Wex runs a repair service for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, with the help of our sister company Fixation. Here we explain a little more about what we offer
Any complicated device can break down, any well-loved equipment can suffer damage. Cameras and lenses are of course no exception to this, and any reasonably active photographer who uses their gear on a regular basis can find themselves needing to give their gear a tune-up.
Indeed, when we asked our community of photographers on Facebook for stories about their broken gear and their faithful but battered cameras, we were blown away by the volume of responses. Photographers love their gear, even when it breaks.
That's why we're proud to offer Wex Repair, our own repair service for Canon and Nikon DSLRs and lenses. Parterning with our sister company Fixation – the best in the business when it comes to camera maintenance and repair – we'll take your gear off your hands, patch it up and send it back to you good as new.
You can find out more about the process here, but in brief it's as follows: use our Repair Checker to find out if we can repair your gear, fill out a Repair Request Form, arrange a pick-up or drop-off of the kit, then wait for us to receive the kit and give you a no-obligation estimate of costs. If you change your mind, we'll post the gear back free of charge.
We offer a wide range of services, from complex repairs to the kind of routine maintenance that keeps your camera fighting fit. As a test case to explain a little more about what we do, let's look at one of the most common forms of both repairs and maintenance: the sensor clean.
One of the most useful, easy and often neglected forms of camera repair is the humble sensor clean. A striking number of photographers are unaware of how easily dust and dirt can build up on a camera's sensor, most commonly through the act of changing lenses, which can lead to images being afflicted with spots and blemishes.
One of the services we offer as part of Wex Repair is a bespoke sensor clean, not only for Canon and Nikon but also a range of mirrorless cameras.
Here, our Technical Editor Matt Higgs runs through the basics of sensor cleans, including how to know whether you need one:
Does my camera need a sensor clean?
It doesn’t matter how careful you are, at some point, your camera’s sensor is going to get dust on it. As annoying as that is, it’s an unavoidable fact. Whether from changing lenses, or simply changing focal length, dust particles will always find a way to sneak inside your device’s shell.
Why does sensor dust matter?
The most obvious effect of sensor dust is dark specks, patches and fibres appearing in your images. In busy scenes, these marks might not always be noticeable, but against light backgrounds, they’ll stand out like a sore thumb. Sure, you could clone them out one-by-one during editing, but doing so carefully is not only time consuming, it’s a short-term fix. The longer that dust is left on the sensor, the greater the chance that it will fuse to it, making it much more difficult to remove later on.
In this magnification you can see the effect sensor dust can have on images
But what about my camera’s automatic sensor cleaning function?
Since manufacturers started incorporating sensor cleaning options in-camera, users have less frequently suffered from dust in their images, however, it still remains a common problem. One reason for this is that these automatic functions don’t actually get rid of the dust from inside the camera, but work by shaking it to the bottom of them where a dust trap collects it to varying degrees of success. The second is that some dust is simply stubborn and refuses to budge, even when shook!
Is there an easy way to check my sensor for dust?
Yes! In fact there are two ways. You can either invest in a Sensor Loupe, a gadget that incorporates a magnifying glass and a light so that you can physically take a closer peek at your sensor. Or alternatively, you can take a test image for dust checking using this simple 8-step technique:
- Place your camera into its aperture priority mode.
- Choose the smallest aperture that your lens will allow, e.g f/16.
- Set your metering mode to Matrix/Evaluative.
- Select an ISO level of 100.
- Turn off auto-focus.
- Open a blank text document on your computer screen, and place your camera in front of it so that the white space fills the frame.
- Manually defocus the lens and capture an image.
- Download the file to a computer, and zoom into it so that it’s displayed at 100%.
Now as you scan across your image you’ll be able to see dust on the sensor clearly against the white background.
Can I clean dust from a sensor myself?
If you’re feeling confident enough, then yes you can. Wex sell lots of products for doing just that here, but instructions supplied with fluids and swabs should always be followed carefully or you run the risk of damaging the delicate sensor. It should also be noted that cleaning the sensor yourself can also affect the warranty of your device, so if it’s still covered, professional cleaning by an authorised engineer is always recommended. This service provided by trained experts with access to the proper tools is surprisingly affordable, and can often be done in just a few days. Visit: repair.wexphotographic.com for more information.
Who'll be repairing my gear?
We wouldn't run a repair service if we couldn't enlist the best techs in the business. Fortunately we're in a position to do just that.
All of our repairs are carried out by our sister company Fixation. Fixation have been in the business since 1988, and have unparalleled experience in meeting the needs of professional photographers. First starting as a Nikon workshop, the Fixation team so impressed the industry that they were approached by Canon to provide a similar professional service for their photographers. And the rest, naturally, is history.
Fixation's Canon team is run by Mick Edwards, one of the company's original founders, while its Nikon team is headed up by Barry Edmonds.
Mick Edwards, Canon Tech Manager
Mick Edwards looks after the Canon team at Fixation. Your Canon cameras and lenses will pass under his watchful eye.
"I’m very much hands on – I love fixing things," he says. "It’s why I like the job."
"The challenge is what we’re all after. You’re repairing the same products, but you want to do it to the best standard because you’re only as good as your last repair. We’re all the same and proud of what we do."
Barry Edmonds, Nikon Workshop Manager
Nikon photographers will be looked after by Barry Edmonds. A veteran of the industry, formerly of Nikon, Barry and his team know everything there is to know about Nikon gear.
"I make sure the repairs run okay, ensure the turnaround times are kept to and that the quality is maintained," he says. "I keep everyone in the team on their toes and carry out a fair few repairs myself as well. I liaise a great deal with Nikon's service and spares departments whilst our admin department here keeps us all in check."
"Fixation was always based on word of mouth – we didn’t do marketing and we didn’t do advertising, but if you meet the customers, if you know your product and if you know what you’re talking about, people trust you."
Who can vouch for the team?
When you use Wex Repair, you'll be using the same repair team trusted by pro photographers up and down the country. And you don't have to take our word for that; when we asked a couple of those pros to tell us a little more about why they trust the team, they were only too happy to tell us...
Arthur Edwards, Royal Photographer at The Sun (@ArthurJEdwards)
"You wouldn't use anyone else. I remember many years ago, when I was starting out and shooting on Leica it could take three months to get a repair done. So instead I'd go into Fixation and talk to Barry or Mick and tell them, 'I’m sorry, I’ve got a shoot tomorrow morning,' and they’d say 'All right, don’t worry.' They’d do it for me."
"I remember I once had a 500mm lens that kept falling off the camera. I showed it to them and they told me the clip was broken. I asked if there was anything they could do about it, and Barry said: 'I'll make you one.' And he did! Just a little piece of metal, and it's never let me down since."
"If they can do it, if it's possible, they will. They’d do the impossible for you if they could. Whatever they charge, they’re worth every penny."
Sim Canetty-Clarke, professional portrait and commercial photographer (simphotography.com)
“It’s the only place to go. I don’t really know of anywhere else I would recommend. I reckon it must be twenty or twenty-five years I’ve been going to Fixation.”
“It’s very personal, they know me, and they’re more like friends. I feel guilty sometimes if I’m busy and nothing’s gone wrong with my cameras so I haven’t been in for a while.”
“I always know that I’m getting a good deal and I’m not overpaying.”