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HOW TO PROTECT THE CAMERA AND THE LENS FROM DAMAGE TO THE FUNGAL

A fungus is a living, growing microorganism; it is a combination of dust and moisture that enters the internal elements of the camera lens. Dust itself usually does not cause problems, but if this dust contains spores of the fungus and combines with moisture, the fungus will grow. Left unchecked, fungal growth can permanently damage glass elements in the lenses. This type of mold is most common in humid climates. It may look like small cobweb-like spots or spots inside the lens. Often the damage that it causes is minor, but the uncontrolled growth of fungi can ruin the lens.

How to protect the camera and lens from damage by fungus

There are two types of fungus. One type grows in an oxygen-rich environment, the other, which is more problematic for photographers, grows in a small amount of oxygen. The second type is dangerous because it produces liquid acid. This acid destroys the lens and causes etching of the fungus as it grows on the lens coatings.

How to protect the camera and lens from damage by fungus

Another problem for lenses is mold, which likes to grow in an environment with a relative humidity of more than 60%. As soon as the mold hits the lens cover, irreparable damage can already be done. Once this damage is discovered, dismantling and cleaning the lens and its optical elements can repair the damage if an indelible mark has not been left on the coating.

How to protect the camera and lens from damage by fungus

Good lenses are usually very expensive, so it makes sense to take steps to protect them. This is especially important if the lens is used / stored in high humidity. A good first step is to buy a moisture meter. You may be surprised to find out how humid the place where you store your photographic equipment is.

Thus, fungal spores germinate under suitable environmental conditions:

relative humidity of at least 70% for more than 3 days;
little or no airflow;
darkness;
the presence of nutrients on the surface of the lens (textile pile, traces of grease, varnish, dust and dirt).
How to protect the camera and lens from damage by fungus

Cleaning the outside of the lens elements from the fungus can be relatively easy. However, you need to catch a moment before things get out of hand. Mold growth on the internal elements of the lens is more difficult to detect, and a qualified specialist is required to remove it. The lens needs to be removed, cleaned and then restored – this is an expensive process.

Of course, preventing the growth of fungi on the lens is much preferable to removing mold that has already appeared. The fungus can permanently damage the lens because it eats up glass. After cleaning, the grooves remain in the lens, and they affect how the light is refracted.

Methods for the prevention of fungus in the lens

Proper camera care is always a good practice. Well maintained equipment will last longer and retain a higher resale value. Here are some ideas to help you avoid the problem of fungal growth in your lenses.

Clean your lens often
Many photographers tend to clean only the front of their lenses or filters that are screwed on to cover them.

Wipe the entire lens thoroughly with a damp microfiber cloth after using it. Especially if you took pictures in hot and humid climates. The atmosphere and sweat from your hands can affect the lens.

Using a microfiber cloth helps to prevent unwanted pile deposits on the lens. After you wipe the lens with a damp cloth, take a dry one with you to wipe it again. Using a hair dryer at a low temperature will also help evaporate moisture from the lens. Do not leave the lens in the sun to dry. This may cause other problems.

Store lenses in a dry silica gel box
Keep lenses in a sealed box. Of course, leaving all your equipment in the camera bag is convenient, but there it will be exposed to moisture.

How to protect the camera and lens from damage by fungus

Silica gel will help absorb any residual moisture in the box. Small silica gel sachets are often found in consumer products, but this amount is not enough to be significant.

Silica gel is better to buy separately in a store or online, in large quantities. It is convenient to use a type of gel that can be used more than once. After absorbing moisture, it changes color from blue to orange. Then it can be dried by placing in the microwave for several minutes at medium power.

A silica gel cup placed in an old or stray sock with no knot tied to it will help keep your equipment dry in a box. Make sure there are no holes in the toe.

For careful storage of lenses, food storage boxes with good seals will be useful.

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