Mamiya TLR lens fungus

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by nigel_sinkins, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. hi there
    i have a couple of mamiya 330's with two 80 mm lenes and one 55 mm lens both of the later blue dot type. i have just noticed that the lens's all have quite a bit of fungus on them. they did have fungus before and seemed to work ok but it has got increasingly worse since i moved to a damper enviroment. So i wondered if anyone out there has any experience or solution to this predicament. As ive said thety had fungus before and seemed to work ok but without something to compare them to i have no way of knowing if the pictures they now produce will have been affected by their deterioration. i have been told that the lens's can be cleaned professionally but this detracts from their performace as it damages the coating on the lens's. any advice will be greatly recieved.
  2. Decisions...decisions?
    As with all fungus issues, taking action sooner rather than later is a priority.
    If you think you're up to the task, try a DIY cleaning of the disassembled elements with Ponds cold cream.
    (It's an Olympus Camera, factory service center, recommended solution).
    If you need a camera technician to perform the work, especially on the 80mm lenses, it may be cheaper to acquire replacements on the used market. The 80mm's were the most produced lenses for the Mamiya C-series TLR'S
    The 55mm is probably worth a pro servicing.
    All comments above are predicated/dependent on the clarity of the glass, and the accurate functioning of the shutters.
    The fungus won't go away on it's own. A few days/weeks sitting in some sunshine may retard/kill the fungus,
    but whatever damage has occurred, you won't know the full extent until you or a technician has opened-up the lenses.
    See link
  3. Marc - that is a wonderful image - if wonderful is the right word.
    It reminds me of an event three or four years ago. A dealer was selling off, very cheaply, all his new darkroom equipment. I ordered a top quality enlarging lens. It arrived in the original box and bubble.
    However, the lens was absolutely full - and I mean full - of whiskers. I phoned the dealer. He said he was sorry. They should have checked the lens before despatch: they had several others and would send me a good one. I asked how the lens could have got in that state. The response was was it had been stored in a damp cellar.
    A new lens was sent and it was fine. I was told to throw the old one away. However, I stripped it down and cleaned-out the whiskers. The amazing thing was that the glass itself was totally unaffected, and there was no regrowth.
    I can only assume that there is fungus - and there is different fungus!
  4. Nigel & Mervyn, Wonderful...In an Invasion of the Body Snatchers kind of way!<grin>
    A great example of the need for early intervention. Also, when cleaning the glass elements of a lens, the whole inside of the barrel must be cleaned with Ponds, too, or the condition will return.
    Nigel, since you have two 80mm's, you may wish to get some retaining flange wrenches;
    disassemble the 80mm lens that's in the worst condition. What have you got to lose?
    Just take careful notes during dis-assembly, lay everything out in the order and orientation it's removed,
    clean and re-assemble in the same order.
    Beware, there are often thin shims under/between elements. Keep those in their proper order, too.
    If you have a digital camera or a cell phone camera, take step-by-step images along the way.
    Go easy with how much torque is applied during re-assembly.
    You're tightening down on glass...just until snug. You're not securing lug nuts on a truck wheel.
    Think...screwing a cap on a toothpaste tube, using only your thumb and pinky finger.
  5. I've seen references before to the use of Ponds for dealing with fungus. Do we know how/why it works?
    When I did the enlarger lens, after getting the gubbins out, I used copious amounts of 99.9% isopropyl alcohol. (I always keep a few litres for multifarious cleaning purposes). However, it is rather easier to do that with an enlarger lens than some others.
  6. Probably because it has just the right mix of Borax, Camphor, and maybe Vinegar(?) or other [very] mild acid compounds, (acne virus killers), all without any abrasive grit.
    Easily/readily available, safe for you and your lens, inexpensive, and best of works.
    Borax and some of the mild acetic acid compounds kill molds. Camphor prevents corrosion, I think, by off-gassing anti corrosion properties, (which I don't understand). I don't think it's a moisture absorbing process.
    Sort of akin/similar to putting camphor bars or moth balls in a tool chest to prevent rust.
    Hopefully this thread won't turn into a long winded argument between Arm & Hammer and Dr. Scholls.
  7. The best and most readily available mould and fungus killer is household bleach or baby-bottle steriliser solution. Both should contain sodium hypochlorite or a similar derivative, but check the label for the active ingredient. This chemical, I suggest, is far more effective at killing fungus than a mild hand-cream ever could be. Neither sodium borate nor camphor are widely recognised fungicides, and vinegar is actually a product of fungal action! Plus the greasy oil and wax base of the hand-cream will be hard to fully remove from a glass surface.
