I just ****ed my Nikon up!!! (aka: Sensor cleaning mishap)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Abstract, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #1
    I think I may have messed up my sensor while cleaning it. By "messed up", I mean put a dozen or so fine scratches on the filter that sits atop the actual CCD sensor.

    I was reading a forum on how people clean their sensor, and the general consensus was that you don't need liquid unless something weird is stuck to it, and the "glass" filter on top was quite hard and ultra-fragile and touch sensitive like most people believe it is. People just recommended taking a soft cloth and wiping it back and forth over the sensor. If you can't put your finger inside, then cover a small, hard object with the cloth, and wipe the sensor with that. Make sure the object doesn't have any sharp edges. This is where I f***ed up. :eek:

    I think I went a bit "medieval" and scratched it up. I used a soft, thin cloth that I used to wipe my eyeglasses with. However, I probably chose the wrong item to help me. The section of the item I used wasn't sharp. It was rounded and quite dull. However, the edges were sharp. When I wiped the sensor, I think the rounded edge was sometimes pressed against the sensor at a slight angle (rather than completely flush/flat with the sensor), which means the sensor was sometimes wiped with the edge of this object.

    I was hoping these scratches wouldn't be visible unless you were shooting at f/16 and other small apertures (ie: when you shoot macro). However, I was wrong. I can see them faintly at f/5.6, and they only really start to be "invisible" at f/4 and below. That is messed up. :(


    Is there anything I can do to take away the scratches?
     
  2. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #2
    I think the only thing you can do is have it repaired by a professional Nikon-certified repair shop... unfortunately. Sorry to hear about your misfortune...
     
  3. Poncho macrumors 6502

    Poncho

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    #3
    Insurance

    I agree: I 'd get it back to Nikon. Sorry to hear of your problem. The only thing I think when I do something similiar is that at least I broke it myself. Imagine if someone else had dropped the camera or such like. It'd be even worse.

    Also, what about insurance. I would be covered for this under my home insurance as accidental damage. I messed up the needle on my record deck a while back by trying to clean it and got a new one from the insurance company as I damaged it accidentally.
     
  4. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Sorry to hear your story - I hope you learn from it. The sensor is probably the worst part of the camera to damage in terms of expense of fixing it.

    You may want to get a quote on the fix but otherwise you may as well buy a new dslr because paying to put another sensor in there is going to be about the same from what I have heard.
     
  5. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    So you can't replace the anti-aliasing filter itself? You need to get a new sensor, right?

    Actually, I agree. That would be worse, because you'd be angry at the other person. However, now that I've done it myself, I think I'd be harder on myself. Anyway, chalk this one up to stupidity.....and life experience(?). I don't know how I'm going to get the courage to clean the sensor on my next camera. :eek:

    To be honest, I was going to buy a new DSLR anyway, but it wasn't going to be until the successor to the D80 comes out (ie: a D80s). I figure it'll use the same sensor as the D300, but (probably) with better, cleaner, more mature processing by Nikon, resulting in slightly better images. The D80 was announced August 9th, 2006, so I'd probably have to wait until February/March of 2008 (in around 4-5 months) to get a D80s.

    Or I could go for gold, blow the budget, get the D300, and eat ramen noodles for the next year.
     
  6. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

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    #6
    Why not a lovingly used D200- I'm seeing them in the Classifieds around here for as little as $1k with extra batteries, etc. (Body only)
     
  7. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a

    RevToTheRedline

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    #7
    Dang, sorry to hear about the problems.

    I've read too many horror stories of sensor cleaning going foul. When the time comes that mine gets too dirty to just blow off the dust with a Giottos Air Rocket hand blower, I'm taking it to an authorized Nikon repair shop and having it cleaned.
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    Nikon can replace the filter, I'm not sure you could get one from them as a discrete part. You can also remove the AA filter and see what that does for your pictures! One of the IR modifying places does removal and perhaps replacement with something else.

    Nikon does free quotes, send it in and have them do it or call and see if they'll quote over the phone.

    FWIW, I've never seen anything about just using a dry cloth *or* using a hard object from anywhere I'd trust. I use Pec pads even though they're frustrating instead of the chopped up Rubbermaid spatula that most folks recommend (the rubber isn't hard) and I always use cleaning solution.
     
  9. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Yeah - from what I understand it is not as simple as replacing the filter over the sensor - may be wrong thoough...
     
  10. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #10
    My 3 cents

    1: First of all, don't always believe what you read on the forums. The good and bad things about internet is that anybody can say whatever they want.

