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Time-lapse video of the Nikon D600 dust accumulation problem

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The time-lapse video below shows the dust accumulation problem with a brand new Nikon D600. Note that the lens was never changed during this test - so this is not really dust coming from the outside, but internal particles accumulated around the same upper left portion of the sensor:

This is what the author of the video wrote about his D600 test:

"I thought I would put this claim to the test by purchasing a brand new D600, putting on a 50mm 1.8D lens, and shooting some test shots, before using the camera for anything else.

And, from that I’ve seen, dust on the D600 is indeed a serious issue. Right out of the box, after taking the very first picture, I could see several dust spots, but as my time-lapse series progressed, I could see more and more spots appearing on the sensor. Keep in mind that I am not changing lenses; all this dust is coming from inside the camera."

Kyle Clements via PetaPixel

This entry was posted in Nikon D600 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • PeterO

    I am strong, I am invincible, I am Nikon. There is no dust issue.

    • cpX

      Same on my old FinePix S2 Pro when i make Time-Lapse Videos with +5000 Photos, there will come around 1-3 Dust Spots…

    • LeadWrist

      Your Jedi Mind Tricks will not work on me.

      • PeterO

        That’s because I forgot to wave my hand like Liam did.

  • Al

    Could it be oil from the shutter mechanism?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      I think it is oil – the spots appear to be black with perfect round form not typical for “regular” dust. I had the same issue with my D800 from the first batch, I later “upgraded” to a D800E that no longer had this issue.

      • St.

        I have the same problems with D800. Looks like it accumulates oil spots. I bought the sensor loupe with the cleaner and those were hard to remove – like dust accumulated with the time. So you say, admin, that this was fixed with next batches?

        • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

          As far as I know – yes, it has been fixed. My D800e doesn’t accumulate any oil spots except the regular dust that I can just blow away. As few other have mentioned already, you cannot “blow away” the oil spots – the sensor has to be wet cleaned.

          • Pat

            My D800E received late June 2012 from Amazon had this same Oil/Dust issue. Nikon cleaned it on Sept and it’s not a problem again since then.

          • Guest

            im ready to buy D800 & D600 (for my friend) in next month in Japan. I wonder if products in Japan market has the same issue with US UK market (where received many feedbacks about this problem). So is it better (or safe) if i buy those camera in Japan?. With D800, did they completely solved that dust – oil problem?

          • St.

            It’s more like dirt accumulation spots, than oil I think – but it’s not just dust, because it can’t be blown away.
            I was thinking to send the camera to Nikon until it’s under waranty, but then I bought the Sensor loupe with the cleaner and i could clearly see what i’m fighting with.
            The closest I can compare with is you know when you walk in a rainy day and then your pants get wet at the back side (where they cover your shoes). When they dry you end up with some dirt spots.
            I succeeded to clean it just with the provided tool, but I was surprised how this thing got there at first place. This happens very often even I don’t go outside or don’t change lenses.

            In comparison my NEX-7 never had such problem and it doesn’t have a mirror and I’m changing lenses there way more often.

            To me it looks like the sensor cleaning mechanism accumulates the dust, combining it into these dirt spots.
            But I could be wrong.

    • Fisheyland

      yes. that would make sense, since it’s an internal problem.

    • Guest

      Yeah, looks like oil to me too

    • Mansgame

      On some it is but with others it really is dust.

    • Captain Megaton

      It _is_ oil from the shutter/mirror mechanism. It’s a reasonably common occurrence in new cameras, and may likely be particularly serious in the D600. Thing is, most people would never notice since, like dust, its not something that is visible in normal photos. But once its reported on the internet, everyone goes out looking for it by taking photos of white paper at f/22. Lo and behold, everyone finds something and the number of reported cases snowballs out of control.

      I’m not sure how Nikon should respond to this. It isn’t a problem, really. If people just went out and took actual pictures instead of sheets of paper at f/22 with the contrast curves stretched to breaking point, very few people would notice anything out of the ordinary. It’s not something you can “fix”. Yet it is a real “thing” in that yes, oil is getting on the sensor and it ideally, should not.

      If it was me, I’d probably do a mea culpa and say “lubricant can splatter onto the sensor during the break in period of a new camera. If you feel its a problem, please bring the camera in for service after 5,000 shots and we’ll clean your sensor for free”.

      • surfisup

        Maybe you are OK with the oil spots but I’m not.

        I’ve just been taking photos of my children surfing and 2 dirty splotches have appeared on the upper left corner of the photos .

        I was taking 5 photos in rapid succession and a new spot appears on the 3rd photo so it is some kind of internal issue. This is not a small problem as it looks ugly on photos of blue sky.

        Another thing, the spots look worse when taking video .

  • Alex

    Why Nikon does nothing to solve this problem?

    • LeadWrist

      Apparently no one has complaint to them yet, and no, NikonRumors is not Nikon’s support forum…

      • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

        I think so too, there will also be a huge wave of refurbished D600 cameras coming soon from all the returns. Few store owners have emailed me that they never had such a high rate of returns with any other model.

        • Mansgame

          haha it’s funny what they say in private vs. what they say to the public. In public, they don’t know if there are any issues. Its good to see that at least in private they are not happy about it.

      • whmitty

        As noted in an earlier comment on these pages I left a complaint at the Nikon support site (http://support.nikonusa.com) about my D600 dust baloney and actually received not only a prompt reply BUT an acknowledgement of the problem. The text was “Nikon is aware of the problem”. They first recommended to return it to the vendor but my 30 day window for that option has closed. They then told me to send the camera to their service center for repair of this problem (Los Angeles in my case). Of course as usual they don’t pay for the customer sending in an in warranty product for repair. That’s one area where Canon is absolutely head and shoulders above Nikon, customer service. For what it’s worth Nikon has finally owned up to the problem.

