help, please. water in minolta zoom lens. what to do?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by phritz phantom, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. phritz phantom

    phritz phantom Member

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    hello,

    unfortunately i got water in my Minolta AF 100-200 zoom lens (fits on rather oldish Minolta 9000 AF small format camera). the only thing i've done so far is to keep it upright and well ventilated. and of course wiped the outside thoroughly dry with a rag. yesterday when i shook the lens, i was able to feel small water drops hitting my hand (today not anymore, i think).

    i don't know yet, if there is any damage. the aperture opening is rather small right now and it is hard to spot any dampness inside. i haven't dared to mount the lens onto the camera, because i'm afraid any present water could leak into the camera and damage it too.

    what should i do? is there any way (safe for the moderately technically skilled) to open the lens and help the drying process?. ... there are screws visible in the bayonet socket.

    what are the worst case scenarios? permaned fog/dampness inside (ruining every picture)? no more autofocus (i think i could live with that. i barely use it anyway). totally unusable??

    backstory:
    i kept my camera and 4 lenses in a small padded camera bag, which i put into my bigger every day/ non-photo bag. a bottle of water leaked and made everything wet. i checked the camera and the lenses and everything seemed fine (didn't open the lids though, because everything was dry on the outside), only the bottom of the seperate camera bag was a bit damp. i thought no harm done, only the bottom of the bag got contact with the water.
    now, some time later i wanted to use the zoom lens and found a puddle of water in the bottom lid (it was stored upright all the time). i can't remember the exact date when the spill happened, but it's possible that the water was inside the lens for maybe up to two weeks. i fear that the water entered the lens at the top and then made its way down throught the whole thing (does NOT sound good/ encouraging).

    does anyone have hints how i could save the lens and/or limit the damages?
    would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2010
  2. Matthew Thompson

    Matthew Thompson Member

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    Seal it in a small tupperware for a couple weeks with a bunch of silica gel packets and hope for the best?
     
  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Second Matt. That's the thing to do. And thoroughly (as possible) inspect it for moisture before using. If unsure, do without for another week with fresh packs.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Often the recommendation when a camera or lens is dropped in the water is to keep it completely submerged and send it for a thorough cleaning. I'd contact whoever repairs Minolta lenses these days and ask what they suggest.
     
  5. phritz phantom

    phritz phantom Member

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    silica!!! that's genious! i would have never thought of that. i'll try to find some of that stuff tomorrow...
    the camera system is 20 years old or so, i'm sure they stopped supporting it a long time ago. there used to be a independent photo repair store in town, but it closed down a few years ago ... very much missed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2010
  6. elekm

    elekm Member

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    You still might end up with water spots. And the water might have loosened some hardened grease or small pieces of debris.

    Unless the lens is extremely valuable or has sentimental value, it could be less expensive to replace it than to service it.
     
  7. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    you are probably going to need to get the lens professionally cleaned as the water will probably leave marks on the lens elements, and if it was salt water then you will need to get the salt residue cleaned form the lens otherwise it will rust..

    from the sounds of it you didn't get much water in it - PUT IT IN THE SUN AND DRY IT OUT AS FAST AS YOU CAN - or put it in front of a heater...

    I was a camera tech for over 15 years - I've had lenses come to me in buckets full of water (best thing to do if you drop a lens in salt water, or dirty water - rinse it in a couple of changes of fresh water and send it for repair ASAP)...if it's clean water then get the lens dry asap - this will cause less damage, and reduce the chances of the electronic parts suffering from rust etc down the track (yes ALL AF lenses have some degree of electronics in them - even if it is only a flexible PCB that tells the camera at what focal length the lens is zoomed to..)

    get the lens dry as fast as you can, and then see if there is any damage...
     
  8. phritz phantom

    phritz phantom Member

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    thanks.
    luckily it was normal tap drinking water. not much luck with sun these days though. it's been pouring for a while now.
    i can clearly see drops and fog on the inside of the glass now. i guess it's a sign that there is some evaporation and drying taking place. but also the final proof that there is indeed moisture inside.

    so, trying to open the lens is out of the question, i assume after reading the posts. well, i'll see if i can find a optics technician who will check and clean it for me.
     
  9. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    The best thing, as suggested is to send it for professional care.

    However, when I used to shoot sports our gear regularly got soaked (english summers!) and we never had time to get them seen to. Our trick was after drying with a towel to take everything off the lenses, caps filters etc and lay them near but not on a low heat source eg unlagged water pipe, radiator on low or an open airing cupboard. This would slowly dry the moisture/water. Silica gel will help.

    Wouldn't put in direct sun as different parts of the lens heat at different rates leading to evaporation and more condensation of the water.

    Slow is best. Just be grateful it wasn't salt water!
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Add fish, use for a display.
     
  11. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    LOL.

    Was it one of these? Probably much cheaper to buy this one (or similar) than to try to fix it.
     
  12. phritz phantom

    phritz phantom Member

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    that sure is cheap. it looks very similar, but it doesn't say "maxxum" on mine. doing a quick lookaround on ebay, i saw that a replacement would cost me about €130 (used) on ebay. while this is not really much money, but i really need a tele for medium format- the 150mm for the mamiya 7. so i don't want to spend money on a small format lens right now.
    so, i'm mostly interested in damage control and possibly using it with a few defects or just living without it. (or some kind of cheapish repair... of course).
    still thanks for searching out that offer.
     
  13. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Find some one with a vacuum chamber, whack it in that and leave it for 10 minutes.

    Big rubber stamp manufacturers who have made Optimark stamps, or Royalmark stamps in the USA may still have their vacuum chamber, I still have and use mine. Wonderful for electric drills and electronic stuff dunked in water.

    Refrigeration mechanics will also have a vacuum pump for boiling off the water in refrigeration lines, but probably won't have the chamber.

    Trust me, they work wonderfully quick.

    Mick.
     
  14. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Wouldn't that also remove any lubricant?
     
  15. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Well with the handful of lenses I have vacuumed for other people, plus the power tools caught in torrential rain, it didn't appear to be a problem.

    Basically the vacuum makes water have a lower boiling point, so the water boils at or around 4ºC in my vacuum chamber, I can create more vacuum and boil water off at a higher temperature, but that is just a waste of energy.

    If the lubricant is water based, it would certainly create a drying effect. However what is the alternative?

    Also mobile phones caught in pockets whilst push bike riding, are sucked dry in a matter of minutes.

    Every one should have one. Vacuum chamber, that is!

    Mick.
     
  16. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    If you have access to a Vacuum oven you might try that at a really low heat, note the term VACUUM OVEN, don't toss it in your kitchen oven or microwave. Also do not apply power until you are absolutely sure that there is no moisture inside. If it was bottled water you may be alright as that has less suspended salts than tap or sea water, but unless it is distiled water there is always something in water that will leave residue. I have rescued Cell Phones, Digital Cameras, PDA's, watches and a few other electronic goodies with the vacuum oven, the big trick is not having power applied when water is added and washing with the cleanest water you can get your hands on before drying. You probably got your lens wet with the cleanest water possible. Good luck and let us know how it turned out.