In my September 17 post when the Canon 5D Mark II camera was announced, I wrote:

“As always, I recommend that you wait to buy any new model of camera until a few months after the camera hits the shelves. That will give Canon time to work out the “new model bugs” that so often happen. The 5D Mark II should be “bug free” a few months after its release.”

I wasn’t picking on just Canon since cameras from lot of manufacturers are released with some bugs in the first cameras released to the public.

This time around, it is the Canon 5D which has “black dot” and banding problems. A Google search for Canon 5D black dot will turn up lots of articles. A good place top start is Rob Galbraith’s article. And example of the black dots next to white lights is here. Canon has posted a service notice which is reproduced below after the break.

If you haven’t bought the new 5D Mark II and intend to, I would suggest, as I did in September, that you wait until the bugs are worked out.

If you already have the 5D Mark II, you will need to wait for a firmware update and be aware of situations when the problem might show up. Details are in the service notice.

Official Canon Service Notice . . .

Thank you for using Canon products.We have learned that some users of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera have identified two types of image quality phenomena that appear under certain shooting conditions.

  1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
  2. Vertical banding noise

We are currently investigating and analysing the causes, and examining measures to reduce or eliminate these phenomena by providing correction firmware.  An announcement will be made on the Canon Web site when such measures have been determined.

Details of the phenomena and shooting conditions under which they are likely to occur are as follows.

  1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
    When shooting night scenes, the right side of point light sources (such as lights from building windows) may become black. The phenomenon may become visible if the images are enlarged to 100% or above on a monitor or, if large prints of the images are made.
  2. Vertical banding noise
    If the recording format is set to sRAW1, vertical banding noise may become visible depending on the camera settings, subject, and background.
  • Vertical banding noise is not noticeable if the recording format is set to sRAW2.
  • Vertical banding noise does not occur if the recording format is set to RAW or JPEG.
  • Noise can be reduced if C.Fn II-3: Highlight tone priority is set to 0: Disable.

Canon always strives to provide the highest quality products to our customers. We apologize for any inconvenience these phenomena may have caused. We appreciate your kind patronage and support.

This information is for residents of the United States and Puerto Rico only. If you do not reside in the USA or Puerto Rico, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center in your region.

Contact Information for Inquiries
Call Center
1-800-828-4040 (toll free)
8:00 a.m. – Midnight, EST (M-F)
10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., EST (Sat.)