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Fungus - Am I protecting my gears correctly?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by rossi46, May 21, 2012.

  1. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    Hallo everyone once again after a long absence...

    I have a GX1 body, kit lense, 14mm and 20mm lense.
    I live in Malaysia (South East Asia) country which is very hot and humid (humidity range of 70RH to 80RH).

    If anyone has good knowledge of lense protection, please help advise me if I am doing it correctly.

    Initially, I bought an transparent air-tight container, put in silica gels (it is not banned here) and place a cheap thermohygrometer into the air-tight container to monitor the RH level.
    When the silica gel was new, it works well, easily a low 40RH, but after awhile it becomes high up to 60RH. And I have to monitor it all the time.

    Instead of replacing the silica gel, I am using a new method.
    My camera is always in my bedroom, and every night I switch on the air-condition from about 9pm to 2am (set timer) because weather is so hot here.
    When I measured the humidity level when air cond is switched on, it is usually low 40 RH.
    So what I do now is switch on the air-cond till it is quite cold and low humidity with the air tight container opened, then place my gears and themohygrometer into the air-tight container and close it. In the next day, when it is and air-cond is switched off, I see that the temperature in the air-tight container increases as well, but humidity maintains the same.

    I thought this is much better and cheaper method than using silica gels.
    I thought it is more reliable as well than silica gels,...when air-cond is working, when we are in the room,...we are guranteed to know that the humidity will be low....whereas with silica gel, we have to look at the color of the gel,...and rely 100% on the themohygrometer readings,...which is risky.

    Anyway,..I am using a cheap thermohygrometer (about USD 13 purchase),...which I am sure will not be accurate and not totally reliable.
    But I do often check its functionality by taking it out of the air-cond room to ambient area (vice versa),...as long as I see a logical increase or decrease
    in RH readings,...then I know it is still functioning,...even though it may not give a very accurate readings.

    But I have a few questions / concerns, this is where I hope you guys can advise me -

    1. Will my lense and camera suffer from condensation, going from cold to hot and cold everyday in my bedroom?
    - Or it doesn't matter because with air-cond switched off with camera still in the room,....the temperature is dropping very gradually, thus no risk of condensation....?
    Water Condensation happens only when there is sudden change of temperature of object vs. environmental temperature,...such as taking out the camera from cold room suddenly to outside hot sun?

    - Having my gears kept in air-tight container,....with the gradual decrease of temperature after air cond is switched off,....there should not be condensation because the humidity is very low inside the container??
  2. hanzo

    hanzo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 22, 2010
    My advise..
    Just buy a dry cabinet.. its _much_ more convenient.. and worry-free
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    The easiest way to keep your lenses fungus free is simply to use them. Even in the tropics fungus requires both dampness and darkness. As long as light travels through the lens on a regular basis you'll be fine. And modern coatings are less attractive than the older types. If you're not using your lenses just place them on a window sill with good ventilation (an electric fan is fine) and leave the front and rear lens caps off so light gets through the lens from front to back.

    In a sealed container rice (in a sock to keep the dust low) works just as well as commercial desiccants.

  4. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Silica gel doesn't get old. Heat it in an oven, pan, or microwave (if not metal encased).

    FYI:There is an inverse relationship between temperature and RH. As temperature rises the RH decreases.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012

    In tropics like in Malaysia, the temperature is high and humidity is high,...i think it is normally around 70RH or more outdoor.

    Air Condition is a good method of controlling humidity,. I dont know how it works, but when you look at the air condition unit compressor attached outside the room,...there is water dripping out.

    I work in warehousem, Air Conditioning is a normal method used for humidity control,...and those parts that needs low humidity is stored in air-conditioning storage area.
  6. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012

    The reason I am going with my air-condition room method is this -

    - with or without having cameras,...I am switching on the air-cond every night without fail because weather is so hot here.

    I have 3 different rooms in my house with air cond,...so I dont have to worry about air-cond not working

    - secondly,...when the air-cond is switched on,....and it is cold,...I know the air-cond is working,...which means that I know that the humidity is low.
    Even if my cheap thermohygrometer fails, I am still assured that humidity is low when air cond is switched on.

    - Thirdly, using air-tight containers,...with air-cond switched on and once the humidity is low,..I just need to close the container and the humidity stays the same for many days.
  7. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    I live in Hong Kong where it is just as, if not more humid than Malaysia. I used to store my gear in the same way and ended up with fungus on all six of my lenses for my Canon and Nikon Film gear as well as in the mirror and viewfinder of my Nikon FM.

    When i realized what was causing it, I changed to reusable desiccant packs which helped maintain the low humidity, I would use them in batches allowing one to dry up while the others were placed in the drybox with my gear. I still had to monitor the box humidiy and not leave them open for a long time when taking things out which was a hassle. Eventually I invested in an electronic drybox which fits all my gear and it's so much easier. I would suggest you do the same. Long term it is better and more convenient, I also use mine to store cigars and vitamin bottles. You can always sell it together with your gear if you decide to drop photography in the future.