        • surfisup

          Here in New Zealand we have strong consumer laws. The retailer is 100% responsible for defects and consequential losses over the reasonable expected lifespan of a product. So, no need to buy extended warranties here.

          A fault like this will be fully up to Nikon to fix, or, they must refund / replace.

          I have a brand new d600.. .was taking some shots of surfing, and a spot appears in the middle of what is obviously a sequence of shots taken at around 1 second intervals.

          This never happened to me on any camera before (including my 3 year old d90 which has never had a sensor clean but its sensor is still cleaner than my 1 week old d600).

          • whmitty

            After Nikon’s “mea culpa” and noticing a bit more debris forming on the sensor after only 10 shutter actuations following a thorough sensor cleaning I sent the camera to Nikon for inspection/repair. I’m a natural cynic and thus am always pleasantly surprised if a product works as advertised. Nevertheless, the fact that Nikon waited so long to acknowledge this obvious malfunction in the face of overwhelming evidence betrays a bit of arrogance. Now they can fix the bloody thing.

            By the way, I had an old Canon P&S and 5 years after the warranty was long passed they fixed an LCD failure for free and paid for shipping both ways! I love the Nikon camera’s image output but Nikon isn’t close enough to be in the shadow of Canon when it comes to customer service.

    • surfisup

      I have logged a support claim with Nikon about my d600 and they just replied with ‘return to service center’.

      Not happy with this brief info as I did not want to be returning my camera each time a spot appeared, I phoned them and spoke directly to a nikon technician. He knew there was an issue with sensor contamination in the d600, and said that it was caused by ‘paint’ specks falling off an internal surface. They have a fix , and once it is back from the service center it should not reoccur. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about but proof will only be when it is returned.

      • jsilva200022

        Great information, thanks.

        In other words, they made the D600 too cheap. :(

  • Word of Nikon

    I AM… not going to admit there is a problem

    • LeadWrist

      So I’m gonna play devils advocate here for a minute so play along. From the above posts, most people return cameras instead of contacting Nikon to address the issues. Unfortunately with the way return policies are setup these days, it’s easier for people to simply return things that “don’t work” than to talk to the company that makes it. So lets just for an instance belief no one has talked to Nikon about this problem. Why would they acknowledge a problem that no one has reported? I guess people assume, if we here on nikon rumors know then Nikon HAS to know. Anyway, on the other hand, if a small percentage of people do have this problem and even smaller percentage contacts Nikon about the issue, why would Nikon make a huge statement about this when it only impacts .000001 “fictitious number” of their production run.

      ADMIN: Why not have a poll on nikonrumors that asks, Did you contact support about D600 spots? Would be interesting to see how many people take it the next step. Lastly, if everyone has been contacting support, I guess none of the complainers here did contact support, otherwise, please post supports response. I mean a more valid complaint would be, I contact support about D600 spots and I was given the Jedi Mind Trick response of, there are no spots, you don’t see any spots.

      • Manfred

        the problem is, IF you talk to nikon, they dont’t give you a answer

        • http://www.facebook.com/billy.jackson.1422 Billy Jackson

          +1 ^

      • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

        I can do that. Nikon can still get the message from the unusual number of returned D600 cameras. As far as I know, all returns go back to Nikon.

        • e

          Not all returns go back to Nikon. Some the store holds as ‘display’unit. Because if Nikon says no issue and the body has been taken into warranty before, they can’t return.

        • Nikon D600 owner

          Everyone who has this should report it directly to Nikon. This is the best way to make them aware of the issue and push them to fix it in some way. In a recent contact with them, they reported that “Nikon is aware of this issue”. Please, if you are experiencing this issue, report it to Nikon support!

        • neversink

          Report problems to Nikon and your supplier, as well as to your state’s Attorney General (if you live in the USA.) There are laws protecting consumers against failures of products and failure of the corporation honestly dealing to provide a remedy. I am in NY State and will start using this avenue. You could also report to the FTC on a federal level or perhaps even another federal office.

          As a consumer, I expect the products I buy to work as advertised and as expected. Oil on the sensor is unacceptable; and Nikon needs to start honestly dealing with these issues, or be forced to through legal channels.

        • http://twitter.com/prevedovich Prevedovich

          I think that they downgraded D600 as much as they ould.
          Most of Nikon fans are not about Megapixels and D600 looks tons better than D800 at this point. The camera is unbelievable good. To make it to be unwanted by professionals they put shutter mech from D7000. I think they knew that there is a problem, but the camera should be for lamers, not professionals. For me there is no problem to clean the sensor, but HDMI without FullHD is a big concern. I think they have unpredictable number of returns and the price should be dropped after Christmas. Still, without FullHD HDMI I do not need D600 at any price.

      • Mansgame

        I for one contacted Nikon. Was told there is nothing wrong but I could pay for the shipping and send it in. That’s not a cheap option and when I asked them what they planned on doing since this is a KNOWN issue, they told me it’s not a known issue. If they don’t admit there is an issue, what promise is there that they will fix it?

        • LeadWrist

          You were given the Jedi Mind Trick response of, there are no spots, you don’t see any spots. This reminds me of a time when I had an issue with the seat belt sensor in my BMW. I took the car into the dealer and complained that the passenger airbag would turn off when someone was in the seat an buckled in. They came back and said the wiring harness was worn and since there are no recalls on this I had to shell out $250 to repair my self. Funny thing was, 2 weeks later I get a recall notice in the mail from BMW for this exact same problem, I contact the dealer and got a refund plush some extra’s for the trouble. Dealer was stuck as they couldn’t write off the work based on a recall before it came out. I think most D600 owners are on the bleeding edge so to speak, we get to deal with the issues. You stick it out and keep complaining and finally that magic number will be reached and something will be done about it. Until then being an early adopter sucks. Just keep pestering them. Squeaky wheels gets the oil so to speak. I have 4 cases open with Nikon support on my D600 and they are responding, I’m not liking the answers so I’m telling them and pushing the issue.

