Canon Service Center & Hot Pixels in DSLR Cameras


  • What is a Hot Pixel?
  • Hot Pixels & Remap Function
  • Test your camera right after buying
  • Features Request
  • The case
  • Support us

 Canon EOS 5D Mark II

UPDATE – December, 2012: Holiday Specials

The 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III are at the lowest price ever, for limited time. Check them:

UPDATE – January, 2012: We keep on requesting some essential features. Please check “Canon EOS-1D X Needs Firmware Update” where we list some of those basic, but still not implemented features for DSLR cameras.

WHEN is Canon going to include a “Hot Pixel Remap” function available to the users?

We do use and love Canon equipment, but sometimes there are occasions when customer/tech service is not what we all would like and expect (that happens with service centers of almost every brand as well).

Below we publish a post by a Canon customer who has had not very good experience with Canon Service Center. His camera had hot pixels on the sensor and he took it to Canon. It was not so terrible because it was under warranty, but it could have been much better (please read the whole story below).

We also added some extra information about hot pixels and remapping, for better understanding. Skip it if you already know the technical details.

Why do we care about it and post this case? There are two simple reasons:

  1. We do care about the service that is given to customers (we are Canon customers too)
  2. We have been requesting a feature to “remap” hot pixels by the user, especially for video mode, since 2009:

The list posted in both articles was mainly collected for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which is an awesome camera, but it can perfectly be applied to most DSLR cameras. In fact some of those features were implemented in more recent and cheaper DSLRs, but not in the 5D Mark II (even when it is possible via firmware update).

DISCLAIMER: By no means we are trying to smear Canon’s good name. We just publish this case and comments because we are also Canon customers, and this situation could happen to any of us.  We just want the best possible service and products’ features available for the entire community.

What is a Hot Pixel?

Very briefly, hot pixels are in fact defective photo sensitive cells in the sensor, that will be more visible with long exposures and/or high ISO, but always at the same place. However, it is not acceptable to have hot pixels visible when shooting at not too slow shutter speeds (let’s say 1/2 or faster) and not too high ISO (800 or lower, for instance).

Always buy your camera at reliable stores with good replacement policy, so if you find some or many hot pixels at shutter speeds and ISO that shouldn’t show them, you can ask for a replacement.

It’s good to know that there is an “unofficial method” to remap hot pixels in many Canon EOS cameras that works in lot of cases for stills, but unfortunately it’s very unlikely to work for video…

Hot Pixels & REMAP Function

Basically most manufacturers of digital cameras adjust each camera in factory (by software) to ignore already detected hot pixels, making an average of surrounding pixels instead, to replace (“hide”) that defective pixel. “Remap” would then be a re-adjustment to hide new or undetected hot pixels, similar to what current “Dust Delete Data” function does for dust particles.

But that function is not available to the users yet, even when ALL digital cameras have some hot pixels and may get more over time!

“REMAP” hot & stuck pixels is an ESSENTIAL feature for digital cameras, because hot pixels may exist (on every digital camera of any type and brand), so it SHOULD be available at least on amateur and pro-level DSLRs.

  • It would work like the current “Dust Delete Data” feature, but for Hot Pixels.

This feature would save Canon (and every camera manufacturer) LOT of time and money, because every user would be able to remap hot pixels by their own instead of needing to send the camera to Canon, or even return it after buying if there are too many hot pixels that the user don’t accept.

This feature is even more important when shooting video, because hot pixels on video require much more time of processing to eliminate them from the footage.

Test your camera right after buying

Canon is NOT the only manufacturer affected by hot pixels, at all. In fact Nikon and all other brands have the same problem as well. We have found hot pixels in some high-end and very expensive bodies, like Nikon D3x (even when Nikon says they test each D3x one by one), at shutter speeds of 1/30 or faster and low ISO.

One of the suggestions we always give is to carefully test the camera right after receiving it, to check for hot pixels, especially in video, since they can not be remapped by Canon (nor by the “unofficial method” obviously), at least until now.

Please don’t confuse “noise” due to long exposure/high ISO with hot pixels. Noise will appear randomly, while hot pixels are always in the exact same place.

Features Request

ALL customers CAN (and should) send suggestions and features request like this to Canon.

In the above article you can read what Chuck Westfall at Canon USA told us, it is very simple and takes only few minutes!


Canon 5DMK2 Hot Pixel & Canon Service Center Experience

You can find the original forum post at Cinema5D clicking here.

The post (bolds by this site admin):

Last week I noticed my 5D MK2 had two hot pixels. I also have a 7D so I wasn’t going to be without a camera. What’s weird is that Ive had my 7D longer than my 5D yet it has absolutely no hot pixels. I figured out how to fix this problem in post but since it’s still under warranty I thought why not take it in to get fixed so I don’t have to waste time in post fixing it. I am fortunate enough to live next to the Canon Service Center in Irvine California about an hour and a half drive so I drove it down there Monday and dropped it off. I brought my warranty card and took it in to get looked at. Now since I didn’t bring the receipt I had to pay $180 but they said if I bring it on pick up they would reimburse me the money.