    I saw at least one store at Low Yat last time I was in KL, also one store in Times square (ground floor)had them.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    Hi meth,
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    You mean to say that you have been storing your gears in air conditioned room in air tight container and has fungus? This scares me.

    I have mine using this new method for 2 weeks,.... Scared to death now.... I need to use torch light shining through the lens to check for fungus.

    I dont understand why with air conditioned low humidity will still have fungus infecting lens. My only guess is that dry box works better is because the dry air ventilation dries the whole lens and the inner part... While in air cond room, room is dry, but inner part of lens may still be moist.
  9. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    I kept mine in an airtight drybox but not in an aircond room. If you are keeping it in an airconditioned room with low humidity for most of the day or night, it should be enough to discourage fungus growth. The reason my gear had growth in the drybox was because I packed it in my living room under normal HK conditions with the humidity levels very high so the air inside the drybox was high in humidity. For long time storage in the drybox, do it in a room with low humidity so the air trapped in the box will also be low humidity, once it's sealed it's best to keep it in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

    I asked the same question on Photo.net ages ago and was given better and more detailed explanations than I'm cable of answering. I'll see if I can find my old post.

    Btw, I just saw your nickmame and as a fellow VR46 fan I'm happy to see The Doctor back on the podium again!
  10. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    drybox cabinet is the way to go. one of the best camera related purchase i made, no regrets.
  11. Brownian

    Brownian Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    I store my lenses in Pelican cases, which are fairly rugged and quite airtight.

    Inside the Pelican cases I keep sachets of silica gel, which is a dessicant that absorbs moisture from the air. I regularly put the silica gel sachets in a fan forced oven at about 70º C for a few hours to restore it's qualities.

    I live in Ireland, which although not as warm as most parts of Asia, also has high humidity year-round. I have a couple of lower quality lenses which have not been stored in any special way. They have all developed fungus/mold growths. None of lenses stored in the cases has developed any mold or fungus in 14 years.

    I was curious as to how effective my method was for reducing the humidity inside the cases. I happen to have a weather station which has a remote unit that is outside the house and which measures the temperature and humidity and transmits the readings to the base station. I put this unit in one of the cases and sealed it.

    Before going into the case I allowed it to settle to the room temperature and humidity so it's readings were the same as the base station.

    After being sealed in the case, the unit reported the humidity level dropping steadily until it reached 2-3% after some hours. it might have reached 0% if I had left it for long enough.

    No mold/fungus can grow at such low humidity levels
  12. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012

    Hey thanks for sharing your experience,...it seems that the most secured way is still to purchase a proper dry box.
    Let me try to look up the photo.net,...i am thinking of purchasing proper dry box this weekend.

    Oh yeah......the Doctor.....it had been way way too long since he got a decent result,...a rider of his calibre deserves much better...
    And what a way to get the podium, by beating Stoner.
    Well you know,...the Doctor getting verbal attacks all year round and last year must be damn hard for the fans to take,...and especially for Rossi himself. But he can't do much to respond to such attacks when his result had been poor.
    Lets just hope, this result will fire Rossi and Ducati forward,...a much needed result. Hope their new engine revision works.
    Been a Rossi fan since 1996, I can remember 95% of his victories in all classes,..and how it was won...
  13. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    I had read that there are 2 types of fungus,...the common type which grows at humidity above 70% RH,....and another type which grows at humidity below 20% RH. The best recommended RH seems to be around 40 to 45% RH.

    I had also read that some believe that with humidity too low, it will dry up the mechanical parts lubricants,...causing problems....
    While others say that most modern cameras are using some different synthetic lubricants for the mechanical parts which will not dry even at low RH level.
  14. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    I agree with crdome silica is the way to go. it's cheap, effective, and easy. Load a bottom of a drawer with silica, place a non organic material (organics like cardboard can grow fungus like flies on you know what) on top of silica beads, place lenses. Seperate affected lenses. Beads should be around $10us per pound. If you want to get fancy use indicating beads that will tell when they need to be replaced by turning color.
  15. billwright

    billwright New to Mu-43

    May 23, 2012
  16. Brownian

    Brownian Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    I miscalculated, it is 16 years now - no fungus, no other issues whatsoever. I'll take my chances. :wink:
  17. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    I forgot to mention that humidity levels should be kept around 45% to 55%. Below 45 is too dry. I had one Canon AE-1 which I put in a glad bag with a whole bunch of silica packs for long term storage and it was dried out when i checked it about a year later.

    Read through these posts, there is a lot more useful info here:

    How to store gear in tropical climate - Photo.net Leica and Rangefinders Forum

    My drybox isn't dry - Photo.net Accessories - Filters, Bags, Tripods Forum
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