D7000 - cleaning the sensor

Jim Walczak

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Sep 9, 2004
Reaction score
Lorain, Ohio
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
While I suspect this question has likely been asked in the past, after skimming thru the pages here on TPF, I didn't see anything immediately so figured I'd go ahead and ask...if this is a terribly redundant topic, please forgive me.

Alrighty...I got out this past week and got a few more shots with the recently acquired D7000 and while looking thru the pics, I realized that I have a few "sensor boogers'. The camera is otherwise pristine so I was a bit surprised, but hey...it happens. Anyways, I popped off the lens, locked up the mirror and even with a basic magnifying glass I could easily see that there are indeed a few specs that aren't coming off using the "sensor cleaning" option in the menus. Needless to say, I need to clean the sensor.

Now before I go any further here, while this isn't aimed at any specific individual, PLEASE...I -know- there are some folks who get a little freaky about camera sensors, however understand that I'm -NOT- one of them. I've had cameras apart before (both digital and mechanical) and am more than reasonably confident that I -CAN- do this myself. If your only response is gonna be "don't do it" or "send it out" or some other overly paranoid type of comment, please, please, PLEASE do NOT waste the bandwidth! The question in this thread is NOT about whether I should do it myself...I AM going to do this myself.

That out of the way, I have already looked this up on the internet and found a couple of good tutorials and I'll be getting out this weekend to get a DSLR cleaning kit as well (DSLR specific blower, brush, swabs, etc). I've done this once before, but it has been years, so what I'm looking for is any specific tips or tricks here...I get the gist of it, just mainly looking for any practical advice or comments from the experienced, beyond what's in the tutorials. I suspect there's at least a few folks out there who do clean their own sensors, so I'd like to hear your thoughts.

It's actually quite easy. The sensor actually isn't a delicate thing that is going to shatter on you. The cleaning videos online show that one can put some good pressure on it to clean off those black spots.

I went straight to using the a sensor swab and a couple drops of sensor fluid from Cleaning Digital Sensors - Photographic Solutions

Though I first blow out the chamber using a blower (holding the camera down so things can fall out of it) - also getting any stuff stuck in the prism area.

This basic kit looks pretty good, though I bought a box of 12 swabs and cleaner separately. => Photographic Solutions Digital Survival Basic Kit with Type IK3
Yea, I was planning to blow out the chamber first in any case as there's a fair little bit of dust there (didn't even need the magnifier to see that, LOL). Based on the amount of dust, once I blow/brush all the loose stuff out, I was planning to give it a good swab in any case. Again considering just how clean and well kept the outside of the body was, I was a bit surprised at how much dirt is on the inside so I may as well give it a good thorough cleaning...with all the years I've had my D90 and as downright grungy as the body has gotten, the inside is really clean comparatively speaking. Not sure if someone was leaving a lens off this D7000 or what, however the dust specs become REALLY evident with shots that have blue sky...stands out like the not-so-proverbial sore thumb.

It's a lousy picture (my 7 month old pup was on the leash dragging down the beach during a "potty break") but even as a jpg, you can easily see A LOT of crud there...and I got that with both of my main lenses, so I'm sure it's all on the sensor.

Anyways, thanks for the comments and the links...I'll probably buy a cleaning kit locally, as I do want to get the camera out again next week for another test run, but I'll keep my eye out for the products.
I bought my cleaning stuff from a local Pro Camera shop.
Sometimes I like to see the stuff before I buy it.

And got some tips from them
such as don't bother with those magic cleaning wands for lenses and stuff like that.

I learned how to clean on my d7000. I only had to do it once at around 11,000 shots. Never had to clean it again past 25,000.

The d600 is a differnet story. Bought it refurb'd. Had to clean it shortly after getting it. Then got some big spots on it, cleaned it. Then the next time I sent it to Nikon. Now waiting for some more spottage to hopefully get a free d610 upgrade.
I don't blow air into the camera, I figure I'll just loosen stuff that wasn't going to be a problem. I especially don't go touching the insides of the mirror box with anything. All that is also just extra time the mirror-box is open to the elements.

I just use the sensor swab (for the size sensor being cleaned) and a drop of the fluid, pass one way and then the other side of the swab and pass back the other way. Oh, and I put in a fully charged battery before doing the mirror-up and in a location with good light and minimal dust.

Wow...guess mine ain't THAT bad, LOL! Mine is persistent however...after going back, yea...noticed a few of those spots pretty much on every pic. Fortunately I haven't really shot anything serious yet...still "shaking the bugs out" as it were, LOL!

Anyways, heading out the door now to go find a cleaning kit...assuming I can find something local, I'll probably sit down with the camera this evening, as it looks like I'm going to be replacing a timing belt on my wife's car over the weekend (preventive, but important).
Yeah...you need a wet cleaning, using sensor cleaning liquid, and some high-quality swabs. There's just nothing quite as good at getting stuck-on gunk off of a sensor. My experience is with Eclipse cleaning fluid and the SensorSwab brand of swabs. My feeling is that the biggest boo-boo is using too much fluid on the swab...ONE full-sized drop of Eclipse is plenty! Two is...too many.
You can also use the built-in senor cleaning, but I think you would need to do it manually for something that big

the option is under
Menu➜Clean image sensor➜Clean now

Most reactions