Oil Spots? -D7100-

calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
edited April 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
So I had put off buying any kind of product to clean the sensor on my D7100 because I wasn't expecting to have to do so for a while. The other day I went out with my 18-55mm lens and shot some landscape pictures and when I came home and threw them on Lightroom I noticed there were some weird spots on the sky. I chalked it up to not having cleaned the lens and filter in a while, so I cleaned them off and didn't pick the camera up for a couple of days. I went out the other day again, this time with my 35mm f/1.8 and took some landscape shots around town and came home and discovered the same exact pattern of spots on the images. They're not noticeable unless I'm shooting at f/9 (usually the smallest aperture I go down to) and the blue sky is in the shot. I have ordered some sensor cleaning supplies, but they seem to be backordered and won't be here until May.

Are the spots or stains I'm seeing oil spots, or just dirt on the sensor? Attached find two images (post-processing was done to them which brings out the blemishes more) I took with the 35mm lens (I cleaned it and the filter before going out to shoot these) which, to me, show the apparent problem:

Look at the top left hand side of both images, although you can see some of the spots on the top right in the second picture.
image
image

ETA: camera model
Post edited by calengor on
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  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,387Member
    Hard to tell for sure. It does look similar to the upper left corner dust/oil spots many people experienced with the D600. If a dry cleaning doesn't fix it, you may need a wet cleaning. It seems the wet cleaning system works better for oil. Check this thread for lots of info.

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/84/d600-dustoillubricant-issue-discussiondiscontinuation-and-price-reductions#Item_1047
  • BerryhillBerryhill Posts: 10Member
    It would help if you amend your question by mentioning the camera in question. That looks like a more extreme case of the oil spotting that caused me to send in my D600 under Nikons recall/repair policy. In my case the repair ticket claimed that the shutter was replaced and the sensor cleaned. No way of verifying that the shutter was replaced, but the sensor (low pass filter) was cleaner than when I sent it in but not spotless by any means. I contacted Nikon and received another ticket to return the camera but I have not yet done so because I am weighing the risks involved with shipping and reported "impact damage" claims against just living with light oil spotting. Unlike your typical use, I often use apertures f13 - f22 for macro work so even light spotting often shows. From the photos, yours seems like an extreme case and renders the camera virtually unusable. Is it a D600? Remember that Nikon literature says that your use of a wet cleaning solution could void the warranty. I don't know whether they enforce that. I would also note that in my case, wet cleaning did not fully remove the oil spotting, nor did the Nikon service center cleaning so, whatever the nature or source of the spotting, it seems to be a serious problem. Has any other D600 owner with oil spotting problems found that the Nikon servicing completely removed the spots?
  • BerryhillBerryhill Posts: 10Member
    I might also note that I had a D5100 that I sold after buying the D600 and post D600 examination of the 5100's photos after 30K exposures showed no oil spotting and minimal dust. I bought a D7000 to use during the D600 absence and returned it because it showed oil spotting upon arrival. Replaced it with a D5200 and it has a spotless sensor. I hated to return the D7000 because the control interface is so much more like the D600. Anyone else seen spotting on a new or newish D7000? I have used the LR sort functions to scan thousands of photos over eight years and four cameras so I can with some confidence dispute Nikon's claim that the low pass filter debris and spotting on the D600 is no different than any other DSLR.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,432Moderator
    D7K? Nah. I had enough to clean it after a year, but it wasn't a problem. I saw some dust on my D7100 today, waiting for the batts to charge so I can lift the mirror and blow them off.
    Always learning.
  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    Apologies for neglecting to include the camera used. It's D7100 with 10776 actuations.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,361Member
    No problems with my D7100 with dust or oil spots.

    Berryhill...send that D600 back and they will replace the shutter mechanism. Also run a search on D600 dust issues. There are lots of discussions in several forums.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • BerryhillBerryhill Posts: 10Member
    I've been through the forums and all the attendant review sites, cleaning videos and Nikon "statements". It did rather shock me when I got the camera back from the LA service center and found that the low pass filter still had oil spots. Does that mean that their cleaning methods simply cannot remove whatever type of contamination is occurring? Did they do test shots after cleaning at all? Did they somehow think that I would bother to send the camera in, risk shipping damage and lose the use of it for weeks and not notice that it was still spotted? I have no answers, but it does leave me in the position of risking shipping damage again with no guarantee that they would get it right the next time.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Berry, I wouldn't worry about shipping damage, just insure it. Worst case you can buy a new camera with the dough
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,432Moderator
    I WOULD worry about shipping damage because somewhere between Ironheart's worst case and best case is that your camera takes a beating that doesn't stop it working yet but maybe affects focus or causes it to break when it is out of warranty. Yes I worry, but I pack thing over the top well, and instruct the service centre to re-use my packing to return my camera or lens to me.

