasize again that even though it's very clear the D600 is dust-prone, it's just as clear that there is NO evidence of OIL spots.
NONE of these characteristics "prove" it's oil.
- Shows up mostly in one corner. LensRentals showed that the spots are mostly in the upper left corner. But still concludes they are dust. My spots were mostly in one corner but they were blown off by a blower, i.e. they are just dust.
- Spots increase even though lens isn't changed. That's what Kyle Clements' video showed but still he said they're dust not oil
- Translucent. My spots were translucent but they were blown off by a blower, i.e. they are just dust.
- Round. My spots were round but they were blown off by a blower, i.e. they are just dust.
- Visible at wider apertures. My spots were visible at f/8 but they were blown off by a blower, i.e. they are just dust.
LensRentals original article: no oil found.
DPReview of D600: notes dust but doesn't mention anything about oil.
OK, maybe the spots are oil but of a type that can be blown away with a blower. :)

2. Update on Nikon D600 Sensor Oil/Dust Issue
3. Sensor Cleaning for the First Time with Sensor Swab, LensPen and Blower

12/3/12 UPDATE:
Here is an update in response to the links in the comments below.  First of all, thank you very much for the links. It is very helpful to get all information when we're trying to pin down the truth. I have no ties to Nikon and nothing to gain or lose financially either way, so my interest is in finding the truth.

What these links show is that for some people the D600 continues to "create" dust (despite having no lens changes) even after 5000 shots or 7000 shots.

In my opinion, these don't negate Roger's article for two reasons. First, Roger's article shows the result of an essentially random sample of 20 D600 cameras. These other cameras are not random - they are people who are finding issues with the D600 (people who don't find issues aren't as likely to mention it).  I don't think we can conclude from these links alone that they are representative of the general D600 population (although it is possible).

As another data point to supplement the links above, let's consider Kyle Clements, the guy who did one of the first, if not the first time lapses of dust accumulation.  He did a couple more time lapses and noted that the problem does go away (very few new spots, if any, show up between 2680 and 3680 shots).  Kyle's second (and third) tests are useful because I think it is close to a random sample from the initial group that have documented issues re dust accumulation.  Before doing the tests he didn't know if the problem was continuing or not.  He just did the tests.  (Note: Kyle believes the spots are oil because he couldn't blow them away.  I personally don't think that's a clear enough indicator of oil.  I still haven't seen unmistakable evidence of oil e.g. smearing, drips, or donut rings that are dark outside light inside).

With the links in the comments, it appears the guys noticed a problem and then did tests.  So, the sample is a bit skewed.

Second, the other thing is that I think we can say from Roger's article that the problem at least diminishes over time. That is something that is not necessarily addressed by the links (because we don't know how easily their cameras accumulated dust when they were new).

As for me, I think my camera has around 4000 or 5000 shots. I haven't noticed spots on my shots (but they may be there at narrow apertures - I haven't looked).  I *MIGHT* consider doing a time lapse experiment.  Let me think about it.

Nikon D600 Resource Page (see under "Dust Spots")


  1. Nice write-up of this subject.

    To know that the problem stops at a certain point (at that it's not actually oil) makes all the difference to me.

    Please keep us posted.

  2. seems that this is not true for everybody:

  3. yet another guy reported this is wrong

  4. Hello Mic, I have been following your updates about the sensor dust problem on the nikon D600 for sometime now as you're doing a very good job.

    I was about to buy it about one month back but i held off the purchase due to this problem but i'm not able to resist the temptation to buy it. Do you think i should just buy it and take care of the dust or just wait for nikon to fix the issue if thats going to happen..?! thanks..

    1. Hi Ahmed. Thank you very much for supporting our blog.

      In my opinion, I don't think it is likely that Nikon will admit the problem. It seems that it is very hard for Nikon to admit any problems with its products. For example, it took a while before Nikon admitted an issue with the left AF point on some D800 cameras. So I would not hold my breath for Nikon to fix this issue.

      If we assume that Nikon will never fix this issue, what do I think of the D600 then? I still think it is a very good camera, probably the best one I've ever used. For my kinds of photos (I rarely shoot narrower than f/8) I don't see dust spots on my shots. It also seems that I can remove most of the spots (see the post on sensor cleaning). Therefore, personally, I don't think the dust is a big issue.

      On the other hand, the high ISO performance and dynamic range are very clear advantages for me and definitely have a big impact on my photography. They are not just theoretical advantages. So, if I were to do it over again, I absolutely would buy a D600 again, even at its original price. If you can avail of the new discounts on the D600, it's even better.

      Best regards,

  5. At just under 2000 shots, I had to do another cleaning - the 4th so far. I still do not have any other lenses, nor do I remove the 24-85VR except to check and clean the sensor. There were about 5 fairly large, whitish dust specs on the sensor cover as revealed by the VisibleDust Quantum Loupe. The air-charged DustPatrol 24mm brush did the trick, though I had to use a SensorPen to dislodge one stubborn speck. I hope the dust bunnies stop reproducing soon!

    1. Thanks for the update Ken! I will shortly be posting an update on my D600's dust status as well.

      Best regards,


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