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I've just noticed that one of my lenses (Sony SEL 55-210, e-mount) has developed quite a bit of fungus inside the front element. This is an inexpensive lens that is constructed in such a way that it is virtually impossible to take the lens apart to fix the problem. So far, I haven't really noticed any loss of sharpness or contrast. However, I'm not familiar with fungus, so I don't know what to expect. How bad can this type of thing get? Can I keep using the lens for awhile longer?

 

P.S. I'm not in love with this lens, but it does the the job and is nice and lightweight. Also, I can't afford a better lens at the moment, so I'm thinking of looking for a used one (about $250 CAN) with no fungus.

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33 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

I've just noticed that one of my lenses (Sony SEL 55-210, e-mount) has developed quite a bit of fungus inside the front element. This is an inexpensive lens that is constructed in such a way that it is virtually impossible to take the lens apart to fix the problem. So far, I haven't really noticed any loss of sharpness or contrast. However, I'm not familiar with fungus, so I don't know what to expect. How bad can this type of thing get? Can I keep using the lens for awhile longer?

 

P.S. I'm not in love with this lens, but it does the the job and is nice and lightweight. Also, I can't afford a better lens at the moment, so I'm thinking of looking for a used one (about $250 CAN) with no fungus.

 

Front element fungus isn't as bad as rear element fungus.  The advice used to be to keep fungused lenses away from clean lenses, but some people pointed out that fungus spoors are everywhere.  One thing to do is put the lens out where sun can shine through it but not start a fire on anything.  This doesn't eliminate the fungus, but does seem to kill it.  I have a couple of old manual lenses with some fungus which still shoot well when I use them.    Other fixes are UV light (what the sun is providing) shone through it. 

 

Never store lenses in lens bags or in camera bags.  I have dehydrators in the filing cabinet and in the part of the ropero that I use for storing lenses. 

 

I have that lens myself, bought used.  It seems to be sharpest at the long end at minimal focus distances, but that could be that it has less distance to move internal elements at minimal focus.

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20 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

 

Front element fungus isn't as bad as rear element fungus.  The advice used to be to keep fungused lenses away from clean lenses, but some people pointed out that fungus spoors are everywhere.  One thing to do is put the lens out where sun can shine through it but not start a fire on anything.  This doesn't eliminate the fungus, but does seem to kill it.  I have a couple of old manual lenses with some fungus which still shoot well when I use them.    Other fixes are UV light (what the sun is providing) shone through it. 

 

Never store lenses in lens bags or in camera bags.  I have dehydrators in the filing cabinet and in the part of the ropero that I use for storing lenses. 

 

I have that lens myself, bought used.  It seems to be sharpest at the long end at minimal focus distances, but that could be that it has less distance to move internal elements at minimal focus.

 

Thanks. I have the lens sitting in the sunshine soaking up UV rays right now. I have a bad habit of keeping my lenses in camera bags instead of in my lens drawer, so I had better check all of them. Vancouver is humid (nothing like Nicaragua, though), and this cheap lens is no doubt poorly sealed. It's about eight years old, so it has lasted fairly well. My copy of this lens seems sharpest at 55mm, although it's good at the long end as well. Images can break down badly at the edges, I find, which means I get a number of non-keepers. I would actually like something better. However, that will have to wait. This lens would probably be my choice.

 

UPDATE: Whoops, that was the wrong lens. Just fixed the link.

Edited by John Mitchell
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X-2581-457-1 Sony Lens Assy 121,20 €

Near mint SEL55210 lenses go for less than that on Ebay. Especially from Japan, some with free shipping. Japanese sellers tend to be pretty honest.

(100€ is $147CAN currently.)

 

wim

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54 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

X-2581-457-1 Sony Lens Assy 121,20 €

Near mint SEL55210 lenses go for less than that on Ebay. Especially from Japan, some with free shipping. Japanese sellers tend to be pretty honest.

(100€ is $147CAN currently.)

 

wim

 

Thanks for this, wim. I'll check out Ebay in Canada. Shipping from Europe can be prohibitive, Japan might be a bit better.

 

I would want to make sure that the lens didn't have fungus, though, which is tough to check if you can't look at it.

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4 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Vancouver is humid (nothing like Nicaragua, though)

Um, I'm at 1,000 meters and it get into the 50s and 60s at night most of the time.  Sea level is far more humid.

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2 hours ago, MizBrown said:

Um, I'm at 1,000 meters and it get into the 50s and 60s at night most of the time.  Sea level is far more humid.

