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09-12-2013, 06:59 AM   #1
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Taking apart an old lens - Fungus question

I'm taking apart a Rokunar 80-200 f4.5 which has some serious fungus on the lens. I'm doing it because I can My question is (and I just thought of this, now that the lens is completely disassembled on my dining room table) - how concerned should I be about the spores from this old lens getting into my lens I actually shoot with? The scientist in me realizes that there are fungal spores everywhere, but the poor grad student in me would like to avoid damaging expensive lenses with my idiocy. Thanks
-L

p.s. If you can find an old lens for free, I recommend grabbing it and taking it apart. It's significantly more fun than I thought it'd be.

09-12-2013, 07:23 AM   #2
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On the one hand spores are everywhere, they'll get into your new lenses someday, by osmosis if nothing else...they might even be in there from the factory...planned obsolescence??? Joking around of course...

On the other hand I wouldn't worry about that lens getting spores into your new ones too much, if you keep them in a camera bag or zip lock bags and in another room while working on it.

I just found fungus inside my binoculars, which have been laying on the back seat of my Jeep for at least 4 years. (and used on a fairly regular basis until the past few months.) No lenses open in there, I didn't think it had enough humidity, especially in this really dry summer weather, but there it is...now I have to figure out how to get the damn things apart and not destroy the collimation, I don't have the really expensive equipment to recollimate with. Cleaning out the fungus is no big problem...just getting into the binocs and not changing the objective lenses. That sucks because the only way to get into it I've found so far is by unscrewing them...
09-12-2013, 08:14 AM   #3
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The spores are likely already in your other lenses, it is just a matter of not giving it the conditions to grow. I've done a few fungus cleanings where I did not disassemble the entire lens, just the affected part, years later I have not seen a return of the fungus in them.
09-12-2013, 09:31 AM   #4
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There are spores and there are spores. Not all spores are created equal* and very few fungi are capable of living on the sterile surface of most lenses. The spores from an infected lens have demonstrated ability to colonize glass. 'Nuff said??

I would take reasonable precautions in regards to the infected lens.
  • Bag lens until fixed
  • Work in an area removed from your other photo gear
  • Minimize actions that would spread spores while doing the cleaning
  • Wash hands well and disinfect surfaces when you are done


Steve

* I have taken delivery of cameras where the leather straps and coverings were nasty with mold, but the glass was clean...go figure...

09-12-2013, 10:24 AM   #5
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No personal experience (yet), but I was told in another thread (here or another photo forum, I don't remember) that the proper type of UV light will kill fungus. The fungus and spores will still be there, but won't grow (because they're dead).
09-12-2013, 04:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kjbds1 Quote
I recommend grabbing it and taking it apart. It's significantly more fun than I thought it'd be
But can you put it back together again ?
09-12-2013, 05:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
But can you put it back together again ?
Well, the lens is reassembled, and there are no screws left over, so... success? I'm Ron Burgundy?

Now that I've passed this hurdle, I'm tempted to take the lens back apart, toss everything in bleach for a few days (that should kill everything, and tossing it in an autoclave just seems excessive) re-oil and reassemble. I'll be willing to put it on my camera at that point.
09-12-2013, 05:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kjbds1 Quote
Well, the lens is reassembled, and there are no screws left over, so... success? I'm Ron Burgundy?
That is impressive, my first zoom repair attempt was a total failure, though it was a more modern design.

I've got a 80-200mm f4.5 under the Vivitar name that was Kobori made, your lens might be the same. It is a decent performer, but I don't use it since I got my Vivitar Series 1.

Also, I would not use bleach on anything, alcohol is more than enough and is safe for coatings. You really don't have to be overly paranoid about fungus.

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