Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience

Started Mar 28, 2012 | Discussions
mike158
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Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
Mar 28, 2012

This is my first post to the forum.

I want to address the problem of the oil or lubricant spatter that appears on early production D7000 bodies, and to detail my own experience with the problem , and my dealings with Nikon. This is also to provide forum members with the most up to date information available as of today, 3-27-2012.

My D7000 was purchased from a Texas Best Buy Retail store on 1-19-2011. It is, therefore, out of warranty.

I began noticing translucent round spots on some images predominately clustered on the right side of the frame. These were more visible when manually controlling aperture. I researched the problem online and immediately became aware of the alarming number of D7000 owners that were experiencing this problem. I read about the suspected cause being lubricant from the mirror box being splattered onto the sensor as the mirror moved. This made sense, and it is an issue that from time to time as been seen in both Nikon and Canon bodies.

I locked my mirror up and looked at the sensor with a flashlight and the splattered substance was plainly visible and clustered on the right side of the sensor.

At this point I agonized over the prospect of sending my camera to California for repair. I have no qualms about cleaning sensors with sensor swabs, and Eclipse solution, however, I knew that a simple cleaning would not be a permanent fix for the problem. From reading various posts on various sites I saw claims that went in both directions, yes Nikon was aware, and yes they had a fix, or no they denied the problem existed and offered only a standard cleaning under warranty. So I decided to go straight to Nikon for an answer. It began with an email to Nikon Customer Service explaining the problem, and mentioning the lubricant issue from the internet sites. I also asked specifically about warranty for correcting the problem. Nikon's response was non-committal. They did not acknowledge that they were aware of any problem, but they did request that I send them sample photos, which I did. After they examined the photos that I sent, they sent an email recommending that I send them the camera. Still no mention of an awareness of the problem, or any comment concerning warranty.

I packaged up the camera and sent it to California via UPS at a cost of $24.66 on 3-13-2012. I tracked the package to its arrival at Nikon's repair facility in El Segundo. Within a few days I received a Email from Nikon asking me to authorize a payment to "clean" the sensor. The total asked for was $115.37. I called the number on the Email and spoke to a young lady. I refused to authorize this payment unless the she could tell me what was on the sensor and why, since this was a "known concern" would Nikon not warranty such a repair . She confirmed that it was oil. When I asked her how the oil got onto the sensor she insisted that I must have left the camera open. This finally got me a bit angry. Nobody takes better care of his or her camera equipment than I do, and her scenario simply was not possible. I again, informed her of the many forum messages about his problem, and the fact that this was a "known concern" by Nikon. I also asked her that if I had left the camera open, could she explain just how oil was thrown or splattered into the open body, and managed to only show up on the sensor and not all over the interior of the camera. She could not answer, and that point began to see the absurdity of her position and argument. She would not budge, however, and continued to demand payment. I asked to talk to her superior, because I was still dissatisfied with her explanation. After being put in the "penalty box" on hold for about 10 minutes another woman who identified herself as a "floor supervisor" came on the line. I informed her of all the particulars, again repeating the fact that this concern is widely known, and has been widely reported. I told her that I wanted a "fix" to the problem, not a band-aid, even if I had to pay for it. She said she would talk to the technician working on my camera and get back to me. Approximately 7 minutes later I got an Email stating that after further consideration the work on my camera would, indeed, be performed under warranty. So I waited and continued to check the status of my repair. Within a few hours the work order was changed to Warranty, and still showed Pending. That soon changed to "In Shop" for two days, then finally it changed to "Shipped."

I got my camera back today, and it is in perfect order. The packing slip says, Mirror Box replaced, all systems checked and calibrated and cleaned. It appears to work as I expected it to, and I am pleased with the results.

However, if any of you have the same concern and you were wondering how Nikon might respond, I just wanted to give forum members the most up to date info on the matter.
Nikon is evidently aware of the problem.

Nikon will not readily acknowledge the problem , and will attempt to blame the user.

Nikon will attempt to "patch" the problem with a simple sensor clean unless challenged.

Nikon does seem concerned about what is being said about them in forums like this one.
Nikon does evidently have a fix, a new mirror box.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so my advice to anyone in this situation is to insist that Nikon do the right thing, and be direct and knowledgeable when making your case.

