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01-25-2012, 09:52 PM   #1
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What to do with my Pentax SMC-A 35-105 lens w/fungus?

I got this lens used when I was younger for as I recall $75 because some unfortunate fumbler dropped it and dented in the outer rim enough that nothing could be screwed into the threads for the filter or whatever goes there, but not enough to interfere with pics.

I bought it having no idea what it was since I wasn't even old enough to drive and had just inherited a pentax 35mm camera, I just wanted more zoom (didnt even know it did macro) turns out this was one of my favorite lenses and the only one I really ever used, I actually used the macro more than the extreme zoom.

Now I have a used K20d on the way and I planned to use it, but since I stopped using the 35mm a long time ago its been sitting around in a case forever and has at least one tiny pinpoint scratch on both ends (never got camera end cap and the dent makes the outer one keep falling off so it tended to get abused). Worst of all when I looked through it without the camera and the lever pulled to fully open it to see if you could see the tiny nicks, I noted what looks like someone spritzed it from a distance with water, not a mist, but many tiny droplet looking spots. Im going to guess they weren't there new and I'd imagine they are some sort of lens fungus which I didn't know even existed until yesterday.

I planned to use this lens a ton and really learn more about photography, and when I looked for another used model of this lens I found they seem to be in demand and often fantastically expensive which sorta surprised me.

Is mold normally an issue with this lens if i try to find another?
How hard is this to fix? If its junk and i can see spots on the pics with the camera ill take it apart either way, I can disassemble electronics, engines and guns, how the hell hard can it be (famous last words) anyone know what I would be getting into? id need an awfully tiny Phillips screwdriver. I'm pretty confident that with as complicated as this lens is it would cost more to clean properly than to replace, what is average cost for an excellent condition used one?

01-25-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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This is otherwise an excellent lens (and one of my favorites when used on film bodies (or a future full frame!)), but since it has fungus, I would dispose of it so it doesn't spread to your other lenses.

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01-25-2012, 11:06 PM   #3
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Many of us have sent our lenses to an ex-Pentax employee named Eric for repairs and cleaning. He is widely known to be an expert, and to offer reasonable prices.

Here is a link to his website: Home

I hope he can help you!
01-25-2012, 11:34 PM   #4
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I have that lens. Just out of curiosity, do you have any photos of what the fungus looks like?

01-26-2012, 12:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
This is otherwise an excellent lens (and one of my favorites when used on film bodies (or a future full frame!)), but since it has fungus, I would dispose of it so it doesn't spread to your other lenses.
Adam, please stop spreading this kind of false information. Fungus is NOT a contagion - fungus spores are all around us, if you create an environment for fungus to grow (dark, warm and humid), even brand new lenses will eventually grow fungus. Instead, you should be telling the OP to look through the threads or inquire about getting the fungus removed, either professionally or by DIY methods. Many of the forum members have been successful at removing fungus to some degree.
01-26-2012, 12:57 AM   #6
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The A35-105/3.5 is an excellent lens. I heard somewhere it was actually the kit for the LX, which means something!

I used to own one before upgrading my zoom lenses to DA* level. It served as a bridge between my DA16-45/4 and the pre-DG (and slightly misfocussing) Sigma EX70-200/2.8. I wouldn't use it as a standard zoom though, as it's not wide enough for that...

I always found IQ to be very good, though I must add I only used it on my *istDS. On my K10D and later cameras some earlier glass no longer proved to be up to it in terms of resolution, though from what I read (and heard from the new owner of my copy) the A35-105 can cope with this very well. So no worries in terms of IQ, if you get that fungus problem sorted.

The only thing I found a bit unusual was moving the lens into the macro setting. I don't remember the details, but it always required me to take my eye away from the viewfinder to check. Since you already used this lens in the macro setting on a film camera, I expect you're used to its handling.

Noteworthy: the A35-105/3.5 was the last of my first zoom lenses kit (in the digital age) to leave my home to new owners. Both the DA16-45/4 and the Sigma EX70-200/2.8 left earlier. Not because I didn't find a seller, but because it took me longer to part with...

Wim
01-26-2012, 01:06 AM   #7
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If one of my $3000 lenses got fungus, sure, I'd clean it. But for something like this- IMO, number one, it's not worth paying just as much for the cleaning as the lens is worth, and number two, it is possible for fungus to spread, especially if you store lenses near each other in a closed space. Then again, we don't really have climate issues in AZ, so I suppose I'm not an expert on the topic.

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01-26-2012, 07:11 AM   #8
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If you're worried about fungus contaminating another lens, just separate it from your other lenses.

No need to jump the gun... I'd check around and see what it would cost to clean the lens & go from there. Might be cheap to clean, and it might not. You never know til you check. I'd hate to see it tossed out without at least attempting to fix it.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

01-26-2012, 08:18 AM   #9
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This will be a do it yourself, even without the dented outer rim its not 100% condition, I see excellent condition new ones sell for $100-150 when they can be found. Best to learn to disassemble and reassemble things yourself on stuff that doesn't matter, I have a feeling this is like scuba gear where everyone is told you will die horribly if you try to open it up yourself, but in reality it has about ten parts total and a 5 year old could be properly trained to do it. I have no idea what to expect inside but since I assume the lenses are self aligning when installed properly there cant really be much to screw up, and if I do, well its trash anyways. I see people using alcohol and stuff to kill the fungus and then scrub stuff off, I will read more on it but it seems like if you just plop the lens, disassembled in something that kills fungus without eating the lens coating, that there wont be anywhere for it to hide so it would be just a matter of scrubbing the dead stuff off then. Not even 100% sure its fungus but it looks like someone sneezed inside it so I assume it is, stuff will be better stored in the future, it was out of my possession while I was not doing 35mm and I only just got it all back for the DSLR.
01-26-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
. . . Not even 100% sure its fungus but it looks like someone sneezed inside it so I assume it is, stuff will be better stored in the future, it was out of my possession while I was not doing 35mm and I only just got it all back for the DSLR.
Truth is, you might not even notice these occlusions in a photograph. Can't tell without seeing pictures.

