Tips & Tricks | Take care with memory cards

Tips & Tricks | Take care with memory cards

We’ve all been in that situation – your memory card is full and you have to quickly change cards without thinking.

CompactFlash cards in particular have an awkward knack of almost fitting in the camera if inserted back to front, or even sideways, and the damage this can do is severe; the pins that interface with the card are easily bent, and once this happens, the CF reader unit needs to be replaced.

This D700 shows how easy it is to insert a card the wrong way.

We see cameras come in every week with bent pins and as well as the inconvenience of being without your camera for a few days while we replace the CF reader, the cost can be upwards of £150.

You only need to bend one pin to render your camera’s card reader unusable.

It’s also worth keeping a close eye on the card itself. If any of the holes on the card’s access port are blocked, this can also result in bent pins – even if the card is inserted carefully. And damage to the plastic sheath around the holes can also cause problems when the card is inserted.

If your cards look like this, it’s time to replace them!.

So next time you’re organising your kit for a shoot, take a minute to inspect your cards using a loupe and remember to double check before you insert them in the camera. It could save you a small fortune.


Canon Launches EOS 6D Mk II image

Canon Launches EOS 6D Mk II

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II camera for photography enthusiasts.

Building on the strength off the EOS 6D, the EOS 6D Mark II will help you achieve new creative goals, with advanced performance and innovative features that will support your next steps in photography – wherever they might lead.

Improved image quality

The EOS 6D Mark II’s full-frame sensor packs 26.2-megapixel resolution and has superb low light performance, letting you capture intricate detail even in bright highlights and dark shadows. Image quality is maintained when light levels get low, with a max sensitivity of ISO 40,000 (expandable to ISO 102,400).

Fully connected

The EOS 6D Mark II can maintain a constant Bluetooth® link with your smartphone or tablet. This makes activating Wi-Fi easy, so you can browse and share images, and shoot remotely using your device’s screen. The EOS 6D Mark II’s built-in GPS geotags your images as you shoot.

Key Features

  • EOS 6D Mark II:
  • Full-frame sensor that packs 26.2-megapixel resolution
  • DIGIC 7 Image Processor
  • 45 cross-type AF points autofocus
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF in Live View mode
  • Continuous shooting at 6.5 fps
  • Max sensitivity of ISO 40,000 (expandable to ISO 102,400)
  • Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • Full HD video with in-camera 5-axis digital stabilisation
  • Bluetooth ® and Wi-Fi work together to make controlling the EOS 6D Mark II from your smart device
  • Built-in GPS geotags imagesNew Battery Grip BG-E21 available as an optional accessory


To find out more about the EOS 6D Mark II, contact sales on 020 7582 3294 or email

Tips & Tricks | Keeping your sensor clean image

Tips & Tricks | Keeping your sensor clean

Have you ever taken a shot on a clear, sunny day, only to find dots and marks all over it when you come to review? You thought you got it right first time, and suddenly you’re looking down the barrel of hours in Photoshop or Lightroom to remove the dots. Well, if this keeps happening, it’s likely your camera sensor needs a clean.

Sometimes, dirt on a sensor can go undetected for a long time. If you habitually shoot wide open, the narrow depth of field may obscure the particles for a long time, and you’ll only see them when a job requires you to stop down. If you’re caught flat-footed by this on a one-off shoot, it can lead to serious problems – and angry clients!

It’s always best to get your sensor cleaned by professionals, and getting your camera to the Fixation workshop post-haste should be your first port of call. We can usually carry out sensor cleaning while you wait, either at our centres in London, Manchester or Leeds, or at one of the Wex Photo Video stores around the country. If, however, you’re mid-shoot, or otherwise unable to get the camera to us, there are a few things you can do.

The first thing to do is use the in-camera cleaning option. This uses small vibrations to attempt to dislodge dust from the sensor, and if the particles are small it may do the trick.

If this doesn’t work and there are images you need to get right away, then shoot at as wide an aperture as possible to hopefully keep the particles from showing up. We really wouldn’t recommend trying to clean the sensor while you’re out on a shoot, as you’re much more likely to accidentally introduce more particles, or even permanently damage your sensor!

If you’re confident with what you’re doing, you can clean your sensor at home, and we stock the products necessary to do so. Whether you want to dry-clean or wet-clean your sensor, we have hand-blowers, microfibre cloths, lens brushes (camel hair) and liquid cleaning solutions.  Always follow your camera manufacturer’s instructions when self-cleaning, as too much fluid or a dirty brush can cause issues.

Cleaning dust from your sensor and lenses

Dust is everywhere, and it inevitably gets on and inside your camera. So, how do you go about cleaning dust on the sensor?

