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01-04-2012, 03:27 AM   #1
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How difficult to rid fungus from an AF prime

This is purely hypothetical...

If an AF prime has a small amount of fungus... Should it be thought of as a 'write-off'?

Could it be professionally cleaned? If so, how much would it cost?

Would it be possible to clean DIY style? How hard can it be? what can go wrong?

01-04-2012, 03:43 AM   #2
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Dave, don't scare us!

There was a French forum that had a thread
about DA21s separating into two halves.
I would think that a repair from that kind of damage
would be comparable with fungus removal,
if the fungus was inside the lens.

If the fungus was just on the outside,
a gentle wipe with alcohol should do the trick
(on the lens, not the tongue).
01-04-2012, 03:44 AM   #3
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It can definitely be professionally cleaned (likely) for less than a new one, thought it really depends on the lens- I mean if it's a DA 35mm F2.4, then you might as well pick up a new one and sell the old one for parts. Might be worth a go yourself if you know what you're doing, but some lenses are really tricky to disassemble and then reassemble.

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01-04-2012, 03:50 AM   #4
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I've cleaned multiple older MF primes. I love to get them cheap on ebay and then make them look like new. (Still looking for a cheap fungus infested 55mm 1.2)

But I never dared to take that chance with a AF lens. Looked inside one for a bit and decided it's a much more complex puzzle!

01-04-2012, 04:44 AM   #5
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Yes, as Adam wrote, fungus can be cleaned off. The price for getting this professionally done depends very much on the lens and on the location of the fungus. Usually it growths on the most inaccessible lens surface... It is well-worth the investment, if it is a valuable or rare lens. Just like Clavius I have cleaned several MF lenses over time and it always proofed to be succesful, though complicated lens constructions (like the 28mm shift) caused me a lot of head scratching ... AF lenses are more of a problem, as the AF mechanism can be quite fragile, as it needs to move very freely without a lot of applied force to work properly. But a competent workshop can do it.

Ben
01-04-2012, 05:14 AM   #6
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Thanks all...

It is hypothetical in the sense that I've been offered an AF lens at a VERY good price...

After ringing round a few repair shops I'm looking at 80 to 120 for fungus removal... 2 of the 5 shops I rang also gave warning that "It'll probably grow back anyway"...

So...
Getting it professionally cleaned (even at the price of the lens in question) is not economical... Though for a more expensive lens (say an FA Ltd) it 'might' be...
Cleaning it myself would be time-consuming, difficult and could go wrong; damaging the AF or Aperture-blades...
Using it on camera and storing with my other lenses may (or may not) infect other lenses in my collection...

At the moment it's looking like I should pass... For a lens readily obtainable for less than 350, one with any amount of fungus seems like a bad idea even at less than 100...
01-04-2012, 05:29 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
"It'll probably grow back anyway"
It never grew back on my lenses. But I do have a advantage over the repair shops. I left to soak the infested lens elements in fungicidal fluid for weeks on end. They can't really do that at the shop.

Another method I've used with some succes is placing the lens that is "to complicated to take apart" in an airtight container, together with strong moisture absorbing material. This results in the drying up of the fungus. With some luck it can then just fall off the glass. It did in my case anyway. Leaving the bits somewhere in the lens. Of course, if you live in a humid environment the fungus will then be back very quickly. I would definitely not count on this method.
01-04-2012, 09:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
Another method I've used with some succes is placing the lens that is "to complicated to take apart" in an airtight container, together with strong moisture absorbing material.
Rice?

01-04-2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
This is purely hypothetical...

If an AF prime has a small amount of fungus... Should it be thought of as a 'write-off'?

Could it be professionally cleaned? If so, how much would it cost?

Would it be possible to clean DIY style? How hard can it be? what can go wrong?
If the lens is still in production, I'd compare the cost of cleaning (and the risk of the fungus recurring) against my insurance deductible. The problem with fungus is that it only takes one spore being missed to allow the problem to recur, and it only takes one spore migrating to another lens to infect something else.
I've never had a lens with fungus (the nice thing about living in a dry climate), but if I did, I'd write it off as a loss and offer it for sale in as is condition. If someone else is informed about the fungus and wants the risk, they can take it on. For myself, I've got too many very good and very irreplaceable lenses to risk keeping an infected lens.
01-04-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
It never grew back on my lenses. But I do have a advantage over the repair shops. I left to soak the infested lens elements in fungicidal fluid for weeks on end. They can't really do that at the shop.

