How Much Is Sensor Cleaning Worth To You?

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Well there we have it, a new rebadged D600 with very minor upgrades. Not much to get excited about if you have a working D600 now. IMO this is a big blunder on Nikon’s part and a very big missed oppertunity for new sales by not adding some new must have features and improvements. The only way this makes any sense is if Nikon has another true upgrade right around the corner and the DF Retro camera is not it as it has nothing really new from the D610 except for external dials and the ability to use older non AI lenses. With no video it actually has less to offer overall. Nikon should have made the new 16mp Df have the 51 pt AF and at least 8fps or put in the 36mp sensor. As it is this camera just has a great sensor and retro looks which is fine but at $2,750 I think its over priced with it’s feature set. $1900 would have been more appropriate IMO. Time will tell by the sales numbers. After the newness of it wares off I don’t see it selling in large numbers. Maybe the Df2 will make it stand out other than its retro looks. Don’t get me wronge it’s a cool camera I wouldn’t mind having one but not at almost $3,000. Many baby boomers will be buying though.

The current or recent refurbs with the lens ($1599) are about as cheap as you will get for quite some time for a Nikon FF kit. The new D610 is going to be full retail again. So the question is does a savings of almost a $1,000 make doing your own sensor cleaning worth it? and are the few tweaks or features the D610 may have make paying almost a $1,000 more worth it to you?

Think about it , a wet cleaning is easy and takes about 5 minutes of your time. How much per hour would you accept to clean your own sensor? Say 12x a year for 5 yrs = 5hrs so about $200 per hour based on the numbers above. Oh, you say it takes you almost 10 minutes to do a cleaning, okay then $100 per hr to do the cleaning.  20 minutes you say ……………………………………………………….. and so on.

Cleaning supplies for that much cleaning come to about  $10 for the Eclispe solution and you can reuse the wet swab by buying the pec-pads ($8) and attaching  them to the stick your self or just use the wet swabs at a much higher cost ($35 yr). There are other brands as well. Chances are you won’t need to do 60 cleanings in 5yrs so you hourly rate goes way up in that case. Than in 5yrs when you go to sell your camera body your loss will be far less than it would have with a full retail purchase. Camera bodies are a poor investment anyways and in 5 years or less there is going to be a new model that is better and you know your going to want one.

IMO the latest refurb kits are the smart buy for those that upgrade their camera bodies every few years or so. If I could afford another camera I would have gotten one because there is very little financial risk due to the resale value being very close to the net cost of the body. Once you get some mileage on the body the oil spots if you even  get them at all should be minimized by then making resale much easier for those timid of doing their own cleaning. If you plan to keep your camera a long time and can afford to pay top dollar then go for it that’s what most do anyway, but a lot of smart folks save a bundle of money by waiting for discounts and rebates before buying that new lens or camera body. Photography can be a very expensive hobby / profession.

Here is a list of the most popular sensor cleaning products.

Eclipse Cleaning solution: There are a couple of types.

Swabs. There are several sizes of swabs
Arctic Butterfly:

Rocket Blower, everyone should have one of these: