The Nikon D600 sensor doesn’t get any more oil spots after 3000 shots

Few updates on the Nikon D600 oil spots issue. The good news is that no new oil spots get accumulated over time as reported today by LensRentals:

"Things are definitely better. Where 20 of 20 cameras required cleaning 6 weeks ago, only 11 of 20 did this time (our average for all SLRs would be about 5 of 20).

Like we did in the first article, I took all 20 images, stacked them in Photoshop using “darken if” to give you a summary of all the dust on all 20 cameras.  Again, 20 cameras, not one single sensor."

Kyle Clements reported that the magic number seems to be around 3000 shots after which the sensor doesn't get any dirtier:

"3000 was the magic number posted throughout many of the comments. After 3000 shots, the problem more-or-less goes away."

Nikon USA did issue this statement to Imaging Resource regarding the D600 oil spots:

"Measures to reduce effects of dust or foreign matter are optimized for each model. Therefore, the dust reduction system's internal mechanism varies with each model," the Nikon statement reads. "If the effects of dust or foreign matter on photographs become bothersome, customers are encouraged to consult their local Nikon service center."

One of the possible theories posted by PetaPixel is that the sensor spots are caused by scratches in the mirror box.

According to this dpreview post, Nikon already has a solution for this issue:

  • Nikon Tokyo have a solution in the works which will involve fitting new parts into the camera to solve the issue
  • The fix will be coming 'soon' but I was told I should still send my camera in to be cleaned in the meantime for a quick turnaround of just several days
  • They are not oil spots we are seeing but lubricant/debris coming off the mirror box
  • The interim cleaning will involve not just the sensor but also the source of the lubricant
  • Nikon are paying for the postage by sending me out a barcode to put on the box so I can send it in for the cleaning
  • A high proportion of d600's are experiencing this problem

If you own a D600 and have taken over 3000 shots, please share your experiences in the comments section below.

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  • graphicmanphoto

    For $2 grand I expect a dust free sensor – end of story – 3000 actuations is insulting – or get it cleaned??- it’s brand new – – wtf – get professional – fix the next batch going out – or lose a dedicated customer base –

  • fishguy

    Just sent my refurb D800 back today after having it a week – 24+ spots on the sensor, three are visible at f8 10% crop with no PS magic!
    Some of the spots have halo-stains around them. They are dark black and round, I think it is some sort of oil spray.

  • D800GuY

    My question is, why was there oil on the sensor in the first place?

  • Nougatine3110

    Not true for me !!
    4417 shoots and still have the problem 🙁
    And my sensor was cleaned after 3000 shoots … pfffff

  • Don C

    I purchased a D800E about 6 weeks ago and after taking about 5000 shots I see extensive spotting in the same upper left screen area as the D600. They are nearly perfectly round as would be anticipated by a lubricant. Examination of the sensor at the local Nikon dealer revealed some dust, but in my observation it didn’t correlate with the pattern of spots. As this story unfolds, I believe the dust and lubricant issues are separate. The spots are faint in single frame use, but quite prominent in HDR shots.

  • MartyR

    I have had my D600 since 1st day shipments and now ave about 10,000 shots on it. I checked the sensor at about 8,000 shots and shortly after hearing about the problem. My sensor has about 4 dozen+ spots of varied size mostly in upper left quadrant and the sensor cleaning did nothing at all, nor did rocket blaster. The spots are dark and almost perfectly round/smooth edges. Therefore, for my situation and based on descriptions by those who’ve experienced similar spots, they are most definitely NOT DUST.
    To those who keep shouting that “it is not oil, it is dust!” — If you haven’t seen my camera nor those of folks reporting oil or lubricant, then you have no legitimate basis for proclaiming to know what I or others have encountered. If you have encountered dust and managed to blow it away, then good for you! On my sensor, these are some kind of moist spots: lubricant or oil that will require wet cleaning.
    For the record, I am irritated and pissed at Nikon, but love my images. For now, I am resolved to do what others like Moose Peterson (outdoor/wildlife photographer) have suggested: if you’re going to be a professional photographer, then learn to clean your equipment–including the sensor. I’ve ordered wet cleaning kits that Moose recommends and demonstrates how to safely use on his D4, D3S, and D600. I will learn to clean my own equipment, but if the shutter lubricant or “finish” continue to slough-off onto the sensor, then I may have to bite the bullet and get Nikon to clean the source of the debris.
    For those of you who’ve asked how to check for “dust” spots (or any other debris on your sensor), you can google it to get details, but generally, you need to clean & dust front/rear lens elements of your lens, & then use approx 55-65mm lens, aperture at F22 if it will go that high, then shoot several photos against a bright sky focused near infinity with proper exposure (white clouds will do fine). For the 2nd/3rd shots, if you can include some tree leaves on the right edge just barely in frame but move the framing slightly from picture to picture, it will help you distinguish spots in the sky from spots on you sensor. I was able to see spots right on rear of camera by zooming into the images to max zoom or less.
    As an aside, this may seem sick, but While disgusted to see all those round spots, I was almost as much impressed by the tiny swallows flying overhead that were otherwise invisible to the naked eye.

