Nikon’s D610 Gets a Dust-Free Green Light


Way back when, I wrote about the dust problems we were seeing in Nikon D600 cameras. There was enough of a furor about it that when the Nikon D610 was released I assumed that the dust problem would be fixed. But I’m rather the paranoid type, and I never like assumptions, so as soon as the first D610s were delivered I thought it worthwhile to just double-check that assumption.

I set up a fairly simple protocol for the first twenty-five D610 bodies delivered:

  1. The first image taken with each camera was our standard f/16, white-wall shot with contrast enhancement to check for sensor dust.
  2. The cameras then went to a tech for testing and checkout, which involves about 20-30 shots being taken, then back to me for a second sensor dust image.
  3. The cameras then went out on their first rental and when they returned I took yet another sensor dust image.
  4. Just like I did in the first article, I then stacked the images for each stage in Photoshop using the ‘darken if’ action to make a single image of the dust on all the cameras.

The results are pretty clear, and for those of you who hate to read, they indicate the sensor dust issues have, indeed, cleared up (I love puns) in the D610.

Remember, when you look at the images below, this is not the dust on one sensor; it’s the total of all the dust on 25 sensors.

New — Out of the Box


For those of you who think a camera is always going to arrive with a dust-free sensor, let me assure you this is a really good result. One camera had a big chunk, 6 others had a small dust spot, the rest were clean to the limits of the test. That’s an excellent result; as good as any camera we inspect.

After In-House Testing

We expect the 20 or 30 shots we do with initial testing to jar loose some more dust that’s in the mirror box or around the shutter or sensor edges. That’s the case here as you can see, but again, this is a good result. There is more dust now, but most of it is small, as opposed to the large chunks we often saw with the D600. This is about what we see with any other camera and no single camera had more than a couple of specs.


After Rental

So we cleaned all those sensors and sent them out on rental, then took another image when they came back. I’ve only had 10 cameras come back from rental, so this composite is for 10 sensors, not 25 as above. But things looked so good I thought I’d go ahead and post now. Obviously rental conditions vary — we don’t know who was in studio and who went to the beach, but with D600s we definitely would see the pattern of large chunks in the left upper corner no matter where it went on rental.

With the D610 we just see a bit of scattered dust and one fiber. There’s nothing of note in the left upper corner. If anything, this is a bit better than most cameras, but certainly no worse.


We’ll keep an eye out, of course, for problems in the future, but as best I can tell (and as we all expected) the D610 does not appear to have any sensor dust problems.

I’ll also note that when I evaluated the D600s I thought perhaps the shutter design, with its wider slot, was the problem. I was apparently wrong about that, since the D610 has what appears to be exactly the same shutter design. Since we saw the dust problem disappearing after 5,000 shots or so, it may be simply that there was a lot of dust inside the D600s that worked its way out early on. Perhaps the ‘cure’ was simply keeping dust out in the first place. Or maybe there’s something inside the camera (I haven’t had a chance to open one up yet) to prevent dust getting out to the sensor.

Of course, figuring out why it’s better is just to satisfy my curiosity. It doesn’t really matter what’s different as long as the problem is fixed, and it certainly does appear to be fixed.

About the author: Roger Cicala is the founder of LensRentals. This article was originally published here.

  • Ruok

    I thought it was oil that was the issue with D600, not dust?

  • harumph

    Part of the problem is that nobody had ever come to any agreement on that or on the cause. You’ll find most people blaming the D600 issues on the shutter design, but now here we have someone saying that the D610 shutter is exactly the same. I think at this point the most obvious answer is that the D600s were contaminated with dust during manufacturing or packaging, and then they were sent out to customers with a crazy amount of crap bouncing around inside them.

    This would make me not just paranoid about the D610, but paranoid about any camera manufactured and packaged by them. How do that many cameras escape qc fully loaded with dust/oil spots?

  • fgdfggdf

    lol…. for nikon you need an extra sticker on the box.. “comes without an oily sensor”.
    poor nikon.. DSLR sales nearly 30% down (canon 6%) and now they are the running joke because of bad quality control.

  • 23423423

    you are wrong… the dust was releases when you use the camera.
    it was not contaminated and then got on the sensor by camera movement.

    the mirror or shutter was was breaking particles loose.

    look at the camera there is some foam material in it. that´s most likely the cause.

    excuse my english.. im better in german or french. :)


    poor canon , sony a7 will blame your head in 0 seconds

  • Carl Meyer

    Inadequate storage is the most probably cause for D600 problems.

    It would be also interesting to see the state of both Thai factory and Japanese workshops where many of D600 parts are made and stored.

  • harumph

    I’m not sure what you think I’m wrong about. The D600s were shipped with dirty sensors. That’s just a documented fact. There are plenty of people who have posted pictures of fresh out-of-the-box sensors covered in specks. You could clean them, and then more would collect on the sensor with use. The camera was filled with dust.

