heat lens to remove mold?

Started Mar 16, 2010 | Discussions
Joseph Bradley Regular Member • Posts: 378
heat lens to remove mold?

I have an AI 105 f/2.5 Nikkor that's been with me (unused) on Maui the past 9 years and has grown mold on an inner element. I remember reading a long time ago that you could remove it by placing the lens in a warm oven for a specific period of time. Does anyone know this trick?
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-Joe

mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,093
Re: heat lens to remove mold?

Don't do it. You may damage the lens. For fungi in the lens, look here: http://www.chem.helsinki.fi/~toomas/photo/fungus/
and here
http://www.mypentax.com/Fungus.html

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Removing lens fungus

Joseph Bradley wrote:

I have an AI 105 f/2.5 Nikkor that's been with me (unused) on Maui the past 9 years and has grown mold on an inner element. I remember reading a long time ago that you could remove it by placing the lens in a warm oven for a specific period of time. Does anyone know this trick?

The oven method is used to soften and remove the cement between lens elements, in cases where the fungus has infiltrated the cement. This is applicable to older lenses which use Canada balsam for cement, but not to newer lenses with synthetic adhesives. This approach requires full disassembly of the lens, and re-cementing of the elements before lens reassembly, so it's a pro technician job.

Be aware that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation on the web regarding lens fungus. Here is one of the better articles I have found, which covers the basics:
http://www.mypentax.com/Fungus.html

What you can try

Without disassembling the lens, you can try fumigation (as mentioned in the article above), heat, or sun exposure. The success of these methods will depend on the type of fungus. For sun exposure, several days may be needed; take care that no combustible materials are placed behind the lens.

If you can disassemble the lens, the most-recommended solvent for cleaning affected elements is a 50/50 mix of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. You will probably need to clean the lens barrel components as well.

Maintenance

Avoiding moisture and humidity is the key to preventing re-infection, since it's essentially impossible to completely remove or kill the spores which can germinate. Plus, those spores are in the air everywhere, and it's possible to cause even new lenses to grow fungus under favorable conditions (warm, dark, humid).

Keep your lens in an air-tight box with dessicant. Carefully dry off any gear which becomes even slightly wet, before putting it away. Take all of your lenses out and use or check them periodically. Forgotten optics, tucked away in a dark place for long periods, are most likely to develop visible fungus.

OP Joseph Bradley Regular Member • Posts: 378
Re: Removing lens fungus

Thank you, Marianne. "Keep your lens in an air-tight box with dessicant." Do you have a recommendation for these boxes? When I was in Vietnam in 1970, I bought a bunch of Nikkor primes from Tokyo; they all came in see-through plastic tops that screwed into black bases. I kept my lenses in them along with the desiccant packs that came packed with each lens. Nikon doesn't seem to offer these plastic containers with their newer, AF or even their older AI lenses.
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-Joe

rgmoore Senior Member • Posts: 2,340
Re: Removing lens fungus

Joseph Bradley wrote:

Thank you, Marianne. "Keep your lens in an air-tight box with dessicant." Do you have a recommendation for these boxes? When I was in Vietnam in 1970, I bought a bunch of Nikkor primes from Tokyo; they all came in see-through plastic tops that screwed into black bases. I kept my lenses in them along with the desiccant packs that came packed with each lens. Nikon doesn't seem to offer these plastic containers with their newer, AF or even their older AI lenses.

You might want to buy a dedicated dry cabinet. They make ones designed specifically for storing lenses, and they aren't terribly expensive. You can get one for less than the price of even a mid-level lens, and it will obviously function as a place to store your gear as well as protecting it.
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As with all creative work, the craft must be adequate for the demands of expression. I am disturbed when I find craft relegated to inferior consideration; I believe that the euphoric involvement with subject or self is not sufficient to justify the making and display of photographic images. --Ansel Adams

hello_newman Forum Member • Posts: 73
Re: heat lens to remove mold?

haha i don't know about you but an oven is the last place i would put a lens.

BigBen08 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,263
For next time use Eva-dry...

I know this won't help you now, but I use the small eva-dry that I place in my lens storage container. I got mine at amazon.

http://eva-dry.com/

somatt Regular Member • Posts: 107
Re: heat lens to remove mold?

A lot of people gave out good advice already - I just want to add that if the fungus already eat into the coating (you will see spider-web like damage), then you will better off get a new one (or you can sent it back to Nikon to have that lens element replaced at high price). Good luck.

-- hide signature --
mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,093
Re: Removing lens fungus

Joseph Bradley wrote:

Thank you, Marianne. "Keep your lens in an air-tight box with dessicant." Do you have a recommendation for these boxes? When I was in Vietnam in 1970, I bought a bunch of Nikkor primes from Tokyo; they all came in see-through plastic tops that screwed into black bases. I kept my lenses in them along with the desiccant packs that came packed with each lens. Nikon doesn't seem to offer these plastic containers with their newer, AF or even their older AI lenses.
--
-Joe

I'd recommend silica gel desiccants that are impregnated with the blue indicator, for instance: http://www.silicagel.net/products.html . The indicator turns pink when the silica has absorbed water. You can regenerate the silica by heating in the oven. This kind of desiccant is especially useful in humid enviroments in tropics and subtropics.

happypoppeye
happypoppeye Veteran Member • Posts: 3,894
No...

The plastic will melt before the fungus entirely dies. Take a look around and search some bacteria and stuff like that...

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