Have you ever heard of lens fungus? Most of you must have never heard of such a thing. But, those who know about it do admit that there can be nothing quite as annoying as discovering the fact that your favorite lens has become a breeding spot for the fungus. But then, it still seems quite impossible to believe that something could actually grow inside the lens. Most of the people passionate about photography, prefer to clean their lens on their own. Depending on the climate of where you stay, the lens fungus could actually be a huge issue and therefore it is best to familiarize yourself with it.
- Why Does Fungus Form In Lenses
- Hacks for Avoiding Fungus on the Lens Interior
- Hacks to Avoid Fungus on the Lens Exterior
- How to Remove Lens Fungus
- List of Tools and Materials That You Will Need
- Words of Wisdom- How to Get Rid of It?
Why Does Fungus Form In Lenses
People often as to why does fungus form in the lenses. Well, it happens when moisture gets trapped on the surface or the inside of the camera lenses; it combines with warmth and can lead to the growth of the fungus. If you have ever seen the growth of the fungus in the lenses, you would notice that it looks almost like a tiny spider web.
During the early summer or spring, when it pours frequently, there is a lot of moisture present in the air. This is the time when you as a photographer need to take care of lenses properly or soon you would be able to native the growth of fungus in it. Also, having the right lenses for a Beginner’s Photography kit is very essential.
And keep in mind the fact that it doesn’t depend on the build-quality, brand or price of the lenses. Wherever there is moisture, there would be the growth of microorganisms. The fungus present inside your lenses can actually eat away its coating or lead to optical aberrations. In cases of new lenses, it could even erode the glue which keeps all the components in its place.
Hacks for Avoiding Fungus on the Lens Interior
There are several ways that can actually help you in avoiding Fungus on the Lens Interior. Listed below are a few of them.
1. Store the Camera in A Dry Place
In case you need to operate your camera in a place with rather high humidity, make sure that you store in an absolutely dry place. Store in a container that allows a bit of light in as fungus generally grows in places that are absolutely dark. However, you must never expose the lens in direct sunlight for too long.
2. Always Keep the Camera Dry
Well, it can be impossible to completely prevent your lenses from moisture especially if you live in a humid area. However, you can take necessary precautionary steps. But, if does get wet, you must immediately attempt to dry it, such as clean it with a dry, clean cloth. You could take the lens and store it in a zipper bag with a gel pack or with uncooked rice.
Hacks to Avoid Fungus on the Lens Exterior
At times, the lens fungus can grow on the lens exterior. Listed below are a few tips to avoid fungus on the lens exterior.
1. Do not Blow on the Lens
When you blow on the lens so as to clear the dust on it, the moisture present in your breath can lead to the growth of the fungus. Instead of using your breath, make use of a blower brush so as to get rid of the dust particles from the camera along with an absolutely dry and clean cloth.
2. Clean the Oils and Fingerprints from the Lens
Whenever you touch the viewfinder or the lenses, the fungus can find a way to your camera. It is, therefore, best to try and avoid touching those parts. If you do touch it, always remember to clean it immediately.
3. Get Rid of the Fungus Straightaway
If ever you do find lens fungus on the exterior, you can clean it yourself. You would need a mixture of water and vinegar and would need to pour it on a clean cloth and then clean the lens with it. Remember that this only work when the fungus is on the outside.
Never store your camera in a leather bag, as leather bags are home to fungi!
How to Remove Lens Fungus
Okay so, if in any condition, your camera does get infected with fungus, then you would need to act quickly before it manages to eat away the protective coating or ruin the entire lens. There are actually a few mixtures which you can make so as to clean the lens fungus.
A blend of vinegar and water can help in cleaning the fungus on the exterior while a blend of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide is also a really good method. If you do not clean the lenses on time, you would need professional help which can turn out to be rather expensive.
Now, let’s have a look as to how you can actually attempt to get rid of the lens fungus yourself.
List of Tools and Materials That You Will Need
Listed below are the list of tools that you would require to clean the lens fungus
1. Lens Spanner
This is an absolute necessary tool that will act as your extra hand!
2. Desk Lamp
You would need a desk lamp that provides strong, directional light or a one that offers shadow-free lighting
3. JIS Screwdriver Set
You would need this screwdriver set for the lenses that are made in Japan. They look quite similar to that of the Philips head/cross-tip screwdriver but are different. You need these for the Japan made lenses or else you would end up damaging the lens rather than getting rid of the fungus. However, if your camera lens aren’t from Japan, then Philips head screw drivers are good to go!
Any kind of tweezers would work just fine, this will help in extracting the fungi easily
5. Soaking Dish
A ceramic dish or bowl would be good
6. Parts Dish
Get a plastic plate and that would be good to go
7. Safety Glasses
You aren’t performing a lab experiment but then protecting your eyes from any kind of chemicals is extremely important
8. Nitrile Gloves
The fungus-killing solution that you are about to make can actually dry up your hands. The gloves would protect your hands and would also keep the lens dry and clean when you are working on it.
9. Ammonia (home purpose)
You can easily find this at your local home goods store. You can find scented and unscented ammonia. Try and get the unscented one if possible. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter what kind you are using.
10. Hydrogen Peroxide
You can get it easily from your local pharmacy.
11. Microfiber Lens Cloth
This cloth that you are going to be using for the lens fungus needs to be absolutely dry and clean. It is best to avoid using the one that you have been carrying in your camera bag or your pocket for long. Any kind of oil or dust present on the cloth can get into the internal surface of the lenses and you would never be able to get that spotless finish that you desire. Have at least two extra microfiber cloth stored in a zipper plastic bag that you do not do not use often. Or, keep replacing the one that you use. For this process, make sure that you are using a new one.
Always stash silica gels in your camera bag.
11. Lens Poofer
The poofer will suck in the dust present on the camera and exhale fresh air. Goodbye fungi!
12. A few cotton balls
Cotton balls for the final clean up.
Words of Wisdom- How to Get Rid of It?
Now that you have gathered all your tools, it’s time to move on to cleaning the lenses. First, you would need to take your screwdriver and remove all the screws that hold the lens mount. Once you do so, you would slowly be able to get rid of all the components that hold the lens down.
To remove the glass, there are several ways that it can be done. You would need to tip the lens upside down in your hand. Most of the times, it would easily come off. In case, it doesn’t, you would need to reinstall the retainer ring part-way and use a blunt object that isn’t made up of metal to rap the side of it gently. You should tap it only for a bit in order to encourage some movement.
The first piece of glass that you take out would have some traces of fungus. The other glass is what would have the most of it. Now that you have your glass in your hand, let’s get to work. Mix equal parts of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide and stir it well. Ensure that you are working in an area that is ventilated. Place a lens wipe on the bottom the dish so as to protect the lens from getting scratched while it is being soaked.
Place your lens in the solution and let it soak for 2 minutes. Most of the fungus would be washed off the rest you can use a cotton ball and clean it up. You might need to soak it longer if there’s too much fungus. Use the lens poofer to wipe all the droplets and with the microfiber cloth wipe it gently. Clean the remaining elements too and put everything back together.
You could also shine germicidal UV (ultraviolet) light into the lens for a long time so as to discourage the growth of lens fungus. You could also consider leaving the lens with the iris open on a windowsill that gets enough sunlight. This might also work. The best solution is to never let fungus invade your lenses. Lenses are pretty expensive and therefore it is important to take proper care of them.
Hope these tips on lens fungus help you. Always remember to store your camera in dry place and do expose it to sunlight!
Do you have any other tips or thoughts on the lens fungus? If so, please feel free to share them with us.