    I would phone the service centre and ask them what game they are playing by returning it to you with the same problem you sent it in with and get them to do a fast turnaround with it.
    Always learning.
  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    So it's been more than 12 months since i've had the camera and as I understand it it's no longer under warranty. I have ordered an eyelead gel stick sensor cleaner, but since it's shipping from the UK it will not be here until May at the earliest. I'm worried about using some of the other sensor cleaning tools I've seen as I'd be afraid of screwing the sensor up more or completely.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,432Moderator
    Some of the dust will not blow off so I'm going to try my eyelead gel stick, if that doesn't work, I'll wet clean it. @calengor: Wet cleaning isn't something to be terrified of, but it is something to give your full attention. Watch youtube vids galore then go do it. You'll be fine, so will your sensor.
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,374Member
    edited April 2014
    The eyelead does a great job, I've yet to have dust or other particles escape it's grasp. It got what I think was an oil spot off the sensor of my D800. Just be careful where you do the cleaning, since new dust can land on the sensor during the cleaning process.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    Any recommendations on dry or wet sensor cleaners?
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,387Member
    edited April 2014
    dry cleaning - Senser Gel.

    wet cleaning - Copperhill system.

    http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/2014/02/18/can-we-talk-sensor-cleaning/
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    Update,

    I ordered a Copper Hill system yesterday based on @donaldejose's recommendation.

    Today I received my eyelead sensor cleaner. I used it, and voila, the hideous spots are gone. It was really easy.

  • BerryhillBerryhill Posts: 10Member
    So, are you saying that those hazy irregular spots were removed with the gel stick? My impression was that its capabilities were limited to discrete particles rather than what seems like thin film contamination. Can you post a photo similar to your first posts that shows a clear sky?
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,432Moderator
    That is one of the big points about dirty sensors - everybody thinks they can tell the difference between oil and dust, but it is simply not that easy. When some solids are viewed, they look like a spreading droplet (95% of household dust is translucent particles of human skin). Plus, I am not yet convinced about the eyelead method of cleaning as if it is used on a drop of oil, it would squish it out over a larger area so it is less easily seen and also it would contaminate the stick so you would contaminate the sensor everywhere you touch it afterwards. Subsequent solid dust that would be displaced by the self cleaning system would then be stuck firm and also resist a blower.
    Always learning.
  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    @Berryhill

    I'm not for sure whether they were oil spots or not, hence the question mark at on the OP. I didn't stop it down past 9 to see what they looked like, so it could be that at f/16 or 22 they could have been discrete dust particles on the pictures. I've found that I can usually get nice landscapes using the hyperfocal distance at f/9 and when I've gone up to f/16 or 22 the diffraction starts to bother me on distant objects (maybe it's all in my head). I only stop down further if there's still too much light. There won't be much chance to take pictures of clear sky for a bit, as we've had rain since Monday and it's forecast to go through at least tomorrow. When/if I get the chance I will take some and post them up.

    I took some pictures of a wall yesterday before and after cleaning, but they're not great because the wall has imperfections and it wasn't on a tripod on the same spot. I'll see if I can't get them uploaded tonight when I get home. I took an f/9 before shot and after cleaning an f/9 and an f/22 and in neither can you see the ugly spots.

    @spraynpray

    I'm just happy it seemed to solve my current problem. I understand what you're saying about the spreading/contaminating of oil through the sensor. Each time I went in to press the gel stick against the sensor I came out and pressed it against the provided viscous paper in a different location before going back to the next portion of the sensor to try to avoid any cross-contamination. It could be, I'm not sure, that oil sticks to the gel stick in a similar fashion and instead of spreading out it attaches and is then removed on the viscous paper, which would avoid such cross-contamination.

    Right now I'm just happy to be able to take landscapes with the sky in them or pictures without a lot of texture to try to hide the spots.
  • BerryhillBerryhill Posts: 10Member
    @spraynpray Oil spot transference is a worrisome possibility. I have no way of positively disputing your oil/skin particle hypothesis but I suspect we are dealing with rather large differences in thickness, flatness and translucency. A quick search shows that oil film may be a couple hundred nano meters while shed skin is more like a few tens of micro meters. Should make a very big difference in translucency even discounting the flatness factor.
    @calengor I'm glad that the gel stick seems to be getting your sensor clean enough for your purposes: I may have to give it a try if I decide not to give my D600 another trip through the Nikon sensor wash. I think I may have confirmed a mistaken impression you have concerning a "proper" subject for sensor test shots. Blue skies are definitely not necessary. Featureless gray is fine, textured walls are fine as long as they are truly out of focus and the aperture is at its minimum. If the subject area is sufficiently out of focus it should not make any difference whether or not you are aimed at the same part of the sky or wall. You WILL get the best look at any debris or spotting on the "sensor" if you take the exposure at f16 or smaller, and, in post-processing, you push the contrast slider all the way up and adjust the exposure slider if necessary to obtain a neutral gray density range.
  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    @Berryhill

    image

    The sky decided to cooperate today after all. There's a couple of spots I found using the visualize spots tool in Lightroom, but they change location in multiple pics, so I don't think they're on the sensor.

    35mm f/22
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,432Moderator
    That looks normal to me. Clean it and forget it.
    Always learning.
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