If you started seeing dust spots appearing on your images, they are most likely the result of dust particles that ended up on your DSLR’s sensor. Keeping dust off your sensor is why you want to minimize the amount of time you leave your sensor exposed to the outside elements when changing your lenses. Luckily, dust spots are fairly easy to retouch in Lightroom 4 and 5. In fact, we recently published an article on how to remove dust spots in your images with the Spot Removal tool.

Lightroom 5‘s New Visualize Spots Tool

The new Lightroom 5 introduced several improvements when it comes to its Spot Healing Brush. The first notable feature is the ability to use it in any shape you want as opposed to just a circle. This saves a lot of time since now you don’t really need to go into Photoshop to use its more advanced cloning and healing brushes.


The second new feature for the Lightroom 5 Healing Brush is the Visualize Spots tool. This tool is designed to help photographers better detect dust spots from sensor dusts.

If you have been using the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets, you may also notice that the Preset System has a similar tool called the Advanced Dust Correction tool that can also help photographers find dust spots. So which one is better? Let’s take a look at this video.

The Problem with Lightroom 5‘s New Visualize Spots Tool

Although the new Visualize Spots Tool is a welcomed new feature in Lightroom 5, it is not as sensitive as the Advanced Dust Correction tool. Here is an example of an image that has dust spots that are hard to detect without the a dust tool.


To turn on the Visualize Spots tool in Lightroom 5, first select the Spot Removal Tool (keyboard shortcut “Q”) while you are in the Develop Module. Next, place a check on the Visualize Spots checkbox located on the Toolbar at the bottom of the image (Press “T” if hidden).


When that tool is enabled, the image is substituted with a black and white outlined image that suppose to help you find the dust posts. In the case for this image, it looks like that there are no dusts in the sky.


There is slider next to the checkbox that allows you to control the intensity of the Visualize Spot tool, and as you can see, as we increase it to its maximum effect, you can now see some dust spots.


The problem that we noticed with this tool is that when we zoom into one of the dust spots in order to work on it with the Healing Brush, the dust spot becomes surrounded by visible grain, making it very difficult to spot and heal. As a result, you will have to play around with the Visualize Spot slider until the grain becomes invisible again.


The SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 & 5 Presets System’s Advanced Dust Correction System

The Advanced Dust Correction tool from the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets is far more effective because there is no extra adjustments needed once you click on the preset via the Preset System. The reason behind this because of the psychedelic colors that appear with this preset. Dust spots are more visible with this Preset.


Finally, when you zoom into the image, the dust spots are still visible compared to the rest of the image grain.



While the Lightroom 5‘s inclusion of a Visualize Spot tool is great, it is not as sensitive as we would like. As a result, we recommend that if you have the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets to continue to use its Advanced Dust Correction tool instead.

We hope you enjoyed this article and video about dust correction. If you are looking to purchase the Lightroom 4 & 5 Preset Systems. Stay tuned for our next article and episode!