Sorry about the length of this post, but I hope it might answer some questions and help others who were in my position with their D7000s.

Nikon D7000
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Richard Weisgrau
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Re: Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

Good job, Mike. It takes guts and persistence to overcome bureaucracy.

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AAnnette
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Re: Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

Thanks for sharing !! I'm glad it was worth it!! Enjoy your like new camera now !!

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Mako2011
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In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

mike158 wrote:

This is my first post to the forum.

I want to address the problem of the oil or lubricant spatter that appears on early production D7000 bodies, and to detail my own experience with the problem , and my dealings with Nikon. This is also to provide forum members with the most up to date information available as of today, 3-27-2012.

My D7000 was purchased from a Texas Best Buy Retail store on 1-19-2011. It is, therefore, out of warranty.

I began noticing translucent round spots on some images predominately clustered on the right side of the frame. These were more visible when manually controlling aperture. I researched the problem online and immediately became aware of the alarming number of D7000 owners that were experiencing this problem. I read about the suspected cause being lubricant from the mirror box being splattered onto the sensor as the mirror moved. This made sense, and it is an issue that from time to time as been seen in both Nikon and Canon bodies.

I locked my mirror up and looked at the sensor with a flashlight and the splattered substance was plainly visible and clustered on the right side of the sensor.

At this point I agonized over the prospect of sending my camera to California for repair. I have no qualms about cleaning sensors with sensor swabs, and Eclipse solution, however, I knew that a simple cleaning would not be a permanent fix for the problem. From reading various posts on various sites I saw claims that went in both directions, yes Nikon was aware, and yes they had a fix, or no they denied the problem existed and offered only a standard cleaning under warranty. So I decided to go straight to Nikon for an answer. It began with an email to Nikon Customer Service explaining the problem, and mentioning the lubricant issue from the internet sites. I also asked specifically about warranty for correcting the problem. Nikon's response was non-committal. They did not acknowledge that they were aware of any problem, but they did request that I send them sample photos, which I did. After they examined the photos that I sent, they sent an email recommending that I send them the camera. Still no mention of an awareness of the problem, or any comment concerning warranty.

I packaged up the camera and sent it to California via UPS at a cost of $24.66 on 3-13-2012. I tracked the package to its arrival at Nikon's repair facility in El Segundo. Within a few days I received a Email from Nikon asking me to authorize a payment to "clean" the sensor. The total asked for was $115.37. I called the number on the Email and spoke to a young lady. I refused to authorize this payment unless the she could tell me what was on the sensor and why, since this was a "known concern" would Nikon not warranty such a repair . She confirmed that it was oil. When I asked her how the oil got onto the sensor she insisted that I must have left the camera open. This finally got me a bit angry. Nobody takes better care of his or her camera equipment than I do, and her scenario simply was not possible. I again, informed her of the many forum messages about his problem, and the fact that this was a "known concern" by Nikon. I also asked her that if I had left the camera open, could she explain just how oil was thrown or splattered into the open body, and managed to only show up on the sensor and not all over the interior of the camera. She could not answer, and that point began to see the absurdity of her position and argument. She would not budge, however, and continued to demand payment. I asked to talk to her superior, because I was still dissatisfied with her explanation. After being put in the "penalty box" on hold for about 10 minutes another woman who identified herself as a "floor supervisor" came on the line. I informed her of all the particulars, again repeating the fact that this concern is widely known, and has been widely reported. I told her that I wanted a "fix" to the problem, not a band-aid, even if I had to pay for it. She said she would talk to the technician working on my camera and get back to me. Approximately 7 minutes later I got an Email stating that after further consideration the work on my camera would, indeed, be performed under warranty. So I waited and continued to check the status of my repair. Within a few hours the work order was changed to Warranty, and still showed Pending. That soon changed to "In Shop" for two days, then finally it changed to "Shipped."

I got my camera back today, and it is in perfect order. The packing slip says, Mirror Box replaced, all systems checked and calibrated and cleaned. It appears to work as I expected it to, and I am pleased with the results.

