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GB111

Need your opinion on sensor damage

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I recently came into possession of a Nikon D800 with scratches on its sensor (you can see the scratches on the image (at f22, etc). I am looking at two options for its repair, and would like your feedback in deciding which way to go:

 

1) LifePixel will replace the anti-aliasing / low pass filter for $450.  I would need to ship it to them.

 

2) A local company here in San Diego stated that they can remove the self-cleaning layer over the AA filter and recalibrate it for the new distance from lens to sensor. The price would be $319 +tax. The camera would lose the self-cleaning capability.

 

Your thoughts on which way to go?  The camera only has about 29,000 shots, where the shutter is rated at 200,000.

 

Thank you in advance!

 

GB

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Fully agree with Ann's suggestions. Anything that affects the camera's native functionality is going to make it very difficult to resell. What does the model sell for second hand in the US? Also, how often are you shooting at f22 where the scratches would become an issue? 

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Thanks folks. A couple months ago this camera was selling on eBay for between say $900 and $1700.  I bought mine from a friend who wasn't aware of the damage, which I discovered 2-3 weeks later when I took it in for sensor cleaning.  We have an agreement on the repair costs.

 

From what info I've found on the internet, the cost of a Nikon repair is prohibitive. They only replace the entire sensor.

 

Another angle is that given the D800's 36MP sensor it should hold its tech edge for awhile, so I will probably hold onto this body for a long long time. That's one reason to get the LPF replaced. On the other hand, by the time I might sell it (say in 5 years), it might be obsolete since the manufacturers keep improving both dynamic range and sensor pixel size w/ every iteration. 

 

Anyway, check out the pic of the scratches (circled).. I shot the sky at f22 and processed the image to see them. I don't shoot at that aperture very often, but scary.

NikonD800_scratches_1600.jpg

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Hmmm... 

 

I never made the leap from D700 to D800 so my knowledge of the latter is sketchy, but I wonder if just removing the AA filter and leaving the sensor exposed turns it into the same as the D800e, or is there some other black magic difference between the two models? 

 

If I was in your situation I would definitely go for the Life Pixel option, especially if the camera is going to be used for another 5 years or more. 

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Shop for a used D800e and be happy.

I would not attempt either mod.


Hot bodies (D800E, D810, D4, D500) and plenty of glass, but always lusting for more.

 

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Greg, I'll try the last suggestion from Ann 

I know you shoot many landscapes with everything in focus , do some tests with the lens and aperture you use for such shots see how that looks

 

if you are still not happy try repair #1

let us know how it goes

 


Regards,

Armando

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Thank you for the additional answers.

 

Dallas, I read somewhere that rather than remove the AA Nikon actually added a second filter on top of the standard AA to cancel it out. There was speculation that it was cheaper for them like this.  Anyway, removing the AA or removing the anti-shake cover still requires technical expertise, as the system must be re-calibrated for the new distance from lens to sensor. 

 

Thanks fredazinger, but since I already own the 800, buying another body -- the 800e in this case -- would be a more expensive option than fixing the 800. It would be at least double the cost, as they go for $1000 and up. Then there's always the chance that it has some damage too (as I've found out). 

 

Ann, the tech attached a lighted magnifier - they call it a Loupe - to the camera for me to see, it they're most certainly scratches. They are shinny and thin.  But I am considering cleaning it myself either way, just for the experience (it's going to need replacement anyway). And who knows, maybe it'll make it acceptable?

 

Armando, thanks, I will shoot and compare a few more shots with different apertures this weekend.  I don't often shoot f22, except for macros shots.

 

Greg

 

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The D800e has a special layer added instead of the AA  filter to keep the optical stack identical between the two models.

Removing the layer was not a viable option to Nikon, so I doubt it is in the aftermarket.

If you really want ONE body without an AA filter, sell the D800 and buy a D800e, D810, D820 or other model.

Hacking a D800 is not a good path......


Hot bodies (D800E, D810, D4, D500) and plenty of glass, but always lusting for more.

 

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Just to let everyone know, I did get the sensor AA filter completely replaced by Life Pixel.  Total cost (including shipping) was about $520... Hopefully the camera lasts me awhile (5+ years).

 

Thanks for all the responses.  Nothing takes the place of these from experienced photographers who know the intricacies of the art and the technology.

 

-G

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And I assume it is now is proper working order ? 

Edited by armando_m

Regards,

Armando

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Armando - All seems to be in order ... I locked open the mirror and the sensor looked brand new. The pictures look sharp, although I haven't put them through serious inspection (yet).

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