Nikon D600 still showing dust/oil issues on image sensor but problem lessens over time


posted Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM EST


That problem with the Nikon D600 accumulating dust or oil on its image sensor lessens the more you shoot with the digital SLR but it doesn't seem to completely go away, recent testing shows.

"The dust is still building up, but the accumulation of new dust spots has slowed, and the spots that do show up are not as noticeable," Kyle Clements, the Toronto-based artist and photographer who posted several videos about the problem last year, told Imaging Resource. "After 5000 shutter releases, the new spots that are appearing on the sensor are much smaller and more faint."

As evidence, Clements cited a new timelapse video (below), which he conducted after we asked him to comment on whether he was still experiencing the problem. In the video, Clements notes that his testing was done after he sent the camera in to be serviced by Nikon and while there was a lot less dust or oil accumulating on the left side of the frame, it was still present.

Clements was not certain what exactly is causing the spotting but thinks it's probably oil rather than dust.

"There must be some excess oil on one part inside the camera, and when shots are taken, tiny drops of this oil occasionally fling off and land all over the inside of the camera - including on the sensor, which is visible in some situations - like then the lens is stopped down and you are shooting bright areas like a clear sky," Clements wrote in the comments below his video on YouTube.

When we contacted Nikon USA about the issue, a spokesperson said D600 owners who are experiencing the problem should take their cameras in for service.

“If the effects of dust or foreign matter on photographs become bothersome, customers are encouraged to consult their local Nikon Service Center," the Nikon spokesperson wrote in an email to Imaging Resource.

Roger Cicala, founder of, was one of the first people to report about the Nikon D600 sensor problem last October. He told Imaging Resource last week he was still seeing the issue in some of his Nikon D600 rental cameras but it had become relatively minor.

"We have continued to see dust reduce over time with our existing bodies," Cicala said. "There still seems to be a left upper image preponderance, but not as heavy and not the large chunky specs we saw at first."

He noted that LensRentals had not purchased new Nikon D600s since the initial issue arose so couldn't comment on whether newer models were experiencing the same problem.

In Imaging Resource's own review of the Nikon D600, we found the same dust issue that had been reported elsewhere.

"It's a shame that this mars the image of an otherwise good camera, but it appears to be a real issue that will face most Nikon D600 owners: You'll have to clean the sensor a little more often than the average digital SLR, so be sure to learn how to clean your sensor," we wrote in the review.