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Nikon D80 - dark semi-circle in photos

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi folks, I have a Nikon D80 which has been causing me some grief recently. I've been noticing a dark semi-circle on the left side of the sensor in some images.

-Happens with or without a lens hood
-Flash has not been used in any of the photos
-All 3 of my lenses produce this problem
-Sensor has been professionally cleaned and this has not fixed it
-Seems to be a 50/50 chance of it happening. I have photo sets where it is visible only in horizontal pictures and non-existent in the vertical ones.
-Can't see anything inside the camera that could be casting a shadow

I had taken it in to a local camera shop who couldn't fault it in store so sent it away for a sensor clean and general checkup. The camera returned with a lovely clean sensor but the first picture I took showed the fault SO obviously that I don't believe they even bothered to check for the fault.

Here are some images that illustrate my problem quite nicely.

325246_10150429484560349_669220348_8346549_1844429082_o.jpg
This was the first image where I noticed the semi-circle. (at the top)

327285_10150429412690349_669220348_8346412_1236442252_o.jpg

shadow-5310.jpg
Nikon 75-240mm lens

shadow-5323.jpg
Nikon 35-70mm lens

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 19
I will help you if you make me a sandwich.

No, that's not a girl joke, that's a fat joke at me. Get it right.

In seriousness? It almost seems like there's something inside your shutter box. I'm not as well versed on Nikons, but there should be a way to manually clean your sensor. Do that, open it up and take a look along the edges of the sensor. It probably wont' be immediately obvious; this almost seems like a piece of hair or something chilling out away from the sensor, lying very low towards the edges of the inside, something that won't be super noticeable. If it IS something inside the camera/on the sensor, its' in there fairly well because it's being fairly consistent on your sensor. In examining the last of the photos, it does look like it moves ever so slightly, so it seems likely that it is just some sort of foreign object obstruction.

Random question, but does it happen with any other lenses as well? Just to try to rule something out. I suppose it could be something on one of your elements too, but I find that a bit less likely to be the case. SORRY, re-read your post. Since it looks like this is happening with all of your lenses, and happens about half the time, it really does seem like some sort of foreign object (probably a piece of hair or even perhaps lint?) floating around. Get in your shutter box with a rocket blower.

One way to try see if you can make it come out more often - shoot at smaller apertures (larger f stops). I bet if you're wide open this will be almost invisible, but if you stop down, you may start seeing it reappear in the image (especially towards f/22, etc).

if not, then I'm not 100% sure, I haven't personally seen this phenomenon. frown.gif Wish I could be more help, I'll keep my eyes and ears open in case I hear something else and report back. Good luck!
Edited by MistaBernie - 4/27/12 at 4:34am
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post #3 of 19
I think its a foreign object in there as well. The last two shots have EXIF data and it becomes clearer on the shot at f/5.6 compared to the shot at f/4.5.
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post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much to both of you! I've had a brief look previously and not seen anything. Sounds like a much closer inspection is needed so I'll give that a try today. Really want to get it figured out as I'm hoping to sell it to finance a 5D mk1
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post #5 of 19
Ah, switching to Canon eh? Good... Good... *taps fingers*
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post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I had a really good look inside the camera yesterday. I couldn't see anything in there at all that could possibly be causing this mark. I gave it to my partner too who also couldn't see anything (though he did spot a few hairs I'd missed). I'm at a loss really. Can't think what could be causing it.
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post #7 of 19
Hairs.. inside? like not on the sensor but chilling out in the box, etc? Those could absolutely be the culprit (look at the shape of the semi-circle; it looks like a piece of hair). Pull them (especially if they standing out and into the box, not lying against something, if that makes sense).
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post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
The hairs he saw weren't the right type to cast such a perfect, rounded shadow. These were short, fine, squiggly hairs. And they didn't curve in the way this mark does. I'll remove them anyway (can't hurt) but I'm not convinced it's the cause of the problem yet. I am considering taking the camera back to the store and show them that the fault still persists and see what they will do.
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post #9 of 19
Good call. Especially if it's still in warranty.
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post #10 of 19
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Oh it's not under warranty, rather I took it in to them already asking for it to be repaired and then got it back still faulty. Unfortunately that was just before a holiday to Australia (wanted my camera as we were traveling to a few key photographic locations) so I couldn't return it straight away. Haven't used my camera much since then so didn't think to take it back frown.gif
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