Handling Fungi-Infected Equipment

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Exsalisis, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. Exsalisis

    Exsalisis Member

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    Hello!

    Just curious how you guys handle equipment which have unfortunately fallen prey to fungi. Is fungi communicable between lenses? Would you put an infected lens in the same dry cabinet as a non-infected one?
    I've read about how fungal spores are already everywhere, just waiting for the perfect conditions to germinate. If that's true there would be no conceivable reason why one would need to isolate infected lenses. What do you guys think?
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    My entire family thinks I'm a fun-guy, and my attitude is infectious. I always handle my equiptment, and use it to try to communicate emotions. I dont need a special occasion or perfect conditions to have an idea germinate. I'm always conceiveing reasons to drag my gear out and shoot no matter the conditions, some of my finest were shot in the rain. I think its time to get off this computer and get out with my cameras.

    BTW-- I would keep them seperate for now, until you can get the infected gear cleaned up, then store in a bright sunny place to help keep it from returning. By all means, dont stow in a leather bag or case, those are perfect breeders for fungus.
     
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  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I do not treat lens fungus as a contageous condition. Just clean it up, put the lens back to gether and go shooting. Under warm, dry conditions, the fungus isn't growing anyway. If you keep your gear in dark, damp, cool conditions, the spores are all around the environment .
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Perhaps you should,

    Talking to someone who treats and remedies affected cameras & lenses a couple of months ago he said it was important to take precautions and fully treat the infection. His way was place in a sealed container/area with naptha moth balls which kills both the infection & the spores. He went on to say untreated the spores could attack other equipment in close proximity.

    As the remedy is easy it's a wise precaution.

    Ian
     
  5. Exsalisis

    Exsalisis Member

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    Wouldn't the fumes from the mothballs pose a risk to the equipment? Even if there's no damage done I'd imagine the lenses will smell of mothballs for a while.

    Recently got a couple of my lenses (even the viewfinder of my folder!) infected. Don't have the cash to clean all of them at once, so I'm rather interested to know how I should deal with them in the meantime.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The fumes disappear quite fast in fresh air :D

    I bought a Minolta Spot F recently that has slight traces of fungal threads just visible so that's getting treated, and all the equipment here will get the same. As a former biologist I'm well aware how many fungal spores are in the air, very few attack lenses/cameras. But if you haven't had an infection you don't go sit in the middle of an infectious hospital ward, but that's what many subject their equipment to when infected lenses are put with others. Those lenses already harbour large colonies of spores dedicated to damaging more lenses :smile:

    Ian
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Ian, you could smell the naptha moth balls in my grannies house as soon as the front door was opened and in many other houses back in the Sixties but isn't the trad naptha moth balls now impossible to obtain in the U.K. at least as a result of the dreaded Health and Safety regs?

    pentaxuser
     
  8. Grytpype

    Grytpype Member

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    The cobwebby strands we normally see in a fungusy lens are the mycelia which are the parts of the fungus that absorbs nutrient. Fungal spores come from the 'fruiting bodies' of a fungus which develop later on. I don't think the mycelia would be infectious in themselves, but if a strand was scraped off and fell on a clean lens I guess it might develop if conditions were right. I'm not too sure what the fruiting bodies of lens fungus look like, possible just some kind of blob. A couple of times on very fungusy lenses I've seen something that looked like a crumb of toast and wondered if it was a fruiting body, but possibly it was just a crumb of toast!

    I keep any kit awaiting de-fungusing in a sealed box with silica-gel at very low humidity (<10%). I've read that humidity this low may adversely affect lubricants, but I figure I'm going to re-grease anyway so why worry. An easier alternative is to put the gear on a bright window-sill. It won't kill the fungus, but it will probably slow it down a bit. I can't find any reports that moth-ball vapours have any fungicide effect at all, though they are still freely available in the UK (in Shropshire anyway!).
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Naptha and it's derivartives have had a long use as an anti-fungal agent, it was once sold in anti-bacterial, anti-fungal soaps, and is still added to some cleaning compounds to prevent fungal attacks. Other compounds tend to be sold now.

    Here's a link to mothballs and mold -and they definitely work that's why they are made - to kill moth larvae and fungal (mold) spores or active fungi :D

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2010
  10. Grytpype

    Grytpype Member

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    I stand corrected, Ian! My Google searches were obviously not rigorous enough. Do we have any volunteers on the forum (preferably with a poor or non-existent sense of smell!) willing to test the efficacy of the treatment?
     
  11. Exsalisis

    Exsalisis Member

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    Well! I've stripped down an infected Industar-61 and put it in a ziplock bag together with a handful of naphthalene mothballs. Haven't cleaned any fungi off yet though. Planning on leaving them there for a while. Meanwhile, I'm gonna go shopping for suitable grease to replace those dried up gunk. I have high hopes. :tongue:

    Also took apart an ultra-wide zoom that had fogged up pretty badly due to the fungi. No matter how hard I scrubbed the fog refused to disappear - turns out the fungi got into the lens cement. Doomed for the junk pile, I'm afraid.

