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12-13-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
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How to kill fungus without dissassembly?

I recently bought a ZX-10 camera and 28-105mm lens bundle that included the original boxes. Everything was shown in pictures to be in great condition. It was clean and healthy. When the package arrived the batteries (which were supposedly good) were dead, the shutter won't fire (common ZX-10 problem it seems), and the lens and filter front elements were covered with fungus! Yikes! It looked absolutely horrible!! I freaked out a bit and cleaned the front element right away! It took some work to get the fungus off but eventually I did. I used Promaster cleaning fluid, a microfiber cloth, and a lens pen. After I cleaned the lens I realized that I destroyed my evidence so I saved the filter which has plenty of fungus on it. The filter is in a Zip-Loc bag across the house from my camera gear.

The package came from Minnesota and I live in the high altitude desert of Nevada where humidity is low (33% in winter, 15% in summer). I wonder if the lens was indeed "clean" in Minnesota but was subjected to the right temperature and humidity variations during shipping to enable the fungus to thrive.

When I look through the lens I think I see very faint hints of internal fungus. There is no way I can take this zoom lens apart to clean it and put it back together in working order. I was wondering if there is a way I can kill the fungus. A quick search revealed that some people have had intermittent luck using UV lamps, X-rays, 2.4 GHz microwave radiation, heat, etc. However, no single method seems to be a silver bullet.

I have access to significant resources at work that sit idle during the holiday season. If you could dream big then what would you come up with?

Oh, the lens is a FA 28-105mm f/4-5.6 with the proper hood, caps, and paperwork, and box. The ZX-10 also included the original box, paperwork, caps, manual, etc. And all of it is in matching silver. I understand that this isn't a multi-hundred dollar modern Sigma or Pentax system but I would still like to save the lens at least

Thanks!!

12-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #2
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I personally wouldn't keep the lens, or anything else it came with. I'd be afraid of mold spores infecting my other lenses. As to how to kill mold - bleach is very effective. I can't say that won't do bad things to your lens. A solution of bleach and water in the ratio of 1:1 is usually used to kill most household mold. It would probably kill lens mold too. I would NOT do it though. Remember, likely everything the lens came with is also likely covered with spores and needs cleaned/thrown away.
12-13-2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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The fungus didn't happen during shipping. Really you should just return it. You can kill the fungus with UV, and in your climate it is unlikely to keep growing. But you can't actually get rid of what's there without opening it up and getting rid of it. Also under the right conditions it WILL start growing again, and the spores in that lens will put any other lenses you have near it in danger of picking it up. Fungus will grow when it is humid and dark. If it dry and/or exposed to sunlight (i.e. no caps) then it won't grow.
12-13-2013, 11:33 AM   #4
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I have an ultraviolet light that would easily destroy it, but the dead fungus is going to stay unless you take it apart and remove it.

12-13-2013, 11:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by miltona580 Quote
I'd be afraid of mold spores infecting my other lenses.
They already have spores in them, they are everywhere. The spores on their own won't hurt anything, you need to give them an environment to grow for them to become fungus.
12-13-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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Prevent Fungus

I live in Minnesota and winter shoots followed by entering a warm house or car will produce condensation on any cold hard surface that is chilled below the dew point of the air. Indoor air here in winter is about 30% relative humidity at 70 degrees. Car interiors are more humid due to snow melt on mats and carpet. The dew point of this 70 degree indoor air will be low enough to form condensation on lens elements and bodies and on camera body. I carry a one gallon zip lock freezer bag in my winter kit and zip the cold camera into the cold bag with outside air in it. Then the dry cold air warms inside the freezer bag with little or no condensation on the camera. But at -10 F, the outside of the Baggie gets covered with condensation when I bring the camera inside. When camera is warm, it is safe to open the freezer bag.

Mold feeds on dust and cellulose when moisture is available. Keep camera body and lenses clean on filters, glass and barrels. Prevent condensation and you have now removed the conditions for mold growth.

Condensation will form inside lens barrels and behind filters that are trapping moister indoor air. I change lenses outside when the temp is below zero and put on filters outside as well.
12-13-2013, 11:57 AM   #7
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Dewpoint

By the way, the dew point of 70 degree air with 30% relative humidity is 37.5 degrees, using the Magnus-Teten approximation formula. So we can have condensation on camera parts chilled to around freezing very easily.
12-13-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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If the lens were a particular good one, then I'd send it in to a professional (say, Essex, if they still do that work) to get it cleaned up. Years ago I did that and never had any problem with fungus in that lens or anything else I owned. But why waste time and money with a lens that was not that great to begin with. The seller owes you a return.

12-13-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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This good topic I wonder if there was any other ways someone may know.
12-13-2013, 05:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
The spores on their own won't hurt anything,
Except that it is not just any mold that is capable of colonizing glass. Mold on a lens is a demonstrated source of potential infection. Mold on bread may or may not be. Sort of like athlete's foot. The conditions are always there, but step on the wrong shower room floor...


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12-13-2013, 05:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by waterfall Quote
I carry a one gallon zip lock freezer bag in my winter kit and zip the cold camera into the cold bag with outside air in it.
I learned this trick from a pair of professional wildlife photographers who did a lot of winter shooting.


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12-13-2013, 05:43 PM   #12
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I'm using this trick while in Michigan next week. Thanks for the knowledge!
12-14-2013, 09:37 AM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for their replies here!

I'm in communication with the seller. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and I think the idea of fungus caught him by surprise. Hopefully we'll work something out here shortly.
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