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09-18-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
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Are Lens Mold Problems That Common?

I live in hot and humid Florida. For years my FA and F lenses were stored away with no special ventillation, dissicants, etc. (I had gotten away from using these lenses ... prior to my K-R my previous SLR camera was actually film, which has also been collecting dust.)

Now that I have my K-R and am happily using my old lenses again, I'm wondering if I have been very fortunate not to get mold?

Anyway, I'm curious about a few specific questions ... comments about any of them would be appreciated.

1. Are lens mold problems really that common?
2. If the lenses are outdoors perhaps only 1-2 hours per week is this a significant level of exposure to humidy?
3. Are most folks like me that they are not taking any special precautions?

09-18-2011, 08:58 PM   #2
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i can kind of relate to your concern given i now live in hong kong which is a fairly tropical and high humidity area, when i lived in sydney australia i never really bothered too much about fungus

not sure if problems are common but ive seen some horror stories on the net about fungus etc... especially for people living in this type of climate, which is enough to scare me given the amount of investment in lenses i have

i use my lenses pretty much all of the weekend in conditions from rainforests, to seaside / beaches, to polluted, sticky downtown city, i havent had a bad experience yet so far but as soon as i get home first thing i do is quickly clean my lenses and store them in an electronic dry box (cost me about USD$35), also when travelling i keep a few silicant packets in my bag (although some may debate this is useless, but at least it puts my mind at ease, plus ive had times where they've gone wet after a few hours)

since you're living in a fairly humid climate, i wouldn't take the risk and just buy an electronic drybox (or alternative solution), you may have had good luck up to this point in time but if you do eventually get a lens with fungus, you'll be wishing you had done something to protect your investment!
09-18-2011, 10:13 PM   #3
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Our cool and very wet climate here in northern NY is probably just as mold prone as anywhere else. Especially this year as it has rained constantly since the snow melted. Most homes have cellars here and this year, most have been wet since the ground thawed. I keep my lenses on a well ventilated shelf where it gets some sunlight also. So far so good.
09-18-2011, 11:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickenandavocado Quote
i can kind of relate to your concern given i now live in hong kong which is a fairly tropical and high humidity area, when i lived in sydney australia i never really bothered too much about fungus

not sure if problems are common but ive seen some horror stories on the net about fungus etc... especially for people living in this type of climate, which is enough to scare me given the amount of investment in lenses i have

i use my lenses pretty much all of the weekend in conditions from rainforests, to seaside / beaches, to polluted, sticky downtown city, i havent had a bad experience yet so far but as soon as i get home first thing i do is quickly clean my lenses and store them in an electronic dry box (cost me about USD$35), also when travelling i keep a few silicant packets in my bag (although some may debate this is useless, but at least it puts my mind at ease, plus ive had times where they've gone wet after a few hours)

since you're living in a fairly humid climate, i wouldn't take the risk and just buy an electronic drybox (or alternative solution), you may have had good luck up to this point in time but if you do eventually get a lens with fungus, you'll be wishing you had done something to protect your investment!
never had a problem when i was in california, but everyone in Hong Kong buy a electronic humidor cabinet.
That was my first thing to buy when i came back

09-19-2011, 03:49 AM   #5
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Lenses are assemble in controlled environments, clean rooms for the most part and should mean that fungus & mold issues are very remote.

The invasions of growths, in my opinion, are usually due to a random bad stroke of luck that a spore makes it on to a surface and is not killed off by natural UV from use. Add some frequent long dark spells and it gives the lens the right conditions to spawn the fungus. Add some minerals and it has a food supply.

I've tinkered with quite a few lenses now and out of which is about almost dozen and a half have had fungus issues adjacent to the aperture and the exception is a Tamron 35-135 that had fungus growing in a forward group. All in common is the fact that the cavity is an air space and sort of open to the outside world. An acquaintance came back from a long trip through the heavy humid regions of Southeast Asia and reported to me that her brand new Sigma zoom that was stored in her camera bag for about a month after the trip has now tons of growth from around the front group.
09-19-2011, 05:43 AM   #6
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in my perspective, there are two areas of concern, external mold and fungus and internal.