  • Frank [GER]

    3400 shots – cleaned by a nikon point. 80 shots later the camera needed an new wet cleaning. Every 80 shots I have to clean…..

  • After using my D600 for over 5000 shutter actuations, I decided to wet clean the sensor. I then performed another 1000 shutter actuations in a timelapse. The debris returned.

    See the video:

  • ian

    Mine’s less than 500 shots and already has dust! what should i do with it?

  • I got still got spots and worst part is when send to nikon service center bring the dust into my view finder…

  • Guest

    I’m one of the lucky ones as well. My first D600 had a faulty diopter that didn’t work even slightly. This new unit has hundreds if not thousands of these little blurry, grey spots all over. They seem to have increased over time since I bought it on Dec 26. I looked for them on some of the early shots and they were very few if not zero. Now, it’s a plague. Getting a wet cleaning kit today.

    For what it’s worth, I saw a link to a Canon page where they had a similar issue with at least one of their models. Instead of being silent, they acknowledged they had an issue and apologized.

  • Issa

    It doesn’t matter if the oil / spot goes away after certain number of shots or not. Nikon’s Quality assurance surely knew the Problem exist but still put it out on the market for sale. This act of Nikon must be well noted and reported and accurate must be taken against Nikon

  • Lega

    I have seen videos and reports of this issue persisting still at 6/7k and 30k shots, so this things everybody’s talking of the 3k shot is just an illusion.

  • Rebel

    from Giuseppe Maio, Product Manager Digital Department Nital S.p.A (Nikon Italy assistence):

    La polvere che si deposita sul sensore è da imputarsi ad una partita di
    componenti, provenienti da forniture esterne, risultata essere non
    corrispondente agli standard Nikon in tema di pulizia. Tale problema non
    riguarda un componente in particolare, ma una serie di componenti, e
    non compromette l’efficienza della fotocamera.
    L’intervento in
    LTR, l’assistenza ufficiale Nikon di Nital, risolve alla radice il
    problema poichè non si limita ad una pulizia del sensore, ma individua
    la causa, la risolve e procede ad una profonda pulizia dell’intero box
    Speriamo di aver risolto i vostri dubbi.

  • peter d

    Im up to about 10000 shots now on my D600. I had it cleaned twice in 3 days when it was at about 7000 shots and it’s now covered in spots again at about 11000 shots. It’s only noticeable at around f16, and impossible to miss. When it was cleaned the first time at 7000 shots, the sensor was covered with black debris, maybe 50 huge black spots. Currently its probably got around 30 large smudges. I’m a a pro photographer, and I’ve seen plenty of dirty sensors over the last few years but this camera is appalling and an embarrassment to Nikon. At least the rubbers have fallen off, yet.

  • this is a crop of my 600s problem

  • peter d

    13,000 shots and still a huge problem. fixed by 3000 shots is bs.
    the camera should be recalled.

  • cameraJamie

    I was impressed with the quality of the photos and video capability of the D600, but the oil/lubricant problem has plagued me since day one and ruined not only hundreds of photos, and time lapses but also video that I’ve shot for paying clients. The spots on my sensor appeared on day 3 of owning the camera, and it’s been cleaned twice. The spots appear again almost instantly after more shots are taken on a clean sensor, especially after shooting time lapse. Regardless of what people say about the magic 3000 number, my camera has over 15 000 actuations and the spots keep coming. All of my friends and colleagues who own Canon, hassled me about buying a Nikon to shoot video with, and after spending months defending Nikon, I’m starting to think maybe getting a D600 wasn’t such a great idea after all. I hope Nikon can fix this problem with my camera or I will be an ex customer and may switch to Canon after all 🙁 It’s too bad because I do like the camera, and the image quality is stunning, just too bad the images all require post processing to fix, and the video is almost unusable.

  • jeffrockr

    Got the issue after 1000 actuations. d600 viewfinder is dark,which makes it a pain in low light like concerts. Most of people dont seem to bother or even notice . Should have bought a old d3 instead. Probably getting a refund in few days.

