D70 sensor cleaning

I was appalled when I realized that something was wrong with the Nikon camera today.
Smudge sample

At first I noticed a smudge like pattern when I inspected a picture with some clear sky. At first I thought it was a bird, but then again, it didn’t quite have all the details I would expect on a large bird. Looking closer, it reminded me of smudged oil/grease or something nasty. I assumed this could be attributed to me touching the back end of one of my lenses by accident.

After cleaning all lenses and making a test shot, nothing had changed. I even found another clearly visible dust problem on the test shot. I was terrified – I had to perform the dreaded sensor cleanup that I wished I never had to do when I read the instruction manual some time ago.

Visible problems with dust on sensor

Fortunately I must have realized that this day would come and had already purchased a cleaning kit from [Visible Dust](http://www.visibledust.com/). All I had to do was to go get some compressed air in the local photo shop.

The procedure

It was reassuring to see how simple this procedure is described in the manual:

1. Remove the lens
2. Turn on the camera
3. Press menu and select Mirror lock-up
4. When a series of dashes is seen in the LCD panel, press the shutter release button
5. The mirror is now raised and you have free access to the sensor. (Or rather to the low-pass filter)
6. Use compressed air to clean and static charge the sensor brush. Remember not to tilt the can – you do not want liquid or residue on the brush.
7. Sweep the sensor and repeat these two steps a couple of times.
8. Turn off the camera
9. Put the lens back on and make a test shot

Sky changed but dust removed

Nice. I didn’t think it would be that easy – clearly the greasy pattern was just a tiny piece of fiber or something similar. I am relieved I did not have to submit the camera for service.

3 Replies to “D70 sensor cleaning”

  1. Thanks, I need to clean mine today and was thinking of paying someone to do it but this seems easy, hopefully they (visible dust) ship to London, UK. I have my fingers crossed I havent already damaged the sensor I tried cleaning it today with a lint free micro fibre lens cloth and added more dust etc to the sensor.

  2. Hi all. If you get dirt on the mirror, Will it show on the final image? I cant see any dirt on the sensor, but can on the mirror.

    Regards Paul

  3. Chris: (ok, too late, so goes for everyone else as well)

    Don’t use a cloth or a brush or anything directly on the sensor! Use clean air/co2 to blow it off – or send it to service for some $$$.

    Another tip is to turn off your camera (and remove battery) and let it rest for, i dunno, at least 15 minutes, before removing the lens. This is to avoid the statically charged sensor pulling in even more particles when you open it :)

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