As we mentioned earlier, before you attempt to clean your sensor, you should use your camera’s automatic clean mode (if it has one) to see if you can dislodge the particles. Some cameras do this automatically when turned off, but it always is worth trying first.

Navigate to your camera menu and select clean manually. You’ll likely see a few options: controls for automatic cleaning when the camera is turned on or off, an on-request self-cleaning cycle, and the option to prepare the camera for manual sensor cleaning.

It’s very, very important to make sure that your camera’s battery is fully charged, as if it runs out of power mid-clean it may turn off and damage your sensor. Indeed, some cameras block access to this function unless the battery is at least half-charged

One of the safest ways to clean your camera and lenses is to use a blower to get rid of any dust and residue. We would recommend that you never use compressed air to clean a camera sensor, as it’s not only too powerful, but the gas inside can briefly liquefy and stain your sensor.

If you don’t already own an аіr-blоwеr we have a range of quality options for sale. We stock blowers made from nоn-tохіс, еnvіrоnmеntаllу frіеndlу mаtеrіаl, rеѕіѕtаnt tо hіgh аnd lоw tеmреrаturеѕ. Air blowers are a safe and easy way tо blоw duѕt аwау, making it a breeze to clean your sensor, camera and lenses. They’re аlѕо grеаt fоr rеmоvіng сrumbѕ frоm уоur kеуbоаrd!

All rubber blowers deliver a strong burst of air to clean lenses

An air blower may not dislodge all the particles from a lens. If some are proving stubborn, you could always use a lens pen, which can pick up a lot of stubborn substances. Lеnѕ pеns are соmрасt in size, and some have an іntеgrаtеd bruѕh fоr gеntlу rеmоvіng аnу unwаntеd duѕt раrtісlеѕ оff уоur орtісаl еquірmеnt. We would recommend that you look for a lens brush that is made from camel hair, which is naturally anti-static and super-soft, so will not harm your lens.

Avoid touching the brush with your hands. It may seem insignificant but if the oils on your hand get to the lens, it could really do some damage. Lens pens are an easy-to-use cleaning accessory to ensure your equipment stays clean and dust-free.

Removes dust, grease spots and other smudges

Microfibre cloths and lens-cleaning solutions are other tools to have in your kit bag to ensure you always have a clean lens. There are a few precautions to consider, like ensuring cloths are kept clean, as you do not want to re-apply dirt and grime or particles that may scratch your lens. If you wash the cloth, avoid using liquid fabric softeners, as they may leave a chemical residue on the cloth and create streaks on your lens.

Our guide on how to clean your camera sensor safely

Sooner or later your DSLR or mirrorless camera is going to need its sensor cleaned manually.

There has been a lot of debate on the merits of do-it-yourself versus sending it out when it comes to cleaning sensors. While it’s better and safer to get it done professionally, as you take care to clean a sensor the right way, you shouldn’t have any problems. If you take a few basic precautions and handle your sensor with care, the potential for damage is small.

Here are a few tips to follow before cleaning your sensor:

  1. Make sure you have a fully charged battery. If the battery runs out while you’re working in the sensor chamber, the mirror will slap down and you’ll have to deal with a very expensive repair.
  2. Clean your camera body. It’s important that you clean the outside before opening up the inside. If you fail to do so, dust particles could enter your sensor.
  3. Make sure that the area you use to clean your camera sensor is clean and dust-free. You don’t want more dust to add to the dirt that you’re trying to remove.
  4. Be prepared and make sure you have all the necessary cleaning tools before you proceed.

The tools you’ll need for dry cleaning your camera sensor:

  • Aіr-blоwеr for bigger dust particles
  • Sensor scope to check for uncleared spots

How to clean camera sensor using the dry method:

  1. Place your camera on a table. Make sure you don’t touch anything as you clean.
  2. Start the cleaning process by blowing on the sensor with an aіr-blоwеr. Never use canned or compressed air.
  3. Blow on the mirror and the back of the lens. The sensor has an electrostatic charge when the camera is on in its normal mode (but not in sensor-cleaning mode) and it will attract dust like a magnet.
  4. Use your sensor scope. This is a magnifying glass with a light shining on the sensor. It will highlight sensor dust as tiny silver threads or spots.
  5. Repeat the process with the aіr-blоwеr and sensor scope until all spots have been removed.

