Fixing Random Hot or Dead Pixels

Screen shot 2011-04-09 at 2.56.15 AM

Most DSLR video guys would never notice this problem, but for photographers, it's something that happens pretty often. If you've been doing long exposures or dark images and have been seeing some stray / hot / or dead pixels, here's a tip to try before sending the camera in. This has been implemented in DSLR cameras for a very very long time and is a way to remap these pixels (hide the bad ones). Is this some type of hack job? Actually, no. Many cameras will do this automatically on start up or shut down, and it's almost impossible for any chip with millions of pixels to be 100% perfect. Here's how you do it.

First remove any lens on the camera and place the body cap. You can actually do this with a lens, but you're more prone to 'light leaks'. Place the DSLR Body cap on and for safe measure, you might want to cover it again with a dark cloth, tshirt, or dark blanket. You basically want to keep any light from leaking into the camera while performing the cleaning.

Go to the Menu > Select Sensor Cleaning > Manual Clean.

2011-04-09 02.27.28

2011-04-09 02.27.42

The Mirror flips open, the camera basically should expect every pixel to be completely black, but if it's finding some white or red ones, it should remap them. After about 30 seconds, turn the power off on the camera. Now go out and test out your long exposures or dark imaging to see if those same hot pixels still show up.

Here's another tip. If you plan on buying or selling a DSLR, you can also perform a test against your sensor to see these stray or hot pixels. You can leave a lens on the camera, but just cover it up completely to prevent light leaks or sit in a very very dark room. Set the lens to 'Manual Focus', set ISO to the lowest like 100, shutter speed to say 1/60th, and aperture doesn't really matter. We're not doing long exposure here, because we don't want to confuse a Dead pixel with ISO noise. Next, take a picture. The picture should come out 'mostly' black, but this test will show some stray red or white hot pixels (unless it's already been remapped which is OK). If you're shopping for that camera, and you can't seem to get rid of those stray pixels, consider if they are so bad they would render your work useless. Again, since HD video doesn't actually use all the pixels by the time it's resized down, Video shooters may not notice something like this as easily.

33 thoughts on “Fixing Random Hot or Dead Pixels

  1. M. Sirgany

    Thank you so much for the tip. I just bought Nikon D750 when I shoot Video with it I noticed a red pixel that flicker. I was very frustrated cause I just got it and I couldn't believe that I will send it away may be for 1 month to the nearest Nikon service center to fix this issue. I searched and finally found your advice I tried and I was not sure that this will do a difference but actually I was extremely surprised that this tips worked for me.
    Really thank you for sharing your experience. 🙂

  2. Cody J.

    This worked for me on my Canon T3i. I had a red pixel on the left side of my display for probably over a year now, maybe close to 2; I bought the camera in early 2012. The pixel showed up in pictures after they had been uploaded, too, so this was especially annoying. The "automatic clean" and "clean now" options would not work, and I had never tried the manual cleaning option because I assumed that was for carefully cleaning the insides of it yourself. This method worked, though.

    Here's to hoping the picture stays clear!

  3. V.K.


    I recently purchased a T3i and shot a bunch of pictures and video only to see 2 cyan pixels in every shot. I was ready to return the camera when I saw this and it totally fixed my problem. Thank you so much. I love this camera.

  4. Vivian Tong

    This worked for me! But make sure you choose "manual cleaning". Wait at least 30 seconds before shutting the camera off. The other sensor cleanings didn't work. Thank you!!!

  5. uykucuherif

    didn't work 🙁 i have one hot (red) pixel at the left top, but the NR function deletes it in the images, i can see it in live view and in videos, but when it comes to jpegs, it is cleared.

  6. Jim K

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I had a blue pixel showing up on my Canon 60D (video only), but since it was only showing up on very dark backgrounds (like fireworks videos), I had learned to live with it. However, I recently noticed a white pixel that started showing up as well and it was driving me nuts. Both only showed in videos, not stills (not sure why). I was about to send the camera in for service, but read your advice and tried it. Worked like a charm - thanks so much! I feel like someone just handed me a new camera!

  7. MarcB

    excellent!!!!! i "had" a 60d with dead pixed, followed the manual clean instructions and indeed it appears to have resolved it.....many thanks, i am extremly grateful.

  8. mattchee

    My T3i had a dead pixel and hot pixel out of the box. Very annoying. I thought I was going to have to return the camera for another one (luckily got it at costco) - but that's still a hassle, so I tried your trick and it worked right away! Thanks!

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @Daniel - It really depends. This works well for still photos, and sometimes might fix video issues, but they might suggest doing this before sending it in.

  10. Thank You,

    I was about to send the camera back because of 3 red pixels and a white one. I fixed them following your advice. God bless you!

    One advice: at service center, do they do the same thing or actually physically fix or replace the sensor?

