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Argh! Strange circle things in my pictures...

Adam , , Jan 17, 2006; 01:39 p.m.

Well, I have a Casio EX-S100 in addition to my 300D for easy, family shots. Recently it's been showing funny circle things--and they don't just look like dead pixels or whatever, it almost looks like flare, but it isn't... here are two pictures with the thing. They actually show up to a certain extent in all my pictures, and you can even see them in the preview screen. What is it? Can someone help?

Example 1
Example 2

Those are images straight from the camera, so it may take a bit to load.




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David S , Jan 17, 2006; 01:47 p.m.

Dust Orbs

I think that you're seeing small specs of dust floating in the air near your camera, which are illuminated by the flash.

Stephen H , Jan 17, 2006; 02:00 p.m.

Maybe dust IN the camera?

Steve Wolfe , Jan 17, 2006; 02:18 p.m.

They're too exactly similar in shape to be dust, I believe. This looks a LOT (almost exactly) like a problem that an old point-and-shoot of mine has - every once in a while, it would deliver anywhere from a few of those to a TON of them. Attached is one of the most extreme examples.

Looking at both of your photos, I can see areas where reflections of the flash are very strong, so it's very likely the same thing happening in your camera.

The shapes that appear are actually the shape of the aperture as light bounces around inside of the lens, as it shouldn't. It always happened when a very bright light entered the lens at just the wrong angle, often caused by the flash reflecting off of something - in the attached example, the flash was reflecting off of raindrops in the air. Because there were a good number of raindrops, there were a lot of the reflections, and hence there are many of these little UFOs. If you look, you'll see that the shape of them distorts as you get to the corners of the image. There's a term for that sort of distortion, I saw it mentioned and pointed out in the leica forum a little while ago.

Overall, while I don't know the technical name or terminology, this is the result of a poor lens. :-(


More UFOs

Jennifer Valencia - Phoenix, Arizona , Jan 17, 2006; 02:18 p.m.

hi Adam, I'm guessing there may be dust somewhere in the camera - on the lens, inside the lens, or on the sensor. Can you do a thorough cleaning and see if the spots go away?

BTW, your dorm room looks EXACTLY like my freshman dorm (Carman Hall) when I went to Columbia U in NYC. Oh, the fond memories...


Adam , , Jan 17, 2006; 02:55 p.m.

Thanks all for your help. My pictures at home don't usually show it as much for some reason, just maybe a couple small circles off to the side. Interestingly, though I couldn't see it earlier, I just now notice it in my first photos too w/ the camera. I've only had the camera since late this summer. I mostly use the flash, so it is hard to tell whether it only occurs with the flash, but I may have found a photo w/ no flash and the circles.

A couple more shots if you realllly wanted them. These two are interesting since the circles are clumped together:
Example 3
Example 4

But more importantly, the shot that doesn't look like I used a flash (circles on the edge of the left drawer under the bottom bed).
Example 5 w/o flash

And yes this is my dorm, I'm a freshman at Grove City College... Maybe I should send the camera in? I don't know how to tell if it is dust, but the front element doesn't look dirty.

Brian Y , Jan 17, 2006; 02:57 p.m.

Adam, given that the spots move from one picture to the other (please double check that this is the case), I would guess it isn't dust in the camera or on the lens. It looks like you used flash. As Steve showed, small points (such as raindrops or snow flakes) can reflect flash, and the more out of focus they are, the larger the circle they make. It is Not a function of a poor lens -- it's simple optics and would happen with any lens. However, bigger lenses, such as those used on DSLRs, have much less depth of field than point-and-shoot digitals, so little specks like dust near the camera get completely blurred out. My guess is that you're using a point-and-shoot camera with flash and b/c of the extremely large depth of field, they show up in the shot. There's not much solution for this, unfortunately -- vacuum more, don't use flash, or shoot your 300D, which has much less depth of field.

Mark U , Jan 17, 2006; 03:10 p.m.

GO here:


Find the word "ghosts" on the page (it's a long way down), and read what follows.

Adam , , Jan 17, 2006; 03:17 p.m.

Thanks, that makes me a little more relieved that I don't have to send my camera in, however annoying it is. I can deal with it. I'm still a bit puzzled as to how example #5 shows up with ghosts...

I'll try to use my 300D as much as possible. It's weird, I never realized how many little (and sometimes big) differences there are between digicams (at least mine) and dslrs aside from image quality. I appreciate my 300D more than I ever realized (my 300D was my first digital camera and I was surprised at first to find it wasn't tack-sharp).

I really appreciate all of your help!

Rob Bernhard , Jan 17, 2006; 03:44 p.m.

Stephen H, Steven Wolfe and Jennifer Valencia are incorrect, but that's been established by Brian, David S, and Mark U. For more info see a couple hundred other photo.net threads on "orbs" or "spots" and "digital" in a photo.net search.

As for your image #5, your camera did fire the flash. The first obvious clue is in the EXIF data of the image file where is says: Flash: Fired(Auto)

The other clues are: The shadow line below the dark pillow, the shadow from the jacket hanging on the bed, the bright reflections from the lamp, the bright reflection from book bag on top of the bed, the small reflection from the poster, and lastly, the shadow of the door/closet frame on the right-side of the image.

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