        • iamlucky13

          Good info.

          Keep in mind, however, that there is a difference between issues that are known to the development staff, and those that are known to customer service staff.

          Even though the guys taking the calls may be getting lots of complaints, it’s pretty common that a company will instruct them only to refer to issues they are trained on as known issues. The support staff may know something is going on, but they don’t have the expertise on their own to address it. They only have the existing textbook response, which is something like “Dust is a normal issue for SLR’s and not covered under warranty. We recommend periodic, professional cleanings, and the following preventative practices…blah, blah, blah.”

          Meanwhile, assuming they have an even halfway modern support system, complaints the support group receives are logged, categorized, and if a certain number of complaints come in, forwarded to engineering. After engineering has the issue figured out, and management has a response, then they give instructions for support staff on how to address it.

          Yes, it’s a big complicated, bureaucratic mess that leaves the customer justifiably frustrated, especially since the customer service guys are probably trained not to tell customers a fix is in the works until the bureaucratic process has actually put a specific fix in the works. The alternative is an uncoordinated mess that leaves some customers happy and some customers outright pissed, because you basically have support staff who normally rely on support manuals guessing at responses.

          Unfortunately with this issue, sending the camera in right now isn’t likely to get anything accomplished except maybe a cleaning. I can pretty much guarantee there is no real fix at the moment, because almost certainly that involves installing some sort of redesigned shroud around the shutter.

          So if you find the issue, make sure Nikon knows about it. We know they’re slow responding, but so far, they do still ultimately want to get it right, and eventually respond.

      • Bert

        A letter with my complaints, and the request for a solution to my returning problems went out to Nikon Netherlands today. Already 2 times cleaned by Nikon Service Centre within 2 months after buying, 3500 shots.
        Service centre told me the mark under the mirror inside the camera might been caused by some sort of alignement equipement?? And the second time I was told by them, CMOS are more static, OK, but how about D800 and other CMOS sensors do they also have these problems?
        I will keep this forum updated.

      • Micah Goldstein

        Nikon’s US customer support is not kept up to date about these issues, and their repair department is ineffective at diagnosing these things itself, so it may not even recognize the problem for a couple more months.

        Having dealt with the D7000 focus issues and an abysmal repair process every single frickin time I send something in (since 2006!), this is what I expect.

        Maybe the thing to do is to find a way to send these cameras back to the proper parent company in Japan for repairs? If papa Nikon received even ten cameras shipped from the US, maybe it would give them pause.

      • Marco

        I’m
        really laughing here. So no one in Nikon checks this site, other photographic
        sites, feedback from its resellers, Nikon support centers around the world…???
        This is a gag, right?

        • LeadWrist

          I work for a large consumer company and we don’t. Nikon may work with dealers but definitely won’t search the web looking for problems…

      • Rien

        When I return a product, I always tell the store why I am returning it, I suppose pretty much everyone else does the same … if stores are getting a particular product returned all the time, I am sure they will want to some info. It would be foolish to assume that Nikon does not care about a problem if a particular camera is being returned more than any other camera.

  • chico

    i am experiencing this with d4

  • TC

    When a company denies a problem that becomes a PR nightmare, they loose customers, money and trust. Remember Ford and exploding gas tanks on the Pinto? How bout Toyota and the accelerator problem? Nikon will do nothing but loose market share to other brands. Dumb move!

    • Bob

      lose not loose

  • Nikon D600 owner

    Are people reporting this issue to Nikon? I did. I hope that all D600 owners who are experiencing this report it. Otherwise how is Nikon going to know the extent of the problem?

    • xtt

      They should know this. The problem makes me away from D600. I won’t upgrade my DX until they fix it.

      • Nikon D600 owner

        Sure, they *should* know this, but the only way they will respond to it is if their customers pressure them. That is the way all companies work. So, D600 owners, pressure Nikon!!

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      I think most people just return the camera back to the store.

      • Henry

        That’s what I did. Bought it and while it was being shipped learned of this issue. I then returned it to the store unused. I really want to upgrade but I have self-respect and standards as to what is acceptable. It’s a real shame is all I can say.

    • http://kyleclements.com/ Kyle Clements

      Mine has been reported.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.desario Joshua DeSario

    My D7000 developed this. It was “oil” from the “shutter slap” not dust. I was able to wipe it off with a super fine q-tip, sensor has been fine since. Where would the dust be coming from? that’s what I don’t get. I’m going to say it oil from some part of the mechanism movement not dust. Other reason why I think its oil is that you initially see large blotches, then very small ones develop as he went on. dust also will not be as spherically uniformed as what we are seeing. personally I don’t think it is the end of the world, If I was able to clean my D7K easily enough, this should be no different… get over it.

    • rhlpetrus

      It’s interesting that I got the D7k in April 2011, have shot about 10K images and have no dust or oil on the sensor yet, and I have changed lenses a lot. With the older D80 I had some dust bunnies now and then. I guess I was lucky.

    • Bob

      I got a used D7000 and surprise, there was these dust spots on the sensor. My old 3 years old D90 is much cleaner then the D7000. IT was easy to clean through. Would it be easy to clean the D600 too?

  • Fisheyland

    So sad. When I first heard about the D600 I thought it was going to be the PERFECT camera for me. Guess I’ll stick with my D5100. At least till they fix the problem. Maybe another year from now…

    • D5100 owner

      while the d5100 is great. I would have mustered up as much as I could for the D600. I AM… waiting also

      • MrPixelPeepers

        Sold off my DX gear for the D600 and just grabbed a 5d mark ii after examining the oil spot issue and having previous issues with d7k. D600 is a FAR superior camera in the IQ department, but I got a deal I couldn’t refuse and I shoot landscapes in RAW anyway so the difference in IQ is meaningful, but its not worth waiting 6-12 months for a silent fix from nikon (thats a lot of missed pics!). May sell off canon gear if Nikon gets its act together, but I just won’t give my money to a stubborn company that makes its customers pay for shipping on an obvious defect. I just want a lightweight FX body for 24×36 prints! Oil and dust DO show up in my large prints considering I stop down.

