DIY Eliminate Hot Pixels on Nikon D7000 (and similar camera bodies)

Follow these steps to eliminate hot pixels from the sensor of your Nikon DSLR camera’s sensor. Total repair time is about a minute.  Then scroll down a bit and realize you can relax about this sort of thing in general.

It is VERY likely your digital camera has hot pixels. If you want to see it for yourself, there is a very quick acid test: Set the camera for manual control.  Put on your lens cap and crank up the ISO setting, then take a long exposure. Go for 10 seconds at ISO 3200. Slap the card in your computer’s memory reader, open the file, and zoom in to 100%. Prepare to be shocked at what you see.  To fix this:

  • Set the camera on a high ISO setting. I used 1600.
  • In the menus, navigate to the Clean Now sensor cleaning command so it can happen quickly after the exposure (get the menu ready but don’t clean the sensor yet)
  • Set the camera to manual exposure
  • Install a lens cap
  • Fire a 30-second exposure*
  • Immediately after the camera has processed the image (after the card access light goes out), go into the menu and perform a sensor cleaning.
  • Turn the exposure time down, and turn the ISO down, to a setting you might reasonably use that would usually give hot pixels before. Make it ISO 800 and 1/50 second, for example.
  • Shoot another exposure, still looking at the inside of the lens cap. Compared to the last exposure on your memory card, the hot spots should be visibly GONE.

*(it doesn’t seem to matter how long. Some people report 2x 20 seconds, some report holding a BULB exposure for 20 seconds. I went with two 30 second exposures and it worked for me)

I got this from here where a fellow had good results with method on his D300. It worked for my D7k and reportedly is a ‘feature’ of Canon cameras as well. Try it and let me know if it works for you!


Or not. You really probably don’t have to worry about this.

My bran-spankin new D7000 had a few* hot pixels, which doesn’t usually bother me. Hot pixels will come and go on every digital camera sensor, and if yours doesn’t have them just wait. My camera at work sometimes gets a few big blue hot pixels and I just dab them out in Photoshop. The problem is I had a very hot pixel on my camera that was visible right in the center of the frame, at shooting conditions that I actually use. Worse, I shoot mostly jpeg and the pixel is RED and Bayer interpolation means that it covers eight or nine adjacent pixels with RED, so it pops if you go looking for it. For me, this was a problem.

Here are some dark-warehouse-walking-around pictures I took, just some random stuff. See if you can find the hot pixel I am talking about. These are reduced-size but show the full frame.

 photo BeforeSamp1_zpscd34a4ae.jpg
 photo BeforeSamp2_zps14135fb0.jpg
 photo BeforeSamp3_zps18c62027.jpg

The last of these was ISO 1600 for 1/125 second. It is approaching as bad a scenario as you might ask for while hand-holding a camera taking walking-around pictures. Yes, it got worse with higher ISO and longer exposures. What, you don’t see it? Well, let’s crop and zoom in a bit, and then you’ll notice it, possibly for the first time.

Unless you crop heavily or are doing lots of pixel-peeping, you will never notice this:

 photo BeforeSamp3C_zpsa8309e1f.jpg

Hint: look just above halfway down, on the right side near the edge between the dark and lighter areas


And, lest you tell me I am imagining this ‘fix’ worked, I got lucky, the sensor thermal characteristics changed with the long exposure and the pixels will come back, etc. etc. . . .

I started with this, before (30 seconds ISO 1600).  Notice that you don’t see very many of the dots to which the fingers are pointing at this zoom level.
 photo Before_zpsc39037c6.jpg
(click here to see the full 3MB file without the pointer hands)

. . . and this was taken a couple hundred exposures later: (1 second ISO 2000)
 photo DSC_1359_zps0c49a1bc.jpg

(click here to see the full 2MB file)

My little pointer-hand was copied 200 times* to point out the worst of the hot pixels in the “before”. That’s just the ones I felt like pointing out – some were visible but not really objectionable when pixel-peeping at 100%. Now the images are visibly clean, and they have stayed that way for hundreds of photos so far. My very strong suspicion is that Nikon does exactly this when you send your camera in to have its sensor remapped, that remapping hot pixels is done just this way and they don’t want to tell you for whatever reason.