For a deeper clean, you can wet-clean your camera sensor. These are the tools you’ll need:

  • Lens brush made from camel hair
  • Sensor-cleaning swab
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Lens-cleaning solution

How to clean camera sensor using the wet method:

  1. Read the directions on your lens-cleaning solution very carefully. The sensor-cleaning swab should be kept very clean, and carefully moistened right on the edge with two drops of solvent, each one placed one-fourth of the way in from the edge. This should evenly wet the edge.
  2. Let the solvent soak in a minute or so before swabbing. You don’t want to squeeze out liquid on the sensor glass.
  3. Tilt the swab and drag it in one pass from one edge of the sensor to the other. Next, turn it over and drag it back the other way, so the other side of the edge is being used.
  4. Brushing usually won’t remove all the spots, and you’ll need to resort to swabs and solvents. After brushing, you’ll need to repeat and if you see an elongated smear, you’ve brushed through an oil spot thrown by the shutter.
  5. When this happens you’ll need to clean the brush in its recommended manner before using it again, and you’ll need to use solvents to remove the oil.

Final steps in cleaning a camera sensor:

Complete your sensor check by shooting an image of a piece of plain white paper. It may take several repetitions of the process to make sure the sensor is clean.

It’s very important to keep the rear element of your lens and the sensor loupe clean, as dust can jump or fall from them onto the sensor. One handy tip to help keep the dust at bay in between professional cleans: 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.

Be careful not to use high-tack sticky tape or you’ll have issues removing it from the inside of your cap when it needs changing. Here at Fixation we only use special low-tack discs.

If you’re looking for a professional sensor-clean, you can bring your camera in for cleaning or send it in via post or courier. Our addresses and hours are listed on the Find Us page. Our technicians go the extra mile to ensure a thorough clean – for prices and turnaround times click here.

ProFiles | Jack Terry image

ProFiles | Jack Terry

Fixation ambassador Jack Terry is a successful lifestyle and advertising photographer and works with high profile brands such as Audi, Nintendo and Lenovo. We caught up with Jack recently and put some questions to him.

© Jack Terry

How did you get into photography?

Ironically my parents bought me a Canon SLR as a graduation present. My degree was in product design, so photography was a bit of a sidestep. I started off photographing people on the ski slopes in France. I would follow them for half a day on my snowboard and photograph their group. Tim Henman booked me to photograph his family skiing one day, which was a laugh.

So you didn’t study photography, did you assist?

No I am self taught. I worked in a studio for a while and part time as a graphic designer to pay the bills while I built my client base. I think there are definitely pros and cons to both routes into the industry. I can get envious of friends who have built a lot of knowledge through assisting, but not assisting allowed me much more time to shoot work for myself, so I guess its swings and roundabouts.

© Jack Terry

Your work all involves people, but how would you describe yourself as a photographer?

I am a lifestyle photographer, working predominantly in advertising and my work revolves around my fascination of observing people. When I shoot, I constantly look to portray the emotions of everyday life and ensure that there is a narrative behind my work. To create a natural feel in my images I rarely pose people, instead photographing real actions and movements. This helps to capture true expressions and ensures my images never feel staged. My briefs usually come from advertising and creative agencies and can be anything from global campaigns to image libraries or social media content.

© Jack Terry

Does lifestyle photography take much planning?

My aim is for my work to have a candid, documentary look to it, but to achieve this always takes a lot of production. I always shoot on location, so that forms the biggest hurdle usually. There are normally multiple models who require hair, makeup and styling, then the rest of the crew, agency and clients who need food, warmth and transport. There is all the kit that needs power and you might be shooting on public land, so that needs a permit. I have a great team around me though, so it’s a pretty slick operation.

What equipment do you usually use?

My standard camera system is Canon and my lights are Profoto. Image capture and post production is done through Capture One and Photoshop. As every job is different, additional kit is hired in as required. A Canon 5DS is my go to camera and I have two 5D Mk. III’s in the bag too. I tend to shoot on either a 35mm, 50mm or 100mm L series prime, but have a variety of zooms as well. I use medium format when required, but find even the new cameras a bit slow for my style of shooting.

My lighting system is made up of multiple Profoto B1’s and D1’s and I love the speed and versatility of having lithium batteries in the B1s. I use quite a lot of modifiers, but my favourite for its ability to replicate sunlight is the Profoto Magnum reflector. When it comes to digital, all my kit lives in a customised Peli case that has laser cut foam to house the different drives, readers, tablets and batteries etc. Capturing, backing up and safely storing data when shooting commercially is vital, so the process has to be bombproof. I have serious OCD with how my kit is stored and everything has its own case or bag which are usually Peli or Thinktank.

© Jack Terry

To what extent do you rely on Fixation for your work?