  • travlnman

    at just around 3000 shots, I got the spots. Exactly where they were reported to apper, on the upper left corner, and looks exactly like the samples that are posted. This is totally unsat for a camera of this caliber.

  • I have taken over 3,000 pictures, currently just over 8,000 and I just had to have my camera professionally cleaned yesterday, for the 2nd time since buying it in November. The first cleaning was in mid January, I plan on sending it in for service in a month or so, once the sensor becomes dirty again.

  • Corey Solotorovsky

    Nikon has integrity issues. The only public statement is that D600 owners have minor dust spots that are part of everyday camera life. But, when sending mine in for service, it is on parts backlog from Japan; no ETA 3+ weeks later. Cleaning, huh?

  • Mcblunt

    Am I alone in being completely happy with my D600? Got it on the first day of uk sales and have loved it ever since… No spotting issues except what you’d normally expect from lots of lens changes, how ever careful you are.

  • Bill

    In my case I bought the D600 thinking I not only invested in the camera but also the company in future sales of lens and other accessory items. I felt I bought the best, not second best or third best but the best and was willing to pay the price for it. The integrity of the company is in question and future sales. In other words, man up, fix the problem maintain your integrity as the best. Customers will pay the price for the best

  • Amy

    I’m at 4222, still have plenty of spots. And this is the second camera I’ve gone through with Nikon

  • Jwolf

    Honestly the best solution for this is go Canon which is also a Asian company that publicly announced the 5DM3 issues. Guess what they fixed it quick. Honestly I just think it would be best to skip the D600 right now. Canon 6D or 5DM2 sounds like a better choice. If you want Nikon get a D800 or grab a older model for cheap.

  • Jomar

    I ve got a D800 and a D600 no spots on the D600 till now and on the D800 I have to go to clean the sensor and it cost me GBP 66. Not only money but if you take a photo and you have to fix it in software it is ok but if you are on holiday and take like 200 photos it is a different story. I took around 500 pics 200 of them have spots. I owned a D700 much better sensor no dust 12000 pics . What I am not sure is whether it is a megapixel issue or Nikon is making cheap sensors that attract more dust. I didn’t know about this dust problem when I ve shot with the D700. I sold it as it was a bit heavy to carry it with the 24-70 F2.8. When there would be a good replacement of that camera of the D700. D800 Djoke of the year

  • Nik

    Ive cleaned my D600 sensor last time just after 3800 shots. After another 500-600 shots ive noticed again oil spots 50+ .I am not afraid to clean sensor but this is unacceptable.I can say this problem doesn’t go away even after 3000 shots.

  • Milton

    8000 shots and still have the problem!

  • Milton

    8000 shots and still have the problem!

  • Andrew

    Instead of recalling, they just made a new D610. Can’t they give us a nice discount to upgrade to that? Oh well.

  • Jishnu Nandy

    Nikon Should allow us to trade in the D600 for D610 for the customers willing to pay the difference. This is not going to work. I have completed 6000 shots and still facing this issue. Already have cleaned the camera once by the Nikon Authorised Centre. Please help the customers! This is just so bad.!!

    • John Doe


  • CaringaboutMaine

    I sent my d600, purchased 1/13 for $2000, in for a cleaning after many attempts to clean the sensor myself on 9/13 of both particles and oil spots. Shortly after each cleaning I performed, the oil spotting would show up the most. The dust particles were a lot fewer, but still appeared. The cleaning kit cost $25. The cost to me to send the camera to Nikon service with insurance was $40. Nikon honored the warranty by cleaning the camera and replacing various components. After about a month back from the cleaning and service I noticed additional oil spotting. I cleaned them again. After a few cleanings I decided to contact Nikon again and arranged to send it in, by now the date is 10/13 with thousands of photos shot. In the mean time I contacted the company I purchased the camera from, because I did not want to keep spending my money for shipping and insurance. They told me to bring it in and they would replace it with a newer d600. They honored the exchange however I was hoping for a replacement with the d610, but to no avail.

    I asked if there were issues with dust and oil spots with the newer d600. They assured me Nikon fixed the problem. Does anyone know if
    the issue is fixed with the newer d600 with serial number starting with
    307….? I am sure I will find out the more I use the camera. I have to say,
    after 40 years using Nikon products, I am tempted to try Canon out the next time I want to upgrade.

  • hrj

    I have just contacted Nikon for the third time about spots on my D600. They certainly have not been able to fix the problem with my camera. Do lemon laws apply to cameras?

  • Carol Hart

    I bought my D600 a year ago and am only beginning to experience the dirty sensor issue. My shutter count is at 7,445. Quite discouraging.

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