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IS the Dust on the D3 sensor a real problem

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by basharar, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. I am on the fence of choosing between the D700 or the D3. Is the dust on the D3 sensor a real problem, how often do you clean it. I am more inclined towards the D700 because of this feature mainly "as I live in a dust environment"... but some say the sensor cleaning capability is a marketing gimmick., not sure there...
  2. Cleaning the sensor with fluid and PEC pads is pretty easy, IMO. If you do end up with dust, it often goes unnoticed unless you stop down quite a bit.

  3. Over 10,000 clicks on my D3 with no dust issues.
  4. No, dust on the sensor is not a problem, just a fact of life.

    I have found I have to clean my D3 more than I did my D200. Is it the D3, am I changing lenses more often, just getting less careful? Who knows.

    Sensor cleaning should not count very much in making a D700/D3 choice in my opinion. You will be using E2 and PEC pads either way....often. You'll get good at it!

    Good luck

  5. MikeA


    Aug 26, 2007
    Left coast, USA
    It would be right nice if the D3 had a sensor-cleaning feature, and I don't know why it doesn't. I'd heard it said that automatic sensor-cleaning requires clearing a difficult technical hurdle if we're talking about a full-frame sensor, but I take it this hurdle has been cleared with the D700. In which case: why not the D3 also? (Oh, well.)

    I hadn't had the D3 very long when I noticed a big smear-like dust spot on the sensor. "Oh, great," I said to myself, "this is the problem I'd seen people reporting a lot on dpreview.com." But, a quick (and none too strong) blast of air from a Rocket blower solved the problem immediately -- right afterward I took a shot of a blank wall and the sensor appeared completely clean. I hope the problem remains that easy to solve. If not -- well, there's always Photoshop's spot-healing tool, which works wonders. (This old geezer, who used to spend hours dust-spotting prints made in a darkroom, still thinks of Photoshop's spot-healing and clone tools as some kind of gift from heaven...)

    Those things aside, if the D700 had been available at the time I decided to switch from Canon to Nikon, I would have given it pretty serious consideration, dust-removal-wise.
  6. adaml


    Feb 21, 2006
    Like you, I was concerned about dust on the sensor of the D3 before I purchased it (picked it up early this week, taking a long weekend to play with it!). I researched the issue ad nauseam and my conclusion is that the only truly effective in-camera sensor cleaning system available to date is found in the current Olympus DSLR's. That's not to say that the one in the D700 is useless, but it probably isn't very effective, certainly not for a "dust environment", as you mention.

    So, since IMO you're likely to be cleaning the sensor of a D700 manually just a little less often than you would for a D3, you should make your decision based upon other factors important to you.

    Good Luck whichever camera you choose!
  7. No its not, and no "dust removal" system to date actually removes the dust from the camera...
  8. Thanks guys for all the help. So far.... I am more confused then ever!

    IS IT A MARKETING GIMMICK? Because the D60 has one and they needed to add this feature to sell it at higher margin then the D40/D60?!

    D3 has
    -faster motor for focusing
    -nicer viewfinder
    -more battery but its bulky, I keep a standby battery for my D300 in the bad and never had a problem

    -Sensor cleaner "DOES IT REALLY WORK?!" I live in the desert here and there is lots of consturction everywhere, dust is a problem
    -Lighter body "I love my D300 body, no need for more waight/size"
    -screen protector "nikon calls it screen condom"!

    So far, most reviews tend to say the D700 autofocus is closer to the D3 but a bit slower "because of the motor", so the only major issue is the dust cleaner....
  9. The D3 has more dust then the D2X IMHO. I blow with my Rocket blower every time before I go out and that solves the issue pretty much....
  10. KeithR


    Jun 21, 2008
    I'll start off and say that I have yet to clean the sensor on my D3. Hasn't needed it yet. That said lets look at a couple of things. The sensor on the D3 is physically larger than any other Nikon sensor and therefore has a larger area that gets charged. It's bound to attract more dust, etc. The D3 doesn't have a "sensor shaker" like other models do. My question is why is it even needed? Once you utilize the ultrasonic vibration and the dust falls, what happens when you trip the shutter? The mirror flaps up and down and that dust is put back in play and attracted, once again, by the charged sensor which acts like a magnet for dust.
    Digital sensors(in reality the AA filter that resides on top of the sensor)will need to be cleaned, just like your lenses. My advice is to learn how and to just do it when needed. Think of it has part of your camera equipment maintenance.
  11. this is me

    this is me

    Feb 10, 2007
    I've learned to live with dust since moving into full frame. I've never shot with 35mm film so it was quite a big problem with me in the beginning. But after a couple of wet cleaning the sensor myself, it doesn't bother me much anymore. I carry my rocket blower and blow the lens before I mount it on the camera. In a clean environment of course.
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