Hot Pixel stories

User Hot pixel stories CP950/990/995

Last update Jan 9, 2002

After having hundreds of people contact me with their stories about hot pixels on Nikon digital cameras, I have decided to put up this page where I will list submissions from readers with a brief description of their hot pixel problems. The goal, however unlikely, is that Nikon might take notice and address the problem, either by incorporating a user hot pixel mapout routine of any one of various types in the software of this or future camera, or might release the software that they use to map out hot pixels.

See the hot pixels page for more details about hot pixels in general

Background:

I can't understand why companies like Nikon ignore the hot pixel problem because it causes considerable aggravation for their customers. Just from the point of their own bottom line, hot pixels actually cost Nikon a lot of money, but apparently they don't realize it. First, if you take the newsgroup postings seriously, a very high percentage of cameras are exchanged at retail or returned for hot pixels and have to be refurbished by Nikon. The Nikon repair department also spends a lot of time unpacking cameras, fixing pixels, and paying  for shipping back; it all costs Nikon money and you pay for it in the price of the camera. Perhaps Nikon considers hot pixels a future source of income, as they have charged people over $200 to map out the hot pixels once cameras are out of waranty.

 Imagine how things would be different if you bought a camera with a hot pixel, or had     one develop later, but there was a little table that you could fill in with the coordinates and map it out, or better yet a procedure that the camera could do automatically taking a dark frame with the shutter closed. The table could even be in battery backed up RAM if they are worried about writing to the EEPROM, so what if you had to redo it if you lost the settings once in a while. It absolutely would not hurt, and I'll bet that it would save Nikon a considerable amount of money and especially customer good will.

How Nikon could address this problem:

There are several ways that this could be done. A little background first, the Coolpix cameras all contain a small table in EEPROM that contains the coordinates of hot pixels (all CCDs probably have a few) that the camera should ignore when interpolating the final image. Nikon has software that can update this table, the exact procedure is not known, but it probably involves taking a long exposure, and then either manually indicating which pixels should be mapped out, or having the camera or software pick the worst ones itself. This table is probably of limited size, and if a CCD is TOO bad, too many overall stuck pixels or too many in one area, then the CCD might have to be replaced in some cases. Because the update involves writing to EEPROM, there is a very slight risk that the EEPROM could be corrupted, if the power went out, for example, or if the EEPROM went bad.

Suggested techniques are...

1) The camera software could provide a small table, say with 5 entries, where the user could just fill in the coordinates of their favorite hot pixels.

2) The camera could fill in the hot pixel table automatically with the user triggering a hot pixel mapout procedure where the camera would take an exposure with the shutter closed, then automatically as many pixels as will fit in the table starting with the worst ones.

3) Not as good, but a third solution that would not require a firmware change on any camera would be to allow the NikonView software to hold a table of mapped out pixels. At least then users who used Nikonview to unload the camera would not ever see the hot pixels on their shots, the potential downside is that there would have to be an additional step of JPEG compression which might degrade the image slightly.

 

How to send in your story.

* I won't put your e-mail or full name on the story, just your first name and initial.

* Keep it short. A few lines/paragraph . See my example postings with my two cameras. I anticipate a lot of entries, and want to keep it readable, but I want to use your own words.

* Include details about what happened, what kind of camera, how bad was the pixel and how many, how long you had the camera, if you repaired/exchanged, how long it too, how much it cost.

* Nikon cameras only at this time.

* I'm not interested in stories that have cameras with no hot pixels because this would not be a scientific survey; it would be biased towards cameras with hot pixels anyway.

* Just e-mail it to me! Please put the words "hot pixels story" in the subject, so I don't think it is spam.

 

The Stories

Bryan B. CP950, developed one hot pixel at 1/2 second after 5 months. Intermittant, white, never fixed. Probably due to 2-3 adjacent hot pixels.

Bryan B. CP990, One hot pixel, pink, developed at 1/1000 second after 12 months, sent in for repair just under warranty. CCD replaced.

Edwart V. Bought a Nikon Coolpix885 yesterday and it has a hot pixel on all ISOoptions, right in the center of the screen.Need to bring it back to the shop, so I don't now what the shop will do with the problem...

