I may just have ruined my camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hallaisen, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. hallaisen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    #1
    So I have been bothered by sensor dust on my Nikon D80 for a long time now, and finally decided to do something about it. Hoping that a brush from a lens cleaning kit would be sufficiently soft I put the camera in mirror lockup mode and gently brushed what I thought was the sensor behind the mirror. As I've found out later, there is actually a couple of filters on top of the sensor, but as these can not be replaced without replacing the whole sensor it does not make much of a difference. By brushing the filter it seemed like I ruined some sort of coating on top of it (the difference is visible to the naked eye), and I immediately assumed I had ruined the whole thing by scratching it. Taking a couple of test photos seemed to verify my suspicion. I have already started looking into upgrading to the d300, as replacing the sensor seems to cost around $400, but I just started thinking that the filter may not be scratched, but only dirty. What does this look like? Do you think there is any way I can fix the sensor by having it professionally cleaned, or should I suck it up and either upgrade or have the sensor replaced?

    picture of the sky at f/22:

    [​IMG]

    picture of the sky at f/3.5:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Wow. I would never have even put a brush, no matter the softness, against the sensor like that. You're brave. $400 to replace a sensor is less than a D300, but if you're looking to upgrade then I would think you could get a few bucks for the D80 as-is and then get that D300.

    I would first try a professional cleaning. That would be the only investment I would make into the camera right now. If after that time you find this is not dirt and it is ruined by your hand then I would consider upgrading to the D300 or D300s if you care about whatever gimmick feature they added. ;)

    The sensor looks like it is toast.

    On a side note, at which point did you believe a lens cleaning kit was suitable for sensors? The glass on a lens, even coated, is likely to be more durable than a sensor. Invest in a proper sensor cleaning kit, I recommend this one.
     
  3. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #3
    Sensor brushes are certainly a viable way to go, however it doesn't look like it helped you out much in this case, and the brushes YOU used for this purpose certainly aren't designed for cleaning that delicate surface. I certainly do admire the courage it took to, without any self-education on your part, take just any old brush to the most delicate, expensive, and important part of your camera, although some might question the wisdom.

    The usual cleaning paradigm when dust specs appear is blower -> brushes -> wet cleaning. Certainly your next step is wet cleaning of the sensor. While that's not a particularly difficult task if you have the right tools, given your display of expertise so far, I would recommend that you take it into a GOOD camera shop and have them clean it for you. I am not convinced, from the images you attached, that your sensor is damaged.
     
  4. hallaisen thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2006
    #4
    Hehe I know I was an idiot for using that brush, but after reading 3-4 guides on sensor-cleaning I thought the brush I had fit the description of the sensor cleaning brushes, and thought maybe it would be ok to use. However, I didn't realize how sensitive it is, and have pretty much come to terms with it being ruined. Oh well, I'll take it in for cleaning and then upgrade if the cleaning has no effect. I did have another look at the sensor and I have to say it does kind of look like fat or smudge, so I guess there's still a bit of hope. If anyone knows how photos taken with a scratched sensor look like, I would love to get a confirmation about whether or not that is what has happened to mine. Since it is the weekend there's no professionals to take it to, and I do not want to get my hopes too much up for a d300 if it really is only a bit of smudge! :D

    Here is another photo at f/22:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    SLC
    #5
    Does Nikon have a loyalty program such as Canon does? I would call them and find out. You would get a discount on a new camera, and send yours into Nikon as part of the deal. Worth checking out.
     
  6. hallaisen thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2006
    #6
    Nice tip, thanks a lot. I'm calling the Nikon service centre as soon as they open on Monday, and I'll make sure to inquire about this.
     
  7. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #7
    hallaisen, in case it's not obvious - when people talk about "cleaning the sensor" they are actually talking about cleaning the filter(s) that cover the sensor. So it's not like you did anything wrong; you just used the wrong tools.

    As has already been mentioned, try using a bulb blower and see how you fare. Do NOT, under any circumstances, use compressed air!!!

    When I've cleaned my camera sensor, I've used Eclipse and PecPads from Copper Hill Images. Note that they recommend different cleaning solutions depending on the type of sensor you have.

    I haven't had to clean my D700's sensor yet; but I did successfully clean my old D70's sensor a couple times.
     
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #8
    there are three ways to clean a sensor:
    1. wet clean (Copper Hill method)
    2. Lenspen SensorKlear cleaning tip
    3. blowing air

    a brush is never ok. that is your problem.

    there is nothing wrong with compressed air. the problem lies when ignorant people use it improperly and spray liquid instead of gas.
     
  9. Nostromo macrumors 65816

    Nostromo

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    Location:
    Deep Space
    #9
    Canon cleans sensors for free if you bring it in.

    Inquire about Nikon's policies.

    Sensor cleaning is not expensive, and not really worth messing around with.

    If you didn't use pressure or hard instruments, the gunk on your picture could as well be dust that has been pushed to little "heaps" or "sand dunes" on the sensor, but not taken off.

    Contact a service center.
     