        • http://www.facebook.com/billy.jackson.1422 Billy Jackson

          That’s where I’m at, MrPixelPeepers, as I’m looking to buy now, not in 6-? months. Maybe the 6D will show some promise, but I was really excited about the sensor of the Nikon, and it appears to have more useable features (for me) than the 6D.

          However, I’m now considering just spending more for either the D800 or 5D Mk III, and I’m getting a bit weary of Nikon’s latency on admitting and fixing issues with their cameras.

          I’m sure Canon is not always a bright shining star on a hill, but at least their black tape fixed a reported light leak issue rather quickly.

          • MrPixelPeepers

            I completely agree Billy. We are definitely on the same page. I have hopes for the 6D as well, but I just get the feeling that Nikon’s sensors are the final word in IQ for the moment and I also like the feature set of the Nikon more. If the 6D is the real deal though… I wonder how much this fiasco will influence D600 sales. I think it goes on sale next month (im not sure though), are you going to wait to see how it does on DXO?

            Companies need to own their mistakes. I was also torn on D800 and 5d Mark iii. If I hadn’t gotten a great deal on a mark ii, I would probably be in your exact same position right now.

            Yes, and that’s a good point about the black tape… at least they did something about it!!! That means something to me as a customer.

            • http://www.facebook.com/billy.jackson.1422 Billy Jackson

              Sorry for the late reply. I don’t mind waiting for the DXO testing, along with what DPReview has to say, but like you, the feature set on the Nikon is more appealing to me than the scaled down 6D.

              I think the MkII is perhaps the best bargain out there as long as you’re not needing a rapid fire/focus sport camera, so I may end up just getting that while I still can. The way technology changes, it’s scary to spend 3 grand on a camera that will be worth $1,500 or less in 3 years or so.

    • P man

      I will wait as well, I was so excited about the D600 and now I have to wait to buy this great piece of gear.

    • RxGus

      I am a d5100 owner too… the money is in the bank and just waiting for the D600. But, I wont be getting one until this is cleared up.

      Perhaps though, the d8000 or d400 will be out and I will have a choice about what direction I want to go with my next camera!

    • xtt

      I also have a D5100. Luckily I didn’t sell my DX lenses quickly.

  • JB

    To me, I believe it has to be the oil issue as well. It doesn’t look like dust. I haven’t had this problem before but doesn’t the oil splatter reduce with time? For some reason, I have less problem see that it is oil versus having the camera so poorly sealed that it was somehow sucking dust inside.

    • gly

      The old splatter will likely reduce with time, but I don’t want to send it in to Nikon Service every time it accumulates. Nor do I want to clean it myself.

      If you’ve never cleaned a dusty sensor before, it’s not often you get ALL the dust in one swipe using a sensor swab. Now imagine the mess with oil spots. Good luck!

      Besides, if oil is ending up on the sensor, it’s also likely to deposit on the shutter blades which may affect shutter consistency over time. It MAY also end up on the mirror or even the AF sensor affecting focus.

      How do we know Nikon use the right type of oil for that intended part? It’s just a big mess…. :(

  • FrenchGuy

    This could be both small particles from the shutter and oil. The question now is why are they pouring so much oil on their shutter mechanism?

  • Adam

    It is more cost effective for Nikon to address the issue in their production line and only fix those out in the market that get returned or reported to NPS. Many people will just take their camera in for a sensor cleaning or do it themselves and after time and it will stop as the lubricant/oil settles in. This is a nuisance but not the type or problem where there needs to be a public announcement.

    • adam

      Oh, I forgot. 1st, thanks for the video, it was interesting to see. 2nd, don’t comment that ‘for what i spend it should not do it’. That is the nature of technology. All tech has issues of some kind. Ever hear of a car being classified as ‘a lemon’? $30,000 on a vehicle and problems. One manufacturing facility I worked at had to spend $15,000 every 18months on a freak’n lightbulb that went in a specialized x-ray machine because it would always fail (and fail before it should for the $$). Shit happens.

  • John T. Harding

    Anyone know off the top of their head where to write Nikon about this. I intend do so.

    • Cchi

      I wrote to them, and my camera is now returned directly to Nikon Switzerland. They even paid for the postage to send it in to them. Instead of complaining here, send Nikon your camera! I have yet to get mine back, but will report back to Admin here when I do.

    • Mansgame

      twitter @nikonusa, or nikonusa.com. you’d have to set up an account and start a ticket.

  • D90 owner

    I wanted to upgrade from my D90 to a D600 and had my heart set on doing this. Now, however, I am persuaded by all of these reports of dust on the sensor from inside the camera to hold off on that decision. I hope Nikon takes note of this problem, acknowledges it and fixes it. It would do a lot to restore confidence in the Nikon brand.

    • Andy

      Ditto, I’m hoping to upgrade from a D300, but will not be spending any more money on Nikon products until they admit there’s something wrong and issue a recall or offer a fix.

    • P man

      Same as you I wanted to upgrade my old D70s but now I will not purchase the D600 until this issue is fixed…

    • Eager but not stupid

      Yup. This camera was on my holiday wish list. Our family is keeping the money in our piggyback instead. Who wants to go through all this hassle?

    • Samizdat2003

      OK, I’ll chime in too: I also own a D90 and want to buy a full-frame camera. If this dust/oil/whatever problem had not arisen I would have already bought a D600. Nikon, please acknowledge this issue and resolve it in your production line so I can buy another one of your cameras!

