Fungus in Lens

kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I was shooting a Basketball game and decided to pull out my trusty 80-200mm for some close ups. It took little time to notice that there was something unusual under the front element which appeared like the flaky glaze on an old doughnut. While it has been in its share of wet environments it has been quite a while since it got near anything wet. While I am not 100% sure it is fungus I am pretty convinced it is which leads me to one question...

What to do with the rest of my bag? Do I need to sterilize the bag so it doesn't spread? I live in sunny (freezing at 18F) southern california so humidity isn't an issue but I don't want my other lenses picking it up. Same to my bodies. Am I overreacting or is it right that I am alarmed. Iv'e pulled everything from my bag in hopes it hasn't already been effected.


Thanks
“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson

Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,027Moderator
    edited January 2013
    Fungus isn't especially contagious kyoshi - that is to say it is everywhere all around us all the time and just needs the right conditions to grow. Some time your lens got humid inside for long enough that it could start then it grabs the chances to grow more when other chances come along. Don't worry about the others now, just inspect them and send the 80-200 off for a clean.

    I have a story to tell that relates to this. I had a brother who owned a motorcycle that he wanted to renovate when he retired. He carefully stripped it into large parts and put the parts away wrapped in blankets in the corner of his garage. Thirty years on we uncovered it and found it had rusted badly. Moral of this story is that things need air around them. Perhaps you got your bag damp and just put it down at home with the lenses in it. Maybe there is a lesson in this for all of us to empty our bag when we get home and set it near the boiler or anywhere hot and dry..
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Just pick up some "damp rid" or some silica packets and put those in the bag to dry it out. Once you do, then find the little packets (you can buy bulk silica packets for really cheap) and just keep some of those in your bag. I think I paid $20 for 100 packets that were sealed 5 to a sub pack. I just keep those in my main bag.

    If you catch fungus quick enough, you can send the lens in for cleaning with no long-term effects. If you wait, the fungus can actually etch the glass, then you are hosed.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • SkintBritSkintBrit Posts: 79Member
    Hope you get it sorted kyosi, thanks to members like you sharing your experiences (good and bad), I have been collecting the little silica gel packets that I find in the boxes of various things I buy, over the last year or so, and have put one in each section of my camera cases. Hopefully that will prevent it from happening to me, but I feel for you buddy, I know how I'd feel if it were me.
    D3s's D700 F100 / Trinity 2.8 Zooms & 1.4 Primes / 105 micro. SB900s with Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 / Mini TT1s. Camranger remote control system.
  • I fully realise that I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but it might be worth remembering that silica gel has to be 'activated' before it'll do anything - by this I mean a short stint in a warm oven to remove the humidity already absorbed by the gel.

    When the gel has reabsorbed any ambient moisture, the process will have to be repeated - simply filling camera bags with old packets of the stuff won't have any effect at all.
  • SkintBritSkintBrit Posts: 79Member
    I fully realise that I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but it might be worth remembering that silica gel has to be 'activated' before it'll do anything - by this I mean a short stint in a warm oven to remove the humidity already absorbed by the gel.

    When the gel has reabsorbed any ambient moisture, the process will have to be repeated - simply filling camera bags with old packets of the stuff won't have any effect at all.
    That's interesting darkslide, thanks, no I didn't know that. How do you practically know when the crystals are saturated, and it's time to dry them out?
    D3s's D700 F100 / Trinity 2.8 Zooms & 1.4 Primes / 105 micro. SB900s with Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 / Mini TT1s. Camranger remote control system.
  • macsavageg4macsavageg4 Posts: 75Member
    My first 80-200mm f/2.8 ED I got for cheap because of this very issue. Tore it down and cleaned the front element where the fungus was located. Great lens and a spare fallback lens. I later replaced it with the 80-200mm f/2.8D. Both are the push-pull style. If you have access to a UV-B light you can shine that down the lens to hopefully kill off what is there. It won't remove what is already in there but it should help stop it. The moisture removal ideas above will also help stop it from expanding as well. The lens will still need to be cleaned to remove the fungus. If it is built like my 80-200mm there theoretically shouldn't be any damage to the coating. If there is put a good multi-coated filter on the front and you should be pretty much good.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 613Member
    edited January 2013
    I used to have serious fungus problems that destroyed a couple of lenses the first year I lived in Japan. I quickly learned not to let that happen again.

    Lenses should be stored in an air-tight container with desiccant, as fungus needs moisture to grow and spread. I had such a container for them for the several years we were in Japan, but now, like you, I live in coastal California where we actually do have a lot of cool humidity. I store in a large Pelican case with desiccant or in a special photography equipment safe-room that has a low wattage incandescent bulb burning full time to keep humidity down. (It works well)

    I do not store lenses in my photo bags, they are stored in the pelican case or the storage room. Photobags don't allow air to circulate and retain moisture.