*For some people this is a crazy-high number. Consider, though, that you are looking at over 16,000,000 pixels. That is approximately 0%. Well okay, 0.001%. And like I said, this is the acid test. This is a worst-case scenario for still images made with this camera. You pretty much never take high-ISO long exposure photos of the inside of your lens cap, do you? I wouldn’t want to shoot a starry night sky with this camera in the “before” state, for purposes of counting stars . . . but for most photographic purposes this is JUST FINE and your eyes will never see these dots. I was happy with this performance, except for the two central red pixels and most of the time just the one hot pixel was my personal crazy-maker.

So. I did this and it got rid of my hot pixel(s). Try it for yourself.

Now, by my count, there are a grand total of ZERO hot pixels. Have I lost data? Yes. 0.001% or so of my pictures going forward comprises an averaged value from the pixels next-door being smeared to cover those which were mapped out. Just sharpening a picture in Photoshop changes more than this number, and so what?. I am now a happy camper.

Did you really read down this far? If so, you are a camera geek or just bored, or maybe you are pulling your hair out over hot pixels. Leave a comment and tell the world how it worked for you.

28 thoughts on “DIY Eliminate Hot Pixels on Nikon D7000 (and similar camera bodies)

  1. This is lifesaving! Just used this on my D5200. Literally had over 80 stuck pixels, and now I can’t find any. I wish I could show you screenshots. I use the d5200 for video mostly but the camera was pretty much unusable with 80 bright blue and red spots. Thank you!

    • I’m so happy it worked for you! I can’t imagine how terrible it would feel with that many hot spots in a video. Still images, at least they will hide. In video they must have stuck out like a sore thumb. Thanks for letting me know it worked.

  2. Hello, first thanks you for dedicate your time in write about this method.
    In my camera it didnt work for me on an D3200 with C1.04 firmware. I have tried three times. But I dont see any changes.
    I have had an Canon 500D and I remember do a pixel mapping before with the Canon method.

  3. Hey bro!
    Thank you so much, i was going crazy, i wanted to sell my d7100
    because of the hotel pixels. But your idea helped, i dont see any
    Hot pixels on my photos nemore. Thanx a million✌️ God bless ya!

  4. Thanks a lot. I had a huge 6like red hot pixels together spot and several normal on my D5200. I fixed it with the 30s shot at ISO2000 to the cap plus cleaning the sensor right away. You made my day guys!!!

  5. Unfortunately didn’t work for me. I have D5100 – about 8000 photos taken, 6 stuck pixels.
    Even my $200 Olympus compact had “Pixel mapping” utility. Never buying Nikon again.

  6. Glad I found this article as I am having hot pixel issues with my D5100. I have tried the methods mentioned above (and variations of them) without any success. Unfortunately it looks like the D5100 does not have the sensor re-map option that many of the other Nikon DSLRs do.

  7. Thanks for this article. I was puzzled with the many hot pixels that appeared in the files of my D5200. When shooting bursts every second shot had them! I did as you instructed and my test didn’t give any hot pixels! Thanks!

    • You’re welcome, thanks for letting me know, and I’m super happy it worked out for you.

      Super unhappy at photobucket though. Man I really should get off my duff and fix all the image links they broke for me.

  8. Thanks so much for this post, it worked for me.

    Do you have to run the clean twice in quick succession to trigger the remapping? I left a ten minute gap between mine, the hot pixels were gone after the first run through. Not keen to keep remapping if it means I eventually turn 0.001% into 1% of unusable sensor.

    I do astro, lots of long exposure and high ISO. If the above is true, I may stop using my DSLR for astro…

    Thanks again mate.

  9. I feel this is among the most significant info for me. And i’m happy reading your article.

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    is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job,

  10. I only had one hot pixel on my D5300 but I do a lot of stacks and then one gets a big stain of 50 pixels or more. It was visible at short (1/125 s) exposure times, not long (10 s) and low ISO (100). Now it’s clean 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  11. HOLY MOLY!!!!! This worked FANTASTIC on a D7100 I picked up. Only had 5700 shutter cycles when I started playing with pictures but I noticed some startling hot pixels. My before wasn’t bad, but the few I had were right in the center with a couple of outliers elsewhere. This cleaned them up literally 100% comparing the before and after. Thank you so much for this awesome tip!!!!

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