How Much Does Fungus in a Lens Lower Its Value?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Vincent Peri, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I have a couple of lenses with fungus in them. Apparently, I bought them that way on eBay. I checked my other (many) lenses and found no fungus.

    One is a Nikkor 105 f/2.5 AIS (manual focus). When I got it, I gave it a cursory glance at the lens elements because the lens was in perfect condition otherwise. By the time I finally gave the lens elements a better look, it was much too late to try to return it.

    The other is a Nikkor 25-50 f/4 AIS MF lens. I did give this one a good look when I bought it, but didn't see anything on the elements. However, I was getting ready to use it and looked again at the elements. They were clear as far as I could see. However, the lens shifted while I was looking through it and on the FAR edge of one of the elements, I saw the small patch of fungus. RATS!

    I did some searching online, and I called APS (Authorized Photo Service) and they quoted me $145 to clean out the 25-50 lens. Since I only spent $220 for the lens, I passed.

    Anyhow, I was wondering just how much these 2 lenses could be expected to be sold for?

    Thanks for reading this.
  2. You know PP has extended its warranty time?

    To answer your question: much.
    I would not buy a fungus infested lens at all. I have some, but they came to me the way you got yours, by fraudulous sellers or by my own lazyness to look better.
  3. Happened to me once - purchased an FA/MD-15 with 50-135 lens on ebay (wanted the camera but not the lens); listed the lens once I received it without giving it even a cursory inspection, sold it, and upon preparing the shipment realized that the lens was full of fungus. Refunded the purchase price to the buyer and listed the lens again, describing its condition. Someone with experience in cleaning fungus and the willingness to give it a try bought it and later told me it cleaned up fine. So my advice: list it as an auction on ebay and see what you can get for it. IIRC, then I got about 1/4 of what the clean lens would have sold for.
  4. I would NOT buy a lens with fungus.
    I also do not have the skills to open up a lens to try to clean it out.
    I bought 2 enlarging lenses that arrived with fungus, and I got refund on both.
  5. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I have seen some pretty nice lenses with fungus sell online, and if it's not too bad (e.g., a few filaments around the edge of an element, described or shown by the seller) then it won't necessarily hurt the value that much. I've disassembled and removed fungus from quite a few lenses, and most of the time have been successful.

    If it's heavy fungus, and likely to have etched the lens coatings, then you can't really expect to get more than a "for parts or not working" price for it, though.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  6. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Would you be willing to remove the fungus in my lenses? If so, what would you charge? you can email me at

    kisatchie50@gmail. com


    Hmm... I'd be willing to pay
    42 bananas per lens...
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  7. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Sorry, but I'm not a professional repair person, and that's not a job I'd want to take on. :) The zoom lens in particular could be quite a complex task to disassemble.

    If the fungus is just behind the front or rear element, then that can often be an easy fix by removing the retaining ring with a spanner wrench. A vacuum pen is also helpful to remove the lens element.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  8. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Okay. If I had the proper tools, I'd try it myself.

    Hmm... I have a pipe wrench
    you could use...
  9. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Check on eBay--you should be able to buy a serviceable spanner wrench and vacuum pen for $12-$15 (for both).
  10. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Thanks Dave. I'm going to look on eBay now.
  11. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    You're welcome, and good luck. Micro-Tools is also a good supplier, though their prices are likely to be higher.
  12. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I looked at the spanner wrenches, but I didn't find any way to use it on the 105 2.5 AIS, so I looked online and found this tutorial on how to disassemble the lens:

    Tutorial: how to open and clean a Nikkor 105/2.5 AiS...

    It's vague in spots, but I think I can disassemble the lens if I can just find the right jeweler's screwdrives. The screwdrivers I have are at least 3 times too big :(
  13. Many Japanese lens manufacturers use JIS screws. They are very similar to Phillips screws but not quite the same and can be stripped with the wrong screwdriver. I've made that mistake and have since purchased a JIS screwdriver. Made a big difference.

