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I've had a Canon G1X (mk 1) in an outdoor enclosure for the last 2 years taking a timelapse (6 images every 10 minutes).

Recently all the images have a giant bright spot on the right side of each image - see attached .CR2 and .JPG, taken seconds apart today. The bright spot is not in the acutal scene.

Is this a known failure mode of the camera? Is there any way to fix it?

Here's the .JPG:

example image

And here's a .CR2 (problem is even more obvious):

https://filebin.net/cb5tdmlse6fo9ao1

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know about the bright spot on the right hand side, but you have a definite dust spot on the sensor on the left hand side almost equidistant from the upper and lower trees, inset from the left to the extent of the upper tree branch. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Dec 27, 2023 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterM I think it's a dirt spot on the enclosure glass. They're kind of inevitable; I plan to remove them in post processing. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2023 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dirt spots on an enclosure would typically be much fuzzier. Only dust spots close to the sensor are that sharp. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 29, 2023 at 5:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ What time of day is this? What direction is the camera facing? I'm thinking this might be a case of the sun rising/setting closer to the camera than it has been doing in previous months. The solstice was barely a week ago, when the sun is further south than any other time of year. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 29, 2023 at 5:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Well it takes photos 24x7 - the particular image I posted here was taken around 12:30pm (EDT). Camera is facing almost due north, so the bright spot is in the northeast. I don't think the bright spot is real in the scene. Re the dirt spot, the lens is fixed (not removable) so there's no access to the sensor. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 29, 2023 at 21:24

2 Answers 2

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2 Years of 1 photo every 1.5 minutes is about 700,000 shutter activations.

I couldn't find any lifetime calculations for the G1X, but going by stats for DSLRs (and yes I know the G1X is mirrorless - but I can't imagine a huge difference in shutter mechanical quality between the two types) I see typical figures of up to 500,000 for professional cameras, and the G1X certainly ain't one of them.

How relevant are shutter actuation cycles?

Most entry-level DSLR cameras should be able to withstand at least 50,000 actuations, while mid-level models should last for more than 100,000 actuation cycles. Enthusiast-level DSLRs are normally rated for 150,000 to 250,000 actuations while professional DSLRs are rated for 300,000 to 500,000 actuations. However, you might actually get more than 300,000 actuations out of a shutter rated for only 100,000.

My guess is that if this bright spot has been a recent development, that you are starting to see the mechanicals of the camera wearing out.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ya, it's a lot of actuations. I've been taking 3 .CR2s every 10 minutes (for HDR: -2, +0, +2 stops) and also 3 JPGs. I'm not even sure if it's a thing to merge 3 JPGs to make an HDR. So maybe I should drop the JPGs altogether. Or at least 2 of them. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2023 at 21:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nerdfever.com, I'm pretty sure you can, technically, use jpegs as inputs to dynamic-range extension algorithms, but processing differences may be problematic, and if you have raws (CR2s), well, the raws are better and probably have more dynamic range than the equivalent jpegs. That said, most cameras will generate a raw and a jpeg from the same exposure, so normally there isn't any mechanical advantage to dropping the jpegs. Are you somehow reconfiguring the camera in between exposures? \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthew
    Dec 28, 2023 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nerdfever.com, for HDR you usually want the different exposures shot as close together as possible. (Even then, some ghosting is likely.) Many cameras have automatic bracketing for this purpose. New-ish cameras can be configured to take a 3-shot bracket every so often (e.g. your 10 minutes) and to write both raw and jpeg. If that's your setup, you probably can't tell the camera to only keep the middle jpeg, but it's also almost certainly only taking three shots, even though it's generating six files. So turning off jpeg will save space, but won't impact mechanical wear. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthew
    Dec 28, 2023 at 21:03
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That's a lot of images... My best guess is that the leaf shutter is failing.

I believe the G1X uses a 2 bladed leaf shutter that kind of scissors open, much like they used in their rangefinder film cameras (except it's horizontal in the G1X). If it is dragging/sticking it would create a bright area to one side.

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could be. I'm kind of surprised it manifests as a bright spot in the middle of the image. I guess it's time to replace the camera with a spare (I have 2 more...I anticipated failing hardware). But I thought it looked more like a sensor issue. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2023 at 21:50

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