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08-05-2017, 11:12 PM   #1
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Unusual DFA 24-70 lens infection

Hi, I recently noticed what looked like drying marks of water ingress inside my DFA 24-70 lens. However after photographing it with a macro lens shock and horror - it looked as though a tiny insect or similar life form had entered the lens and wandered around before dying.
There is fungus growing at the lower mid to left side and the Pentax technician who investigated thought the insect (?) may have done its droppings there and so set up the fungal infection.
The technician found the lens elements were etched by the fungus so a new lens element was required. As this is New Zealand, the Pentax techo does not have such items on hand and the lens had to go to Japan to be repaired.


Sadly the cost estimate is high at around US$890. Given the replacement cost of the DFA 24-70, I decided the lens is worth repairing.


Both the techo and I are puzzled at how a small insect or similar could enter a WR lens like the DFA 24-70.
My lenses are mostly in a special dry box design given to me by a local lens repairer (sadly deceased). I had fungus problems about 15 years ago but have had no fungus infections since using the dry box I made as a result of those earlier infections. It was a surprise to have this new issue crop up.


Has anyone else experienced a similar lens infection?




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08-05-2017, 11:22 PM   #2
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Wow! That is a serious fungal infection for such a new lens.

Regards

Chris
08-05-2017, 11:52 PM   #3
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Fungus needs moisture for being able to develop. The problem of WR lenses, once moisture gets in, it take a very long time for the moisture to get out of the lens because there is no airflow inside the lens, unless zooming in and out in a dry air. Here in Europe I've never had any fungus in any lens and I've not heard from local people having had fungus in their lenses. But, I've heard about lens fungus from people living in Singapore; Lens fungus is likely a thing of the region we live in, I suppose.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 08-06-2017 at 12:10 AM.
08-06-2017, 12:13 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Fungus needs moisture for being able to develop. The problem of WR lenses, once moisture gets in, it take a very long time for the moisture to get out of the lens because there is no airflow inside the lens, unless zooming in and out in a dry air.




Yes I agree fully with what you say. I was surprised my dry box had allowed the fungal growth to go as far as it did. Your explanation fits well with what happened.
I only use the lens for special occasions due to its weight and bulk. It comes out for music gigs and similar events. My walkabout lens is the DFA 28-105.
The delay in my spotting the infection was there were no upcoming events I wanted to photograph.

08-06-2017, 03:33 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Um - that must surely be a warranty issue. How can fungus get inside a lens that is WR where the factory is meant to be 'clean'. The infection must have happened when the lens was assembled.

Serious, that has got to be a warranty issue.
08-06-2017, 04:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
Um - that must surely be a warranty issue. How can fungus get inside a lens that is WR where the factory is meant to be 'clean'. The infection must have happened when the lens was assembled.

Serious, that has got to be a warranty issue.




Agreed. That is a question I will be asking when I next hear from the NZ Pentax techo. He gave an estimate of 4-6 weeks before he will get the lens back with a report on it from Japan.
08-06-2017, 06:59 AM   #7
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If the storage temperature of the lens is below the dew point of the outdoor air, the lens will be prone to internal condensation both when it is taken out for use and when it is put into storage. During zooming, humid air will enter the lens and may condense on internal elements and structural parts that have not warmed up above the dew point. And when the lens is brought back indoors, if it is still full of humid air, water will condense on whatever parts cool off first. Similarly if the lens is used in mixed environments, moving between cold and hot, the cooling of a lens filled with humid air or the zoom-inhalation of humid air into a cold lens can cause condensation.

The drying box helps but if the back caps are put on the lenses then as biz-engineer noted, the sealed design of the lens prevents the removal of humidity.

As for how the fungal spores and wee beastie got into the lens, spores can be less than 1/10th the diameter of a human hair and be floating in the air during a lens change and then get sucked from the mirror box into the lens during zooming. The beastie may have fallen onto the lens or crawled into the camera bag. Some beetle larvae (such as those of carpet beetles) are very small and good at getting into cracks and crevasses in search of food.

08-21-2017, 02:27 AM   #8
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Hi, and thanks for your thoughts on my lens infection. I have taken time to get a range of readings on temperature and relative humidity from inside my dry box and I'll also give some info on my geographic location that may enable you to comment further:
Relative humidity over three weeks was a min/max of 48% -53%
Temperature min-max 17 - 22 degrees Celsius


Location: around 5 km in direct line to a small harbour and about another 10 km to open sea. My house is protected from the storms and winter frosts are infrequent and light and there were 9.6 days of ground frost last year for the nearest major centre Wellington (New Zealand).
It is a very mild climate with summer daily maximums around 28 degrees Celsius and winter daily minimums around 9 degrees Celsius.
I've included this info because if you live in a continental climate, then photographic equipment will be exposed to extremes not experienced by the infected lens I attached to my first message.
I'd be interested in any further thoughts you may have on my lens issue.
Thanks,
Don.
08-23-2017, 04:47 PM   #9
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I also have had this problem. I am currently trying to get them to covered under warranty. It has to be Factory contamination. Same exact lens... it's barely six months old. I have treated it well. And it has a lot of fungus. I wouldn't pay all that money that it fixed. It's a warranty issue. Something is just wrong here.
08-24-2017, 08:52 AM   #10
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I don't like the idea of storing lens in a dry box. It will keep outside moisture out but it traps any internal moisture inside. I think lens should be stored in a climate controlled room with good ventilation. I live in Western Pa, not exactly a dry climate, and I have never had a problem with fungus in over 25 years of photography.

In your situation, I would agree that it could be factory contamination but that is something I have never heard of before. I hope they take care of it under warranty.

Last edited by sibyrnes; 08-25-2017 at 07:14 AM.
08-25-2017, 11:08 PM   #11
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Reason for the dry box

QuoteOriginally posted by sibyrnes Quote
I don't like the idea of storing lens in a dry box. It will keep outside moisture out but it traps any internal moisture inside. I think lens should be stored in a climate controlled room with good ventilation. I live in Western Pa, not exactly a dry climate, and I have never had a problem with fungus in over 25 years of photography.

In your situation, I would agree that it could be factory contamination but that is something I have never heard of before. I hope they take care of it under warranty.


Thanks for your message and yes a climate controlled room is possibly the best option.


I disagree with your point about trapping internal moisture in the lens because the principle of diffusion is that molecules will move from an area of higher concentration (inside the lens) to an area of lower concentration (the surrounding dry air in my dry box). That's the reason for the dry box: to remove moisture from the lens and so inhibit fungal growth inside the lens.


It's interesting that another forum member has a similar issue with the same lens. I'll be interested to see what sort of a message is included when the lens returns.
08-26-2017, 05:41 PM   #12
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I am very anxious to see what they say on my lens. I agree and conclude that it is odd that two lenses of the same make and model and of the same age have the same very unusual problem. The repairs go through Precision Camera and they to agree that it is odd. I will post what results the factory in Japan concludes. Precision Camera intends to let them know they feel it is a warranty issue also if they send me an estimate. I will keep you guys posted. This is very strange. I am from Western Pennsylvania also and and very perplexed as to the fungus growth in a top-of-the-line lens like this for no good reason.
08-28-2017, 03:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dom15739 Quote
I am very anxious to see what they say on my lens. I agree and conclude that it is odd that two lenses of the same make and model and of the same age have the same very unusual problem. The repairs go through Precision Camera and they to agree that it is odd. I will post what results the factory in Japan concludes. Precision Camera intends to let them know they feel it is a warranty issue also if they send me an estimate. I will keep you guys posted. This is very strange. I am from Western Pennsylvania also and and very perplexed as to the fungus growth in a top-of-the-line lens like this for no good reason.


Thanks for your input to this thread and I will be very interested in the response you get. I too will post the results when my lens returns from Japan.
08-28-2017, 03:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlai Quote
Has anyone else experienced a similar lens infection?
Oh man, what a bummer
QuoteOriginally posted by dom15739 Quote
I also have had this problem. I am currently trying to get them to covered under warranty. It has to be Factory contamination. Same exact lens... it's barely six months old. I have treated it well. And it has a lot of fungus. I wouldn't pay all that money that it fixed. It's a warranty issue. Something is just wrong here.
Wow, if this is not an isolated case Ricoh should definitely do something about this.
I would also try to push for warranty. Not repair, but replacement. The lens came with a mistake. In most legal systems regarding warranty, there is a difference between the item developing a problem and coming with a problem. Different warranty terms apply. Always ask the repair shop about all your options. Sometimes they tell you "what has to be done" but they fail to tell you all the possible choices you can make. Be persistent, polite, and make sure you have some documentation (receipt, serial number, photo proof of the issue, description of the lens usage, etc)
With such a lens, it is worth making sure you get a good one. And one that stays good
09-14-2017, 11:09 AM - 1 Like   #15
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The lens repair is COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. I'll have it back soon. Precision Camera repair, in Connecticut, was excellent in pushing for Warranty coverage with Ricoh...as I mentioned the other case and they let them know.
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