Ruth H. My Coolpix 950 had two hot pixels right out of the box, in all exposures. I waited a year until I had a 990 in hand to fix it, but spent much aggravation and time correcting the problem in Photoshop. When I got my first 990, to replace the 950, I was dismayed that it also had a hot pixel problem, with one obvious hot pixel at all exposures, right in the center of the frame. It took a month to fix my 950 at Nikon, so I returned my 990 so I wouldn't be without a camera. This replacement 990 was clean to start with, but has since developed one hot pixel. I just returned it to keep it within warranty. So of my three Coolpix cameras, sooner or later they have all had hot pixels.

Raphael C. 2 out of my 3 Coolpix cameras had hot pixel problems:
CP900 developed a completely stuck pixel after about 5 months of use. Repaired under warranty by Nikon.  2 years later, the camera is still in use by a friend, and the problem has never recurred.

6-month-old CP990 developed 3 hot pixels all at once on its first spring shoot, after several months of light use in winter. All visible even at less than 1/100 sec. if you know where to look, and conspicuous at 1/10 sec. Just sent back to Nikon for repair.

Got the 990 back from Nikon. I am now 100% sure they are fixing these in
software: the three hot pixels can still be seen in the same locations on
the LCD screen, but don't appear in photos anymore, and the repair slip
just says "ckd ccd," not "replaced". I now have no visible hot pixels at
ISO 100, even at 8 sec. Not bad! My only complaint is that Nikon service
forgot to send the camera back overnight, the way they said they would and
always have before.

 

John K. CP880, after a few days with my new 880 I noticed a bright pink horizontally-elongated speck in the lower left area of many of my photos. This area of hot pixels is noticible at all shutter speeds up to 1/1000th seconds with the right background. Have not decided on the best course of action yet.

Mike R.  Nikon 950 I have had the camera for almost 1 year. There was always quite a few hot pixels at longer shutter speeds (2sec +). Noticed over the last few months they where creeping down to 1/4 sec. Brought the camera into the Nikon Service Centre. They said it was normal and there was not problem and  refused to work on it. After some argument The tech agreed to "try  something". 5 minutes later I had the camera. And the dark shots are now better then new. Even at 8 seconds hardly anything noticeable

Robert F. T. CP990, immediately after purchase I noticed a hot pixel visible in all shots, even at 1/1000th. After living with it for a few months I sent it in and got it back after 3 weeks with the same CCD, but the pixels mapped out. For more information see:
http://ray.cg.tuwien.ac.at/rft/Photography/Tests/StuckPixel/

Gary R. CP990.  Hot pixel showed up after a static discharge to the camera from
my finger. The camera was tripod mounted and I was using the remote cable. Nikon apparently mapped out the pixel in the CCD. It still remains in the LCD. The camera had to go back a second time because after repair, it wouldn't store date/time and functions during battery replacement.

Have you heard of any others that correlate hot pixels with ESD?

Eric J. I've had mine for about a year and I can see three hot pixels visible scrolling in the LCD viewfinder at ISO 400 at exposures of 1/30 of a second or more.  Not LCD stuck pixels; CCD hot pixels visible in images played back through the camera's LCD.

There is one particularly bad section that is visible *without scrolling* in the LCD at ISO 100 at a 1/30 sec exposure-- I think it may be a large section of adjacent hot pixels.

I never noticed any problems with this until I took the camera through the X-ray machines at the Denver airport.  For some reason they thought my carry-on looked suspicious and asked be if they could "examine it".  I said sure.  They took it to a special machine that (I gather) has extra x-ray punch and examined it through that.
 

Max L. Anyway, to make a very long story short, I'm on my fourth CCD (inside my second Nikon 990 body). One of them had hot pixels (visible at faster than 1/4) straight from the factory, the others all developed hot pixels over time. 
In at least one instance, the hot pixel appeared immediately after a coast-to- coast airplane flight.  The other times they seem to have gradually appeared over time. My camera has now gone beyond its one year warranty period  (although my credit card company doubles the warranty, thank goodness).

