My Red Dot

By | February 4, 2009

George: You think she would care about the red dot?
Jerry: It’s hard to say.
George: I don’t even think she’d notice it. Can you see it?
Jerry: Well I can see it.
George: Yeah, but you know where it is.
Jerry: Well what do you want me to do? Not look at it?
George: Pretend you didn’t know it was there. Can you see it?
Jerry: It’s hard to pretend because I know where it is.

Once you see something it is hard to un-see it. This was the case for me over the weekend when I was editing photos taken from a wedding on Saturday. In the lower right corner of the photos was a peculiar red dot. I know what a dead or stuck pixel looks like and all the photos taken on Saturday had the dot in the exact same spot throughout.

I changed lenses on the Canon Rebel XTi, tried a different camera setting and the red dot persisted. I went back to photos taken from Revelstoke and did not see the blemish. It is entirely possible that I wasn’t using a high enough image quality at Revelstoke to see the dot or it developed in the span of the week, but I was immediately heart broken.

Canon XTi Dead Pixel

Click here to view an uncompressed 2MB file with the pixel outlined.

I did some research and came across a very helpful blog post on dead pixels on a XTi here. Reading through the comments an update was posted from the author about a potential fix, via Flickr, was uncovered:

1. Put on a lens on your camera and set your camera to take RAW+L (raw & jpeg) photos on your camera.
2. Go into a dark area and take a few photos with varying ISO and shutter speeds, possibly even going as long as ISO 1600 with a 30 second shutter speed.
3. After you take the pictures press the menu button, the right arrow button and go to the “Tools 2″ setting, far right. Now select the “Sensor cleaning” setting — generally set to “Sensor cleaning:Auto”. Click on it and select “Clean now”. The sensor cleaning takes a few seconds. Wait 30 seconds.
4. Take another pictures in RAW+L (raw & jpeg), compare the pictures to those take in #2. Your hot or dead pixel should be gone.

I followed these steps exactly, returned to a dark room to see if the fix was successful and saw even more dead/hot pixels than before. You can click here to view the JPG version of the original 10MB RAW file that shows the pixels in question. I did the best I could to troubleshot this so I returned the camera to where it came from, and fortunately such a problem was covered under the extended warranty.

To continue my string of public service announcements, I am posting this in hopes that someone may try the sensor cleaning/dark photo steps if they come across a hot, dead or stuck pixel in their DSLR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *