As some of you may know, we were in Oxfordshire this weekend attend Rob and Rhona's wedding. There will be a number of posts about the wedding but while sorting through the photographs we took (all 321 of them) I noticed that there appeared to be a problem with the camera.
In nearly all the photos a little red dot was present and it was always in the same place. Fortunately it's only a tiny dot and so a small use of the clone tool will get rid of them. Having cleaned the lens and taken some test shots the problem was still there though and so I assume this is actually a dead pixel on the camera's sensor and the first sign that the camera is slowly dying.
After a quick hunt around the web I did find that some more modern cameras actually include a function for "pixel remapping". Essentially the camera runs a diagnostic routine to determine if any pixels are failing to respond and then ignores them (by doing some interpolation) when generating an image from the sensor.
Now as I said our camera, a Sony DSC-F828, doesn't list this function in the menus and so I thought I was stuck with a dying camera. In computer software/hardware diagnostic routines (such as checking hard disks for bad sectors) are often performed only when the system is fully restarted. So as I had nothing to lose I decided to do a full reset of the camera. Once I'd located a paper-clip (I don't work in a paperless environment but neither am I awash with stationary supplies) I pressed the reset button and turned on the camera. Once I'd reset the clock and some other basic settings I went to try and take a photo and... the red dot was gone! Now I'm hoping it will stay gone and that some pixel remapping did take place but even if it was just a coincidence it will allow me to hold off for a little longer before having to buy a new camera.