Another method I've used with some succes is placing the lens that is "to complicated to take apart" in an airtight container, together with strong moisture absorbing material. This results in the drying up of the fungus. With some luck it can then just fall off the glass. It did in my case anyway. Leaving the bits somewhere in the lens. Of course, if you live in a humid environment the fungus will then be back very quickly. I would definitely not count on this method.
I've cleaned a few MF lenses using my own saliva (!!!) then clean them up with usual lens cleaning liquid. Works like a charm. Fungus never grew back. I know it sounds disgusting but human saliva seems to be excellent fungus killer and it's free
01-05-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
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Lot of common misconceptions being repeated in this thread that need clearing up:

First, there is no such thing as a clean lens. Fungal spores are inside every lens you own (and every lens I own, and every lens anyone owns). They are ubiquitous in the environment. Secondly, Lenses do not "infect" each other. The reason two lenses kept together might both get infections owes to the fact that they were both stored in an environment conducive to fungal growth.

The three things that fungus likes: darkness, moisture, and warmth. Keep your lenses in a cool, dry place, and you will almost never get fungus. Keep them in your basement or attic, and you will probably see the problem crop up again. A previously cleaned lens (presuming all growth has been removed) is no more likely to grow fungus than a brand new copy of the same model.

Presuming that the fungus hasn't gotten between cemented elements, you might be able to do the repair yourself. Peroxide does a fine job of removing fungus from the elements, and the inside of the barrel can be swabbed with alcohol.
On AF lenses, the diciest part isn't necessarily cleaning the fungus, but rather disassembling the rear bayonet, as it is full of springs, pins, ball bearings, and easily bendable electronics. If you decide to do it yourself, just make sure you read up first and do the disassembly in a a tray or some other container where the little bits won't go flying everywhere. Depending on where the fungus is, you might even be able to work entirely from the front of the lens.

As far as pro cleaning goes, the prices you quoted seem rather high. In the US, you could probably have it done for $50-100. You might even consider trying to save money by shipping it to the US to be cleaned.
01-05-2012, 06:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
As far as pro cleaning goes, the prices you quoted seem rather high. In the US, you could probably have it done for $50-100. You might even consider trying to save money by shipping it to the US to be cleaned.
Ha! Welcome to Rip-Off-Britain! It may well save money to ship stateside but I reckon that for this particular lens I'd be better off just getting a fungus-free copy...



QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
The three things that fungus likes: darkness, moisture, and warmth.
So keeping your best lenses 'in your camera bag' in the bedroom is not the best idea then?!
No moisture but house is warm and the inside of the camera bag is dark!!
01-05-2012, 07:24 PM   #13
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If you are using the camera regularly, keeping it in the bag in your bedroom probably would be no big deal unless there is a lot of humidity in your house, since it is getting aired out regularly and exposed to light, both of which will tend to kill fungal growth before it takes hold. Now if you are leaving it in a sweaty gym bag, that might be a different story.

The real key is to keep the lenses in a dry environment when not using them, especially if they will be sitting for a long time. I live in the temperate Eastern US, fairly similar in climate to the UK, and I have never seen fungus appear on a regularly used lens, only on ones that have been sitting in Grandma's basement for years. On the other hand, I have acquaintances who live in tropical climes who have gotten fungus on even regularly-used gear.
01-06-2012, 07:56 AM   #14
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The climate in the UK can be quite wet and I would never store my lenses in the bedroom anyway, as this is the room, where a lot of moisture is produced overnight. Keep them simply on shelves with a not to restricted airflow and they'll be fine. For tropical climates dry cabinets are the premium choice and you see alot of those discussed in Malaysian and other Asian discussion boards.

By the way, I don't find the prices you quoted from the UK too high. You simply cannot compare US prices to UK prices for the simple lack of VAT, which you have to add, if you buy something from abroad (and customs duties on top).

I personally was less luck with removing fungus with alcohol and would not use peroxide (which is quite unhealthy) - PCE (Tetrachloroethylene) is even more effective (we used it in the film processing lab), but also even more unhealthy and damaging to the environment . I mostly use the time proven lens cleaning solution "Eclipse", which gets rid of nearly everything. But be careful, modern special coatings (like DG) can be damaged by the old Eclipse variant and they make a different version for digitally coated lenses. So far Eclips never damaged anything, when I used it.

Ben
01-06-2012, 12:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Keep them simply on shelves with a not to restricted airflow and they'll be fine
Lens caps off?
Do I now have to worry about dust!?
It's almost like you can't win!

QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
I would never store my lenses in the bedroom anyway
I live in a student house... As such my bedroom (which I can and do lock) is the only really secure place to store my stuff, as you never really know 'what' my housemates will bring home!!
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