Highly effective method to prevent lens fungus

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mrmekon

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I'm not sure if this belongs in the "Camera Repairs & Modification" or "Ethics" subforum 🙃

Today I was poking around the scholarly corners of the internet looking for any interesting lessons on preventing fungal growth in camera lenses, and stumbled across a small research paper on just that topic by the U.S. Army. They demonstrated excellent success! Apparently, they've been sitting on this knowledge since 1946, but I've never seen anyone mention it in a camera forum.

So, tip of the day: coating the inside of your telescopes, binoculars, and camera lenses with radium is apparently an extremely effective and long-lasting fungal prevention method!

In addition to great anti-fungal properties, they point out that radium "is relatively easy and safe to handle," and, since it lasts for literally millennia, you can transfer it to new lenses when retiring your old ones! I wonder if the binoculars also keep your eyes warm on cold winter nights?

They decided against trying uranium, after finding it less effective against fungal growth. It's that tasty, highly-absorbable alpha radiation that fungus craves, and uranium just doesn't have enough punch.

They did note that Panatomic X film showed a "halo" when stored in the vicinity of such a lens for too long, but claimed the photographs were unaffected if shot in a reasonable amount of time. I guess the author presumes no real photographer would leave film in a camera for 30 days... and that's why this is in the "ethics" subforum!

The paper is "Preventing the Fungus Fouling of Optical Instruments." by Richard E. Vicklund (https://doi.org/10.1021/ie50440a011). I'm afraid it's not freely available, but I'm sure your local SCIence-HUB would let you...RUmmage around in their library, and maybe find a free copy? (<-- this is also why it's in the "ethics" subforum)
 

Sirius Glass

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Put the lens with to aperture completely open in direct sunshine in a window for several days or weeks.
 

Don Heisz

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Put the lens with to aperture completely open in direct sunshine in a window for several days or weeks.

Is that to make it radioactive or to reduce its radioactivity?

I.e., did you read anything other than the title of the post?

@mrmekon -- funny find. Not surprising. But funny.
 

ic-racer

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Put the lens with to aperture completely open in direct sunshine in a window for several days or weeks.

That is foolish when you could put radioactivity to work for you in the comfort of your home, any time of the day or night! No more birds pooping on the lens!
 
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mrmekon

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Put the lens with to aperture completely open in direct sunshine in a window for several days or weeks.
I.e., did you read anything other than the title of the post?

Heh, I didn't want to say it. But @Sirius Glass, your comment is actually what I was searching for in the first place; leaving lenses in the sun is the standard recommendation, but has anybody actually studied whether it works? Apparently not... glass fungus is not a hot topic for formal research.

The research on just UV interaction with fungus is... complicated. Some fungus dies, some is "suspended", and some thrives.

But nothing survives alpha radiation bombardment 😄
 

Sirius Glass

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That is foolish when you could put radioactivity to work for you in the comfort of your home, any time of the day or night! No more birds pooping on the lens!

UV light has nothing to do with radioactivity. You should know better than that.
 

Sirius Glass

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Is that to make it radioactive or to reduce its radioactivity?

I.e., did you read anything other than the title of the post?

@mrmekon -- funny find. Not surprising. But funny.


UV light has nothing to do with radioactivity. You should know better than that.
 

ic-racer

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UV light has nothing to do with radioactivity. You should know better than that.

Exactly. This is a thread about fun things to do with radioactivity🤣 Who mentioned UV?


gilbert-atomic-open.jpg
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momus

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UV will kill fungus, but it will still be in the lens. It basically checks it's growth though. Some lenses are prone to fungus no matter what. The Leica R Summicrons often have fungus and/or haze. Getting one cleaned would cost more than buying the lens, pretty sure you need specialized tools to get them apart, and not everyone will do the work.
 

mshchem

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Simply keeping it dry will prevent fungi. Dry boxes with silica gel works. Sunlight is great just be careful not to start your camera on fire 😀
 

AgX

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Exactly. This is a thread about fun things to do with radioactivity🤣 Who mentioned UV?


View attachment 321366

Sad enough even as Apugger I am too YOUNG to still have enjoyed this experimental kit. I was already spoiled by the anti-nuclear bombs and anti-atomic power movement...


But in the first half of the 20th century Radium was en vogue.
 

jay moussy

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"Polonium 210"

Ah, why does this feels familiar?

Also: Lens is the sun is great, like, outside on the deck, and then you get busy with the day and forget about it, and it rains all night. Olympus lenses are tough but they don't float!😮
 

guangong

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Some lenses are especially prone to fungus, such as those made by Leitz because of their choice of cement used to bond elements. Others, such as Nikon and Zeiss seem to be more resistant. I myself have never encountered a Nikon lens with fungus. I use sunlight and silica canisters to prevent fungus. But even with Leitz lenses, storage conditions are the primary reason for fungus. None of my Leitz lenses have fungus.
There are also lenses made by Canon that have a tendency for haze, but again storage is probably a major factor.
 
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mrmekon

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So why do the lenses in my clean, dry, cool closet grow fungus while Nikonos lenses that were literally thrown in the ocean remain nice and clean? Should I rinse my Rodenstocks in seawater every once in a while?
 

Don Heisz

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So why do the lenses in my clean, dry, cool closet grow fungus while Nikonos lenses that were literally thrown in the ocean remain nice and clean? Should I rinse my Rodenstocks in seawater every once in a while?

You obviously store your radium in a different closet.
 

Sirius Glass

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What is the proper technical term for a janitor in Chernobyl?





Mop and Glow​
 
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