Fixation support me massively, whether it is with rental for a specific job, or to hire some equipment to test out a new concept. It is also brilliant knowing they stock all of my equipment in rental, so if anything breaks I don’t need to be without while it is being repaired. Not that it ever takes more than a couple of days anyway. I am interested in having a go with all the new video kit that is coming in to stock too.

Looking at the iconic brands you’ve worked with in the past, are there any that stand out as being particularly memorable?

I have shot quite a few celebrities for brands, but one person who stood out as the most amazing was the explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He is an absolute inspiration and has spent his life putting himself through situations that you wouldn’t think were physically possible.

© Jack Terry

Are there any brands you’d particularly like to work with in the future?

I am always keen to work with brands that have an ethical and social conscious. Advertising is very powerful, so it’s nice to create work for brands that use their power for good, rather than purely financial gains. Patagonia and their recent Black Friday campaign are a great example of this.

You shoot a lot of personal work, what is the reason for this.

When you shoot commercial work there are usually so many interested parties that the creative can get compromised. By shooting personal work it is all down to me. I come up with a concept, then produce it and fund it, so there is nowhere to hide. Personal work lets me explore ideas and test techniques that I can then filter into my commercial work. I find art buyers are much more interested in viewing personal work, so that is almost entirely what makes up my portfolio.

© Jack Terry

What was the thought process behind your latest project, Little Rascals? 

Little Rascals is a documentary study of a children’s charity called Oasis Play. I used to live opposite the playground and always thought it would be a stunning location to shoot. I wanted more images of children for my portfolio and I liked the idea of it just being me with a camera, no crew and no mountain of equipment. As a thank you I gifted the charity a set of 500 images to help with their promotion. You can see the whole project here, it definitely brings a smile to the face.

Are you working on any other personal projects currently?

I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve, the last one was kids, so maybe the next one will involve animals! I am also thinking of dedicating a whole week to shooting 5 totally different tests over 5 days.

© Jack Terry

How much does video feature in your work, and how important do you think it will be going forward?

Video is massive and getting bigger all the time. I can’t remember a shoot where there wasn’t a video element involved. I am not that interested in operating the camera myself, but love directing. I am flying to Spain soon to direct a video for a hotel chain, which should be good fun.

Jack was speaking to Tim Stavrinou. You can see more of Jack’s work on his website and follow him on Instagram @jackterryphoto

ProFiles | Jon Nicholson image

ProFiles | Jon Nicholson

Jon is an established photographer and well known for the exclusive access he is granted. His area of expertise is to follow his subject intently, be it an individual or situation, and document the whole story, returning to his subject over and over again.

We recently caught up with Jon in the Fixation showroom and asked him about his work.

© Jon Nicholson

How did you first get interested in photography?

I can’t really remember to be honest. I would take pictures with a friend for fun, climbing around the old Battersea power station in the late 70’s and processing film in the bath, with not much success! Then I got into windsurfing and that’s really when I thought I would give it a whirl and start taking pictures, as I loved – and still do – going to the beach, stormy clouds etc… that would have been around 1980.

© Jon Nicholson

You worked a lot in the sports industry before concentrating on the more intimate, behind-the-scenes work. How did that transition come about?

Following on from above, once I got the bug I would really study the great photojournalists of the time; the obvious names like Don McCullin etc., thinking I should do this in sport. My old pal Damon Hill then got the drive at Williams F1 and I suggested that we should do a book showing what life was really like for a top sports personality. I showed Damon a book by Walter Iooss on Michael Jordan called Rare Air. It’s a brilliant book and is a great guide to shooting a behind the scenes story with somebody as huge as Jordan. That was 1994 and Damon was racing with Ayrton Senna after a year with Prost. Ayrton got killed and Damon became huge. Following that, a lot of sporting teams asked me to do projects with them. After a while I wanted to move into other areas and my strength was getting access and putting long term projects together, plus I started to read the newspaper covers and wanted to shoot more global issues, so off I went, working with papers like the Guardian, Observer and Mail on Sunday.

© Jon Nicholson

You work a lot with aid agencies, covering current affairs. Do you find you have to disassociate your personal feelings when photographing in these situations, or would that be detrimental to your work?