      • desmo

        japanese companys never acknowledge mistakes,
        but they do fix them(quietly)
        its their culture

        go ahead and buy it( I did)
        all electronics become obsolete quickly
        if you wait too long you will find yourself buying it when its about to be replaced and regretting that your behind the curve again and that your new purchase lost its value.
        the camera you buy may not have any problem(mine doesn,t)
        and if it does it will only be noticeable if you shoot around f22 and pixel peep,
        which makes no sense as with digital sensor f stops much above f8 difraction tends to cancel any gain in lens resolution by stopping down

    • DX owner

      I too am holding off on buying the D600 until this issue is fixed. I have been saving up cash slowly (since my D300 purchase) and the cash to spend is there Nikon!

      If the ‘fix’ takes longer than 6 months, then – at my new current savings rate of $35 a week – I will have enough saved to buy the better D800 and then my options will have widened…

      • desmo

        if you regularly shoot above f16 , f22 etc buy the d800e,
        otherwise the D600 is avery good camera
        not only low noise at high iso, but what noise it has is more film like,
        grainy, not banding,
        also good dyn range,color depth and 24mp res is sweet
        my only 2nd thought about buying d600 not d800,
        i would prefer 51 pt autofocus

      • brx

        In this case you will just allow Nikon to earn more money while they will still keep low quality on other models.

  • D4ve

    Glad my D800 was made in a Japanese clean room.

  • R!

    This test is made with a probably an old AFD lens,and my experience with AIS and AFD used on digital teached me that; if some dust or worst some old dry lubrification oil is comming out of the lens while focussing or automatic aperture function beeing used ,the dust is going on the sensor quite fast !
    Since I noticed this, I’m keeping my old lenses for film cameras and use only AFS lenses for digital or some almost new or very clean lenses with care for my digital ,and I ended up having cleaner sensor .

    • Mansgame

      I tried this with a brand new 24-70. Your theory is wrong.

    • wondering

      ??
      There is a solid glass lens between aperture and sensor. How does dust sneak past lens but no dust found on Inside of lens?

  • JSilva

    This thread in dpreview forum talks about unexplained scratches appearing on the reflecting mirror on D600 as well. Another possible source of dirt. IMHO I think the whole shutter system of the D600 should be reviewed.

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50141626

  • dubious

    I empathise.
    I went through two defective D800Es, and months of waiting, and decided never to buy an untested major product again. And it is not just Nikon letting their quality control dip.

    btw, The first D800e had 4 defects so i returned it, and while they were skeptically checking it in the shop, it “died”, jamming so bad they couldn’t remove the lens. haha The second body had a defective top LCD, so I just got my 3.5k back. Nikon had my cash for 6 months, though, so I hope that helped them a bit. ;)
    My next body might be the sony rx1…but not before I let the over-eager beta test it for me.

  • tony5787

    This is why I’ll be keeping my D700 until it dies on me. The only dust I’ve had is the normal sensor dust that accumulates from changing lenses.

    • desmo

      Broken record

  • Lashedup

    I’ve had more than a dozen digital slr cameras over the years and none of them have had this problem like my new D600. Sure dust always gets on to a sensor and I have no problem cleaning myself. However (and this is for all of you that keep coming in and saying that we should just suck it up or learn to clean a sensor) this is different. The spots don’t generally come off with a dry sensor cleaner. This requires wet sensor cleaners and even then they are very stubborn. I’m also inclined to think it is some kind of oil which likely means this is not an easy fix on an existing body for Nikon.

    So now I’ve got a $2000 body that for all intents is worthless to me right now as I shoot a lot of video with it and the spots are a major focal point in video shots. I’m going to wait it out and see what develops and meanwhile send my 600 in to Nikon to see what they say.

    Very frustrating…

    – J

  • Jurassic Pizza

    Looks just like the D7000 behavior. The oil-on-sensor and flaky focus were the two things I could never get around on the D7000, which was otherwise an excellent camera. Sensor swab got rid of the oil after a few tries, but then in a little while it would be back. I did send the camera in to Nikon, but as far as I could tell it behaved the same way after it came back. Given the similarity of the D7000 and D600 bodies, it wouldn’t be suprising if they had a similar issue.

    My D300 never had a dust issue and my D800E has been pretty good; I gave it its first wet cleaning a few days ago. It takes some patience to get entirely right, but worth it since I often use smaller apertures where those spots WILL show up in the final image and can be a pain to remove digitally.

  • tony5787

    This is why I’ll be keeping my D700 until it dies on me. The only dust I’ve had is normal sensor dust that accumulates from changing lenses.

    • Pablito R

      You and me (and thousands of others) together, brother.

      Nothing wrong with the trusty good old D700, if ain’t broken don’t fix it, simple as that.

      • tony5787

        Yeah I still think the D700 is the best camera Nikon has made. As far as a combination of build quality, image quality, price and reliability go, the D700 seems like the king in my eyes.

        • D700

          D700 keeps on showing its quality.

          • Funduro

            Yup, I purchased a new D700 in June, suspecting that the D600 would have a flaw of one type or another. Plus the de-content D600 rumored specs/build just was adding to the case against it. Sure the D600 DR is greater then the D700, that one item doesn’t outweigh all the other positives the D700 has IMHO.

  • Jhon

    Nikon told me that there is no problem dust with the D600…..

    Yes, we can….only sign a petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/nikon-nikon-d600-dust-on-sensor

  • Lowe

    To me it seems as the dust is a residue from the manufacturing when i see this video.
    I for one have not had this problem whit my D600, but on the other hand I din´t mind cleaning my camera once in a while.
    Is there anybody that has tired to clean their D600 after discovering the dustspots? If there are, is the spots recurring?

    • http://www.facebook.com/billy.jackson.1422 Billy Jackson

      Yes, it’s been well documented that even after cleaning, the dark spots will reappear in the same area of the sensor. And, in many cases, the sensors had been professionally cleaned only to have the spots show up again.

