Nikon Issues Official Service Advisory for D600 Dust Issue, Stance is Same


In October 2012, LensRentals owner Roger Cicala reported that the Nikon D600 seems to collect more sensor dust than other DSLRs. Other owners began reporting the same thing, and different theories began emerging to explain the origins of the annoying specks.

When Imaging Resource reached out to Nikon for comment, it was told that Nikon customers are encouraged to have their cameras serviced if the dust becomes “bothersome.” Nikon finally issued an official advisory this past Wednesday regarding the issue, but its message is the same.

Roger Cicala stacked 20 photos captured with 20 different D600s, and found that the specks tend to appear in the upper-left-hand corner of the frame.

Roger Cicala stacked 20 photos captured with 20 different D600s, and found that the specks tend to appear in the upper-left-hand corner of the frame. DPReview discovered the same thing.

The service advisory published to the US and European websites states,

Some users have indicated the appearance of multiple granular dust spots in images captured with the Nikon D600 digital-SLR camera. These granular dust spots are reflections of internal dust generated with camera operation, or external dust particles that have found their way into the camera, either, or both of which, have adhered to the camera’s low-pass filter.

While the structure and concept of digital-SLR cameras makes the complete elimination of these dust spots very difficult, it has come to our attention that, in some rare cases, they may be reflected noticeably in images. Therefore, Nikon is informing users of a service to reduce this issue.

As a first step, please follow the guidance from the User’s Manual (pages 301-305) related to the “Clean Image Sensor” function and manual cleaning using a blower. If these measures do not remove all dust particles and you are still experiencing problems, then please consult your nearest Nikon service center. They will keep your camera, examine it thoroughly, and service it as needed.

So the basic stance is still: the “problem” is still within the acceptable spectrum of what’s considered “normal.” Therefore, try self-cleaning with a standard blower, and have official repair people take a look if that still doesn’t work.

The problem is, that might not solve things for good. At the end of January, photographer Kyle Clements reported that his dust accumulation was still happening even after 5000 shots and having the camera serviced. He created this new time-lapse video showing the accumulation in action:

If you’re a proud and happy owner of a Nikon D600, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about this since your photography isn’t being affected. Unfortunately, for owners who have been annoyed by speck buildup, this latest service advisory probably won’t do much to satisfy you. Your best option appears to be having your camera serviced every time the buildup becomes unbearable.

(via Nikon Rumors and Imaging Resource)

  • Mike

    Will Microsoft also demand royalties for including bugs and bad design in the D600?

  • aaa

    epic comment is epic

  • sonic

    maybe I have to attack the black scotch inside my 5d mark III that is de-glued and now is passing all the light inside! shame on nikon and canon
    Only sony have no problems!

  • Zos Xavius

    sony insists on making everything proprietary. no problems there? lets face it. every camera maker has had notable problems with various models. i’m sure sony has had QC issues as well, but they just aren’t so widely reported. its foolish to be an early adopter. just about all these companies treat the consumer as a beta tester because things can usually be fixed later in firmware should some weird issue arise. better to let all the idiots who want to spend the most on the most untested equipment shake out all early teething issues. would fuji have fixed the orb problem if dpreview hadn’t made a huge deal over it? I kind of doubt it actually. Look at pentax and sdm. They finally after many years admitted that it was faulty by design and have only taken steps to rectify it within the last year. Something tells me (and without reading user reports I wouldn’t know) that nikon has already corrected this issue at the factory and newer cameras are probably immune to it. So they can then say that it isn’t a problem and be half correct. The denial and blame the user game has been going on forever now. Apple mastered it.

  • Zos Xavius

    I agree that some of these problems should have been discovered and I don’t like having consumers find the faults model these companies use, but it is what it is. Is your 5dmk3 really having light leak issues after being taped up?

  • Rob S

    I think I would be more concerned with the apparent vignetting. Whats the point of a FF if it vignettes that badly? (says the Pentax owner :)

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Years from now, hipsters will be applying filters to their images to get that classic “D600 look”.

  • derekdj

    Right Apple doesn’t do anything proprietary, they’re perfect. I see Steve Job’s distortion field is alive and well.

    Seeing how Sony’s sensors dominate most pro and prosumer still cameras, broadcast video, medical imaging and now Apple’s iPhone 5, their record in the imaging area is actually pretty good. D600’s dirty issue has nothing to do with “proprietary” sensors or software but lies in Nikon’s engineering of the sensor mount and oils around around the sensor. I just had the dirty problem on my D600 after approximately 6000 actuations, I had my local camera shop clean it off for $40 bucks. The D600 is a remarkable camera for the price.

