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05-05-2014, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #1
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I have had fungus on various lenses I have purchased in my life [age 70 now damn it !] . One way to kill fungus if it is just starting ,but does not get rid of it , is to put the lens [plastic freezer bag ] in the freezer and freeze it . I did this with a Nikon tele , worked fine. Another thing that kills fungus is Thymol Crystals [used by British Army stores to keep optics free from fungus] , be warned don't breath , they will kill you too ! Buy here.

Fragile Planet Ltd, Bees, Hives, Honey Extractors, Hive Tools, Smokers, Bee Suits

These are purchased from bee keepers suppliers [6 ?] , it is used to kill bee parasites. You put the camera or lens in a sealed plastic lunch box with some crystals leave for 24 hours.This works a treat but as I discovered little cute sticky labels inside my Voigtlander '30s 'such as use Voigt. film ' , it melted the sticky label ! Otherwise perfect.

To clean the lens you have to strip it down. This is not possible with [to me ] 'modern lenses ' like Nikon F1's or Pentax MX etc because the lenses are sealed to protect them so they 'break' apart and you can't reseal anyway. Hence even the professionals doesn't want to risk it. But it is possible to tackle with the older lenses. Strip the lens from the rear so as not to disturb the focusing which is left in place.There are camera special inexpensive tools to do this , a simple 'flat spanner type.' if I was starting out collecting I would purchase such. from

Micro-Tools, Camera & Watch Repair Tools - Camera Repair Tools

But you can carefully use a screwdriver BUT the danger of doing so if the lens is stiff the screwdriver jumps hey voila ! [I have done so a number of times.] Another danger is when removing the lens it causes the glass to 'chip' at the edge.[ done so again.] This is the risk you have to take if the camera is unusable which is the case when the milky mould obscures the image or the web like mould eats into the glass.

Repair shown here.
Voigtlaender Bessa 1

There are degrees of fungus . Some are so minor and take a lifetime to grow. I left a Kodak Retinette with a dirty lens I hadn't bothered to clean [charity shop purchase ] for three years in a damp French cottage while I worked abroad . (Fungus feeds on dirt , damp and the dark.) The rear element lens [ which I still use .] looked literally like the surface of the moon. I showed it to a professional repairer friend and on examination it was found to have eaten into the lens coating only not the glass. I have since purchased another Retinette and there is absolutely no difference in the pictures either lens takes even though to look at the lens you would not believe it .
So you can obsess too much.

The reason I was looking here is that I have just acquired a Voitlander Bessa 1930's with the beginnings of milky mould and have tried to remove the back lens gingerly without success. So from experience I'll leave well alone. Oh one last thing . The reason you get mould/fungus is that cameras have been kept in camera cases [they sweat ] , in the dark , and in the damp. Get the camera out in the fresh air , let the lens get plenty of sun and your mould will start to diminish . In other words use that mouldy old camera.

---------- Post added 05-05-14 at 06:18 PM ----------

Forgot to say 10 % vinegar and distilled water to clean the lens.

05-05-2014, 09:19 AM   #2
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Thanks for that informative advice.
05-05-2014, 12:10 PM   #3
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Is it safe to put the lens in the freezer? It causes no harm?
05-05-2014, 03:29 PM   #4
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freezer killing fungus

I found no problem with this . The lens a Nikon Q Auto 2.8 F135 came out as a block of ice , which at first alarmed me , but it defrosted with no residue or problem. It killed the fungus definitely , for some 20 years now the fungus hasn't moved. However two things . When I took the lens out of the fridge , now a block of ice , it shot out of my hand on the hard kitchen floor. [Being a robust Nikon luckily only dented.] Secondly the lens seemed less smooth to focus , grease frozen up ? But since I didn't note the smoothness of the lens before this may have been imagination. Learnt this technique from Googling. It worked for me anyway. Hope this helps.

---------- Post added 05-06-14 at 12:31 AM ----------

I would not put a camera in the freezer , the mechanical parts [ shutter] may not like it !

05-05-2014, 06:44 PM   #5
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Fungi are only put to sleep by cold temps. They still live and will grow again. Freezing does nothing. Fungi survive -35F routinely here in Minnesota. I think you have been lucky and chilled,the fungi long enough to take pictures.
05-06-2014, 01:11 AM   #6
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If that is the case , I might also have used the Thymol Crystals method at the time. Can't remember. But I know many people support the freezing method. Maybe some scientist can provide a definitive answer.

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