Internal mold is obviously much rarer, and is the result in prolonged storage of lenses in an environment that permits condensation on the lens for long periods without correction.

External mold is easy to produce and is the result of putting things away wet. In the long term this can obviously result in internal mold as well.


The main thing to consider is changing environments, and when you take your camera in and out of its case. One of the best ways to induce condensation is changes in temperature, and hiumidity, going from cold and dry to hot and humid.

You should allow a stabalization period before taking your camera out of the case, when changing environments.

Changing lenses can also be a problem, and this could be worse with WR lenses, because not only will they prevent the outside from getting in, but also the inside from getting out. changing lenses in very hot and humid environments can cause humidy to be trapped inside the lens / camera. The seals prevent air exchange so the moisture is trapped, and can condense inside if you then change temperatures (i.e. going into an air conditioned enviromnment.

To prevent mold, you should have a stabalization period where you remove the caps (rear lens and camera body especially) and put the items in a bag with dissicant, to remove mositure.

SOmeone menitioed ventilation, this is good because moving ari can absorb more mositure than static air. but moving air carries dust, so this is for storage with caps on, after your initial drying out peroid.

Sunlight (more importantly UV) kills many fungi (which is what mold is) but UV also attacks plastics and rubber causing them to age so this is not a gaurantee of long lens life.

The best protection is to keep your gear dry if you intend to keep it for a long time. Use camera covers if you go out in the rain, wipe your camera and lens off if they get wet etc... WR is , in my opinion, insurace against the elements, and not primary protection. You have WR for when your primary protection fails, or you get caught in the rain.
09-19-2011, 07:45 AM - 1 Like   #7
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My Canon AE-1 and FD lenses were bought in 1980. I treated them casually, storing them on a shelf. No fungus issues. This was in London. Sixteen years later I moved to Singapore. After just 18 months on a shelf (no aircon), the lenses were infested with fungus. Now I am a dry-box-obsessive, and this seems to have avoided problems.. Based on my experience, it all depends on the conditions. 80% humidity in London is not uncommon, but it is generally quite cool. In Singapore humidity is higher, but it is also much hotter. Maybe humidity + heat is a bad combination. Dehumidifying essential.

Tim
09-19-2011, 10:18 AM   #8
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Amazon.com: Eva-dry Renewable EDV-300/E-333 Wireless Mini Dehumidifer: Health & Personal Care

Thanks for the posts. Accordingly, I think I'm going to get the Eva-Dry above to put in the camera bag where I store my lenses. I really like the indicator so you know when to recharge.

Of course, this is not as good as getting a sealed dry box ... however, since my lenses have been in Florida for 10 years without problems yet, I'm thinking this extra protection should still go a long way.

Also, I wasn't aware that lenses should be cleaned after use in humid environments. I'll be sure to do that! Thanks all!

09-19-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stills999 Quote
Amazon.com: Eva-dry Renewable EDV-300/E-333 Wireless Mini Dehumidifer: Health & Personal Care

Thanks for the posts. Accordingly, I think I'm going to get the Eva-Dry above to put in the camera bag where I store my lenses. I really like the indicator so you know when to recharge.

Of course, this is not as good as getting a sealed dry box ... however, since my lenses have been in Florida for 10 years without problems yet, I'm thinking this extra protection should still go a long way.

Also, I wasn't aware that lenses should be cleaned after use in humid environments. I'll be sure to do that! Thanks all!
I own several of those EVA dehumidifier. They are pretty good. Just be careful they could be extremely hot when charged.
09-19-2011, 01:44 PM   #10
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I have never had mold appear on any of the lenses in my collection, but I have had mold on a few purchased lenses that I sent back. The incidence has been high enough such that I routinely avoid purchase from the southern U.S..


Steve
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