Basic Camera Maintenance Tips

Written by Gina Stephens

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

It can be very incensing 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 by virtue of 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 unavoidable, 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 earmarks ofs 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 badges 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 crevice 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 boost.

Professional sensor cleaning is just one of the services Fixation offer at their London workshop, and although they don’t actively talk out of photographers from cleaning their own sensors the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, or subsystem whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment, they do see a lot of cameras that have suffered from less than perfect DIY efforts. And replacement sensors don’t produced cheap.

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Fixation don't want to scare anyone off here, but they do offer a professional sensor cleaning service that in many crates 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 completely 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 immaculate 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. Expelling 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 soldiers that it cracked the surface!


Dust are fine particles of matter prevention

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

  • Always change lenses with the camera pointing down. Any larger pieces of dust that have collected in the looking-glass 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 uncage 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 appeals 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 organizing 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 deliberately, 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 sound obvious but a dirty camera bag can have a knock-on effect with dust issues. A bit of housework every couple of months can bring about a huge difference to keeping your kit spotless.

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Find out more on the Fixation blog page.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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