Help diagnosing what this is on my lens?

fadingphoenix

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Dec 27, 2013
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I purchased a Rokinon 7.5mm from Ebay. One of it's lens cap tabs was stated as being busted but the cap was still supposed to work with the remaining tab. Well...the seller didn't do much to secure the cap during shipping, and the other tab broke as well before it reached me. The loose pieces fell inside the cap and spent their time banging around against the front element of the lens. Images are below, and as you can see the lens was dusty, with some scuffs and such from the plastic pieces. Then I spotted something else and my heart stopped. My thought was mold, and...it still looks weird to me for it to just be a scuff or a smudge; But after taking some pictures of it, I attempted to clean the lens. After blowing the dust away with a rocket and brushing over it with the brush end of a lenspen I ran a lens tissue over the front element. The spot wiped right off. Was it just nothing? I've never seen any examples of mold growing on the outside of a lens, I've only ever heard of it growing inside. I sent a message to the seller about the lens cap, but I didn't mention this; partly because other than these close up images I don't have any evidence, and because I wanted to get an opinion on whether it was anything or not.

The First image isn't quite, but the third should be a 1:1 macro of the spot.
View attachment 363701

Crop from above
View attachment 363702

To show the haze around the spot
View attachment 363703
 

tjdean01

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Feb 20, 2013
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Sounds like the guy who sold it to you is a huge liar! He probably sold the lens because he knew of the issues. I hope you didn't pay more than $90 for it.
 

fadingphoenix

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Well, in fairness it doesn't seem he lied about the lens cap. He merely didn't secure it and the second tab broke during shipping. I can't imagine how he wouldn't have seen this spot though, it was right on the front element, and I can't imagine that fungus would have taken hold like that between the time he shipped it an it reached me. I sent him a second message explaining and included a link to this thread so he could see the images. I've still just never seen an incident reported of fungus on the exterior of the front element, every case I've seen online has been inside of the lens.
 

EarthQuake

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Sep 30, 2013
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Yeah this is indeed fungus. File a not as described claim if he refuses to take it back.

I've seen fungus grow on the exterior of many a lens element. It doesn't necessarily mean that it will grow internally as well (plenty of UV light, and storing in a well ventilated, climate controlled low humidity environment will kill/prevent further fungus growth, most likely), but the risk of it happening is much higher. I wouldn't keep this lens unless you can get a significant partial refund back for it.

As far as proof, you have the photo above, which is plenty of proof in terms of winning an eBay case.
 

orfeo

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That is what cheap lens are about... Most rave about them telling yeah you idiot why pay for top dollars lens!?
Well cheap lens come with poor QC for one reason duh...
 

EarthQuake

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That is what cheap lens are about... Most rave about them telling yeah you idiot why pay for top dollars lens!?
Well cheap lens come with poor QC for one reason duh...
Fungus has nothing to do with quality of the lens, only the conditions in which it were stored (hot, humid, and dark, generally).

The lens cap issue seems like the original owner simply kept poor care of the item, and then packed it poorly as well. I own the same lens and the lens cap isn't any worse built than various other caps that came with much more expensive lenses.
 

HarryS

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Looks like the crap I just wiped off my 9-18 zoom this morning. Made for a dark spot on some of my pix and I thought it was dust on sensor, but was some spatter on the front element. I had just come back form a bike ride, shooting from the seat, storing lens in pocket. Rough handling, I know. No lens changes while pedaling though.

If seller had even packed lens in old newspaper, cannot see the tab breaking off a Rokinon. Had mine in my other pocket.
 

Ricoh

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Fungi need nutrients, so in a sense I can more easily understand external growth. Internal, I'm not sure; well I'm not sure on any of this, biology isn't my subject.
What I am sure I would do is return expecting full refund, including postage.
 

jnewell

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IIRC, fungus is "contagious." In other words, it can spread from the affected lens to others. I would triple bag the thing and get it well away from your photo equipment. I would also return it to the seller ASAP.
 

fadingphoenix

Mu-43 Regular
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Dec 27, 2013
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Yeah, aside from one day when I slipped it in my bag to try it while out and about, I kept the lens quarantined.

I want to thank everyone for the input. The seller responded to me on the weekend and I shipped the lens back today. First time I've ever had to raise an issue on Ebay.
 

fortwodriver

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Fungus will very quickly consume most modern coatings if left to sit on the lens. This actually looked more like human snot to me...as if someone handling the lens sneezed and well, spattered across the lens surface. The trick was that you were able to wipe it off and see no change in the iridescence on the surface.

Either way, good idea sending it back - sounds like that lens got tossed around quite a bit. It's anyone's guess what else inside the lens may have been loose, rattly, or out of spec.
 

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