Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience

Started Mar 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
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mike158 New Member • Posts: 6
Nikon D7000 Oil Spots Personal Experience
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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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