I assumed that I couldn't be alone with this problem, and that sooner or later a lot of people are going to have a lot of cameras that have gone beyond the warranty period with hot pixels, so I wrote some software to map out the bad pixels in JPG images. The nice thing about the software I wrote is that it can save a JPEG image with virtually no image quality degradation, meaning I don't have to save all my "fixed" images as uncompressed hard-drive-hogging  files, and I get to keep all the EXIF data in the file, etc...

Here's the software:

       http://tawba.tripod.com/pixelzap.htm

 

Marco F. Here's the story:
- camera: Nikon coolpix 880, I found hot pixels about a week after purchase.(I found it after doing your tests, and then saw them on every photo, regardless of exposure time). hot pixels were: one pink, in center, 2 white near edge. returned to Nikon, it came back with a message, TFT has one dead pixel, considered okay. I *know* the TFT may have a dead pixel, but the CCD NOT. So I returned the camera again, together with sample photos. This time they indeed saw the problem. And they found an additional problem with my camera. They performed a software fix (as described on your pages) to the EPROM software, but after a power cycle the hot pixels were back. For some
reason, the modification didn't work. After downloading the firmware again, and retrying the process, they checked it by leaving the camera without batteries for 24 hours. Now it worked.This took about 2 weeks, including poastage and such, not too bad for Nikon..

 

Reported Problems with flash cards.

The following cards listed below are reported by users to NOT work in the D7. These are reports e-mailed to me by users and unless noted I have not tested these cards myself. Keep in mind that versions of these cards with different firmware or controllers might exist that work fine, or the user may just have had a bad card. If you have one of these cards and it DOES work, let me know.

Each entry represents one report. I don't know why there seem to be so many incompatible cards!

I have started to note now where the firmware version is known. If not shown, it is probably the older firmware.

Apacer 64 MB Compact flash, P/N 27040.0650, M/N AP-CF06411 From "dh" he also notes that "Acer memory products, Korean cards, now widely distributed through places like Costco, etc." -"dh"

Apacer 128MB, "Total Memory Solutions"
 P/N: 81.28040.050 M/N: AP-CF12811  200120100046 I took one picture at the shop and everything was fine. When I got home I deleted the picture and took six new ones in RAW mode in order to measure the write speed. The average write time was 37.9 s (note: I didn't format the card between the shots). When I switched to play mode in order to delete the pictures, the card died. I can't even format it -Marko B.

Apacer 128MB "No card." Well, I tried another Apacer 128 MB card -Marko B.

Apacer 128MB Tested 2 cards, neither worked.                    -Bo E.

Apacer 128MB Camera would not recognize card. -Ottar J.

Apacer 256MB the 256 is seldom recognized and looses its data if it works. I got it from Flashmemory4us, its P/N :81.29040.060 M/N: AP-CF25611. -Wayne R.

Compaq 64MB Not recognized by camera - Andy G.

Casio 8MB Card error - Andy G.

Dane Elec 128MB. The camera refused to format this card -Marko  B. (note one report that this card works)

Dane Elec 128MB Camera would not format this card. -Anders K.

Dane Elec 128MB Camera reads 999 shots and will not format card -Bruce F.

Dane Elec 128MB 128 MB old generations (no formatted) no recognized either 999 possible photos.  New 128 MB or 128 MB formatted with a USB reader and a PC or a MAC no problem. - Stephane

Dane Elec  128MB Camera reads 999 shots and will not format  card -Earnst v.

Dane Elec 256MB. Camera does not recognise the card. -Duane (note one report that this card does work, check the version #s and please report if you have one of these cards)

Dane Elec 256MB - (See note 5 above) This card has now died. (And it took my Thanksgiving pictures with it!) Prior to it dying, the camera showed some strange behavior. It would shut off as if the batteries were dead. It did this after a shot was taken. In general, the shots taken when this happened were lost, but some were viewable in camera until I got home. By the time I got home and tried to read the CF, it was not responding to anything. Not to my CF reader, not to the D7, nor to my Canon S 300 or my wife's Kodak DC 4800. (was my camera until the D7 arrived.)