    2: If a $20 or $30 accessory can save you what you're into right now, by all means, consider it a necessary item, and get it. Include it in the price of the camera at the time of the purchase.

    3: Don't you think you've fkd enough your camera for today? This was the easy part, and you had a filter between you and the sensor. Plus, it's not really next to the sensor, so any small speck of dust gets blurred up. If you mess with changing the filter itself, you'll probably damage the sensor (the real and expensive one, this time) and you'll, in any case, put lots of dirt directly on it (which will be visible at any aperture). Don't be a fool, and take the camera to a true Nikon authorized dealer.
     
  11. digitaltoaster macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Bummer

    There is a sensor cleaning kit available at better camera stores, made by Eclipse, cost is about $40-50:(. Includes 20 swabs and fluid. B&H Photo has it.

    I use this every once every 4 months on my Nikon D2x and it works perfectly. Put two drops fluid on swab, wipe across ONCE only....done.

    I have never heard of anything about using a soft cloth, cloth is much too abrasive. Nor should one use one of those camel hair brushes. If you use compressed air....NEVER shake the can before using...just a couple of VERY short bursts.

    These methods have worked great for me for the last 3 years. As far as I know, Eclipse is the only kit recommended by camera manufactures, read it on the Nikon or Fuji site several years ago and I think it may be in my owners manual.

    Sorry about your mishap....you will most likely need a new sensor as the AA/Bayer filter is most likely cemented to the sensor. :(
     
  12. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Yeah, I don't know where you got this information, but I wouldn't have trusted it. http://www.copperhillimages.com sells a kit with the eclipse solution and everything else you need to do this safely.
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #13
    Looks like you can get the original filters for many cameras as well as IR filters and clear filters, along with some good-looking void-your-warranty installation instructions here:

    http://www.lifepixel.com/index.html

    $95.00 for an original filter, clear filter or IR filter...

    How adventurous are you feeling? Looks like they do the service for $300 if you're not feeling up to it, but I'd probably call Nikon for pricing first- though I'd be pretty tempted to try things filterless and see if I wanted a clear or replacement filter...
     
  14. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Filterless he'll have dust on the sensor in no time, and as it'll be directly on the sensor, it'll be ALWAYS visible, no matter the aperture. And he won't be able to clean it with his cloth anymore.

    Unless you have very high skills, know what you're doing, and got access to a clean room (I mean medically dust-free room), don't do it yourself. Call Nikon, get a quote, and take it to a repair service. If it's too expensive/not worth it, sell the camera as is on ebay. Say it's "ready for infrared photography", and you'll get more ;)
     
  15. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #15
    Well, the Leica M8 does rather nicely without an AA filter.;)

    Sorry to hear about your problem. If you end up buying a new body altogether, you might consider trying to sell your body as-is to some infrared modders. They might find it useful.

    Best of luck!
     
  16. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    I had something stuck to the sensor, and I did originally use a sensor cleaning kit and a "swab". I originally did this, but it left fracking smudges on the sensor. I'm not sure it would have been visible in photos, but I was concerned, so I turned to the net (DPR's forums, actually).

    They said to use a blower, some special cleaning liquid, and a brush. If the brush doesn't get it off, use a fine cloth. I used the one made for my glasses, which obviously shouldnt scratch glass.

    It seemed to be getting better, so I thought it was great advice! But my fat fingers couldn't reach the sensor well, so I used a small object, which was also recommended.

    I've thought about just removing the AA filter to see what happens. Like wmmk said, the Leica M8 doesn't have one, and it seems like it's doing OK. However, I don't believe the Sigma SD14 has one either, and you can see the affect it has on photos. I'd get some weird effects in some of my photos with thin parallel lines and/or diagonal lines, but also sharper photos, if I understand correctly.


    I just went over that Life Pixel DIY thing. Sounds promising. Not sure how much I want to spend on a new filter for my D50 when I was seriously considering upgrading, but I may get an IR filter if I buy a new filter.

    I can't imagine a D80 successor not being announced at PMA 2008 in February. Maybe I should just sell it as it is, like suggested. :eek:
     
  17. Mac Kiwi macrumors 6502a

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    #17

    Oh horrible luck man.


    Some of those glasses cleaning cloths are actually a bit more abrasive then you would think.I am pretty sure they would mess up an LCD screen also.


    From what I can gather nowadays most glasses lenses are plastic.The actual glass ones are quite expensive.You can tell by the weight of your glasses which you have apparently.


