Well, I had hoped that I would be one of the lucky ones that didn’t end up with a D600 that has the “dreaded” sensor dust spot issue (I even waited a few months to see if Nikon would address it with another batch of cameras). Alas, I started to notice an accumulation of spots after around 1,200 exposures.

For those unfamiliar with the dust/dirt issue (and if you own a D600 I find it hard to believe you couldn’t be familiar with it), from everything I’ve read it has to do with a gap between the sensor and the shutter curtain that allows dust to gather on the sensor. Oddly enough though, I’ve also read that the issue dissipates after around 3,000 shutter clicks. Strange indeed, but good to know!

So how bad was it? Well, this is an exaggerated shot showing the dust spots at around 1,663 actuations:

Dust accumulation around 1,663 shutter actuations

While I’ve seen some samples online of far worse dust spots, this was bad enough for me. The spots were becoming clearly noticeable, especially on my latest macro shots. No bueno. So before I went all supernova on my sensor with the special cleaning kits you can buy, I decided to see how much I could clean off just using my Giotto’s Rocket Blaster. Now, of course, I’m wishing I had sprung for the large rocket blaster…

I removed the lens and set the camera to lock the mirror up for sensor cleaning. I expected that to be easy enough to do, but Nikon doesn’t tell you that it disables the mirror lock up option if you’re battery isn’t nearly fully charged. Again, strange. Even though the battery in my camera was full, it still wouldn’t let me do it until I removed the battery from the Zeiko’s grip (which was a little over half charged). After that, it worked like a charm.

With the mirror locked up, I got in there with the blaster and just went nuts. I wasn’t worried too much about damaging the sensor since I heard it’s actually the low-pass filter in front of the sensor that you’re cleaning. Turned the camera off, reattached the lens, snapped a picture to examine the results. Rinsed and repeated.

After the fourth or fifth blow job (tee hee), I managed to remove most of the dust spots. It’s not a great result and there were a few stubborn ones that just wouldn’t come off, so I’ll probably end up buying one of the cleaning kits eventually.

Clean(er) sensor
Clean(er) sensor

If this is a persistent problem up until you reach 3,000 shots, it seems a bit pointless to do a full-on sensor cleaning until then (especially now that I know I can greatly improve the situation with just the rocket blaster alone). 3,000 isn’t that far off for me, anyway.

More updates on my experiences with this issue to come!