He later writes... I contacted Dane-Elec on the failed card. They referred me back to the company who sold me the card in the first place. I RMAed the Dane-Elec card through them. The replacement arrived today. It is an AWL 256 MB card. (I'm glad, I'm not sure I could have trusted another Dane-Elec card.) This card also is faster than the Dane-Elec. It clocks in at 22 seconds. - Stephen B.

Dane Elec 320MB. Ordered a Dane Elec 320M CF card from Memory Suppliers who swear up and down and guarantee the card is compatible with the DIMAGE 7. When it arrived the camera refused to have anything to do with the CF card. I formatted the card in my USB reader and still nodice. Card works fine in every other CF device.  <shrug>  They still swear the card is compatible and are shipping me a new CF card. Later Nathan added...well good news... I  got a new one that DOES work!! I formatted the card and did a test writing  a raw image: 28.1 sec - Nathan E.

Delkin 64MB "EFilm" - Totally will not work. -Teresa S.

ExtreMeMory CF 128MB - I tried to use an ExtreMeMory CF-128MB card in my new Minolta D7 because it was mentioned in your list. It worked for some pictures (full size, standard compression) but changing from recording to play all stored pictures often gets distorted. The upper quarter was normal,
but the lower three quarter of the picture were displaced horizontally or have a red (or other) colour superimposed. This behaviour was reproducible. I could download those pictures by inserting the CF-card into my PCMCIA slot, but could not open the distorted images. - Rolf B.

ExtreMemory CF 128 MB - I experienced the same problem with this Memory Card as it is written on your page. Every picture I took using standard compresssion gets distorted when switching from record to play mode. This does not happen to pictures in raw or super fine mode. It is not possible to open these pictures on the PC. If you ever wanted to produce some funny looking video clip, try recording one with this memory card. You will get psychedelic colors and jumping pictures. My external card reader from "hama" can read and write this card with no problems. -Christian H.

Hama 128MB (Firmware 121) - First card no error during write but data unreadable. A replacement card was OK. - Pavel H.

Kingston 128MB 9902366-001.A00 634061. Camera reads 999 shots and card not recognised. (Note that another revision of Kingston card did work OK) -Ekki

Memorex 128MB works about 50% of the time in my Dimage 7. 39 seconds when it does work. -Salman A.

Microtech 64MB "digital flash film" 2 cards, neither worked. Marked "0400" Both worked on the Coolpix 990. -Jim B.

Mustang 128MB (Firmware 021) I tried DIMAGE 7 with MUSTANG 128 MB - sometimes it works for a few pictures, afterwards shows 999 pictures, all info lost. Often this happens at once (999 Pictures -> no format possible) - Sascha B.

Mr. Flash 256 MB I had a Mr. Flash 256MB CF card. I used it in my HP Jornada pocket PC, and HP C500 digital camera without problem. However, when I tried it in my D7, I always got corrupt images. I notice others have used this card in D7 successfully. I don't know why mine isn't work. The card has been formated in a card reader before. I did tried format it with D7, but it didn't make any difference. - Yongsheng L.

Mr Flash 256MB I had problems with my 256MB Mr. Flash card as well.  On the first day of my recent (one week) trip to California, I discovered that about 30 of my images were corrupted.  No data could be reliably written and retrieved from the card. I replaced it after I returned and the replacement is working fine. - Max L.

Mr Flash 128 MB (6Q11F) worked fine in my coolpix  900. D7 does not complain, but images are saved corrupt. DIVU will not load them. Images apear banded and garbled. Formating with the  D7 does not cure the problem. I have several Lexar and Sandisk cards  that all work fine. - "Gary"

Mr Flash (128MB?) I bought two of the Mr. Flash cards from newegg and returned both of them. They both worked when first inserted into the camera, but the pictures were corrupted when I transfered them to my PC. I tried reformatting them in the camera and they could not be used after that. -Darrin

Mr Flash (128MB) (Firmware 121) After the firmware update (from 021), my 2 slow 128MB Mr. Flash cards have a corruption problem. I can take a series of pictures then put  the I camera into playback mode and look through my pics and everything seems fine. If I turn the camera off and then back on into  play mode all of the images are scrabmled/mangled basically corrupt. My 2 fast Mr. Flash cards still work fine. The guy that e-mailed me has called minolta and they told him that they do not support Mr. Flash cards. He then asked for a supervisor but got voicemail instead. - Phillip C.