However, if any of you have the same concern and you were wondering how Nikon might respond, I just wanted to give forum members the most up to date info on the matter.
Nikon is evidently aware of the problem.

Nikon will not readily acknowledge the problem , and will attempt to blame the user.

Nikon will attempt to "patch" the problem with a simple sensor clean unless challenged.

Nikon does seem concerned about what is being said about them in forums like this one.
Nikon does evidently have a fix, a new mirror box.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so my advice to anyone in this situation is to insist that Nikon do the right thing, and be direct and knowledgeable when making your case.

Sorry about the length of this post, but I hope it might answer some questions and help others who were in my position with their D7000s.

Thank you for a very good and well written explanation and update. The resolution of mirror box replacement is the known fix for the problem so you should be good to go. If I might ask, if you still have a pic you sent to Nikon showing the spots, could you upload it here. I save them and use them to show other folks and help them also resolve the issue. Yours is one of only 2or 3 other full explanations and resolution posted so for ( that I know of ). It will be a big help to others. Thank you and good luck going forward.

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mike158
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In reference to requests for sample photos
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 28, 2012

I will be happy to put together some samples and post them tomorrow.

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Mako2011
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Re: In reference to requests for sample photos
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

mike158 wrote:

I will be happy to put together some samples and post them tomorrow.

Thank you. Those are always a big help.

this is one of the best we have so far from AussieRoo

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Demontis
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+1 mike nt
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 28, 2012
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patrick

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Jostian
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Re: Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

I was lucky, after seeing the splatter down the right side of the images, I went to the Nikon repair centre, luckily only 10 minutes from the house, and I was ready for a fight, purely because based on what I'd read, that Nikon would deny the problem and just want to clean the sensor, to my surprise the tech guy's first words were yes they are aware of the problem and they'll replace the mirror box unit, next day I got a call to come get the camera, unexpectedly great service, pity the D7000 is back in again for massive front focusing (10 to 12mm in the body!!, which equates to focus being off about 10cm on every meter...).
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Re: Jostian, when did you buy yours, how recenrly?
In reply to Jostian, Mar 28, 2012

Thanks.
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mike158
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Re: In reference to requests for sample photos
In reply to Mako2011, Mar 28, 2012

Could you please advise me as to the best manner in which to attach a couple of sample images to my post.

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mike158
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Re: In reference to requests for sample photos
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/445867984/invite/1A920A1CF4474985AD222236F43BFF8B

I uploaded two shots to this gallery. Will this make them accessible to you?

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perry rhodan
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Re: In reference to requests for sample photos
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

mike158 wrote:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/445867984/invite/1A920A1CF4474985AD222236F43BFF8B

I uploaded two shots to this gallery. Will this make them accessible to you?

Yes the are! Thanks a lot for posting.

And many happy shootings!

regards perry

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martyg70
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Re: In reference to requests for sample photos
In reply to perry rhodan, Mar 28, 2012

Over a year ago I noticed oil spots also. Having purchased my D7000 locally, I took it back to the store. The tech checked it over and confirmed the oil spot. He cleaned the sensor and told me to bring it back in 2 weeks to check it again. I did bring it back and he confirmed more oil spots. They kept the camera to show it to the Nikon rep. 2 weeks later they replaced the camera with a brand new one. No problems since.
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Mako2011
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In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

mike158 wrote:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/445867984/invite/1A920A1CF4474985AD222236F43BFF8B

I uploaded two shots to this gallery. Will this make them accessible to you?

Thank you very much for the upload. Surprised that those spots are visible at f5.6. Must have been huge. First example we have of them at f8. Uniformity and location does suggest fluid.

You will always get some dust on the sensor. If you shoot the blue sky or a white wall at the smallest aperture (f22 or F16) you can see them. If the start showing up in your pics it will be time to clean them with a wet cleaning. Just part of the hobby. There are tons of good sites to show how to do it well.

You shouldn't have to worry about oil now with the mirror box change. Good luck forward and thank you again for the upload.

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TFergus
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Re: Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

Thanks for your detailed post about not only Nikon's attitude...
but also this (many would say) "nonexistent" problem. (Hi Reilly)
Hopefully the problem doesn't return and you can enjoy your nice camera.

