Last Updated on September 21, 2021 by PixelPluck
Lens fungus is the build-up of fungus inside the lens optical element. Fungus builds inside the lens because of moisture and humidity. A photographer must take all precautions to keep the camera and lens away from direct rain or damp area. If precautions fail then there is a real chance of fungus developing inside the camera lens optics. Minor presence of fungus is not noticeable in photographs but they grow quickly if not treated on time. This will eventually lead to soft spots on the resulting photographs.
Removing Lens fungus using a Vaccum Box
A photographer and Redditor removed lens fungus using a vacuum box. Usually, it is very difficult to remove fungus which builds from the inside of the lens as most of the less can not be taken apart. The lens elements and their optics are sealed. Photographers, in general, try to dry it out or keep it in containers with dehumidifiers. Sometimes it works for minor fungus buildup on the lens. But most of the time it fails to remove the fungus from the lens.
The Redditor who goes by the name u/rrrlasse used an ingenious solution that worked well for him. He used a vacuum box and alcohol.
Here is a step-by-step guide to remove lens fungus using the Vaccum box and alcohol.
- Get a Vaccum Box and pour alcohol into it.
- Dip the lens element in the alcohol bath.
- Suck the air out and create a vacuum.
- This allows alcohol to sweep into the surface.
- Alcohol cleans the fungus on the lens.
- Remove the lens and roll it while drying outside.
- Make sure to continuously move the lens while drying.
- This is to ensure there is no dry mark of alcohol on it.
Alternate methods to remove lens Fungus
There are several days to remove the fungus from the lens. It would be appropriate to take your lens to a professional service center. However, getting the lens cleaned at the service center will cost you almost half the price of the lens itself as it requires the disassembly of the lens elements. There are some easy-to-do methods which you can read below. Remember to be gentle and careful with lenses while cleaning them.
Using Rice as Dehumidifier
Rice acts as a natural dehumidifier. Remove moisture from the camera or lens by wiping it off with a clean cloth and put it in an airtight container filled with rice as soon as possible. The rice beads naturally absorb all the moisture and dry the lens and camera. Use this method to clean fungus buildup when you don’t have access to silica gels or other dehumidifying agents.
Using Silica Gel Bags
Silica gel bags are excellent dehumidifying agents and soak away all the moisture from enclosed space. Keep the lens with pouches of silica gel bags inside a closed container for 2 to 3 days. This will dry up the fungus inside the lens and starve it to extinction. Remember the fungus needs moisture to grow and sustain. Silica gel bags are inexpensive and you should always have them in your camera bag.
Using Natural Sunlight
Put the lens pointed towards the sun for a short time. Ensure that you don’t keep it towards the sun for long as it acts as a lens and may burn internal parts. The UV rays from the sun are a natural fungus killer.
Using ZipLock Bags
Prevention is always better than cure. Use zip-lock bags when the camera or lens is not in use. Zip Lock bags are airtight and don’t let the moisture creep in. Keep some silica bags inside the zip lock bag and zip it with the lens inside for few days. This will arrest the growth of fungus inside the lens.
There are plenty of desiccants available in the market that will help you get rid of the fungus. Keep your lens with them in an airtight bag or box and it will kill the fungus on the lens within a day or two.
There are third-party professional services that specialize in photography equipment repair and service. Third-party repair centers usually charge less to have a lens cleaned professionally. However, avoid taking expensive lenses for repair at third parties. Nikon and Canon have professional centers dedicated to assisting in such cases through the NPS (Nikon Professional Services) and CPS (Canon Professional Services). Talk to them to find out the best way forward.
In conclusion, preventing exposure of the lens to a humid environment is the best way to keep fungus out of the lens. A beginner’s lens is not weather-sealed. They are susceptible to moisture penetration. This puts the beginner lenses at greater risk of getting lens fungus. Take all precautions and follow the simple tips mentioned above to get rid of fungus on the lens.