  • whmitty

    This D600 sensor dust issue may be manageable. First a little background. I previously owned the D7000 and have many great photos out of it. Out of the box it had major back-focus issues. Through photo examples sent online I demonstrated this to the satisfaction of Nikon’s support people. They advised to send the sample shots on a CD with the camera and they fixed the back-focus perfectly. The D7000 also suffered lubrication spatter on the sensor. Rather than call Nikon I bit the bullet and bought a wet cleaning system and cleaned the sensor. No problems from then on other than occasional “normal” dust over time.

    Now to the D600. Last month, notwithstanding reading the prior complaints regarding D600 sensor dust I pulled the trigger and purchased it. After unboxing I took the “sky shots” and sure enough sensor dust, oil gook and you name it all over the upper left of the images. Really unprofessional of Nikon to allow these out of the shop. I wet cleaned the sensor and now after many photos I have seen no abnormal dust/lubrication accumulation on the sensor. The moral to this story is that perhaps only some of the cameras have “persistent” dust accumulation whereas others, as with my copy of the camera, only have DOD (Dust On Delivery) and can be remedied by a proper cleaning. This camera is a phenomenal image maker so, as idiotic as this whole scenario is, if you can somehow deal with this Nikon debacle you’ll have one fine camera at a relatively modest price. All that said, Nikon deserves all the bad press it is getting for this nonsense.

    • Micah Goldstein

      You are VERY very lucky if your D7000 was indeed cured of the focus problem on the first try. I had to send mine in twice. And I had very clear pictures of the behaviour. It was actually more than unresponsive to the fine tune adjustments–it actually worked opposite the way it should have with a couple of my lenses!

      And the only reason I bought a D7000 was because Nikon was taking a year to repair my D700. No, really. A year. No exaggeration. Actually, over a year.

      Manufacturing flaws happen. This is an acceptable issue. Their resolution–or lack thereof–is unacceptable. They just moved their repair department to a new facility. Hopefully this comes with new staff and management.

      • whmitty

        Regarding the D7K, the truth is I returned the first one to Best Buy because of the back-focus issue and unfortunately the second one also suffered from it although not as severe. That’s when I decided I liked the camera enough when I did get focused images to give their repair service in El Segundo, CA a try and they came through. BUT, to have this sensor dust problem from the jump on the D600 shows that something is either broken at the D600 manufacturing facilities and/or certainly within their quality control protocols. I especially feel for those who may be making the leap from a P&S and suddenly are required to first wet clean the sensor before they can begin capturing images. Gimme a break Nikon.

  • Graham Wyles

    For 30 years a Nikon user; my first digital a D100 bought with the insurance money from a stolen F3. I longed for a full frame camera, but Nikon ‘ummed and ‘aahd about bringing one out, ‘No plans’, they said. So when the (canon) 5D came out I migrated. Now the 5D is showing its age (though still good) and I’m thinking of returning to the Nikon fold with a D60, but this thread has reminded me of the way they have treated users in the past so I’m thinking twice. They seem to have forgotten the ‘systems thinking’ of Dr Deming (which made Japan the power it is after WW2) which stresses success comes from making customer king.

    • Joe

      Do you remember the 1D Mk. III autofocus issue? I guess not any camera maker is a safe harbour against unacknowledged design-, production- or quality control issues.

      • SleeperSmith

        You gotta admit they handled 5D3 issues like a champ tho.

  • niktv

    Its oil. quite alot of Nikons have had his issue and it seems to go away after a few cleans.

    • KnightPhoto

      I agree. Man. Up. Clean. The. Sensor. And get on with it already.

      • Pablito R

        Your.Posting.Style.Is.Annoying.

    • Pablito R

      I have had this very issue with my wife’s D7000. As you said, 2-3 cleans after – all good and never had it again.

  • Joshua South

    I just came back from shooting a wedding in mexico for a weekend. I shot about 1,500 images. The only images that came back showing dust were above f/13, and the only reason I shot that was to slow down the shutter long enough to get the water to blur (about 10 shots). All of the wedding shots, portrait shots, rehearsal dinner, and reception shots have no evidence of dust.

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about whether I should sell the camera and get something else, but the fact remains that the camera kicked ass this past weekend, shooting high ISOs in dark rooms with great results.

    Yes, it’s a $2K camera, and no it shouldn’t be this nasty with dust or oil or whatever it is. I’ve been taking pics of white walls too. There’s a lot of dust on there, but it doesn’t show up until f/11 for me, and very faint. That means I can shoot all day at 7.1 or 9 and not worry about it.

    All this being said, I did have to return my first D600 to J&R because of 2 dead or hot pixels right in the middle of the sensor.

    I’m keeping it – I’ll call nikon and tell them too, as we all should.

    Keep up the good work NR!

    • Babu

      I feel the same way Joshua. Yes my cam has dust which I only seen shooting at F11 or higher at a wall. My camera is working great now and the dynamic range has been really something to enjoy on all my shoots. I’m loving it.

    • Mansgame

      And thats the shame of it. It’s a nice camera. Very nice.

  • mp

    I think this is a very annoying problem. People buying a ‘cheap entry level FF body’ should’nt meet such kind of problems. I was a Canon owner before, fortunately not having much lenses. One of my friend suggested me to switch Nikon, I did, and now I’m dissapointed (the D7000 focus problem, D800 left focusing issue, D600 dust problem, these are all hardware problems, you can’t repare them with a firmware update)…….. so it’s high time to find another, reliable mark, probably in the mirrorless segment.

    • Captain Megaton

      You cannot be “dissapointed” with Nikon about issues you’ve read about but have not experienced. If you bought a D600, and if the oil spots are visible in the photos you naturally take, then you can be disappointed.

      Still think there’s nothing here that can’t be fixed by wiping down the AA filter a couple of times. Which any dSLR user worth their salt would do anyway.

      The problem with the early batches of Pentax K-5′s, where the foreign matter ended up between the filter and the sensor proper, was much worse since it was impossible for the end user to remove.