  11. Pingback:

  12. Ady

    At first it didn't worked.... But the second time it did! First it was in M mode, the second time it was on Av (when cleaning). Model 7D. Thank you very much for this quick fix!

  13. Alex Corneliu

    I have a Canon 60D, I had problems with dead red pixels...I wanted to send the camera to the service. I tried your suggestion, and it worked... Great advice! Thank you very much!!!!

  14. Capybara

    My new Canon T3i was working fine with 1080p video but when I switched to 720/60p, a fat, hot, white pixel was showing up in the center of the screen. Weird that it only showed up in 720/60p but I was bummed. I tried the trick above and it worked, hot pixel is gone! Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this solution, you are a genius.

  15. Brandon

    Dude, this saved my BUTT!!!! I had this white dot that kept showing up in my videos. When I used the digital zoom it would show up on the right edge of the LCD. Then when I disabled the zoom, it would be towards the center. Play the files back & it would show up on the video... It was really bugging me. I was so sick that something was wrong with my camera as I just got it in 4/12 & knew Canon would probably take FOREVER to fix it (& possibly even try to charge me even tho I believe it should still be under warranty)... Anyhow, this came up on google, I gave it a shot & BINGO!!!! Problem resolved. Thank you SOOOOOOO much!!!!

  16. Marcelo



    I was very disapointed when I see a hot pixel that I never until record a video with my Canon t3i.

    I let one note!

    In T3i the Manual clear only show with a lens in the camera. Without its impossible to access this function.

  17. Sarah

    Thank you so much for this tip! It fixed my annoying blue hot pixel and I am very grateful.

  18. Peter

    Hi, im new to photography. I've noticed a 'hot pixel' appear on my canon 60d several times and it seems to be on about the same position. It comes up I've noticed when I do long exposure shots in low light. I've managed to get rid of it each time but is this a serious problem? Should I make use of my warranty and send it in? Or is this just a typical problem I need to deal with?

  19. Tyler F

    I had a hot pixel on my 550D. It was very annoying.

    I think if the sensor skips that line, you are quite lucky with video, however, if it uses that line, its even more noticeable. It seems to have fixed itself now though - luckily, it was driving me crazy!

  20. I may have to clarify my statement. The problem seems to be that there are two types of ailments. Dead pixels and Hot Pixels.

    Hot Pixels (or photocites) are over-stimulated so to speak and needs to cool down. Performing this trick lets them do just that. And the pixel goes back to normal.

    Dead Pixels, on the other hand, are just that. Dead. And needs a real remapping or a replacement. Both are done by a Canon-service-center.

    If my research is correct, that's the reason why the trick mentioned here seems to work only on some cameras and not others.

    But then again, I don't think it would hurt if you tried the trick before sending the camera in for a work-over. You may be lucky and the pixel may just be hot.

    My two cents.

  21. I have a stubborn white pixel thats been there for a few months now on my 7D. This did not get rid of it. Hmmm, wonder why it works on some and not on others? I tried both Manual sensor cleaning and CLEAN NOW, neither did much of anything.

    Glad its working for some though! Anyone try it on a 7D? Maybe the newer models like T2 or T3 do it but not a 7D?

  22. Thanks a lot emm I was about to send my older 5D2 to Canon to fix a couple of hot pixels that started to show at ISO 1600 and above in my video clips. I had it boxed and ready to go but this totally fixed it and it could not happen at a better time, I have been shooting(filming) like crazy and this was going to affect my workflow so bad.
    once again thanks for the tip and good luck at NAB!!

  23. After seeing some hot pixels I started to look around for some sort of remapping or something. I found this very same tip at some site. Though doing more research (I tried the trick but saw no difference), I found out that the trick is basically just bunk. The problem may be hot pixels. Hot as in warm, or overactive. And this means that when you do this trick, it's not a fancy remapping. It's just the sensor cooling down.

    What I found is that real remapping needs to be done at a sercive facility where the sensor might even need to be replaced.

    It's my long way of saying. It may work, but the problem is misunderstood and the solution may be working for some for other reasons than the one often stated.

    At least this is what my research and testing has shown me.

  24. Laurens

    This trick really works. Discovered some fixed 'stars' on a night sky time lapse. It drove me crazy. Fixed the footage using the Too Much Too Soon Free "hair removal" plugin.

  25. kjyoest

    Thank you so much for this tip. I am new to dslr's but not to video and my Canon T2i developed a blue pixel a while back. I was seriously going to send it to service on Monday, but this fixed it. I can't thank you enough.

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @Nitsan - Rarely you'll get something weird from a lens, but sometimes lenses can throw in some type of anomaly.

  27. I can't see it on more recent videos. It doesn't seem to be there except for on that set of video reviews that I did. Maybe because I didn't turn the camera off and on between those videos. hm..

Comments are closed.