I wonder how much of Nikon's attitude is related to being in or out of warranty.

My friend had one of these for a while... and when he contacted Nikon about oil on the sensor they acknowledged the problem and told him to send it in.

His was under warranty at the time.... in fact I think he dumped that camera while the warranty was still intact. Exposure and poor AF, etc. But that's another thread.

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nfpotter
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Should be interesting....
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

Thanks for writing, Mike. Good info.

My camera is at Nikon's west coast (USA) repair facility as we "speak". My story:

I bought my D7K last May from a guy on Craigslist, new in the box with the 18-105mm. The guy that sold it to me is a pro photog, and had won it in a contest, but he's a Canon shooter, and didn't want the D7K. I got a hand-written receipt, but no official one.

Shortly after buying it, I noticed the oil problem (I have literally hundreds on examples, perhaps I'll post some later). I called Nikon twice over the next couple months, trying to obtain warranty service, but both times got nowhere. Both reps insisted I needed an actual store receipt to get a warranty.

For a while, I gave up. I resolved to cleaning the AA filter frequently, cloning out spots on at least half my shots, and then had ALMOST decided to have my local repair shop fix it, which they assured me they could do for $125.

Then I though, "let's try ONE MORE CALL to Nikon", and did. I asked for a manager right away, but the guy on the phone asked what my problem was, so I explained. To my surprise, he said "oh, no worries, we deal with many people in similar situations (with no receipt). Just send it in with a hand-written letter explaining when you bought it, why you don't have a receipt, and what the problem(s) are, and they will very likely fix it under warranty".

I made it VERY clear in the letter that I DID NOT want a simple cleaning, that I wanted the bad parts REPLACED. It is being serviced under warranty right now.

VERY curious to get it back and see what they actually did to it!

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SaltLakeGuy
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I had the EXACT same thing happen
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

I reported it, got my shipping label printed, sent it in, got the email with the estimate to repair. I included a letter documenting the world wide awareness of the issue noting it was a Nikon issue not a "user" issue. They of course did not acknowledge it as one would expect. I asked to speak to a supervisor. They said it would go to appeal and I would be contacted a few days later. Indeed the next email came stating it was being done under Warranty even though it was out of warranty by a few months. Same deal, mirror box replaced, alignment performed, end result perfect working camera in all regards. You WILL have to appeal in all likelihood to get it done, but don't give up. They KNOW it's their issue.

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hoof
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Re: Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

Thanks for the story. I've got my D7000 in for a misaligned sensor/mount (extreme right side often is blurry on several lenses that are all fine on my D90), and for indadescent light AF issues. It's several months out of warranty, so I expect to pay for some of this work. But if the AF issue can be fixed (I'm not hopeful, but it's worth a shot), so since it's a known problem (according to the forums), maybe they'll fix it under warranty anyway. They'll get a lot of good-will with me if they do.

As far as the spots, I have an early D7k and thus the spot problem. However, after a year, with regular cleanings, I rarely get a spot anymore, so IMO, not worth the repair risk. Most of the spots I get these days are genuine debris issues.

Regardless, I love my D7000, and the pictures I've taken over the last year, the issues aren't that big for my kind of shooting (which is why I waited so long to send it in), and I look forward to my new, improved D7000 once I get it back.

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Dan DeLion
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Many Japanese Comps Are Like This
In reply to mike158, Mar 28, 2012

Many Japanese comps are like this.

They turn out great products but, when it comes to warranty work they become hard nosed. They have difficulty admitting they made a mistake. I've encountered this that kind of behavior from Toyota, Sekonic, Nikon, Epson, Sony, Mitsubishi...

Unfortunately, one just has to keep after them to do the right thing.

This example shows why I'm suspicious of cameras from early production runs.

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Re Isnt a misaligned sensor /mount a manufacturing origination issue?
In reply to hoof, Mar 28, 2012

Surely a misaligned sensor results from manufacturing QC, not from use, isnt the sensor screwed into place?

If so, why would they not fix it even if out of warranrty, surely a problem with the original manufacture should be fixed by them?

These stories really have me wondering about the QC on this camera production.

That, along with the AF issue and oil??????

Not good.

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