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What Is Causing the Bright Specks on My Images?

Published: 12/12/2018
By: larry

Polina in Florida sent me the photo to the right (I've cropped it and circled the specks - click on it to see a bigger version). Polina says:

I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out the issue with my camera. Recently, I started seeing little specks in random places in my photos. Don't mind the ugly shot, I took it specifically against a darker laundry nook to make the spots more visible. Thanks for your help!

I've not seen bright spots like this before. My hunch is that it is something to do with your sensor (Polina is using a Nikon D7100 with a Nikon 10-20mm). When I have dust on my sensor, it results in dark spots, not bright spots like this. There doesn't seem to be any well-known problems with the D7100 sensor that cause this.

I suggest you start by doing a series of test images to eliminate the involvement of your lens and UV filter if you are using one:

  1. Repeat this shot with and without your UV filter.
  2. Repeat this shot with another lens to make sure it's not your 10-20mm lens that is causing it.
  3. Take a series of shots to see if the specks are really random or if they always appear in the same place.
  4. If the checks above suggest that specks appear to be from the D7100 get a sensor cleaning kit and clean the sensor to see if that changes anything. I doubt it will since dust causes dark spots.

If none of these tests have any effect on the bright spots, it's probably time to send the D7100 to Nikon for Service.

9 comments on “What Is Causing the Bright Specks on My Images?”

  1. My guess is hot pixels caused by the sensor being hot. If you're using live view to compose and shoot your images for an extended period of time, the sensor will heat up and result in these artifacts.

    I use live view extensively with the D750 and have seen these hot pixels occasionally ( in the edit ) Sometimes I get sidetracked while shooting and leave the camera setup in live view mode while I'm off doing something else for several minutes. It's not a defect. Just limit the amount of time you leave live view burning for no reason and you should be fine.

  2. It's not sensor dust. If it were, it would be in the same locations on every frame. And sensor dust, as you said, is dark.
    Try a different memory card to rule out worn out memory cells.

  3. I sometimes see these white spots ( sometimes red or blue) when I do long time exposures.
    I have the long exposure noise canceling setting to ON, but I do see thes spots when I do night shots.

  4. dead pixels = always same spot and same color
    stuck pixels = same spot but not always same color
    hot pixels = only with long exposure or high ISO

    What aperture are you shooting indoors?

    Maybe you should try 7.1 or even 6.3 in dark rooms like that but avoid objects close to your lens.

  5. Guys, thank you all for all the suggestions.
    I usually shoot at ISO 320, 6.3 aperture, exp between 10 and 25. No UV filter.

    These pixels do move around for sure and the first time I've seen them was at the well lit house and I thought that may be they were produced by crystal chandeliers in every room of that house :)))

    Never heard of hot pixels before, so will read more about these, as well as all other suggestions - plenty of options to explore! Thanks all!

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