    Incidentally, how do you guys clean the inner elements? I don't feel quite secure doing the same thing I do with the external surfaces; I'd imagine more resilient coating would have been applied on the outside.
     
  12. AshenLight

    AshenLight Member

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    I wonder if gas sterilization with ETO would work for a fungus infection? No heat or pressure and it wouldn't involve trying to 'scrub' the lens clean. If you new someone who worked in a hospital or any other place that used gas sterilization it seems like a possibility although I don't know what it would do to the coating on a lens.

    Ash
     
  13. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Exsalisis - If you are based in Singapore, it might be worth investing in a small electric dry cabinet for future storage of your gear. If it saves one lens, it has earned its keep.

    Ian
     
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  15. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    People with gun safes use a small heating element (http://www.goldenroddehumidifiers.com) or even a low wattage light bulb to raise the interior temp a few degrees and keep interior moisture down. Would work in a cabinet as well.
     
  16. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I read an article once that gave information about how to un-cement glued lens elements without damaging them, clean them, and re-glue them with canada balsam, though you can probably get better glues for lenses.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Steven Tribe over on the LFP forum has described how he does this in a well written thread.

    Ian
     
  18. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    I lived in SE Asia and had numerous lenses as fungus victim. Yes it is highly contagious and nothing will secure your gear better than a dry cabinet.
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Nothing to do with this thread but Health and Safety seem to get the blame for a lot of things which they are not responsible for. The H & S Executive's mythbusting webpages are worth a read: http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/index.htm


    Steve.
     
  20. Exsalisis

    Exsalisis Member

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    I would attempt to do that for a more expensive lens, but considering this one cost me around 80USD in mint-ish condition I don't think it's worth it buying the solvents and glue. It was a good read though. Never thought that it's possible to DIY around with cemented elements.


    I would definitely want to get one to supplement the dehumidifier if I can find some way to power it in a dry cabinet. And yes, I am going to get myself a dry cabinet really soon. Won't put infected gear in though, just in case.

    Oh, and apparently the fungi has started growing on the sensor of my digital camera too. Hopefully it's on the low-pass filter and not under it. This is one really expensive lesson. :sad: No real idea on how to get rid of the abnormally high concentrations of spores that'll probably still be in my equipment even after cleaning either. Read somewhere about putting them in a sealed container with fungicides with high vapour pressure to kill the spores, but with spores as resilient as they are, I'm not even sure that will work.
     
  21. magkelly

    magkelly Member

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  22. thicktheo

    thicktheo Subscriber

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    ...on a different note, I've always been wondering but I never tried to find anything about it: what happens if you use fungi-infected lenses? the image quality degrades? in which aspect? sharpness, contrast, resolution? is it local or does it affect the whole image? would I get strange and intriguing results or is it just simple and boring IQ degradation?


    ps: I love strange and intriguing results that are created by problematic lenses - I hunt them down and add them to my collection. :D
     
  23. tbeaman

    tbeaman Subscriber

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    Obviously, it'd depend on the type and level of infection. A low concentration of those spidery strands probably won't do much if anything. On the other hand, for a severe infection I'm guessing that it'd give kind of a blooming, soft-focus effect. Really, it should do the same thing as haze or vaseline on a lens combined with the sort of scratches sandpaper would create.

    I'd love to see a real practical image comparison though! Someone should make up a test; it'd actually be a pretty valuable resource. And not just for fungus but different types of haze and scratches, coating damage, etc.
     
  24. magkelly

    magkelly Member

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    I've seen pics done that way for creative reasons. It looks rather like blurred light covered with dust and spider webs.
     
  25. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    In the lenses that I have cleaned, the fungus was dead; it does not grow in the warm/dry environment where I keep my lenses. Certainly there will be spores, but spores are all over the environment anyway.

    If you cannot secure a dry/warm environment, then the more common solution is to store equipment sealed with desiccant but throwing some mothballs in there might not be a bad idea if the 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (in many newer mothballs) does not affect lens coatings itself :smile:

    I'd be worried about the older mothballs with napthalene:

    Quote from Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 manual:
     
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  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The fungus taking lenses I have used (prior to cleaning) produce lots of flare in sunlight. In overcast settings the flare is less pronounced.

    The enlarging lenses I have cleaned, that have residual damage to the coating, will perform OK when they are stopped down and negatives are masked around the edges appropriately (usually only a problem with glass carriers).

    If I were looking for a 'budget' enlarging lens will take a fungus damaged but cleaned Componon or Rodagon any day over a Voss, Componar, Rogonar, EL-Omegar, etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2010