Those Infamous Digital Camera Spots

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Shawn, May 22, 2005.

  1. Shawn
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    Shawn New Member

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    My first digital camera was a cheap Fujifilm $99 thing that was just a toy for me to get used to the idea of a digital camera. It was as good as expected, and that is where I first learned about the evil spots that digital cameras produce in photos. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this example (yes, it's a horrible photo) from a storm I was trying to take pictures of with it:

    http://www.awebsite.org/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=june10storms&id=june10

    As a result, I eventually upgraded to a Canon PowerShot S410, which I know is still not the best, but it suits my needs better than the huge professional cameras. While it has a lot less of the spot problem, it does still make them on occasions, and I can't figure out exactly what triggers it. So I have a few questions:

    1) What conditions are typically blamed for creating the spots? I understand it may be different camera to camera, but there has to be some overall conditions that cause them most of the time.

    2) If I have a photo with spots, what is the best way to clean them up? I use Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos so I can trim off excess space, fix the overall colors, etc. but I'm not a great Photoshop user. I basically just know how to cut and paste, use auto levels, and change the size.

    If anyone has the answers to these questions and can help me out, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Shawn
  2. BadRotation
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    BadRotation New Member

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    taking photos in the rain, eh?

    Basically, the flash from the camera illuminates raindrops, or dust in the air.

    the way to get rid of them is to not use a flash.


    On a side note, a lot of goofy 'ghost hunters' out there see these pop up in their photos and then claim they are ghosts.
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  3. tr0gd0o0r
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    tr0gd0o0r New Member

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    I'm not sure what causes it, I personally blame my sensor (based on pure assumptions.) I've fixed it in the past with the clone tool in photoshop. click a close spot and use it. I also only see them in areas that are largely one color. Also, i'm talking about the ones that look more like water spots, not the white stuff
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  4. Shawn
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    Shawn New Member

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    Yes, in that series of photos I was expecting a tornado to drop down, so I was taking photos around there.

    In cases of outdoor stuff such as clouds I agree that there's no reason to use a flash. I think that with the camera I took that photo with there was not even an option to turn it off, unlike my newer camera.

    However, I've had the spots appear indoors on occasion as well, where a flash is necessary. I think I'll play around with that, by taking photos in a dim room with no flash and generate some dust in the area, and take it with flash, and get a better feel for how it works. I think that if something is a very dim photograph I should still be able to brighten it up in Photoshop so it looks like I did have enough light.


    Oh, they are ghosts. The ancient spirits of undead evil love nothing more than harassing photographers. :lol:

    There are others who take a photo of the Sun with a Polaroid camera out in the desert and they end up with a reflection from inside the camera, and they say it's a photo of a door to Heaven.
  5. Digital Matt
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    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Take a photo of a bright blue sky. If you see soft round dark spots, then that is dust on your lens and or sensor. On a fixed lens point and shoot, you can clean the lens but not the sensor. Try cleaning the lens carefully with a blower brush, or a cleaning cloth. If it's on the sensor, you'll have to have it cleaned, or use the clone or healing tool in PS.

    The photograph at the top is flash illuminated particles, as previously stated.
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  6. cmptrdewd
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    cmptrdewd New Member

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    One time I decided to take some night time pix of my dogs to get their eerie glowing eyes!!! I had the flash on of course. I looked at the pix on the comp and saw strange looking glowing spots (other than my dog’s eyes) in the pictures. I zoomed in on Photoshop, brightened it a little and took a very close look. The spots were bugs that were lit up by the flash! Other than that I've had no trouble with spots in my pictures.

    But in one picture I was lucky enough to get all my dogs looking at the camera at once and in that picture there was another pair of eyes!!!!! :shock: The eyes look as if they belonged to my dear little Otis!!

    R.I.P. little guy! :(
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  7. craig
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    craig New Member

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    Quickly glancing at the photo; I would say that you have some rain combined with a long exposure causing the spots. The white spots are the rain in the sky and the larger grey spots is water on the lens.

    It has been my experience that dust on the CCD appears as dark spots and are generally pretty obvious. Again; shooting a clear blue sky is the best test. Since your camera does not have a removable lens dust is not a worry. Keep in mind that the image forms on the rear lens element. None the less you should keep your glass clean as opposed to cleaning it. Meaning wipe it off after every day of use. Generally I only use solvent if there are some super duty fingerprints or smudges on it. If you could get to the CCD make sure that you buy the adapter cord to flip the mirror up. When you put the camera on bulb the CCD thinks it it is taking a photo and is electrically charged. Therefore attracting more dust.

    The white spots that I receive from the 'ol Nikon D1 are directly attributed to a high ISO setting. Basically the camera and or software is trying to make up for information that it can not actually read. (Of course I bought the 'ol girl in 1998; Nikon has since solved the problem) If you do experience artifacts in low light try setting the camera at ISO 200 Manual exposure using a tripod.
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