    The issue went away for me after around 1000 shots and four or five cleanings. I don’t know what “foam material” you’re referring to.

  • stefan

    Well done Nikon, you finally got it sorted!

    Just to share with you all, my D600 went pack for 9, yes thats right 9 repairs, including 5 shutter replacements.

    They eventually replaced the unit and…..low an behold it went back 1 week later for a new shutter.

    Huge design flaw and Nikon never admitted it. Actually the kind of did…..they released a new camera and swept the D600 under the carpet.

    All the hard work and saving for a camera, which is now worthless and lost £800 in value overnight…..thanks Nikon!

  • Anthony

    Strange – Have My D600 just about a 8 months – Cleaned the sensor after 1 week old – has been clean ever since… A workhorse for me – shoot video and photos everyday… no problems for me

  • Alan Klughammer

    For many people, the issue was that the sensors would get dirtier as you used them. In other words, they came clean, but after 1000 shots or so, they started to get dirty. mine actually spit oil (until Nikon replaced the shutter)

    Read Thom Hogan’s advice here:

  • harumph

    Well, apparently those shutter replacements were completely unnecessary if it’s true that the D610 has the exact same shutter mechanism. What did they tell you was wrong with your 5(!?) shutter mechanisms?

  • harumph

    Yes, that’s what I said. You could clean them and then they’d get dirty again with use. As I wrote above, there was a ton of crap rattling around in there. The more you used the camera, the more got stuck to the sensor. Eventually, all the dust gets worked out with repeated cleanings. Mine is clean now.

    Hogan writes, “I’ve heard of no cases of repeating debris buildup after a shutter replacement.”

    Well, there’s someone a few posts down who says that Nikon replaced his shutter 5 times, and he still has a problem. I don’t think the shutter mechanism is the source of the dust. Particularly when their replacement camera apparently has the same shutter.

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  • Nikon is Dead to Me

    D600 owners are exactly the types of customers Nikon needs. They’re mostly high end enthusiasts and pros who want full frame, have spent money on full frame lenses, and otherwise in their lifetime will spend 10’s of thousands of dollars on camera gear. High end pros also spend money on high end gear, but I bet there are many more D7100 and D600 owners than there are NFL photographers so this particular market segment is the cash cow that camera companies need.

    Nikon mishandled the oil/dust issue from day one with their denial and worse, blaming the owners who spent $2100 on a body. “All DSLR’s have dust!” Well, no. Not when they’re brand new. “Sir, there are no known issues. Can I help you with anything else?” was my response. After dozens of cleanings and sending the camera back once already and another time (results of which remain to be seen), my camera still has massive amounts of particles. It sucks.

    The D610 release was absolutely the straw that broke my camel’s back. What? Not all cameras have dust all of a sudden? You don’t say! All it would take is to offer a recall of D600’s. I guess the Nikon MBAs missed the class lecture on how Tylenol handled the product tampering in the 80’s. THEY RECALLED EVERY SINGLE BOX because they didn’t want people to lose trust with the company. Was it expensive? Yes, but people trust Tylenol.

    I used to trust Nikon too, but unless they make this right and offer a recall to D600 owners, we’re over. Fortunately for me, Canon and Sony cameras are just as good and have just as good lenses. I’ll be ok, despite being out 2 grand on the D600 which now has a resell value of about $800, but Nikon, you may not recover from this long term.

    It’d be funny if Canon offered a D600 buyback program and trade-in program. “bring in your D600’s and get a 6D for $200!” I’d gladly buy canon lenses and flashes for it.

  • stefan

    They kept saying “its a faulty mechanism” and needed to be replaced. The customer service manager said Nikon had received some “new” shutter designs over the last month, which has now been placed in my new D600. Only time will tell I suppose.

  • Christopher

    Read and Weep! 1 month old 3 900 actations – the Viewfinder is filled with dust particles as well – and NO, I am not a messy person! Nikon exchanged refunded my 1 year old D600 for this D610 and now this one has the same problem.
    What a disgrace!

  • Rafael

    Mine the same

  • Christopher

    and shockingly enough they report back after cleaning my camera, that they haver removed all the dust from external sources …..

  • Michael Mogensen

    I was given a new D610 instead of the D600 which had spot problems (a lot) which was not resolved after being repaired/cleaned 3 times.
    And now I have same spot problems with the D610 (now 3 months old). Since I am travelling a lot it is a real pain in the ass. To clean the photos in Photoshop takes too much time. I am now seriously thinking of dropping NIKON and go CANON.
    My 5 years old D90 never had a spot and was never cleaned.
    I think Nikon should take their production back to Japan. And take some classes in customer service.
    Michael Mogensen – Denmark

  • Michael Mogensen

    You are so right. I have just made a comment about spots on my new D610. Quite frankly, I don’t think Nikon has done anything. They certainly have not solved the spot problem. Wonder if this is also the case with the D800?