Mr Flash (128MB) 6Q11G (firmware 121). Although this card worked OK (but slow) with version 021 firmware, it no longer works in the camera. The camera will format the card, and take pictures, but the resulting pictures are corrupted in both play mode and when reading in a PCMCIA adapter in a laptop. -Bryan B.

Mr Flash (128MB) 6Q11E (firmware 121) Fails with corrupt file problem - Dan H

Mr. Flash 128MB (FC128) 4710765063078 6Q11G (Firmware 121) 45.3 seconds new: 25.9 seconds, but can't be used, half of pictures are corrupted, sometimes can't format etc. - Matti H.

Mr Flash CompactFlash Card 256mb P/N FC256 CF 5Q31L (Firmware 121) This compact flash card garbles the images.  I can only get the last picture taken to actually turn out.. all the rest look screwed up or it will make the picture really really small with black filling  the rest of the picture.   Very odd.  But the 64 meg card that I have  (Mr. Flash also) works just fine??

HAMA card 128 MB works only sometimes with my D7. Not possible to store a RAW (red flash always on), or when it looks OK, not readable by the viewer utility. Even in jpeg, the writing sometimes is not performed.

Integral 128MB Red light stays on and camera freezes. Card works OK in other cameras. -Riaan J.

OEM 32 MB From "Saturn". 2205137  BF7-EDCFC1032. Camera does not recognise card. -Roland P.

PQI 128MB From Hannes. He writes... "Unfortunally I bought two 128MB PQI cards a few days ago (reasonable price...;-) ). Both cards are apparently unusable for this camera, at least for my camera. The problem is: As long as the camera is switched on all seem to be ok. When I change to replay, the pics are replayed correctly. Although, when I switch the camera off and again on, all stored pictures are damaged (partly over-exposured, blurred, stripes in it). When I put those cards in my parallel cf-reader, some of the files show strange names (e.g. the number is 0505 instead of 0005), some are unable to be copied (PC reports "no disk space"), and those pics I am able to copy look different than in my camera display but are damaged nevertheless. Once again, the 16MB SanDisk works fine like it should. When I use those PQIs, there is no error message from the camera, the cards can be formatted."

PQI 128MB. From Johan He writes "I bought a PQI 128 MB card that out of the box didn't work. I have tried to format it in the camera but it didnt help. The pics are not 5% destroyed by the card...rather 99%, totally unrecognisable."

PQI 256MB (Firmware 121) I just wanted to let you know that my 256 MB PQI CF-Card doesn't like the new Minolta Dimage 7 firmware (121u). Previously it worked fine with the 021e version. Now it produces only garbeled pics. The card is recosnized correctly and the camera reports no errors. However, all saved pics are corrupt.

PQI 256MB (Firmware 121) Corrupted images - Andy G.

PQI 512MB (Firmware 121) No error suring writing, but data unreadable. - Pavel H.

TwinMOS 128MB. Two cards tried, neither worked.

TwinMOS 128MB Card did not work.  -Steve B.

TwinMOS 128MB Two cards. The first refused to report to the camera. The scond initially seemed to work, reporting 64 images in "fine quality".
After a few shots it stopped to work, reporting 999 frames. Ottar J.

SCM 64MB Red light stays on. Camera freezes. Card works OK in other cameras

Sandisk 48MB. Would not work at RAW setting. -Leo T.

Simple Tech 128 MB (2-3 years old) Will not work in DiMage 7, Nikon D1 or
D1X. Works fine in Canon S100, Nikon 950 and 990. -Steve D.

Transcend 128MB, 64MB not compatible with Minolta DiMAGE 7 but all OK with Nikon 950, 990, Canon IXUS V I'm format CF card on Sandisk reader on IBM, Nikon, Canon. -Dmitry S.

 

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