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Old Apr 7, 2010, 1:46 PM   #1
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Default Fungal Infections - your lenses have them !

All your lenses are infected ! But don't worry

I was reading up on this as I'm looking at M42 lenses, I thought this excerpt might prove interesting (especially as for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) we are approaching the most active seasons for fungal growth :-

The fact that the spores are so invasive has led many to assume that this is an indication of their infectious potential, and many lens repairers will have nothing to do with infected lenses lest the spores they carry infect other lenses in their workshop. This is probably a futile exercise unless they operate in 'clean room' conditions, as otherwise the workshop likely contains millions of fungal spores already. The reason that they are not already thick with fungus has more to do with moisture, or the lack of it, than the presence or otherwise, of fungal spores.

In effect, all lenses are probably already infected, and spreading of the infection from one lens to another is not the major cause of infestations. It's poor storage conditions that have to be avoided, so the the spores cannot germinate.

Avoiding Infection

As always prevention is better than cure.

What we now know about fungi, tells us that if we want to avoid fungal damage, we should keep our lenses clean and dry. So don't keep your lenses in your kit bag, or in the garage, and always dry bags and cases thoroughly if they have become damp. (From rain for example.) Clean the outside of your lenses regularly to remove dust deposits, and don't allow greasy deposits to remain on the lens surfaces should this occur.

Some photographers will tell you that they never clean their lenses unless absolutely necessary for fear of scratching the coatings. My own view is it's probably best not to get them dirty in the first place, and to check regularly to make sure that they are clean.

We should also keep them well away from possible sources of nutrients. This probably means that you shouldn't be keeping your sandwiches in the kit bag either. In fact the moisture from your sandwich would probably be enough to worry about in any case. Keep all kit bags and cases scrupulously clean.

It also tells us that attempting to keep fungal spores out of our lenses is probably a futile exercise. Given that there are plenty of places spores can get into most lenses, there is a very good chance that the lens body already contains sufficient spores just waiting for the right conditions.

Tests have demonstrated that almost any lens will begin to grow fungus within weeks (5 days in one instance!) of exposure to damp, dark, warm conditions. So avoid such conditions whenever possible.

The good news is that drying a lens out thoroughly, and keeping it dry will effectively stop the fungal growth in the majority of cases, and will prevent any spores from germinating.


Lenses can be protected from fungal infections by keeping them in dry clean conditions. The paranoia associated with fungal infection of lenses is largely unfounded, and most cases can be treated with a great degree of success. Spreading of fungal infection between lenses is not a major problem, and is very unlikely to be a cause of fungal infestation. There is usually no need to dispose of an affected lens.

Here's the link to the full article (I hope this is OK to post) !

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Old Apr 7, 2010, 2:08 PM   #2
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Some good points. I don't personally worry much about fungus since I live were the humidity isn't much - at the edge of a desert and high elevation. I worry more about dust because a fine coating can really affect the sharpness of a picture. Now if I lived where Big Dawg did, I'd be really concerned.
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