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The Nikon D80 is a digital, 10.2 megapixel, single-lens camera that was released to the public in 2005. It is meant for digital photo-taking and filming.

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Tiny spots on my pictures. Any ideas?

I am suddenly getting very fine "measle-like" spots on all my images that go across the entire picture plane. This is especially prevalent when I shoot at higher f stops. The spots seem to concentrate in the center field of vision and become prevalent at f11 and up and very noticeable at f22 and up. I checked for dead pixels and find that there are none. I took photos with multiple lenses. I took to camera shop and had CCD professionally cleaned. I tried shooting with both Long exp. NR and high ISO NR in Normal, OFF, or ON positions and the results were the same. The "specks" are very fine and number in the hundreds. They almost look like "noise" and are too fine to be dust. They are very prevalent at 100%.

Neither the camera shop nor the techies had seen this problem before. Any ideas?

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paper f32 6" ISO 100 @ 50%

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paper f32 6" ISO 100 @ 100%

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sky f32 1/10" ISO 100 @ 50%

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sky f32 1/10" ISO 100 @ 100%

It's like there is a shotgun pattern of micro spots in the center of the sensor. It just happened suddenly and no one can explain it.

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This sounds very strange indeed. Can you post an image to show us what you're talking about?


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This appears to be a defective infrared cutoff filter, and it is a defect seen on many D80, D40X and D60 Nikon image sensors . If you pull the filter and check the bottom under magnification, it almost looks like micro drops on the bottom side of the filter, like the coating didn't stick or is now coming off. It appears to be some sort of manufacturing defect - possibly contamination during the coating process on the bottom layer of the filter.

Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done for this other than replacing the image sensor, unless you want to convert your body to infrared. Nikon never sold the cutoff filter separately, and now that Nikon has stopped selling parts you can't even get the complete image sensor.

As usual, Nikon has never acknowledged the problem . . .

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This looks an awful lot like dust of some sort. This prevalent and evenly spread out is very peculiar, though.

Do the specks always appear in the exact same location between shots? Does the size decrease and sharpness increase as you stop down? If the answer to both is yes it's most likely something in front of the sensor. Similar physics apply between the sensor and the aperture as to bokeh. If dirt is on the sensor it's not in focus because of the low pass filter, the actual obstruction is just a few millimetres in front of the sensor.

Anyway, if it is dirt of some kind, and having your camera cleaned hasn't fixed it the only solution would be a new sensor and/or low pass filter.

Kind regards,


Update: I chatted with a chap from a photostore and he thought it might be oil. Some other cameras had oil dripping from the shutter and ending up on the sensor. To clean that off youll need a swab and do a 'wet cleaning'. Maybe no new sensor after all!

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You could try using a strong magnifying glass to look at the CCD for any dust. I wonder if the CCD is defective in some way. Like dust between the CCD and its cover glass, if it has one.


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The specks are in exactly the same location in every shot. Size and sharpness increase as I stop down. That indicates the surface. I had it wet cleaned but it didn't solve the problem. If it is oil it is somehow hardened because it will not come off. You can see the sensor is clean under a magnifier and at an angle where it reflects the light. BUT. . . at a certain angle where there is no reflection you can see a microscopic array of dots with a jewelers loupe.

This is not an isolated problem and other people have chimed in on other forums.

Also some forums on flickr.

I will send to Nikon. If it is a cheap fix I will do it. If not then I will sell it for parts. Beware the d80!!! I would venture that many more people would see this problem if they shot at f11 or up. Then Nikon would have to fess up to the problem.


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Yes, that image corresponds to a dirt problem on the CCD.

I think they are fungi.

I have cleaned thousands of CCD sensors in my technical service of digital photo cameras in Las Palmas Spain.

I have an article that exposes the tricks so that you can clean it perfectly in this link:


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