  • John Hogan

    Nikon have a problem with the D600. l’ve clean 5 of them. Not sure where the oil suggestion came from, but the one’s i’ve cleaned, it was dust. I believe its coming from the mirrorr box, the cloth type material that lines the mirror box is breaking down and particals falling on to the sensor. The draught from the reflex mirror as it moves up and down moves the particals around and ends up on the sensor. Nikon are as usual covering the problem up while at the same time changing the material at assembly.

  • derekdj

    There’s two types of oil/lubricant internal to digital cameras. One is tacky, around the outer edges of the sensor and the sensor mount, the other is a slightly more viscous oil around the shutter and mirror unit. The dirt problem I had on the D600 was definitely oil, the camera tech has to use a special square tack sponge when cleaning the sensor to avoid touching the edges and getting more oil on the sensor. It seems like an engineering/manufacturing problem with Nikon because the dirt issue popped up in their D90 and D7000 cameras as well.

  • Zos Xavius

    the person I responded to said that sony had no problems. i was using apple as an example of a company that releases products with problems and then blames the end user for these problems. dunno how you put all those things together. also, why pay $40 to clean your camera? it is very easy to do.

  • sonic

    yea because the tape de-glued out

  • derekdj

    if the dirt issue is just “dust” then self cleaning is simple; mine was oil, which didn’t come off with typical cleaning techniques. You can try to do it yourself but if you damage the sensor you also void the warranty, which will cost you more than $40 to have replaced.

  • Zos Xavius

    lame. I figured that might happen when they announced that was their “fix.”

  • Zos Xavius

    yeah, oil is harder to clean for sure. those sensors are pretty hard to destroy FWIW….sure if you rake some really sharp dust over the filter you will scratch it, but its no more dangerous than cleaning a lens. They are coated after all. I was terrified when I first started wet cleaning, but now I know that they can take some abuse as long as you are careful and take precautions.

  • spike

    I have same isue with D800 I’m sure its oil. I’ve cleaned it several times since I bought it and the repeat level is reducing now after a few thousand shots

  • Mansgame

    I’ve cleaned mine twice and last time gave it to Nikon to do it. Even with the dust issue (and it is a real issue), it’s still the best camera I have ever owned and I would say Nikon’s 3rd best camera ever made.

  • Kurt B

    Proud owner of D700 for 3 yrs right here. No dust problem on the sensor and I have 32k shutter actuations. Thank God!

  • Halfrack

    Anyone have a turnaround time for a cleaning? At what point is Nikon going to be forced into expedited 2-way shipping?

  • Jared Salas

    Nikon just lost a life customer…I’m over trying to fix this camera. The black particles come back even after having them professionally cleaned in a day. When you’re paying $2500 for a camera it shouldn’t being having troubles after a month of purchase…Period. Nikon is trying to cover up the situation. This is seriously ridiculous…

  • adw

    It is completely unrealistic of Nikon to expect you to get the camera serviced as you’d have to do it every week (depending on how many shots you take). Where did the pride in their cameras go?

  • migatomio

    wow, only 32,000 shutter actuations in 3 years? You don’t shoot much! :D

    I am loving my D600..have had it for a month and half and have about 10,000 shutter actuations. Yes, I have the dust/oil spot issue. It was cleaned by Nikon and after a couple thousand shots it came back.

    It’s not too bad, and I can always just do a wet sensor cleaning. For one thing, it only shows up when you stop down a lot. Also, it’s not too hard cloning them out in post. Doesn’t make me regret getting the camera for a second.

  • Joe Stockdale

    Interesting article, how long did Nikon take to service your camera?

  • Kurt B

    I used to have a D90 which I used a lot. I also have a Canon 450D for my toy camera and use that a lot as well. That’s why.

  • manny chan

    nikon should recall the camera and fix the issue

  • Robert White

    I bought one last week. Hardly an ‘early adopter’ if you ask me. The camera has the dust and dirt problem. Cleaning it doesn’t help. The dirt returns. I sent it to Nikon for repair. I really hope the replace the faulty parts so I don’t have to send it in again after a few photos. I will keep on sending it back until it is fixed completely.

  • Rick

    Epic, ha, ha, ha! Reminds me of the excellent blog die hipster dot com.

  • Dusty Springfield

    The D700 was the best camera Nikon made. However, the image quality of the D600 surpasses it for sure. Amazing detail, you can even see the tiniest dust and oil particles now.

  • Kurt B


  • dd

    that is wierd, as tape is commonly used in the electronic industry. Apple macbooks use it a lot

  • Rich Seeley


  • Joe

    just returned regurbished D600 thinking refurbished has been fixed the issue, but still there. i finally decided to go back to Nikon D700. D700 feels like real camera. D600 feel like beginner camera.

  • james

    so how many you shoot per year? i think 32t in 3 years is still much over average.
    its also depending how someone use his camera. if you have a 12 hours
    model shooting session outside in the nature, you will surely have 1000 shoots. if you go shoot long exposure sunrise or sunset you have mabe a hundert shoots or more.