Hello. This is my first post. I've been going to Nikon Rumors for information for a while now. I tried to clean my sensor today and had fairly good results, thought I'd share my results so people can avoid what I do or modify/improve it.
Disclaimer: Below is what I did with my camera. If you chose to do it, you do it of your own free will knowing full well that your camera might cease to function completely or you may die from it etc. To keep this disclaimer short I'll just say - Do NOT do what I did below. I explicitly forbid you do so
Total number of shots taken (since I got camera including these pictures): 3594
Speed: As required to produce correct exposure (2-10seconds)
Background: Various parts of a white wall, slightly textured lit by a very warm light source.
Easiest to just look at the pictures. Naming convention is Date_Order_Description_Location eg. 131016_1_Uncleaned_Loc1. Pictures are in my skydrive and it likes to order them based on time of upload completion. Easiest is to change "Sort by" to "Name", that way, you can just click on the first picture and use the screen arrows to navigate. If you don't and you end up viewing the pictures in a random order, then you won't see any progression. http://sdrv.ms/1apGtLl
1. First picture, no cleaning done at all, location. 131016_1_Uncleaned_Loc1
2. Second picture, no cleaning done at all, second location. 131016_2_Uncleaned_Loc-2
3. Locked mirror up and used a hand puffer repeatedly with camera facing down. 131016_3_Puffer_Loc-1
4. Mirror up, used a dry q-tip to *gently* sweep across the sensor. Wasn't really sure of orientation, thought the top left corner of the image (where most of the spots appear to be) should be in the lower right corner when looking at the sensor. Strokes ended in the middle, not all the way to the other end. 131016_4_Qtip1_Loc-1
5. Mirror up, used another q-tip to sweep completely across from right to left and then after entire sensor covered, did a sweep from bottom left to top left to put everything that can't be cleaned towards a corner. 131016_5_Qtip2_Loc-1
6 - 8. Mirror up, used a third q-tip to repeat the procedure. There are 3 pictures because there are imperfections in my wall and with the 3 pictures, you can see where any remaining spots are. 131016_6_Qtip3_Loc-1, 131016_7_Qtip3_Loc-2, 131016_8_Qtip3_Loc-3
Based on the sensor images, I would say the cleaning worked fairly well. The Q-tip I'm pretty sure is not recommended anywhere, however, it appears to work. It is annoying to try and sweep over the sensor systematically with the rounded tip, being gentle while trying to keep the tip on steadily. After the first two pictures, I could see that there were clearly spots on my image. I tried to illuminate the sensor and tilt it at all angles to see the actual spots but could not see any. I also looked at the q-tips after I had cleaned the sensor and could not see any specks of any color on the tip. Even though from the images, the q-tips were clearly doing something to the spots. Images are jpg conversions from RAW with automatic levels and white balance set to middle of the image. Pictures are uploaded at full res so you can download and zoom as desired.