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Fungi on rear lens element....

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I live in the tropics on the beach and it is currently hot & humid here (wet season).


I have discovered some small spider web type fungi growing on the rear element of my Summarit 90mm lens. You can only really see it with a Loupe.


It doesn't have any effect on the photos…. Yet….


So the questions are:


~ What's the best way to remove it (or just leave it alone)?


~ What's the best way to prevent it?


~ What's the best way to store lens in the tropics (I don't have access to a specialised humidifier for camera equipment)?


The lens were stored in an airy shelve location with both caps on. I now store them in a clear airtight container with a large packet of Silica Gel and the caps removed.


i have also exposed the fungi to bright direct sunlight to see if that killed it but can't see any change.


Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks in anticipation.


PS: I only get access to the web every couple of days so will answer any questions (if required) when next online.

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Try using a micro fibre cloth and lens cleaning solution to remove the fungus. Fungi can damage the lens coating or even etch the glass. As for killing the fungus, some have suggested using UV light.


The best solution to prevent fungus growth is to use an electric dry cabinet and set the RH at 45-50%. I am certain you should be able to find this in camera shops in Manila. I used silica gel many years ago. But I found it troublesome in having to dry the silica gel quite frequently. Moreover, you have no control of the RH.



N.S. Ng

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I just read several posts on other sights that deal with old camera and lens repair

that using Ponds Cold Cream as a cleaning agent with a very soft polishing type

cloth will remove haze and light fungus from the lens surface. Naturally the lens is

cleaned of the cold cream in the usual manner.

However, nothing will remove the etching of the glass if the fungus is old and has damaged the glass. From quite the few people who used this method reporting success I would not hesitate to try it myself, but to date I have never had the need.

I do not remember the places I read about this or I would provide you links.

Seems like this is used for lenses separated from the body of the lens as many times

the fungus is on the inside of the element, If you are just dealing with a bare element

light soap and water would clean the cream….. and a good rinse and drying with a smooth

lint free cloth. Good luck!

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I would use some diluted chlorine bleach first to kill off the fungus spores but on a sensor cleaning swab so that it does not sit on the alloy or brass body. You need very intense UV light to kill fungus spores. A physiotherapy Chromya light would do or the light that dentists use to set new epoxy type fillings. Make sure you wear protective goggles.



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Does bleach hurt coating? I’m not sure…. but I think I read this somewhere.




Virtually all older coatings are fluorites, these are very chemically inert. I would be very surprised therefore, if diluted bleach did anything at all to these coatings. It is recommended in this detailed discussion of fungus on lenses by someone who sounds as if he knows what he is talking about. I have used it a couple of times and it certainly did not make the lens any worse. Sadly the coatings on the Oplar 50/2.8 lens I tried it on, were damaged beyond anything other than recoating and I am therefore just leaving it as a display lens on my Foca III. I just did not want the spores jumping over to other nearby lenses.


Lens Fungus



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Jim: I DO NOT think this is a good idea at all!


Why not? Lacquer thinner is composed of ester and ketone solvents, neither of which will affect glass or lens coatings. Of course it should be used sparingly and not flooded over the lens so as to get into the mount. I'm sure it would be best to use it on a lens element which has been removed from the lens body to avoid getting it into the aperture blades.


That said, I haven't ever used it myself; I was just passing on some info from my repair shop.


Regards, Jim

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Sorry Jim,

I rather DID dismiss this out-of hand ….. but somehow I pictured people who are

NOT careful running this solvent all over the place.


Yes, dousing a lens in organic solvent would probably not be a good thing...


Regards, Jim

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