    Good luck. I've managed to repair and clean a few lenses. Newer lenses can be a challenge since sometimes the elements a cemented in place. Older lenses usually aren't too bad.
  14. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I found some REALLY SMALL screwdrivers and ordered 3. I hope they work on the microscopic Nikon screws holding the front of the Nikkor 105 2.5 AIS lens on :)
  15. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I received the Jewelers" screwdrivers I ordered. I found the .040" width one works. Using this tutorial:

    Tutorial: how to open and clean a Nikkor 105/2.5 AiS...

    I was able to disassemble the lens. Once I got the 3 screws holding the front of the Nikkor 105 f2.5 AIS lens on, everything else hand-unscrews. No other tools needed.

    I cleaned off the affected lens element and had to fiddle around with the lens for about 5 minutes trying to get the aperture blades to start working again, but I managed to get the inside lever(?) aligned with the aperture ring and screwed the assembly back together.

    I screwed back the other two assemblies together and then tried to get the MICROSCOPIC 3 screws back in to hold the front of the lens together. Two of them screwed in easily enough once I could get the heads upright in the holes. The third screw was a problem. I got it in the hole, but it was slightly askew and screwed in part of the way at an angle. I finally got it unscrewed and reset almost properly, but it wouldn't screw down all the way. I estimate the head is sticking up about 1/10 of a millimeter. Close enough! I'm happy.

    I figure 3 and 9/10 miracles were involved. First was getting the lens apart. the second and 3rd were getting the first 2 screws back in. The last 9/10 miracle was getting the off center screw back in so only 1/10mm was sticking up.

    Anyone want to buy a Nikkor 105 f/2.5 AIS lens? LOL
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    bertliang likes this.
  16. All I can say is "Good on 'ya"

    My lens disassembly/assembly experience has been largely linked to Meyer Domiplans. Since they fail repeatedly, I became something like Ralphie's Old Man (in replacing fuses, in his case):

  17. I describe those microscopic set-screws they use on the front ring of old lenses as "gnat's eyelashes."
  18. Glad to read you were able to successfully clean your 105. Now, how do you feel about that zoom? Feeling brave? From your description, however, it sounds as if there's such a small trace of fungus, I wouldn't bother. Keep in mind that fungus hates sunlight. So you can probably kill it by just leaving the lens out in the sun for a spell.

    Incidentally, over the years, I have bought several lenses with fungus. What usually happens is I get a great deal on the lens because of the fungus, and then I can usually clean it off without a lot of effort, so I've wound up with a clean lens for cheap.

    Last time I did this was with a Tamron 300mm f/2.8 -- a BIG lens with a BIG front element. I got it for about half what they usually sell for because it had traces of fungus on the inside of the front element. When I got it in my hands, careful examination revealed it was indeed just traces of fungus. Negligible amounts really. Nonetheless, all it took was a lens spanner to remove that big front element and a bit of cleaning of its interior face to remove the fungus. Very simple job with the right tools. For fungus cleaning in general, though, I would emphasize the "right tools." Sounds like you've pretty much gotten that taken care of, except for the spanner. And if you're gonna do any more lens repairs, you're gonna need a good spanner.

    Years ago, I took a camera repair class being offered at a local community college. The instructor was a curmudgeonly old type who explained to us that the screws used in cameras were not phillips but "cross point," and that "cross point" screwdrivers were what one needed. Fortunately, the screwdrivers that come in these ubiquitous Jewelers Screwdrivers sets are almost always cross point screwdrivers, so those will work. In a pinch, you can grind down the point of a phillips screwdriver, and it will most likely work ok. But cross points, aka JIS, are best.
  19. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Nope :)
  20. The grub screws used to lock the front of that lens are pretty normal. Nothing microscopic about them.

    Sometimes it's of benefit to have a slightly magnetised screwdriver. It keeps the screws in place while you position them. Another trick is to use a tiny blob of Blu-tak to hold the screws onto the driver until they're started in the hole.

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