New answers tagged spots
Since you're looking at the pixel level, these artifacts are too small to be dust. It's also unlikely that dust would be outlined sharply when you're using a wide aperture. I think it's most likely that they are random shot noise combined with demosaicing artifacts, possibly then also smoothed out by denoising.
From my experience multi-coatings on lenses, when the IR filter over the sensor is removed, reflects the aperture in the form of white spot(s). On some lenses (Nikkor 35/2.0 which have very pale coatings) I don't have the white spots, and the picture is generally much sharper. On macro and lenses with intensive multi-coatings, I notice that the effect is ...
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