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08-25-2019, 12:02 PM   #1
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Lenses - how do you store yours ?

I have quite a collection of old c.1970s lenses and was wondering how people store theirs. Mine all form part of a display in my study. They are normally capped to keep any dust out and have silica gel bags around the bases of them to keep any moisture under control but I have read that keeping them 'dark' with caps can lead to fungal growth.

Back in the day my lenses all lived in my gadget bag(s) or flight cases with silica gel inside and I never had a single lens get fungus but that was back when these things were being made. Today none of my lenses is younger than 30 years and most are closer to 40. Back then the lens was factory fresh, always cared for and always kept away from hazards. These days I have lenses whose provenance is uncertain, could have been stored in a mouldy old leather bag for all I know prior to me acquiring them.

I do let them 'breathe' every few weeks with taking the caps off and letting them have some natural daylight but today I noticed that one of the oldest has a small patch of fungus. It may always have been in there for all I know as the lens was filthy and I have only jut gotten round to stripping it down and cleaning it but its made me worry.

I dont do much shooting so the lenses don't have the exposure to daylight that they would have had back in the day - to be fair back then I had a few lenses that were very seldom used including a 500mm that I think I only ever used twice and on sale it looked as though it hadn't ever seen use at all. That was probably stored for the best part of 5 years without use but as I say that was back when these things were fresh.

So whats the best strategy for keeping these relics going without getting another dose of fungus ?

08-25-2019, 12:32 PM   #2
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As long as humidity where you live is not high (70% seems to be the magic number) you should be fine.
I have a couple of air tight boxes with desiccant packages and a hygrometer.

Last edited by sergysergy; 08-25-2019 at 01:08 PM.
08-25-2019, 12:44 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Mine?

On a shelf...in a closet...face down and naked.

Despite our damp climate, humidity is typically fairly low with little tendency towards mildew and other fungus in most homes.


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08-25-2019, 01:17 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
face down
or camera end down or on their side?

I've wondered this on many occasions (almost every time I set one down!).

If face down, do you set it for whatever focus and zoom give minimum extension to the front elements? Otherwise, I'd be concerned about settling/strain on helicoids or whatever else moves around when zooming or focussing.

For this concern, I tend to stand mine on the camera end instead, unless I lay them down in padded drawers for extended (more than a few days) storage.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
and naked
No case, but lens caps??


Last edited by AstroDave; 08-25-2019 at 01:18 PM. Reason: fix a typo
08-25-2019, 01:29 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
No case, but lens caps??
Caps yes...cases no.


Steve
08-25-2019, 01:53 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
have silica gel bags around the bases of them to keep any moisture under control
Silica gel bags are useless for this unless the lenses are in a sealed container. The silica gel absorbs moisture from the air up to its ability to absorb, then that's it. In the open air they might last a week or so before reaching max. They are designed to remove the moisture from the air that is in a package that is then sealed. Like a lens that is coming from the factory, the volume of air in that box is all they can handle.

The best solution if you are worried is a dry box which can be as simple as a glass display cabinet with an electric light in it.

Lenses that I have seen with fungus were either put away wet or stored in a damp, dark basement. Keep up them up on a shelf in a normally conditioned room and you are fine.
08-25-2019, 02:22 PM   #7
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Primarily in common plastic tool boxes of various sizes, with lenses inside old, but clean socks. i make my own card board dividers. Is it obvious that I am cheap? When I find a very good deal
on a hard case, I acquire that for more commonly used lenses. The tool boxes allow storage of smaller accessories like SD cards, batteries, filters, and the like. Lenses not used frequently are simply
stored on my house basement floor, where that is heated, cooled, and dehumidified as needed. No other special handling is required at my upper midwest US location. I have lenses store as above for 35+
years with no problems.

I am a one lens a day kind of guy, and keep the body/lens of the day in a small, lightweight messenger bag or shoulder sling. The camera/lens is wrapped in a large microfiber towel while in and out of the bag.
Accessories are kept in compartments separate from the camera/lens, avoiding scratches, nicks, and dents. My system has worked well for me, for over 50 years, but as always.....YMMV.
08-25-2019, 02:42 PM   #8
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I have a home office / hobby room in my home which is one of the upstairs bedrooms. I have fitted wardrobes with sliding doors in the room, and use multiple shelves in those to store my lenses like @stevebrot - i.e. with caps, but not in cases... they're just stood on the shelves, rear end down. There's plenty of room for air to circulate naturally around them. Unfortunately, the room is south-facing, so I keep the curtains closed to avoid the room heating up too much. The temperature is generally around 20 - 22 deg C (68 - 71.5 deg F), though it will occasionally peak higher in hotter summers, and could in theory drop as low as 10 deg C (50 deg F) during the night in winter months (at that point, my heating kicks in to maintain a minimum temperature).

This is one section of my wardrobe, with most of my Soviet lenses. There's another section of similar size with my digital cameras, AF lenses, flashes, batteries, chargers, tools, bags etc... The (unseen) top shelf has all of the original boxes for those (mostly new) items that came with them (my Soviet lens boxes and cases, though, are in the floor section of the photo below).