  10. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    You may have scratched your AA filter, but not likely the actual sensor. I'd think a new filter could be installed since there are companies which remove them during IR conversion without having to install a new sensor. I'd check into it.

    SLC
     
  11. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    Midwest USA
    #11
    Disagree. A sensor brush, designed for that purpose and static-charged, is an excellent way to clean dust that won't blow off a sensor.
     
  12. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #12
    +1

    replacing the IR filter costs around 100 bucks. this is the filter you can touch and scratch. i can't imagine that replacing it with an identical flter costs more than 100 bucks.

    in your case I would first buy a wet lens cleaning kit and clean the filter again. if that doesn't help i would check if you can replace the IR filter for 100 bucks (or do it even yourself for less).

    only then would I give up on the camera. even if you upgrade its a nice backup system. or you convert it to a IR camera and have fun with shooting IR.


    many compressed air cans contain residues of oil and really can F$%^ up your optics. same is true for air from compressors. i would not risk my camera. zeiss specifically recommends against it for microscopes IIRC.
     
  13. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #13
    also, no photographers' bag is complete without a giotta blower!
     
  14. joelypolly macrumors 6502

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    Melbourne & Shanghai
    #14
    Could just be oil from the brush. Get a NEW microfiber cloth and wrap it on a wooden pencil or pen and clean the sensor again. Use some force as it does take a bit to clean off the oil.

    This is how I clean my 30D, the filters on the sensor are not as delicate as everyone thinks it is.
     
  15. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #15
    Whatever you do, DO NOT use a Pencil, and DO NOT use type of force. The copperhill method, or sending it out are really your only viable options for cleaning at this point.

    But to wrap a microfiber cloth around a pencil, and forcefully clean the sensor with it, that's asking for real, and severe damage.
     
  16. funkboy macrumors regular

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    elsewhere
    #16
    The only thing I needed to clean the dust off my sensor after extensive trips in the Greek back-country in an open-top jeep was my Arctic Butterfly. You seem to have gotten some goo from some other kind of brush on there as what you have doesn't look too much like dust. The good news is that I don't think it looks too much like scratches either as their patters are a lot more uniform and not as diffuse. Shine a flashlight on your sensor at an angle so that the whole thing looks white & it'll show up any scratches pretty obviously.

    Like others have said, get some cleaning fluid & swabs to try to take that goo off there, or take it to a professional to have it cleaned. I think it'll be OK after that...
     
  17. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

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    Dec 4, 2008
    #17
    Is that like a "g i otta have a blower? :D

    I have one that's a Giottos...?
     
  18. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #18
    No, that's a terrible idea.

    If you have oil on the sensor, clean with sensor swabs or Pec pads and some Eclipse II. May take several passes.
     
  19. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #19
    +1 On the Pecpad and Eclipse solution.

    The sensor is NOT as delicate as everyone seems to make it, however you DO need the proper equipment. Its like a car finish, very durable, but if you wipe it with a dirty rag you run the risk of messing it up.

    TO me, it looks like you can smeared the filter with oil, either from the brush or the lubrication inside the mirror box. It is doubtful that a brush, unless it was steel or you applied ALOT of force, would perm. damage your filter. IMHO I dont think you've messed up your sensor filter. Nikon will clean the sensor for 40ish bucks, or you could get an Eclipse/Pecpad beginner kit for 20. (and watch every video you can on how to do it.)
     
  20. joelypolly macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Why would it be a terrible idea? A new microfiber cloth will not scratch the filter, old one might if you have dust or particles stuck in it but new should be fine.
     
  21. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #21
    The pressure necessary can damage the filter, and the pencil idea for pressure is far too uneven in the way it applies that pressure. A microfiber cloth will still trap far more scratch-causing material than a Pec Pad or Sensor Swab, and there's no way to get the Eclipse (necessary to get the oil off) on evenly.
     
  22. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #22
    You definitely botched the home-cleaning job, but I too don't think any permanent damage has been done. People vastly underestimate the durability of the filters covering the sensor. It is probably a piece of glass, which will be pretty durable as it is likely coated as well for glare reduction, just like a lens. You cannot scratch it by just lightly brushing across the surface with a soft brush. A lot more effort will be needed.

    If you want, try those liquid based do-it-yourself cleaning methods. Otherwise just have it sent to a professional for cleaning. If you have a camera store near you, they can probably do it faster than sending it out. And once you factor in shipping, the cost is probably very similar.

    Ruahrc
     
  23. hallaisen thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    #23
    Don't have time to write much, but here's a quick update: I had the sensor professionally cleaned with about 4 or 5 different liquids today. Here is the result:

    [​IMG]

    There are still some specks of dust on it, but it is cleaner than when I first started this whole debacle. I'm happy, and my d80 lives on! :) Thanks for all tips and support, and treat your sensors with respect!
     
  24. Gold89 macrumors 6502

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  25. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    #25
    I did that once and it made a total mess of my D80's sensor - it covered it in a film of some sort :eek: However, I managed to carefully clean it with a microfibre cloth and surprisingly it came out absolutely fine afterwards.
     

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