Fungus - Something To Ponder About


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.Hack

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Mar 16, 2006
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#1
Hey dudes, was having some lenses discussions with my buddies and we came upon the fungus topic.
I know that the tropical weather in Singapore is a good nesting place for fungus.
Especially during the monsoon season when it can rain everyday.
That's why a dry cabinet or box is needed to maintain the humidity level where we store our equipments.

Now, come to the main topic.
If there is really a need for a dry cabinet/box to maintain the RH%, how come the cameras/lenses in the shops are not stored in one.
We do know that the cameras/lenses can be left in the shops for months, or even years if nobody buy.
But how come the cameras/lenses won't be infected by fungus?

So guys, what's your views on it? :think:
 

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flipfreak

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#4
dun buy from a shop n presume it is perfect. do ur checking beforehand. i have seen fungus on stuff in shops before. but to be fair, they were not new stuff.
 

.Hack

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#5
Most of the products have packets of silica gel throw in to keep the stuff dry.
But won't the gel packets lose its "power" over time?
I don't think they are able to replace the silica gel for all of their inventory.


i think, because the shop is in a aircon area.. in aircon is dry.. low humidity
Yup, but let's say if the shop is open from 11am to 9pm, what will happen when the aircon is off?
 

sulhan

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#6
I have seen old lens - new in box - that had fungus on its front element. I highlighted to the shop owner and then he cleaned it. Too bad...one of the micro layer is etched and left a spotty patch .

So dont assume lens new in box is fungus free...especally really old stocks...just be extra careful...
 

karnage

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Feb 26, 2005
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#7
I believe when things are stored in a box, the tiny openings on those boxes do not allow much exchange of air/moisture. Small packs of silica gels are thrown in to keep the insides at a lower humidity. In addition, air-conditioning will keep the environment (shops) drier too. In the hours that air-conditioning is turned off, there won't be much moisture entering the premises as well, because the shops will be closed. Furthermore, since there is nobody to move in and out of the shop, air/moisture circulation will be minimal. When the shop starts business again, air-conditioning will be on again too!

In short, there are a number of factors that minimize equipment exposure to humidity:

-silica gel packs in packaging
-tight-fitting styrofoam packaging in boxes
-closely packed boxes
-minimal moisture circulation within shelving
-air-conditioning
-minimal air movement when air-conditioning is turned off

This is my take on this issue. I also think that we can sometimes get too paranoid. Fungus doesn't grow THAT fast (from my experience anyways). *shrugs*
 

velasco

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Jul 7, 2006
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#8
hmm how fast can a fungus thrive?

right now my camera body + lens is in the canon bag. With silica gels thingy there. Can it last or is it exposed to this problem?
Should i get a drybox right away?
 

Kermitfm

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Mar 10, 2007
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#9
For fungus to grow, the conditions must be there. The environment must be moist, warm and there must be fungus spores. When the equipment is manufactured and packed, it is most likely to be in a clean (not clean room) environment. Throwing ina pack of dessicant helps. If the package is not opened the air around the lens will be dry and clean - so no fungus. New equipment that have fungus would have most probably been opened for inspection or trials by customers and not cleaned when stored.
 

velasco

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#10
ok im so panicky right now.

i've read past archives of DIY dry box. How can I store my equipment in the mean time while saving up for dry cabi?
Tupperware and thirsty hippo? Advisable?

Btw, how do we check for signs of fungi growth? Just greenish spots on the lens?
 

flipfreak

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Nov 26, 2007
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#11
ok im so panicky right now.

i've read past archives of DIY dry box. How can I store my equipment in the mean time while saving up for dry cabi?
Tupperware and thirsty hippo? Advisable?

Btw, how do we check for signs of fungi growth? Just greenish spots on the lens?

don't worry. they don't grow overnight. they look something like this.

 

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.Hack

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Mar 16, 2006
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#12
ok im so panicky right now.

i've read past archives of DIY dry box. How can I store my equipment in the mean time while saving up for dry cabi?
Tupperware and thirsty hippo? Advisable?