08-25-2019, 04:20 PM   #9
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Well I never use cases for the lenses. Any that come in those old leather tubes get removed from the case. The case gets stored elsewhere in case I ever sell it on and someone really wants a case. I picked up a Tamron recently that looked like it had never been out of its box. Still had its original desiccant bag and that plastic film they put on things to stop display screens being scratched was still on the metal label on the case. Even with that the case is stored elsewhere as they are always a fungus risk IMHO. The lenses.....I just cap them and have them stood on their ends - camera ends that is with the focus/zoom pulled back so they are at rest and no strain is being put on anything.

The ones on the cameras are capped likewise and they all have UV filters or lens protectors on as well to keep any particles in the house out.

Periodically I let them see sunlight by leaving them in indirect light for a day or so with the UV filters off - walkies for lens time - and obviously they get taken out to do pictures with but I was getting concerned that some of them don't get much exercise. The 2x Russian Jupters are very seldom used and I don't get to use the Minolta MC 1.4 very often. Its minty and I am too scared to take it out in case its gets a ding - pointless having it and I have to get over the OCD with that one.

Thanks for the heads up and advice as ever.
08-25-2019, 04:21 PM   #10
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we've got 15-35% relative humidity here for much of the year, so no special considerations are taken and no fungus ever.
I keep mine in pelican cases for the most part.
08-25-2019, 04:30 PM   #11
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Hi All,

To keep my collection safe I have obtained old 1000 liter drinks fridges, removed the cooling system and fitted two peltier units rated at 800 liters and adjusted them to give me a reading of 50% RH with a sensitive hygrometer.

This works perfectly as the doors are not opened all that often and I also refrain from opening the doors when the outside humidity is high.

For anyone here in Australia who would like further details of what I have done, just send me a PM.

Regards,
Gordon.
08-25-2019, 04:39 PM   #12
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I keep it in a white translucent Tupperware style boxes with silica gel bags in it. No front cap on while they are in the boxes. Camera body is kept in the same fashion, just use a bigger box. And they are in the part of a room where it gets natural sunlight a few hours a day if I open the curtain which I open it a few time a week. I also regularly use all of my lenses. I change the sillica gel bags roughly one a year.
08-25-2019, 04:47 PM   #13
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The average relative humidity in St. Louis is 83 morning / 55 afternoon. I have a whole-home humidifier/dehumidifier attached to my HVAC to keep the house humidity around 55 year round.

I have a small 4-drawer beside chest of drawers - an old Hitchcock piece of brown furniture - bought at estate sale for $50 that I store my lenses in. The wood helps to regulate humidity. I’ve lined the drawers with tool chest drawer cushioning and added large desiccant bags to each drawer. Each lens is out of its leather case, stored capped, aperture set at its smallest to ease tension on the spring. I don’t bother to give them sun aside from using them. I do from time to time check on the K500 and K1000 stored in their trunk or case in a clothes closet.

My AF lenses are stored in the same canvas Domke camera bags I keep my digital cameras in, sitting on shelves in the same clothes closet or casually on the floor in my house.

I really don’t worry much about fungus. I have lenses that camer with a strand or two that haven’t changed in 20 years.

Last edited by monochrome; 08-25-2019 at 04:59 PM.
08-25-2019, 10:21 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
I have quite a collection of old c.1970s lenses and was wondering how people store theirs. Mine all form part of a display in my study. They are normally capped to keep any dust out and have silica gel bags around the bases of them to keep any moisture under control but I have read that keeping them 'dark' with caps can lead to fungal growth.

Back in the day my lenses all lived in my gadget bag(s) or flight cases with silica gel inside and I never had a single lens get fungus but that was back when these things were being made. Today none of my lenses is younger than 30 years and most are closer to 40. Back then the lens was factory fresh, always cared for and always kept away from hazards. These days I have lenses whose provenance is uncertain, could have been stored in a mouldy old leather bag for all I know prior to me acquiring them.

I do let them 'breathe' every few weeks with taking the caps off and letting them have some natural daylight but today I noticed that one of the oldest has a small patch of fungus. It may always have been in there for all I know as the lens was filthy and I have only jut gotten round to stripping it down and cleaning it but its made me worry.

I dont do much shooting so the lenses don't have the exposure to daylight that they would have had back in the day - to be fair back then I had a few lenses that were very seldom used including a 500mm that I think I only ever used twice and on sale it looked as though it hadn't ever seen use at all. That was probably stored for the best part of 5 years without use but as I say that was back when these things were fresh.

So whats the best strategy for keeping these relics going without getting another dose of fungus ?
in the very humid climate here i use a dry cabinet, keeping humidity around 30 %. Works well and they come in all kind of sizes. I put lenses, cameras etc in there.
08-26-2019, 12:51 AM   #15
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Got mine laying on their sides in an air tight box.
So far, so good.
I think for lenses from the 70s and 80s i have given them some care and attention.

I mean, if they got through decades unscathed then my storage shoild keep them going another 40 years.
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