I spent years working with UNICEF from New York to Africa, covering stories on HIV/AIDS, conflict and post conflict stories, so I saw some stuff.  I am by no means a war photographer but in that part of the world during the 90’s there was some fairly nasty things going on and you couldn’t help but be affected by it. I would wear my sunglasses all the time and that gave me a barrier, but there comes a time when it gets to you. I was going to Darfur to shoot a project with the UN and and was the only guy allowed in there at the time. I wanted to shoot this in a different way so I was going to do a series of digital composite images. The Sunday Times magazine were going to run it and I had an exhibition planned in the west end, but before I went, my daughter Maisy had said to some friends we were lunching with that I was going to Darfur to get Shot!!! At that point I decided that I had to stop that kind of work. I did almost get shot and very nearly got caught up in a very nasty life ending situation. So to answer your question – yes, but also no; you are there because of the person you are and how you work and interact with the scene. I don’t think I was any different as a person.

© Jon Nicholson

Any interesting projects that you’re working on at the moment?

Yes, I’m working on a three year project which is on Working women in Asia. It’s for a corporate client from Singapore, all in black and white as well which I love. Travelling throughout Asia at my own pace at different times of year and doing what I want….how lucky am I in this day and age?!! This finishes in March next year so as a freelancer it’s time to get the thinking cap on. About 90% of my work is self generated and I’m fortunate enough to get funding for it.

I am also starting a semi-fictional piece of work in the footsteps of my father, based around St Tropez and Southern Spain and using digitally manipulated images. It’s about adoption – something close to my heart as I was adopted at three days old. I know my mothers side of my background and even know my birth Uncle. Sadly my mother is no longer alive, but at least I have a great deal of info, and I know my father’s name and age and where he came from.

I tend to buzz around a few projects at one time.

© Jon Nicholson

You’ve been a customer and friend of Fixation’s for a long time. How much do you rely on us for your work?

Well Bob Martin told me to go to Fixation in about 1986 and I have been coming to you ever since. I am a Leica M user and over the years have relied on Fixation, mostly when using Nikon and you are an essential tool in my toolbox. Fixation gave all of us professional photographers what we needed and still need do – and now you supply Leica I will be continuing my long friendship with you all!  We are a lonely bunch and it would great if you had a bar! We could all get together and talk rubbish to each other.

© Jon Nicholson

You still shoot film for some of your work. Do you feel this gives you an edge by effectively slowing you down?

I don’t think it gives me an edge, but I think it reiterates my passion for what I love to do – take pictures. Yes it slows you down and makes you think about the image you are making. Our industry, as we know, has been murdered by digital technology but without knowing how to shoot film how can I work digitally properly? It makes my work better. Plus I use the Leica Monochrom 80% of the time and that puts me in a mental state of shooting film, popping in the old Tri-X or HP5. Shooting both is brilliant! waiting for the negs to comeback from Metro and that excitement of seeing what I got or missed is a thrill in itself. Whilst writing this I am working in Sri Lanka shooting on my Hasselblad 503 and FP4 (plus my Leica’s).

© Jon Nicholson

When we spoke recently we were discussing guitarists and their guitars, and about the relationship players have with their instruments. With your style of photography, do you feel the same bond with your cameras?

Yes definitely –  I think in the film days when we didn’t change our gear as often, I certainly had favourite cameras and lenses. Even now my Leica’s have names; my Leica Monochrom is called Lulu and my M240 called Elsa after my two youngest daughters. A bit silly maybe, but actually in a way I’m trying to share what I see whilst I am away. I use these two the most as the Leica M’s are the best cameras for what I do, and I feel very attached to them. I also use my Hasselblad 503 called Sam (my son), a 5 x 4 camera called Maisy, and a Gandolfi 10 x 8 camera called Molly… And the camera with no name is a Noblex panoramic camera.

© Jon Nicholson

You use quite a variety of different cameras in your work. Any particular favourites? 

As I mentioned above, they all have a place but my Leicas are undoubtedly my favourites at the moment.

I saw recently that your 2001 book, Land Of The Cowboy, is to be republished. You must be pleased?!

In 1996 I started a personal project looking at the cowboy and the pressures facing that way of life. Shot mainly in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, it was then commissioned into a book. It was all shot on film using a 5 x 4 MPP (I shot loads of type 55 Polaroid!), my Leica M6’s, and a Hassleblad X-Pan.

Amarillo-boots-sign-1000px© Jon Nicholson

Now, almost 20 years later, it is to be re-published including 20 or so new images, again shot on 5 x 4 – both film and type 55 – which I shall do so later this year. I’m particularly pleased as there is no funding needed, and it’s a solid body of personal work – probably my best during my career for many reasons. Looking at the prints I made back then, they have a beauty that is hard to find with digital. And let’s face it – who doesn’t want to ride across the plains of Texas, singing Willie Nelson songs!

Expected publishing date Autumn 2018.

Jon was talking to Tim Stavrinou. For more information on Jon’s work, visit his website and follow him on Twitter @jonnicphotos


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