Fight Dirt and Dead Pixels

There are lots of roads to ruined pictures. Dirt and sensor defects are two of them. How can you uncover and solve these problems?

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AuthorVit Kovalcik

I’ve been a freelancer since early 2012; photography is my living. I acquired my photography experience, both inside and outside the studio, during the previous years—when I was working all day and taking pictures every evening and weekend. I don’t have just one clearly defined topic; I like photographing people, but also cityscapes and landscapes.

Comments (2)

  1. This is an interesting article. I’ve never ever come across dust on the front of a lens being reproduced in an image. And this is with 55 years of photography behind me. But then, I don’t shoot straight into the sun. My eyes are too precious for that. Also it is possible that internal focusing lens designs may be more prone as they can have a macro mode almost touching the front element, and in some cases it does! So, want to photograph dust on the front element? Buy one of these. :D)

    Sensor dust is another thing, however, and is always a risk with interchangeable lens digital cameras, so I always take the utmost precautions when I do. Funnily enough, I never noticed this as a potential problem until a couple of years ago when I set out to record and compare the optical performance of my many film-era lenses on my Nex 5N. For optimum optical performance, I rarely, if never, shoot below f8 because of possible diffraction, but during all my testing I ran the full gamut of the available apertures of each lens.and it was when looking at those shot at f11 and smaller, that I noticed the dust blobs in the sky, and which got progressively and distinctly more noticeable at f16 and f22 where available.

    Never going below f8 has meant I have been blissfully unaware that dust could have been an issue, especially as the 5N has an in-built dust removal option. Fortunately, dust is mostly only visible in areas of sky or plain colour, not so much in the more busy parts of an image although I would imagine in very large prints it may possibly be seen.

    I am a little surprised, though, that you don’t mention Zoner’s healing tool, which I have found to be the quickest and best way to remove not only dust from digital images, but blemishes from scanned negatives.

    1. Thank you Terry for this comment, it is interesting to read about your experience! Yes, the ZPS healing tool is a great tool, thank you for the reminder, we will try to add it to the article, because it is definitely worth it.

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