D80 with a faulty sensor?

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Katonda Junior Member • Posts: 25
D80 with a faulty sensor?

Briefly:

I have a Nikon D80 that has been on my shelf for the last 5 years that takes overexposed pictures and I think the CCD sensor could be the issue. Is it worth repairing or should I invest in a new camera?

Detailed:

In 2011 I did some wildlife photography in dry/dusty conditions and after a drop, my lens had trouble auto-focusing and wobbled. I could hear a grinding in the motor and the shutter was slow. I brought it to a shop for repair (not Nikon itself but affiliated) and they made an initial estimate which I agreed to and I had the camera repaired in 2012.

The repairman did the following according to a bill I found in the bag with the camera (translated from German):

Repaired electronics, replaced parts, adjustments. Repaired case, tested it. CCD sensor was cleaned (had microtears in it which could not be removed). He also repaired and cleaned both of my lenses.

I paid him and then took it out to test it and found that the pictures I was taking were overexposed and brought it back to him where he agreed to take a second look. This is where my memory gets a bit foggy, but a few days later he told me that he had spoken with Nikon itself about the issue and they had told him it was likely an issue to do with the sensor and that the part would be too expensive to replace (within the budget we had agreed upon) and so rather than making a new estimate he refunded me the cost associated with the camera, but not the two lenses. So I think the camera is clean and mechanically sound, there is just an issue with the sensor, electronics and/or software.

I thus was left with a camera with two working lenses which took overexposed pictures. While I can partially correct the overexposure through the manual function (it's never as good as it was in the first year I bought it) I would really like to use the auto-feature for most things as I am a non-professional. The camera has been sitting in an airtight bag on my shelf since 2012 and I haven't been taking many pictures as I haven't brought myself to buying a new one and I'm also not too keen on bringing it to a shop. If I do attempt to repair it, I will be doing so on a budget and with my own two hands.

I'm not entirely sure if his diagnosis or my recollection of it is correct, so I am wondering if there is a way to make sure it isn't the software or something else that I could fix quickly and easily. At the time I was too afraid to make any fixes myself, but I have since repaired a few laptops and one smartphone and have a small computer tool set and think I might be up to the task of replacing the CCD sensor myself (if that is the problem). However, before investing in spare parts I would like to know how I could go about confirming if it is indeed the sensor and not something else.
Another glaring point is that the camera is about 10 years old at this point and it might just be better to get a new camera entirely, but I am very satisfied with the quality of the images it took back when I was using it. Would my DX AF-S Nikkor 55-200/4-5,6 and 18-55/3,5-5,6 lenses be compatible with modern cameras?
I am looking forward to your feedback. If you know of any forums that might also be able to help me (repair, nikon-specific, etc.), I would appreciate that too.
Thanks,
Katonda

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Nikon D80
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