This sounds more like elements delaminating than fungus. Fungus is more typically white tendrils emanating from a bump. They can be just at the edges, very few of them, or it can cover the entire lens element.

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This particular lans has a LOT of elements to clean and zoom lenses are notoriously more complex than primes. Since your filter ring is also damaged you might consider just getting another copy. I got mine for $129.

Last edited by monochrome; 01-26-2012 at 08:39 AM.
01-26-2012, 12:47 PM   #11
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I'm guessing it's not fungus either. I have an old lens w/ a similar sort of dirtiness on an inner rear element. Looks like a very light mist was sprayed on it. From what I was able to determine, it could just be dirt or dust... kind of like a grime accumulation. OTOH, I have not been able to see how it affects my pictures much, and it is one of my sharpest lenses. It does bother me, though...
01-26-2012, 07:45 PM   #12
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Hmm, I think I will just take some pics and see before pulling it apart then. This isn't so much a mist as a very even splatter of what looks like tiny water droplets, they even reflect light and shadow the way water drops do when I look at a ceiling light, so they do have depth, it doesn't look like pics of anything I have seen so far. They must be incredibly tiny though, size of the point of a pin each at the most though with all the magnifying its really hard to tell, its in one of the inner lenses towards the rear near as I can figure. You can't even see them looking from outside in towards light, only from camera end. I just figure if its fungus of some sort i needs to come out before it spreads but this doesn't really look like fungus, the delamination pics I see all look to be wider areas this is a speckle over the surface of the whole lens.
I'm not just being a moron and a lens would normally have an odd star speckle pattern for some reason would it?
01-26-2012, 11:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by excanonfd Quote
...Fungus is NOT a contagion - fungus spores are all around us, if you create an environment for fungus to grow (dark, warm and humid), even brand new lenses will eventually grow fungus. ... Many of the forum members have been successful at removing fungus to some degree.
I found this thread while searching the forums for how to get rid of fungus. So, how spreadable "might" it be? A good friend just gave me a box of stuff including a pile of filters & 5 lenses, & several of the lenses do have little tendrily stuff in them with a bit of haze. I haven't tried cleaning them up yet; was looking for info here. But, if it spreads -- if I use them, can it then be spread from the camera to my own pristine lenses?
If it makes any difference, I live on an island so it's humid, & my gear is frequently exposed to salt air. I always wipe it off well & let it sit out to dry. My friend lived in a warm place when he used these, & then they were stored for a long time, which from what I've read, = perfect fungus conditions.
I'd feel sorry tossing what used to be his favourite lens, but I sure don't want to contaminate my stuff.
I'll do some more reading but since I found this thread, thought I would ask here too.

Last edited by Alliecat; 01-26-2012 at 11:57 PM.
01-27-2012, 12:34 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alliecat Quote
I found this thread while searching the forums for how to get rid of fungus. So, how spreadable "might" it be? A good friend just gave me a box of stuff including a pile of filters & 5 lenses, & several of the lenses do have little tendrily stuff in them with a bit of haze. I haven't tried cleaning them up yet; was looking for info here. But, if it spreads -- if I use them, can it then be spread from the camera to my own pristine lenses?
If it makes any difference, I live on an island so it's humid, & my gear is frequently exposed to salt air. I always wipe it off well & let it sit out to dry. My friend lived in a warm place when he used these, & then they were stored for a long time, which from what I've read, = perfect fungus conditions.
I'd feel sorry tossing what used to be his favourite lens, but I sure don't want to contaminate my stuff.
I'll do some more reading but since I found this thread, thought I would ask here too.
Fungus isn't going to spread from one lens to another, you create the ideal growing condition for the fungus to grow, even a brand new lens will eventually have fungus problems. OTOH, if you are meticulous in taking care of your lenses, then even an antique lens won't have fungus developing while in your care. Canadian winter being what it is, if you can find a dry, sunny spot in your home, try leaving the lens exposed to the sunlight for a long period of time. Summer time would be better but it wouldn't hurt to put the lenses exposed to the sun even now. Finally, try shooting with the lenses, unless the fungus is really bad (mine were), IQ may not even be affected. Thereby avoiding invasive dismantling of the lenses in an attempt to get rid of the fungus tendrils.

If you are still not convinced of the contagion factor, keep the lenses separated. The fact is the fungus spores are in the air that we live in, and each time you use your lens, air enters and exits from the lens' interior (same reason why there's dust in the lenses). But the placebo effect can do wonders for your peace of mind.

Edit: Please don't toss any of them, if you are so inclined please pm me and I will pay at least the shipping cost to take them off your hands.

Last edited by excanonfd; 01-27-2012 at 12:39 AM. Reason: Add
01-27-2012, 12:37 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
This isn't so much a mist as a very even splatter of what looks like tiny water droplets, they even reflect light and shadow the way water drops do when I look at a ceiling light, so they do have depth, it doesn't look like pics of anything I have seen so far.
sounds like the lens got left somewhere hot enough to evaporate off a bit of oil that condensed back out onto the glass.
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