(Nancy Kaufman) #1

Ask Matthew...

Our resident Nikon expert Matthew Richards answers your

questions and solves your problems. If you have a Nikon-related

question, email it to mail@nphotomag.com


I’ve read
things about cleaning
the image sensor in
Z 6 and Z 7 cameras,
due to the in-body
stabilization. What’s
your advice?
Adam Smyth


The official line from
Nikon is that under no
circumstances should you touch or
wipe the image sensor. Instead, you should
send the camera to a Nikon-authorized
service representative for manual cleaning.
Naturally, however, that can be an
expensive and time-wasting option.

Starting simple, there’s an option in the
Setup menu for cleaning the image sensor
by vibrating it to remove dust. The
‘Automatic cleaning’ option does this
whenever the camera is turned off,
whereas ‘Clean now’ runs the cleaning
cycle immediately.
Nikon also says it’s okay to use a blower
to remove dust or lint, but not to use a
blower brush to physically touch the sensor,
as the bristles could cause damage. You
absolutely should not use a compressed
air canister, like an ‘air duster’, as the high
pressure and freezing propellent could
damage the sensor.
Despite Nikon’s warnings, many Z 6 and
Z 7 owners have cleaned their sensors
without incurring any problems. For dry
cleaning, you could try VisibleDust’s Arctic
Butterfly 724S Super Bright. Its brush is
mounted on a spinner, which charges up the
nano-coated bristles electrostatically. After
the brush stops spinning, and with the
camera switched off, you can then gently
stroke the brush across the surface of the
image sensor to pick up any dust particles.
It’s expensive though, at around £110/$125.
For removing greasy marks or specks
that won’t come off with a dry clean, you’re
better off using a fluid-based swab. The
Visible Dust 1.0x Sensor Cleaning Kit
(£25/$25) contains four swabs and a small
tube of cleaning fluid. This should work

decently, so long as you’re gentle with
the application, but keep in mind that it
goes against Nikon’s recommendations.
At the end of the day, only you can decide
whether cleaning the camera yourself is a
risk worth taking, rather than sending your
camera away for sensor cleaning.


My travel tripod is
frustratingly short
and flimsy. I’d like a sturdy
carbon fibre kit that’s tall,
but folds down small, is
sturdy, and reasonably
priced. Too much to ask?
David Chapman


A bit pricier at £38/$37, the VisibleDust
EZ SwabLight Kit adds an LED-based
illuminating handle to shine a light
on the task at hand.

You can detach one of the legs for monopod
use, and the clever head has two panning
locks, one of which operates solely on
the camera platform.
Free download pdf