    I buy silica gel packets in lots of hundreds as we use it when we pack anything for shipment.
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 613Member
    Just by coincidence, go to the blog home page for information about BRNO dehumidifying body/lens caps.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • PeterPeter Posts: 178Administrator
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I fully realise that I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but it might be worth remembering that silica gel has to be 'activated' before it'll do anything - by this I mean a short stint in a warm oven to remove the humidity already absorbed by the gel.

    When the gel has reabsorbed any ambient moisture, the process will have to be repeated - simply filling camera bags with old packets of the stuff won't have any effect at all.
    That's interesting darkslide, thanks, no I didn't know that. How do you practically know when the crystals are saturated, and it's time to dry them out?
    Outdated practice except for re-usable ones. You can buy the packets ready to go, they are usually sealed in vacuum bags. I use ones that change color when they are "old" and they last about a month depending on the humidity during the year. Winter they last 2-3 months, summer two weeks where I live.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • Outdated practice except for re-usable ones
    Why is this 'outdated'? Because you prefer to throw the stuff away?

    Silica gel changes colour (either from blue to pink or pink to blue - I forget) when it absorbs humidity. Unless the packing is hermetic (which rather defeats the object no?) the humidity absorbed through the packing will just as easily evaporate when the gel is warmed.

    To you this is perhaps outdated - to me it's simple physics...
  • How do you practically know when the crystals are saturated, and it's time to dry them out?
    See my comment above.

  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 613Member
    edited January 2013
    Blue: dry, Pink, wet. It is not the silica gel that changes color, but cobalt chloride that is impregnated into the paper container. Anhydrous cobalt chloride is blue, and the hydrated form is pink. You can buy humidity sensors based on this from various sources...Maybe I should sell them. I have enough sitting around here...
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,968Member
    I have a few metal cased gel packs (with vents to allow it to absorb moisture), and it works well. I just recharge (put it in the oven) every few months and I never have an issue with fungus.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    I actually do keep silica gel in my bag and when shooting I use a dehumidifying substance when my stuff has been out in a wet environment. This lens however was pulled from another bag a few weeks ago. I probably will do the cleaning myself as I assume I will be paying a max repair charge and I have another 80-200mm to fall back on. I justy was concerned about my other lenses that I keep in the bag (28-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, and 10.5mm f/2.8)

    Thanks for the responses I will be cooking my silica gel to re freshen it. I ll probably use Clorox wipes inside before I reload the bag however
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,968Member
    I have heard in the past that Nikon wont repair lenses with fungus anyway, so doing it yourself would likely be the end result anyway.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Fungus damage Nikon might not, but if it is in a early stage where it is just cleaning the lens, I don't see why they wouldn't. I'm sure many other shops would do it as well.

    The silica packets I have go from Yellow to purple. No clue why - couldn't care either.

    Yes darkslide I do think the old oven way to doing it is outdated. I found my last purchase of the packets - $20 for 1000. And that has lasted me for almost 2 years and will for quite some time. At that price, why would you mess with an oven? I have seen them, I know they are out there, but most I have seen are quite large and not what would be useful to me.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • SkintBritSkintBrit Posts: 79Member
    edited January 2013
    How do you practically know when the crystals are saturated, and it's time to dry them out?
    See my comment above.

    LOL, how can you tell what colour they are when you can't see through the bags! ;-) I'm guessing the ones you buy are transparent?

    Post edited by SkintBrit on
    D3s's D700 F100 / Trinity 2.8 Zooms & 1.4 Primes / 105 micro. SB900s with Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 / Mini TT1s. Camranger remote control system.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,027Moderator
    edited January 2013
    This is the first thread I have read about fungus, thanks for getting me thinking. I have just told my wife to stop putting damp clothes waiting ironing in my editing room. @-)

    WRT recharging silica gel: They are not like some batteries requiring almost OCD charging regimes and I'll bet most of us have a hot oven in the house at least once a week (once a day in my case), so recharging monthly should just be a reminder on our calenders?
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • At that price, why would you mess with an oven? I have seen them, I know they are out there, but most I have seen are quite large and not what would be useful to me.
    It's true that ovens are quite large and not what is generally carried around by a photographer - this said, in the event you live in a house with a kitchen, I feel sure the effort of turning on the oven wouldn't be too exhausting from time to time.

    In the event you live in a hotel, or a palace, I would have thought it simplicity itself - a quick click of the fingers and in runs a slave ready to do whatever you demand. Of course, if I lived in a palace I'd ask my slaves to supply me with new cameras and lenses every day, thus avoiding the problem.

    But I digress...

  • Perfectly reasonable question - as it happens the material used to make the little sachets is generally a kind of woven paper (?) and the colour of the contents can quite easily be seen through the 'weave' - but you must remember to have the oven door open at this point...

    B-)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,027Moderator
    =))
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ darkslide

    Are you the one who lives in the palace and had that Leica super telephoto made for you?

    Leica APO-Telyt-R (Photo Borrowed)
    Msmoto, mod
  • And I thought I was being sooo discrete..... B-)
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