Fungus in and on a body

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by hoffy, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Howdy all,

    A few weeks ago I was gifted a Minolta XE-1. The camera had been stored for the last ten years and was the previous owners fathers pride and joy (until he passed away. The guy I got it off wanted to ensure that it got used.).

    Tonight I started going through the kit and noticed that the body appears to have quite a bit of fungus. Attached to it was a 50 F1.5 and from my inspections, this actually appears to be quite fungus free. (I couldn't see anything that I would regard as lens fungus).

    In the body, the worse fungus is in the main mirror chamber. When you actuate the shutter, you can see the fungus draws a line on either side that lines up with the mirror. The film compartment appears to be clean.

    Apart from this and a fogged 500 F8 Tamron, the kit looks in very good condition.

    I have dealt with lenses and fungus, but to me, this looks a bit more hard core.

    Should I:

    • Try and clean the interior and exterior myself?
    • Take it in for a CLA.
    • Write off the body

    I must admit I am feeling a little disappointed, not with the previous owner (heck, these things happen), but because I was rather keen to get out there and use it.
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    XE-1 is a nice body. No reason to let it just succomb. I wouldn't bother trying to clean the mirror on your own (although you might not have much to lose here), but in general I'd expect any of the typical mold killing regimes (vinegar/bleach [might be iffy]) to work out here. However since the interior might have fungus/mold, you might just consider getting it CLAed for a reasonably price. Since you were gifted the camera, I'd just count it as the cost of ownership.

    Seeing as the camera was once someone else's pride and joy, I'd impart the same level of respect to it: don't write it off.
     
  3. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Yes, you are right. Funds are a bit tight this month (I have spent enough on film gear), so I might put it to the side and then organise the CLA next month.
     
  4. lns

    lns Member

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    Seriously, I'd get rid of it immediately. Certainly don't store it around any of your other camera equipment.

    -Laura
     
  5. w9cae

    w9cae Member

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    I had a Praktica lens on an MCC camera we got given that had fungus. I tried almost sulfuric acid to remove it. In the end I found another lens. That is why I always clean my gear & store it without filters. All it takes is some salt water & stuff starts growing in the dark.
     
  6. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Urban legend.
     
  7. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    I'd not let it be near my gear for a while. I don't really know how to get rid of fungus that can grown on camera gear, other than give it some sun, and find a way to chemically clean it. The fungus spores will probably remain in the camera, and spores are typically environmentally resistant (that is, only extreme temperature and extremely noxious chemicals can destroy spores). I'd clean it, use it, and after quite a bit of use, I might start to feel it safe to keep with my other gear (assuming the remaining spores have shaken out).
     
  8. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Yes, that is my plan. The gear that it comes with is one kit and will be stored separately. I have had lenses cleaned of fungus in the past and not had a problem with it returning. I might, though, get someone who knows what they are doing to have a look.

    Cheers
     
  9. clayne

    clayne Member

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  10. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks clayne, yes I have seen that article.

    Just a bit of a side note. I had a camera looked at by a local gent, who was a trained Leica repairer. I was shocked and then suprised that he actually uses household Window cleaner on lens elements (in Australia, the common brand of Windex). He doesn't spray it on like you were doing your windows. Just a tiny dab enough to make a soft cloth damp was all that he used. Apparently it is the best thing to help preventing fungus re-appearing.

    So, yes, I will be taking the camera to him.

    Cheers
     
  11. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Just a quick update and to put some closure to this.

    I had the camera looked at this morning by a local camera repairer and a few interesting things that I got from my visit:

    1) the lens that was on the camera was spotless. Not a single spot of fungus was to be found on the surfaces
    2) It was actually fibres in the interior, with a bit of fungus. The interior of the camera body was cleaned, followed by a quick coating of some black matt paint (not exactly sure what it was). The repairer didn't seem at all concerned
    3) People get a bit carried away with fungus. Yes, it will damage equipment, yes it can be transferred from piece to piece, but there is just as much risk of the equipment picking up spores from the general environment that you are in. A gentleman had taken a digital in to be cleaned, that was full of fungus. The camera had been used in an environment that had a lot of compost materials around. The sensor on the camera was deemed beyond repair....not bad on a camera that was 6 months old. (& this is not a digital bash, as it could be a lens I am talking about).

    So, the moral of the story, if you have fungus, get it cleaned ASAP, BUT the only time you should dispose of equipment effected is if it is beyond repair.
     
  12. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Great news. Just what I expected as well - an easy ending with a lot of unnecessary paranoia. But you handled it well and have some experience to boot. :smile:
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    For all you "fungiphobes" out there, dont store your gear in old leather cases. Store in the open where sunlight will be able to strike it and fresh air abounds. Mold and mildew avoid those places. Dont forget to keep desiccants in your gear bags and dry them occasionally to keep them active.
     
  14. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Spores are a bit like radio waves. If you could see them all, you would be amazed at how many of them there are everywhere... They cannot be avoided, so you just need to make sure that you don't store your gear in a way/place that allows them to thrive. Chucking out stuff that shows a bit of fungus is often misguided.