I got an email and call today that my camera was fixed and ready to be picked up. So I drove down there and got my camera but before leaving I thought I should check to make sure the hot pixels were gone. The canon rep told me that they replaced my sensor, which I thought was bizarre because I read online that hot pixels are fixed by a method called pixel remapping. I read Tom Guilmete’s blog post that says he sent his down and they fixed it with no problem so I was anxious to get mine back with the problem solved.

I take my camera and put the batteries in it along with the CF Card and begin running some test and guess what? The pixel was still there in the exact same spot. Now this isn’t an LCD problem because it shows up on my footage when played on the computer. Now what I don’t understand is how in the world can they replace my sensor and the hot pixels still be in the exact same spot. What are the chances of them replacing my camera with a new sensor that has hot pixels in the exact same spot even the same the color. Also why wouldn’t Canon check it after they fix it? Before they called and sent me an email you would think that they would check the sensor to make sure the hot pixels were gone. I’m starting to think that they didn’t even replace the sensor. Imagine if I didn’t have it under warranty or insurance and had to pay out of pocket a new sensor is a lot of money especially for such a minor problem such as two hot pixels that could be fixed by pixel remapping. Now I am no canon tech so maybe a new sensor is required for hot pixels. They said nothing else was wrong with the sensor just the hot pixels.

Now I’m extremely upset because I just drove down here to find out my problem hasn’t been fixed and I have to shoot a wedding tomorrow and I’m pretty booked all month so I’m not going to have time to drop it off again. The Rep was extremely embarrassed and felt bad. Im not the type of person to blow up on employees at stores because its disrespectful so I kept my cool and was very polite with him, this also helps them want to help you since your not being a jerk to them. in fact they were all kind of in shock that they didn’t check the camera before calling me and telling that it wasn’t fixed.

The rep told me that all they can do is basically try to adjust the sensor and see If that fixes the problem, which I doubt it would otherwise they probably would have done that in the first place instead of replacing the sensor. They basically said they’ll do it right now so I’ll have to wait a couple of hours but if it doesn’t fix the problem I’ll have to bring it in again for the sensor to be replaced which can take up to a week. If I wasn’t shooting so many weddings and gigs this month I would just leave it again with them to fix it. The rep was extremely nice and remorseful and said I don’t have to wait in line when it’s done just come up front and he’ll get it for me.

I’m just a little frustrated with the whole situation and wanted to vent and my wife doesn’t really understand any of this so I thought this would be a good place at the same time maybe gain some answers and learn preventative measures to keep hot pixels out. When I pick it up today in about 45min Ill let you guys know if their “adjustment” fixed my problem. From what I have experienced in the past canon is usually pretty decent with the way they handle their customers meaning I have always received good customer service. I was just so upset that they didn’t check the sensor after fixing it before calling me, I believe there is no excuse for that. Just a reminder if your camera is under warrant and you live next to a canon service center remember to bring your warranty card filled out and your recipt otherwise you’ll have to pay for the repair which is $180 to fix hot pixels but around $1500 if they need to replace the sensor. I hope it won’t be a problem sharing my experience and maybe it can somehow how help someone in the future or going through the same thing.

UPDATE: I just received a call from the camera rep who once again was extremely nice and they did say that the adjustment did not fix the problem so I will have to bring it back for a sensor replacement. I also forgot to mention that they erase all of your cameras settings. This really messed me up at first because my 7D has the technicolor cinestyle picture profile and so did my 5D MK2 because that’s what I shoot with and when I got my 5D back it was gone. This wedding I’m shooting tomorrow is not to far but since there shutting down part of the 405 freeway I decided to go a day before and get a hotel so I don’t get stuck in traffic because of this I had no way of downloading cinestyle again. This really had me worried at first but I just ended spending like $20 on the hotels wifi to download it again. $20 for wifi who do these guys think they are? Are they offering some kind of futuristic wifi cause for that price they better be. It’s not a really big deal though but I wished they would have told me thank God I check all my settings the night before otherwise I can’t imagine how that would have turned out.

I did try the manual sensor cleaning method before sending it it and while it did work for pictures it did not work for video. I have read a lot of information on the internet saying that it doesnt work for video, but I have also read that it has worked for some people on video. I was just surprised that canon had to replace the entire sensor to fix it. Then when they replaced the sensor the pixel was still there and it surprised me, the pixel could be in a slightly different spot but it looks like it is in the same spot but at least the other one is gone. I was just so frustrated that after they replaced the sensor they didnt bother to check if there was still any more hot pixels. One of the hot pixels is gone though and just one remains. I just cant believe how bizarre it is that the new sensor has a pixel in the exact same spot if not the same spot it’s pretty close. I am just thankful that it is still under warranty because they said it would cost around $1500 to replace the sensor. Ill probably take it in next month to get the sensor replaced again. I am just so frustrated that the problem was still there, and not just there but on the new sensor. I hope that when they replace the sensor again, that they fix the problem once and for all and check it before calling me.

Tom Guilmette had the same problem and he too had to send is camera to canon to get fixed I believe he said they did fix it but it still had one hot pixel in the corner instead of the 3 he use to have. I am just thankful that the canon service center isn’t that far and I can drive and bring it in instead of mailing it. At least the hot pixel only shows up at high ISOs. I also have an amazing plugin I just recently bought that gets rid of hot pixels like magic without affecting speed and performance.

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