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Dust and the Nikon D300 and D60

Both the Nikon D300 and D60 have built in methods to deal with dust.  The system on the D300 is very efficient, and the two D300 cameras we have, have the cleanest sensors we have ever seen. The D60 is new and appears to be the same, but we havenít had the experience yet with this.

On the D300 setup menu you have the ability to set its handling of dust, you can tell it to clean the sensor now, you can set it up to clean it every time it is turned on, off or both or disable this. You also have the choice when opening the mirror/shutter to get it to clean the sensor first. The cleaning involves vibrating the filter at a number of different frequencies for short bursts to dislodge the dust and having tacky pads around to catch any moving dust. You cannot hear of feel the vibration.

We have our cameras set up to clean the sensor every time the camera is turned off, we chose this as we didnít want a delay on start up and thought that if we did it on demand we would just forget, plus doing it regularly perhaps would throw anything off before it got firmly fixed. It does not take a noticeably longer time to turn off so is invisible in operation.

When we first had these cameras we were slightly concerned that this cleaning operation would reduce the battery life, especially in view of the fact that we had also decided to use the 18-200VR lenses that also used power as standard. So we obtained a couple of extra batteries.  In practice we have never needed to put in the spare battery, the battery power at some times does reduce, but these batteries have an ability to recover and often by the time we come to take some later photographs it has recovered, so on some days I have come back having taken several hundred images, and after tea come to upload them and found I had nearly a full battery.

I can't find any mention as to if these tacky pads will eventually need replacing, or any other action required in relation to them, if we did need to clean the sensor filter for some reason we would have to be careful not to transfer the tacky from the pads to the sensor filter in the operation.

The operation of the D60 is the same, but it also has an inbuilt airflow system that moves air within the camera so that any dust that is in the camera is directed away from the sensor. A far as I can see there are no controls in relation to this airflow, and its not mentioned in the instruction manual when the cleaning and dust system is discussed. I presume it also has tacky pads but the instructions donít mention them.

Perhaps I should just mention VR, as some people get the dust vibration and the VR on the lenses confused. There is no connection between these, the VR function on the lens is to counteract camera shake, and allow you to use slower shutter speeds than you would otherwise.

See also other related DSLR and Dust articles by taking each of these links:


By: Keith Park Section: Photography Section Key:
Page Ref: dust_D300_D60 Topic: Cameras  Last Updated: 07/2009

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