    • Pablito R

      It appears FF cameras aren’t for you. Mirrorless might fit your needs and expectations better. .

  • Lanskymob

    Can we also have a tally of folks who HAVEN’T experienced these problems, so we can get a ratio of problem/non-problem?

  • Jhon
  • zeum

    Wow, People are really going crazy over this. It not going to stop me from dropping the hammer on a D600 in the next few days. My D80 has more dust than grandmas closet and I rarely ever see it. Seriously, these spots are so tiny compared to real dust that they disappear at f11. When the heck do I ever really shoot over f8? never. If Nikon ever admits a problem. Ill send it in. If not. whatever, but I dont have a big sense of entitlement either.

    • Mansgame

      Nobody is stopping you. It’s a nice camera. Just don’t be surprised when pictures show at f/4. No sense of entitlement here…just want a dust free camera for $2100. Please, do it. You don’t sound like you will though and I doubt you even have anything beyond a D3000.

      “who shoots over f/8″ lol. Ever heard of Sunny 16?

  • Chimphappyhour

    50 1.8D? That lens has allowed dust onto the sensor of all of my cameras. Every time I get a new camera, I use only that lens for testing purposes and never change it off until I’m happy. EVERY time, I’ve had to clean the sensor after having that lens on there.

  • Marco Fiorini

    Don’t worry guys, it’s not only Nikon USA. Same problem in Italy with Nital (Nikon Italy). There’s no problem with the D600 and all the D800 focus perfectly.

    I AM..going to loose my customer, if I AM NOT going to admit the problems and fix them.

    • chk

      Yep, for d600 they’ll only wipe the sensor.. that will return to the exact same dirty situation in a while…
      My d7000 has been to service two times and it’s still not perfect, still a lot of random focus with a 50 1.4g (which focus fast and perfectly on d700 and even d50!!).
      I think that nikon is lowering a lot the quality of it’s product and of it’s service.
      Maybe thailand made products quality isn’t the same as the Japan’s one.. but the fact that they do not recognize and cure this problem is a shame.

    • http://kyleclements.com/ Kyle Clements

      Nikon Canada service is prompt, responsive and friendly.

  • wileecoyote

    Don’t suppose anyone would be willing to sell me one with a known dust problem for a bit cheaper than retail? I’d like to pull one apart and see if I can determine what the material is, and where it’s coming from. I’m betting they oil part of the shutter or mirror mechanism a little too liberally, but the only one I’ve seen didn’t seem to exhibit the issue.

  • Mike

    I am having the oil spot issue with the D600. Just spoke to a local repair shop in San Diego. They are authorized to do Nikon warranty repair, but they said that Nikon has not acknowledged the issue and will not cover the cleaning, so it will be out of pocket.
    I have called Nikon customer service earlier as well, they advised sending the camera in, but warned that it would take about a month to turn this around and I would have to pay for shipping.
    Nikon, not good. I have switched systems before, I may do it again.

  • rhlpetrus

    The guy should have cleaned it and then tested with MLU. My guess: no issue, so it’s likely related to oil coming from mirror motion. Nikon should be able to correct this quickly.

  • gbarranco

    Kyle Clements seems to be a painter, not a photographer…

    He owns a D70 and deciedes to buy a D600 (I would have probably bought a D3200 or a D5100 or maybe a D7000).

    Then he jumps right into a test to see if his $2000 camera has an issue (did he buy the camera to run a test?)…

    Then he produces a perfect video to demostrate it?
    He records perfect audio…
    With perfect graphics…

    This sound cheesy to me…

    • http://kyleclements.com/ Kyle Clements

      “Kyle Clements seems to be a painter, not a photographer…”
      Can’t it be both?

      “He owns a D70 and deciedes to buy a D600 (I would have probably bought a D3200 or a D5100 or maybe a D7000).”
      Most of my lenses are full frame D series. The D3200 and D5100 lack the auto focus screw, making them a lot less useful. The D7000 is a very nice camera, but looking through a DX viewfinder is lame. As soon as I looked through that D600 viewfinder, I was sold. I could actually see stuff! Brought me back to my film days…

      “Then he jumps right into a test to see if his $2000 camera has an issue”
      So, you would spend $2000 on something and NOT put it through some serious quality control tests before using it? I like knowing the limits of my gear.

      “He records perfect audio…”
      Perfect audio? You can hear my computer fans, my fridge compressor, and other bits of room noise. No room tone, just abrupt cuts to absolute silence. Far from perfect.

      “With perfect graphics…”
      That image of my D600 taken with my D70 and Tokina 28-80 2.8 lens was pretty shoddy.

      “This sound cheesy to me…”

      I can’t argue against that point.

      • Mansgame

        Don’t listen to him…you’re my hero.. I’ve fought with Nikon to no avail. I fought with other Nikon owners who blamed user error. Finally we have proof.

        • Nikon D600 owner

          Agreed, why the heck are people attacking the D600 owners, blaming them? It is not civil and is quite annoying.

  • ZinZun

    For what it worth after seeing this video I took 3 series of 100 shots in burst with my D600, 70-200 @ f22, having dust spots when the camera arrived I keep testing this “problem” every few hundred shots or so, when I first purchased my camera I hd the exact same issue as in this video, well today I have 3k+ clicks and the results amazed me – during 3x 100 shots burst including switching lenses in between burst I couldn’t find not one single dust spot (well not new spots at least – I have a single one and I’m too lazy to clean it), so at least for me it looks like that although this problem looks serious at the beginning, after 3,000 shots it is finally gone…

    • http://kyleclements.com/ Kyle Clements

      This news is very encouraging. Let’s hope mine clears up after a few thousand shots, so I can clean the sensor once and be done with it.

    • Mansgame

      Thanks for sharing. I was able to clean mine after the first set..I hope it stays that way.