    I wonder if those expensive lens cleaning kits are much different to LCD cleaning kits,which are half the price? They usually {LCD kits} have watered down Isopropyl alcohol and I would take a guess and say very similar swabs as well.
     
  18. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #18
    sorry to hear about your bad luck.

    i would try to wet clean the sensor again with a good wet cleaning kit. sometimes the scratches are filled with debris from the scratch with makes it more visible. after cleaning the scratch might just be clean enough to ignore it.

    i hope that works and saves you from the repair bill.

    removing the filter probably makes you camera sensitive to IR. that means black could turn out brown in your pics. honestly that would be the last thing i'd try because you most likely get dust onto the sensor in the process anyway.

    never ever use you own isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol or ethanol. the LCD kits probably have cheap alcohol. they often have oil in them and leave a residue visible as colored smear (unless you work in a lab and get access to the ultra clean stuff).
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    They are different, I've heard Everclear makes a good cleaning solution, but frankly the risk/reward of not using the sensor cleaning stuff has always been sort of outside my comfort zone. I haven't had good luck with lens cleaning stuff recently on lenses, I'd be extra-wary of using one on the AA filter.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    Sensors can be cleaned just like AA filters can be cleaned. Alternately, you could put glass over the sensor- Tiffen makes hot mirror filters for lenses...

    For a D-50, the repair price v.s. a D-I-Y solution the D-I-Y solution may indeed be "worth it." While you don't want to do it in a dusty environment (I'd probably do it in a large plastic bag, but with grounding) you really don't need a clean room if you're careful.

    Since Nikon's sensor size is standard, I'd probably be scouring eBay for broken D100, D70 or D50 bodies for a replacement filter- or I'd be looking seriously at going full-spectrum and adding some filters on the front end.
     
  21. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    1. Compuwar is right. The reason I'm going DIY and filterless is because of cost. A $95 USD filter would cost me around $150 after currency conversion and shipping. Even if my camera was in mint perfect condition, my D50 may be worth.....$350-400 AUD. In that way, it's not worth it. Also, I really did plan on replacing my camera once the D80 replacement was released.

    For now, I have chosen to be patient and wait for the D80 replacement rather than buy a D300 now. I may change my mind though, because I'm going to Japan (again), and I could get the D300 at the same price as in America (assuming I can actually find one in Japan in December without being on a waiting list....). If I wait for a replacement D80, I'll buy it in Australia, and it would cost around $400 AUD less than the D300 would cost in Japan. I don't need a D300, but for $400 or so more than the cost of a D80s in Australia, I would consider it.
    I don't want to buy the current D80 because Nikon has appeared to make a lot of progress in the noise department with the CMOS sensors, and I'd be surprised if the D80s didn't use the same sensor.


    2. I wouldn't be doing it in a dusty environment. I have access to a clean room. :D Actually, it's not a Class 5 clean room (or however you rate them), where everyone wears a body suit and gets showered and scrubbed before entering the room, but it's better than a typical room.
     
  22. seahawk09 macrumors regular

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    #22
    bad misfortune

    Hey Abstract,


    I think you should just leave your next camera to the professnals to clean it it's just not worth the hassle and worry of damaging it.:eek: I have just ordered a Pentax K10D and the only people who are cleaning it are my local photo shop.:)

    I hope your next camera brings you more happiness and less repair.:)


    Richard
     
  23. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #23
    Abstract. sorry to hear about your mishap with your camera! I'd go for the D300 rather than waiting for something which may never come -- there is no guarantee that there will be a D80x or D80s and it could be a very long time before Nikon comes out with any revisions to current bodies or issues any new bodies. They'll be cranking out the D3's and the D300's for a while, trying to keep up with high demand, so may not be going to do anything extra in their consumer lines.
     
  24. seahawk09 macrumors regular

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    #24
    Hey Clix pixs,

    You certainly are a hardcore mac addict if you live 8 miles from a Mac store, I guess I'll be worse since I only live about 15 mins from a Mac dealer:eek:. I am so looking forward to owning a Mac again:D
     
  25. Bogdan123 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #25
    Same problem :(

    Hello!

    Did you finally solve the problem with the scratched filter? Was it difficult to replace it? I've bought an "excellent" D200 from ebay, and the filter has a very nasty scratch. As the 7 day warranty has passed, I don't know what to do. I've called the local nikon service in Romania, and they told me that they only replace the sensor+filter for about 1000$... I'm now thinking to buy the 95 one and change it myself.

    Does anybody have any piece of advice?

    Thanks
     

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