Btw, how do we check for signs of fungi growth? Just greenish spots on the lens?
Read from somewhere that if you use your camera regularly will minimize the chances of fungus growth.
BTW here is a page i came upon on fungus.
http://www.chem.helsinki.fi/~toomas/photo/fungus/
 

Slyanius

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Nov 15, 2008
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#13
Here's something that totally amazed me. My father recently gave me his old nikkor lens and filters. They were kept in a lowepro beltpouch for more than 15 years, in an non-aircon environment, away from the sunlight and not touched during this entire time. There was no silica gel, thirsty hippo, and the pouch was left forgotten in a big cardboard box. No dry cabinet.

Upon receiving the lens, I found some dust on the surface, but absolutely NO EVIDENCE OF FUNGUS.

Can anyone explain that?
 

.Hack

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#14
Here's something that totally amazed me. My father recently gave me his old nikkor lens and filters. They were kept in a lowepro beltpouch for more than 15 years, in an non-aircon environment, away from the sunlight and not touched during this entire time. There was no silica gel, thirsty hippo, and the pouch was left forgotten in a big cardboard box. No dry cabinet.

Upon receiving the lens, I found some dust on the surface, but absolutely NO EVIDENCE OF FUNGUS.

Can anyone explain that?
That's really amazing!
15 years without taking out and not a trace of fungus growth.
The cupboard your dad kept the lens must be damn low in humidity. :D
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#15
Here's something that totally amazed me. My father recently gave me his old nikkor lens and filters. They were kept in a lowepro beltpouch for more than 15 years, in an non-aircon environment, away from the sunlight and not touched during this entire time. There was no silica gel, thirsty hippo, and the pouch was left forgotten in a big cardboard box. No dry cabinet.

Upon receiving the lens, I found some dust on the surface, but absolutely NO EVIDENCE OF FUNGUS.

Can anyone explain that?
No spores. Plus, what was the temperature and humidity of where the lens was stored?
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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#16
Here's something that totally amazed me. My father recently gave me his old nikkor lens and filters. They were kept in a lowepro beltpouch for more than 15 years, in an non-aircon environment, away from the sunlight and not touched during this entire time. There was no silica gel, thirsty hippo, and the pouch was left forgotten in a big cardboard box. No dry cabinet.

Upon receiving the lens, I found some dust on the surface, but absolutely NO EVIDENCE OF FUNGUS.

Can anyone explain that?
It's not only spores and humidity that's needed. Fungus also needs food, otherwise no point for the spores to develop. So it could be that the amount of spores was quite low and also there was not enough organic material to start of. Maybe the lens was just nicely cleaned before. Also, lens coating is different from what is used today which can also make a big difference.
 

theveed

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Apr 20, 2007
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#19
When my old 3xi minolta and sigma zoom lens broke (dropped from 5ft in 1998), the bag, 3xi and 7xi with 2 sigma zooms and 2 minolta primes were left in a storage room that faced the street. The closet door gets bombarded with rain, sun, dust etc on a daily basis and the room was nowhere near "sealed" as it had window slits as well. The floor of the storage room seeps water in as well during typhoons.

When we moved out to move to Singapore 2 years ago, I found the gear and checked all the lenses, the external layer was covered with some molds, but when I cleaned it off, I was surprised to not see any fungus at all in all four lenses and camera viewfinders. None whatsoever. They were then sold to an enthusiast who checked every nook and cranny of the lens as I told him where the lenses were stored previously. He found no defects and uses it till this day.

No silica gels or anything, stored in a 35-38degree damp storage room for a decade. These lenses were used since 1995.

Funny thing is, when I left an old zoom (no previous fungus) in my office last year (AC most of the day), it developed an edge of fungus in 3 months of non-usage. Weird.

I sincerely doubt that warehouses that stock the lenses are dry and cool, so it does raise a question of why fungus forms.

My guess is, it forms not by humidity alone, but organic stains like fingerprint oils and other organic residue on the glass that weren't cleaned off before storage.
 

.Hack

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Mar 16, 2006
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#20
k i placed my system in an airtight box + 2 thirsty hippor packs and one silica gel how can?
Do you have a hydrometer place together in the box to monitor the RH%?
I think 2 x thirsty hippo, and 1 x silica gel bag will make the air too dry.
Which may not be good for the camera/lens lubricant, as well as rubber parts.
 

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