Return a digital camera because of a few stuck pixels?
May 26, 2006 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Hot/stuck pixels in a new consumer-grade digital camera? Fact of life, or defect?

I just got a Casio Exilim EX-Z750 from Costco. 7.2 megapixels. I like the camera, but right away I noticed 4 hot pixels/stuck pixels. These are pixels that are lit, even at fast shutter speeds (e.g. 1/60). They are always in the same spot on the photos. Note that these stuck pixels are in the photos themselves, NOT on the camera LCD display screen.

I am aware of all the ways to clean up hot pixels, and I am proficient with graphics software so that would be no problem. Scaling down the images with Photoshop blends them away. This is a consumer grade camera so it doesn't have any black frame subtraction features built in.

Should I return/exchange it? Are hot pixels a fact of life with consumer-grade high-megapixel cameras? What are the chances that I'll get one with more stuck pixels if I exchange it?
posted by drew3d to Technology (18 answers total)
Not acceptable on the photos. Return it.
posted by smackfu at 10:10 AM on May 26, 2006

I would say return/exchange. In my experience, I have never had bad pixels, either on-screen or in the photos on any digital camera I've used.
posted by pretzel at 10:11 AM on May 26, 2006

Yup, normal in all consumer-grade CCD and CMOS sensors. Even professional DLSRs have them straight out of the box. Manufacturing tolerances have been set such that it's probably pretty rare to get a chip without a single flaw. If they aimed for a standard where no chip had any flaws, we'd be paying thousands for even small sensors.

As you said, resampling blends it away and they probably aren't noticeable on prints, either.

I wouldn't worry about it.

(on preview - if that's the case smackfu and pretzel, you probably haven't looked too hard.)
posted by jimmythefish at 10:15 AM on May 26, 2006

Return it. Hot pixels are a fact of life on the LCD, not on the photos. It'd definitely a defect.
posted by Sallysings at 10:15 AM on May 26, 2006

Plus it's CostCo, where you can return anything for any reason. You can even buy a new one, see whether it has more bad pixels, and return whichever one is worse.
posted by smackfu at 10:29 AM on May 26, 2006

jimmythefish, I believe you're mistaken. I have never seen a stuck pixel in a camera's CCD. I am not exagerrating here. Never. Ever. This is unacceptable. Return it.
posted by Plutor at 10:55 AM on May 26, 2006

And I've used dozens of digital cameras from several different manufacturers; point and shoots, DSLRs, and cameraphones. This is not normal.
posted by Plutor at 10:57 AM on May 26, 2006

Return it. No question. I have owned at least a dozen different cameras, from different manufacturers, and I have never had a dead/stuck/otherwise imperfect pixel. That should tell you you don't HAVE to tolerate one.

Personally, I don't tolerate them on laptop screens either, but I understand that one pixel in a 1280X1000 display isn't the end of the world.

Anyway, laptop screens aside - on a digital camera -- return it.
posted by jwhowa at 10:59 AM on May 26, 2006

Nearly every digital camera sensor will have stuck pixels, but the camera is loaded with a customized map of the bad pixels at the factory and fixes them up before you even see the data. If you have bad pixels in the photos out of the camera, it needs to be remapped - or returned.
posted by ny_scotsman at 11:05 AM on May 26, 2006

Just returned my Canon S2-IS for warranty repair (10 months old) for this very reason. They fixed it in three days, no questions.

Prior to this, I'd never seen the problem in any of my four other digital cameras, so I'd say this is an unacceptable defect.
posted by baltimore at 11:07 AM on May 26, 2006

Nearly every digital camera sensor will have stuck pixels

This is true. The hardware does some interpolation to fill in the blanks, analogous to the way your brain "fills in" for the blank spot in your perception caused by your optic nerve bundle.

This camera's firmware does not seem to have been set up correctly.

For high-precision work mapping out the dead spots is not an option. A friend of mine works on extremely high precision sensors for reconaissance and astronomy - their demands for pixel-perfect, non-interpolated images are ferocious, and the yield of chips suitable for use is astonishingly low.
posted by meehawl at 11:26 AM on May 26, 2006

Apologies if I caused confusion...I read

This is a consumer grade camera so it doesn't have any black frame subtraction features built in.

to mean that there isn't any mapping feature on this camera, so merely answered the question. I'm not familiar with it.

Having said that, lots of cameras come with imperfect mapping and most are never even noticed.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:38 AM on May 26, 2006

Return it. Had the same problem with a Casio EX-P600. Went through two exchanges before getting the third unit that was defect free. I haven't had this issue with Canon and Fuji digicams.

When I get a new digicam, I shoot an all-white background and a dim grey shot and check them for any anomalous pixels. Stuck pixels on the sensor are in your images forever - they're not acceptable.
posted by bitmage at 11:54 AM on May 26, 2006

Yep - normal on the LCD, but not the CCD, eg on the pics. Take it back
posted by A189Nut at 12:49 PM on May 26, 2006

I've never seen a hot pixel in in any camera I've had, which has been three. Nothing too high-end either.

Stuck pixels in the photo is definitely defective.
posted by delmoi at 2:42 PM on May 26, 2006

I've never seen a bad pixel, even on my crappy 2.1 megapixel fuji. Return it immediately.
posted by exhilaration at 4:42 PM on May 26, 2006

I've never seen a hot pixel on any digital camera I've used, it's not acceptable.

(Anyone hear an echo in here?)

I'd be very surprised to see a hot/dead pixel on a camera/phone any other small LCD, as well. It's barely acceptable on large computer monitor LCD screens (Well, dead. Hot is never acceptable, imho.) and there only because they're so much bigger than camera/etc screens.

Also, isn't black frame subtraction for removing electrical noise, rather than hot/dead pixels?
posted by The Monkey at 9:00 PM on May 26, 2006

Response by poster: Many thanks for the responses everyone. I returned the camera and instead got a Casio EX-S500 from Sam's Club.

But guess what? It has 2 stuck pixels, so it's going back too.
posted by drew3d at 7:47 AM on June 1, 2006

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