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Avoiding fungus to grow

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by RSilva, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    I live in Portugal were the weather is really nice but when it rains moisture can be a big problem since rarely temperatures go below 10º.
    So I decide to take some action to protect my gear after reading a lot from the internet and would like to share with you my findings.

    Photo equipment is sold with small bags of silica gel to absorve any moisture that gets inside the box. This prevents rust and fungus. Fungus spores in particular are everywhere but need the humidity to grow. So, avoiding moisture will avoid fungus.

    This is how a silica bag looks:
    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/100s    ISO 400
    • Like Like x 2
  2. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    Because silica bags are hard to find and are sold for a lot of money I found a replacement:
    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/160s    ISO 400

    This bag contains about 1.8kg of pure silica gel and just cost me 5eur!

    I placed the grains in the bottom of a drawer:
    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/50s    ISO 400

    And then placed a cardboard on top to prevent the grains from moving around.

    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/15s    ISO 400

    I left a window in a corner to keep an eye on the color of the silica gel.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    With some black K-line I made a base to place my lens:
    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/15s    ISO 400
    • Like Like x 2
  4. dpj

    dpj Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2011
    I am lucky to work for British Telecoms, we use Silica bags to keep out damp in our comms cabinets, so i just grab a few every now and again to keep up my supply. I have quite a large one in my rucksack, in the very bottom, for when i have my gear in there and i am out on my bike. I use an internal dry bag from an old Rip Curl surf rucksack to put my gear in, this velcro closes at the top and is completely waterproof. These two things together have seen me good so far.
  5. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    Finally the drawer will look like this:

    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/15s    ISO 400

    Fully saturated grains will turn yellow and must be replaced.

    E-P1    OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8    45mm    f/1.8    1/1000s    ISO 400
    • Like Like x 9
  6. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    Excellent idea. Very, very professional.

    I buy the large bags of silica gel and put the crystals in small paper bags which have one side transparent. These small bags are then randomly distributed through my photo equipment.

    I have only had one problem with fungus, and that was a Yashicamat 124G which I hadn't protected with silica gel.
  7. LVL8hacker

    LVL8hacker Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Larry Anderson
    Thats a nice little group of lenses you have there. Mind sharing whats in the box?
  8. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Super cool execution and the kitty litter is a great cost saving idea. I have a spare pelican case that I may try to retrofit for this...
  9. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Long known in the chemical industry:
    Caution! Causes respiratory tract irritation. Maycause skin irritation. May cause eye irritation. May cause digestivetract irritation. Target Organs: Lungs.
    Be careful!

    Some medical device manufacturers that use this compound to protect the products that they make have specially-trained HAZMAT teams ready for deployment to contain spillage.

    A common fallacy is that small quantities and handling it for very brief periods will not do much if any harm. Think otherwise.
    Another common position is the opinion from those that have handled this material "for years" and have not had any problems.
  10. ike6283

    ike6283 New to Mu-43

    Aug 25, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    Has anyone had any experience with using UV-C sanitizers to kill and/or prevent spores and mold in lenses? I enjoy experimenting with legacy glass and I have desiccants (silica) among my many lenses; however, it seems like mold/fungus is an ever present concern with older lenses.
  11. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    Inhaling any sort of fine dust is dangerous to your health.

    Silica sand is available in craft stores for drying flowers, but there are not in a fine powered form, it's granular.
  12. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    When I lived in Japan, there were commonly sold anti-mold dessicant kits that you would put in your closets. I'm sure they also used silica gel.

    Luckily, I live in a very dry area now and this isn't really a problem for me.
  13. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    NZ gets pretty high humidy. I just use a couple of pots of Damprid (seem to last about 6 months and collect a surprising amount of moisture) and recently installed an HRV to help with air-circulation and heat re-distribution.
  14. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    That is something I would like to test to both kill the spores and remove the yellowing from the lens.
    I am only afraid that the UV light might deteriorate the black paint of the barrel but I will test it with a cheap lens.
  15. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    The lens I have are the ones I have listed on my signature (see bottom).
    Actually, it´s 3 boxes :biggrin:
  16. Reuseable

    The silica gel granular can be recharged. Have been using them for years to protect wood carving tools. Just don't try to microwave the packets. Speaking from experience a stupid move. The tyvek like material of the packets develop little burn holes. Toaster oven works much better. A while back I checked on the internet for the "correct" method. Guess I have been doing it the wrong way. ~250*F in a convection toaster oven for ~30 minutes. I place the granular in a pie pan. Seems to work.

    In the USA check out your local pharmacy. Every bottle of pills comes with at least one packet. You may be able to score a load of desiccant packs for free. Over time it adds up to a significant amount of garbage. Everyone comes out ahead for a minimal effort to recycle.

    UV-C doesn't really kill bacteria, virus and probably mold. It basically screws up the the DNA/RNA of the critters preventing them from replicating. Not sure if it would clean up fungus infected lens. You would still have the dead (from old age) buggers inside the lens.
  17. LVL8hacker

    LVL8hacker Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Larry Anderson
    Nice!..if you ever what to get rid og that 85mm f1/8 let me know :redface:
  18. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    I have two 1.8/85 :rolleyes: 
  19. 43hk

    43hk Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2010
    Being a HKer, humidity is a big issue. With temperatures exceeding 33 Degrees and 95% RH, gear, shoes, clothes, computers etc can get the fungus really quickly.

    Have dealt with this in two ways.

    1) Dehumidifiers which keep the apartment at about 60 or below and prevent condensing. This proves better long term and cheaper than AC.

    2) Dry box, basically a large sandwich box with a silica gel bag in the bottom and a hydrometer positioned in it facing out.

    So far this has worked well.
  20. row1x

    row1x New to Mu-43

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rockford, IL
    Another source of Materials

    I wear hearing aids and I frequently use a jar to put them in that has round silica balls. Some of them are colored blue which turn white when they have absorbed too much moisture. I then put them in a glass bowl which is placed in the oven to dry out. I think taking a dry box that has a weather tight seal would reduce the frequency of drying the balls out.

    I hope I havent repeated too much of everyone's elses post.

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