Basic Camera Maintenance Tips

Fixation share some top camera maintenance tips to try at home.

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Fixation are based in London and have been providing camera repair, sensor cleaning and rental for over 30 years. They have a large team of dedicated and professionally trained technicians. Recently they have been thinking about sensor care.

It can be very annoying to set out on a photo walk and find that there's dust on the sensor too late. Fixation have put together a few simple tips and tricks you can go through to minimise the chances of your shots being spoiled by unwanted sensor dirt and dust. 


Sensor care

The sensor on your digital camera is arguably the most necessary, the most fragile and the most expensive component, and should, therefore, be looked after with care.

As we’re all painfully aware, dust is the bane of all digital photographers and it seems that no matter how careful you are when changing lenses, dust will creep in while you’re least expecting it.

In many cases, these dust marks are hidden by busy backgrounds and detail, but a good way to check is to photograph a white sheet of paper or a clear blue sky. Shoot using a mid to small aperture and even better if the shot is out of focus; you’re trying to capture the dust on the actual sensor, so a lack of detail in the image will actually help.

Professional sensor cleaning is just one of the services Fixation offer at their London workshop, and although they don’t actively discourage photographers from cleaning their own sensors, they do see a lot of cameras that have suffered from less than perfect DIY efforts. And replacement sensors don’t come cheap.

Fixation don't want to scare anyone off here, but they do offer a professional sensor cleaning service that in many cases can be turned around in less than a day. The Fixation team of technicians have had many years experience and can guarantee a thorough result.

If you are going to try and clean your sensor at home, please bear in mind the following precautions.



Don't use compressed air

Under NO circumstances should you use compressed air on the sensor. It’s perfect for blowing dust off the exterior of your camera and lenses (although be careful near the glass), but pointing it near a sensor is asking for trouble. 

If the can is tilted even slightly – especially when full – propellant will be expelled and will land on your delicate sensor. Removing this gunk is not a task for the faint-hearted… Fixation have even seen a case where the end of the nozzle was loose and actually hit the sensor with such force that it cracked the surface!


Dust prevention

There are some basic rules you can follow that will go some way to avoiding dust for as long as possible:

  • Always change lenses with the camera pointing down. Any larger pieces of dust that have collected in the mirror box should follow the rules of gravity and not end up on the sensor. It’s not a guaranteed solution but it will certainly help.
  • Make sure the rear elements of your lenses are free from dust. If any lens that you mount has dust on the rear element, you’re simply asking for it to end up on the sensor. The same rule applies to camera body caps.
  • Attach a double-sided sticky tab on the inside of your body cap and rear lens cap. If any large pieces of errant dust are floating around on the back of your lens, or in the mirror box, they will stick to the tab and not the sensor. We sell low-tack tabs, sourced specifically for this purpose, at just £5 for 10. They’re easy to apply and simple enough to remove when the stickiness has exhausted.
  • Vacuum your camera bag. It may seem obvious but a dirty camera bag can have a knock-on effect with dust issues. A bit of housework every couple of months can make a huge difference to keeping your kit spotless.

Find out more on the Fixation blog page.

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12 Jan 2018 9:17PM
Check your sensor by shooting a blue sky with a small aperture by all means, but do take two shots as there can be far more rubbish flying around in the atmosphere than any dust bunnies you might have on your sensor, when examining the results, as you move from one image to the next any particle that moves position on your sensor isnít a dust bunny

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