Like many D600 owners, I'm hoping that the dust on sensor issue that comes with this otherwise nice camera will somehow solve itself. In the meantime, I have hundreds of shots that I took with an increasingly dirty sensor and since many of them are landscape (i.e. with small aperture) those spots are quite visible.

Before I sent the body for cleaning by Nikon some weeks ago, I took those "Dust-Off Reference Photos" just to be sure. But I'm not sure if this will be of any use to fix all the shots I took over the preceeding six-eight weeks.

Any experiences with this?

  • Unfortunately, the increasingly dirty sensor is the problem. There is nothing that will fix things so automatically that it will figure out what does is and is not in each photo.
    – Itai
    Mar 19, 2013 at 19:12
  • Yep. Best way is either to clean your sensor regularly (in case of D600: before any photo session + once each hour) or return D600 and buy different camera :) Keep in mind that if that's a constant, annoying issue than you are not forced by anything to stick with corrupt model. Mar 20, 2013 at 14:12
  • I have not yet accepted any of the answers, because I'm still wondering if anyone knows anything about those "Dust-Off Reference Photos" and how it compare to, for example, spot removal in Lightroom ...
    – Christoph
    Jun 1, 2013 at 13:49

3 Answers 3


If you have Adobe Lightroom, you can use the Spot Removal tool in one photo and then copy the settings to all the other photos. When copying the settings, uncheck all and leave only "spot removal".

The spot removal tool in Lightroom is great and should fix all photos automatically, but you can always go to that special photo and make sure it's ok and make any adjustments necessary.

  • This looks like an interesting option. But Comparing it with that by @AJ Henderson, wonder what is the difference in quality of the two spot removal techniques? More precisely, when I read that dust delete "calculates thebdistortion dust contributes to an image" it sounds a bit more sophisticated than copying a similar piece of picture on top of the dust...
    – Christoph
    Mar 19, 2013 at 21:52
  • Not quite sure how @AJ Henderson's solution works, all I can say is how Lightroom does. The easiest thing would be to check out Adobe TV or YouTube and see tutorials on the spot removal tool, like this one. I've been using Lightroom for a while now (since v2) and it works flawlessly in may aspects, including spot removal. When removing spots in multiple photos based on the spots of one of the photos, what it does is it only gets the location of the spots and then analyses each photo independently to remove the spots at each location. Mar 25, 2013 at 14:23

My understanding is that dust delete is a comparative process where a shot that is expected to be all one color is used to determine what distortion dust contributes to an image. This can then be used to cancel out the dust present in the image. It only works properly if the dust on the sensor at the time of the dust delete image being captured is the same as when you took the photo. Otherwise, it is likely going to end up deleting dust when it isn't there.

You may be able to find a package that is smart enough to look for contrast based detection of whether a particular piece of dust is present in the image or not, but I don't know if such programs exist or what kind of quality they would be able to achieve.

This means that most likely, your older pictures will end up having some of the dust removed, but may have other artifacts added by using dust delete. You'll just need to try it and see if it is better or worse.


For photos with even background, like blue sky or night sky, you can use Photoshop dust and scratches filter. It obviously doesn't work for photos with much detail, so manual checking for spots either in Lightroom (you might want to turn on the visualize spots option) visualize spots or in Photoshop is necessary. You can then copy-paste the settings to the whole batch (Photoshop is obviously much better with batch processing if you create an action).

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