D600 : the coating problem.

Started Jan 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
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D600 : the coating problem.
Jan 27, 2013

Some of you may have noticed my pictures about the dirty sensor in my D600. Only a handful had worse sensors, and mine was definitely covered with oil. I send it in the first time in the beginning of November for this specific reason, and for the fact that the mirror plate (part of the mirror mechanism that moves the mirror up and down) showed some aberation problems. One of my reaso nto point this out was th fact that the internal black coating contains metal particles.

This was the way the plate looked when I first sent it in:

Notice the dirt on the mirror. This is all dust that was easily blown off. Don't know the origin though.

Take a look at the rectangle. You can see the blank spot on the plate. The repair note did not mention of any repair of the plate, just a cleaning, although I extensively ilustrated the issue with photos and I seprately sent the photos to Nikon Netherlands as well.

After this first cleaning session, in the beginning of december the plate look like this:

There is some coating coming off again, but it's much less and more to the middle. Also there is faint triangle just left and above the damaged area. That triangle was not present in any of the photos before I sent it in the first time.
It is unclear what Nikon actually did . Did they replace the plate, but without solving the underlying cause of the problem? A Pre-post comparison does prove they are either two different plates (other location of the sports and the presence of a triangle) or they painted it over....

After a while, when dust and oil accumulated again, I decide to send it in again. With the specific pictures of the coating coming off in the other area as well. So that they could check that again as well..

This time they did a full clean, meaning the entire internal was cleaned as well as the sensor and the mirror. No meantioning of anything about the mirror mechanism again.
Immediately I put on the 24-120, which was cleaned professionally to not introduce any dust to the sensor. Tests with the freshly cleaned sensor showed a small number of dust spots, which came off with a dust clean session. So basically, the sensor was spotless after the cleaning. No oil. Good work, Nikon.
I did not take a picture of the mirror plate when it came back for the second time because I did not want to have the camera openend up too long. It was a difficult task to take a good picture of the interior with just a P&S.

Due to the bad weather and my packed up time schedule I had no been able to take pictures up until yesterday, a week after the camera came back. As it was the last day with snow, I also used the camera to do some fast series, AFC/CH, e.g. to capture a couple of private cars drifting on a parking place.
I tested for oil and dust in betwee the shooting, but then, after some 200 pictures I tested for dust and oil again at home. First the good news: still no oil. And, there is dust, but it seems limited in the number of spots. Yet, with a clear preference to the top left part of the picture (meaning to the bottom left side of the sensor).

I was curious if the coating issue may have something to do with it. So for first time since the body came back again, I took off the 24-120 and looked at the mirror plate. This is what I saw:

The first thing I noticed was the wide strip of coating that has now come off (rectangle). Moreover, I saw scratches underneath the mirror frame (oval). I checked this with earlier pictures of the interior, and at least on december 11th there wasn't any damage to frame. Part of what you see is actually dust, because I could wipe it off with a special wet cloth. When it dried up, it was less visible but the scratches were still there.

To sum it up: this is not good.The scratches and blank metal parts point at an instable mirror mechanism, meaning there is too much play to keep the moving parts in it's proper tracks. It has been suggested before, and recently confirmed by two retailers in the Netherlands, that the oil issue is the result from an opening in the mirror mechanism. I do not know exactly what the mean, but too much room to move the mirror mechanism may cause two symptoms: Scratches on- and oil being released from the mechanical parts. They both fit may complaints and so this baby is going home. Back to papa Nikon.

I hope all you guys with a D600 remain free from this issue. But as an advice, do take a look at your D600. Just to confirm yours is not affected.

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Nikon D600
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