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11-12-2017, 09:53 PM   #1
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mold? in old takumar lens case

So my question isn't about a lens per se, but rather lens cases. I recently bought i beautiful, near-mint condition Super-Tak 200mm f4. It also came with the original Takumar lens case (hard case with red velvet inside). As I said, the lens is in beautiful condition. The case however has what appears to be some mold in it (it looks like fine white powder). I immediately removed the lens and separated the case from the rest of my gear. What i want to know is is there a way to really clean them to get the mold out (if it is mold)? As always, I look to those here with much more knowledge than i for some assistance, and it is always appreciated. Thank you.

11-12-2017, 11:44 PM   #2
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The case is "infected" and the mold spores are impossible to completely eradicate.
11-13-2017, 01:24 AM   #3
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Maybe its not mould - possibly adhesive from case (I seem to remember seeing something similar on one of my cases). Does it smell musty (not that that is definitive)? Might want to post a photo and someone with more experience might be able to comment.

In any case UV kills mould (could leave in direct sunlight for a decent time if you don't have a UV lamp). I'm sure there are probably anit-fungal cleaners than could be used carefully too.

Its true that, if it is fungus, then yes there will be spores although its just a mater of how many as the spores will be everywhere anyway - they just need the right conditions to grow (dark and damp).
11-13-2017, 02:14 AM   #4
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I would clean the case with alcohol or acetone (after testing a small patch first). Then, dry in the sun and you should be good.

11-13-2017, 04:46 AM   #5
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Fumigating with chlorine dioxide such as a Star Brite product should kill any mold/fungus and spores.

Powder may just be from deterioration/oxidation of the leatherette.
11-13-2017, 05:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Fumigating with chlorine dioxide such as a Star Brite product should kill any mold/fungus and spores.

Powder may just be from deterioration/oxidation of the leatherette.
A cheap DIY solution is spraying it with an anti-mold liquid, then let it dry under the sun till it's completely dry.
I live in Thailand, and the last exceptionally strong rainy season has brought a widespread mold infestation (also affecting two lenses). Light (UV), low humidity, high or low ph (baking soda or bleach) are all enemies of fungi.
The anti-mold liquid can be made with 3 spoons of baking soda, 3 spoons of salt, and 3 spoons of hydrogen peroxide, diluted in 1 liter of water.
It leaves almost no traces after it dries.
A 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean a fungal infection from optics. You don't have to wipe, just leave the glass element a few seconds inside the liquid, fungus traces will disappear almost instantly


11-13-2017, 08:44 AM   #7
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I have seen something similar in those cases before. In my case I do not think it was mold, rather the adhesive deteriorating into a powder. Mold typically is not going to just pile up in a powder form at least not in the quantities I had in my cases. The cases are 30 to 40 years old and the materials are just coming apart.

Post some pictures and it might be easier to say what you have. I used a vacuum cleaner to remove as much of the powder as I could, then wiped out the remaining with a cloth dampened with alcohol. Worked fine for me.
11-13-2017, 09:58 AM   #8
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I have dozens and dozens of these old Pentax lens cases and they deteriorate in various ways. Some of the outside "pleather" turns white, fades, cracks or flakes The foam & velvet lining on the inside usually holds up pretty well, but the glue keeping them in place does not. The top part of some cases has a spongy padded top lined with velvet, this foam will turn to mush. It breaks up into a fine black power, so I usually vacuum out the case and re-glue whats left of the top velvet pad.

I have never seen any signs of mould in these cases, just debris as indicated above.


11-13-2017, 11:30 AM   #9
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It strikes me that the risk of various deteriorated case constituents and/or mold spores getting inside a lens far outweigh any physical protection benefit these old cases may offer.
11-13-2017, 02:22 PM   #10

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Check the lining on the bottom of the lens case.It can detach and the powder underneath is really fine.

I had a lens arrive with the chalky powder all over it, once i got it off i found the Taky to be quite good...but the case is unuseable.

The lighter part on the bottom of my case is the fine powder.

Funnily enough,my Super Tak arrived in this case.
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Last edited by surfar; 11-13-2017 at 02:28 PM.
11-13-2017, 05:09 PM   #11
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That's probably the adhesive backing for the faux felt inside the case. If it were fungus/mold producing that much spores you would see the fruiting bodies. You could put a drop of hydrogen peroxide on some of the powder. You'd get a reaction (gas) if it were spores. Although you might get a reaction with some adhesives too, but not likely.

Toss it. If the adhesive broke down the felt will start shedding eventually.

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