    Baby bottle steriliser and bleach are specifically formulated as biocides and fungicides, while hand cream plainly isn't! However, beware of using so-called "thick bleach", since this sometimes contains sodium hydroxide, which you definitely don't want near your lenses, and little, if any sodium hypochlorite.
    You can apply the bleach with a lens tissue, or simply dunk the lens elements in the solution for a short while. I've used this method to remove and kill fungus from several old lenses with no sign of damage to the lens or coating, but prolonged immersion in the solution may begin to corrode an aluminium mounting. A rinse or wipe with softened or distilled water should be used after the bleach anyway.
    After treating the fungus, you might want to consider removing the lenses from proximity to leather. I've noticed over the years that cameras and lenses kept in leather or canvas cases seem far more prone to fungus than those kept in man-made fabrics or materials.
    PS. Remind me never to send a lens to Olympus factory service centre for fungus removal!
  8. The issue of fungus and leather is 'interesting'. I've seen it mentioned before.
    I keep my Hasselblads in genuine Reporter cases, which are, of course, leather, but they haven't been there very long. I think Rollei made 'tropical cases' which, I assume were to deal with humidity issues and possible fungus. I haven't seen anything of that sort in an Hasselblad list, so did Hasselblad think that was an issue?
    I bought my first camera in 1958. It hasn't been used since the 1970s. All that time it has been in a leather erc. I looked at it a couple of years ago. There was no sign of fungus. I also have my father's pre-war Voigtlander (?spelling). It has always been in a leather case: no fungus. Most of my Nikons were kept in leather ercs: no fungus. That said, it may be our domestic environment is not fungus prone, but I can see the argument that it is better to be safe than sorry.
    Have there been any 'official' pronouncements about these risks, eg Rollei and the tropical case?
  9. Mervyn,<br><br>Rollei did have a metal case, yes.<br>So did Hasselblad and many, many camera and case manufacturers. Just not in the shape of a metal ever-ready case. You do know those ubiquitous aluminium hard shell cases, i'm sure.<br><br>The best case to keep a lens or camera in, however, is no case at all. Air and light are your friend, containment (in no matter what type of case) is fungus' friend.
  10. Indeed, QG! I actually keep several uncased lenses on top of the piano. My wife doesn't really approve, but no one plays it, so I have to put it to some other use!
  11. I kept some lenses on shelves made out of particle board/chip board for a while. The lenses are quite o.k., and the formaldehyde the board exuded may have played a role in that.<br>I don't know the chemistry of it, so i'm not really sure it's possible, but i'm convinced it was also responsible for turning the hard rubber soles of a pair of shoes i also kept on those shelves into a crumbling mess.<br>After having taken the shoes out to have them resoled, i also took the lenses off those shelves (in fact, by replacing the shelves with wooden ones).<br>Still, could be a good thing to keep lenses free from micro-organisms, shelves outgassing formaldehyde...<br>But then again, could also make you horribly ill... So rather not.
  12. Let me go out on a limb an suggest the best way to put camera equipment into long-term storage is to treat the
    equipment as though it were food. Yes, that's right. Food storage procedures, such as vaccum-sealing and refrigeration,
    would lend itself well to arresting microbial growth in delicate equipment. Just remember to remove any batteries, toss in
    a dessicant, vacu-pak, and you're good-to-go. And yes: allow the equipment to return to room temperature before re-opening the package.
  13. On this and other forums there have been quite a few excursions into the fungus issue. What causes it? How do you treat it? How do you not get it in the first place?
    There are also many different and contradictory views.
    For example, it is said that once a lens gets fungus, it will quickly spread in that lens and probably to others in proximity. In fifty years I have never had a lens develop fungus, but I bought a Leica lens knowing that it had, and a Microcord (tlr) without noticing it at the time of purchase. In both cases, I've no doubt that it was fungus, albeit small in area. However, over a long period, the fungus did not noticeably increase. Why that should be, I have no idea. They were not treated.
    There are also accounts of lenses full of fungus being kept close to others, but no transfer whatever.
    I'm sure there are many factors that can bear on these matters: the climate in a tropical jungle and the Artic are very different, but there will be rather more subtle differences...
  14. hi there
    thanks for all your contributions and luckily i came across another post regading the same question with a suggestion that was very helpfull and suggested by Siu Fia Au.Who advised removing the front and rear cells of the lens (lens's), which can be done quite easily, though sometimes needs a little help from a grip wrench or something similar, which then allows the cleaning of the outer coating of the inner lens nearest the shutter blades. this i did using as suggested a thin solution of household bleach.It has worked wonders, if not completley getting rid of the fungus on one or two lens's which seems to be on the lens's that are within the the front and back "cells". Sooo was wondering if anyone has any ideas if these seperate cells can also be dismantled, and how easy, so that the inner lens surfaces can also be cleaned?
    thanks again

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