      • desmo

        hope it works for you so you can start to enjoy your new camera

    • Captain Megaton

      Well, it all sounds like excess lubricant on the mirror/shutter mechanism flying off and hitting the AA filter. Once the bulk of the oil has worked its way off, the problem is taken care of naturally.

      And remember that these spots, like dust, are not visible in normal photos unless you stop down to F16 or higher.

      So, seems like the best advice is roll with it: Avoid F16+ and clear blue sky for the first few thousand frames, clean your sensor at 5000 and again at 10000 frames, and get on with your life.

      • bidragsgivaren

        It is not true that it is only visible at f16. I was in a camerashop today to see if there was any spots from the test camera. And I could see spots on the left side of the picture with f4 and the spots were quite big. Sorry…

  • MB

    I am really amazed how loyal and faithful Nikon customers are …
    No matter how defective and low quality product Nikon throws at them they will patiently spend days and months talking with a representative who does not care from the company (Nikon) that obviously does not care either and trying to explain that it is really not OK that the product they have payed for dearly is not functioning properly and that it would really be nice if they (Nikon) realizes that and that is also not OK to threat faithful customers like that …
    Hm … would be better to send them where the sun don’t shine and where they really belong with an attitude like that …

    • Mansgame

      I’m sorry, are there a dozen camera companies to choose from? It’s basically Canon and Nikon…Sony is doing better but they’re still Sony. Most of us also have thousands of dollars in lenses, lights, and training invested in the system. A critical mass should be reached before we ditch it all.

  • BMahlz

    Ok having gone through hell with Nikon Service in the past – I think it should be noted on top of everything else that the people you talk to when you call Support don’t know jack about the cameras of any given camera. They are all sitting in an office call center in the middle of Pennsylvania…hundreds of miles from the Service Center locations that your actual equipment is at. That is the first problem with all of this – there is no one actually on site to check something out and report back to you.

  • bjpatt

    I don’t know how many of you were aware of or remember the sensor spot issue on the D7000 right after it was released. I bought my D7000 in December 2010 and had to send it in for repairs 6 months later. What I saw on my sensor looked more like spots of oil. They were visible to the naked eye. In the end, I never got a reasonably clear response from Nikon as to what the problem was and found them unwilling to provide a substantive description of what the issue was other than “the camera you get back will never have problems of this type again.” The operating theory on various web sites was that the shutter mechanism was spraying minute drops of oil.

    Is this the same thing? Has anybody looked at the sensor under a bright light?

  • Aldo

    I’m glad I went with the D800

  • Spy Black

    Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to see what my own sensor looks like on my D5100. I’ve never cleaned it since I got the camera. I’ve never noticed any spots on my images, but I took a shot at a wall at F32, knocked out of focus, moving the camera while exposing for 8 seconds. I then brought the RAW file into Photoshop at 16-bit, converted to 32-bit, applied auto levels, desaturated and then whittled down to 8-bit. This is what I got: http://tinyurl.com/b8e6tvq

    This shot is the 4055th shutter actuation on my D5100. Now, I change lenses. A lot. Mind you, I don’t see any of this crap under normal exposures (although I may notice some of the larger ones now ;-). But if you look at the upper left, you’ll notice a similar pattern to what D600 camera is doing. If you were to see this image at full res you’d see a lot more crap everywhere, but I think you get the idea.

    I have a funny feeling that most people will see something similar if they start looking for it. I think this may be part and parcel of camera shutter mechanisms, and for some reason it’s stuck out on the D600, but I bet all cameras do this, whether it’s a Nikon, Canon, etc. Obviously the D600 is seemingly doing it a lot more, but ultimately I think this whole issue is being blown out of proportion. Remember, you have to go out of your way to find this crap. I bet a few simple cleanings on the D600 will bring it around. I’ll also bet if I clean my sensor I’ll still get crap in that upper left corner again.

  • neversink

    As I have said: this may force Nikon’s hand and make Nikon respond and admit all problems:

    Report problems to Nikon and your supplier, as well as to your state’s Attorney General (if you live in the USA.) There are laws protecting consumers against failures of products and failure of the corporation honestly dealing to provide a remedy. I am in NY State and will start using this avenue. You could also report to the FTC on a federal level or perhaps even another federal office.

    As a consumer, I expect the products I buy to work as advertised and as expected. Oil on the sensor is unacceptable; and Nikon needs to start honestly dealing with these issues, or be forced to through legal channels.

  • ericnl

    when I bought my D600 late last week I asked them specifically if the shop’s service included this “issue”, so today, with only 130 shots on the counter, I took a couple of shots of a piece of white paper, correctly exposed at different apertures, and even on the display of the camera you can see the spots when zoomed in to show the upper quarter of the image, starting at f/11 without any additional processing.

    just called the shop, they will clean the sensor for me a couple of times during the next month to see if it persists.

    luckily I usually shoot with my lens more open, so I can get away with this trial period of a month, but occasionally I need to go f/11 or higher (mostly in summer), so I do want this issue to go away, especially for the €1839,- it costs to buy one.

  • http://twitter.com/bjornsplace Bjorn Bengtsson

    I bought a D600 when it was released (serail 601XXXX) and have after 1200 exposures not seen any dust issues at all.

  • Ron

    Nikon knows what is going on. I work for a cellphone manufacture, we know if people return our cellphones. AT&T or Verizon will not bear the cost of poor production quality. We will, therefore, Nikon knows this, just does not want to acknowledge.

  • Tondu

    At the Nikon Service Points the problem is known and the cleaning of the sensor and adjustment of the mirror box will be done for free…but don’t ask Nikon directly, they won’t admit that the problem existed…

  • Leebee

    I bought a brand new Nikon D600. I have taken 500 or so shots and changed the lens a dozen times. Still no dust or oil spots. What am I doing wrong?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      Maybe you got one from the new batch.

    • Michael

      What was your serial number?

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