 

I was thinking more about Managua and the Pacific regions. I've spent some time around Matagalpa, so I realize that it's much cooler (thankfully) and not as humid. Still, I'm sure fungus grows well in you area.

 

This lens sounds interesting as a possible replacement. Not as long but probably better optically than the 55-210 by the sounds of it. I'll wait to see if some used ones start popping up.

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4 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I was thinking more about Managua and the Pacific regions. I've spent some time around Matagalpa, so I realize that it's much cooler (thankfully) and not as humid. Still, I'm sure fungus grows well in you area.

 

This lens sounds interesting as a possible replacement. Not as long but probably better optically than the 55-210 by the sounds of it. I'll wait to see if some used ones start popping up.

 

If I had the money I don't have, I'll like the 200-600mm Sony.  And one of the Wimberley long lens mounts or heads.

 

We don't tend to have as much problem as other places.  I found that none of my leather goods got fungus if I kept it in cloth bags, not in plastic bags.  People in lower elevations report mold damage to shoes, wallets, and leather purses.

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Hi John, I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but having lived 2 years in the Wet Tropics in Cairns, lens fungus is on every photographer's mind there. Everyone I know store their cameras, lenses, external drives plus various other things in a dry cabinet. I've heard many times that fungus cannot be fixed. Can't confirm it, I haven't experienced it. Good luck!

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7 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I was thinking more about Managua and the Pacific regions. I've spent some time around Matagalpa, so I realize that it's much cooler (thankfully) and not as humid. Still, I'm sure fungus grows well in you area.

 

This lens sounds interesting as a possible replacement. Not as long but probably better optically than the 55-210 by the sounds of it. I'll wait to see if some used ones start popping up.

 

I bought a secondhand one of them from MPB. Permanently on my A6000 at the moment. Good general walkabout setup. The only thing I find, and do not know if it is peculiar to this lens or to them all, is that if I wind it out to full extension the image is slightly OOF, but just wind it back in VERY SLIGHTLY and everything is in focus. Usual lens limits apply depending on F stop used.

 

At the moment on MPB they are £379 - £399 depending on condition.

 

Allan

 

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3 hours ago, gvallee said:

Hi John, I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but having lived 2 years in the Wet Tropics in Cairns, lens fungus is on every photographer's mind there. Everyone I know store their cameras, lenses, external drives plus various other things in a dry cabinet. I've heard many times that fungus cannot be fixed. Can't confirm it, I haven't experienced it. Good luck!

 

Agree IT CAN'T BE FIXED. How do I know? Was in my favourite dealers when someone brought in a bag of old lenses. They opened the bag and the smell of fungus was all pervading. His offer of a deal was refused and sent away with a flea in his ear.

 

Allan

 

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I have removed fungus completely with IPA. It doesn't always work, it depends on how far it has gone.

These were lenses I hadn't used for about 30 years; I'm very surprised that a (nearly) new lens has got it. Perhaps this is an argument for keeping optics on shelves under a selvyt cloth as I now do. But it's only convenient because they've hardly left the house in a year!

Edited by spacecadet
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25 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I have removed fungus completely with IPA. It doesn't always work, it depends on how far it has gone.

 

Yeah but.. which is the best IPA to use - or will any of them do as long as you drink enough so you don't care any more...... 😎

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I have a black spot that's developed in a 24-70mm I bought second-hand. It's fine for pics as it barely shows at wider apertures and can be cleaned in post, but it rules out video unless I want to either a) cut out the portion where there's a big black smudge, or b) leave it in... :(

Edited by RyanU
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18 minutes ago, RyanU said:

I have a black spot that's developed in a 24-70mm I bought second-hand. It's fine for pics as it barely shows at wider apertures and can be cleaned in post, but it rules out video unless I want to either a) cut out the portion where there's a big black smudge, or b) leave it in... :(

 

Or you can use a cloner in a video editor.  As it is always in the same place on the image, like a sensor dust spot or hot spot, it might now be too difficult to deal with but it would obviously depend on the size of the spot and the content of the video. If it was mine, I would be inclined to socially distance it from the rest of my kit (just in case).

Edited by MDM
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5 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

I bought a secondhand one of them from MPB. Permanently on my A6000 at the moment. Good general walkabout setup. The only thing I find, and do not know if it is peculiar to this lens or to them all, is that if I wind it out to full extension the image is slightly OOF, but just wind it back in VERY SLIGHTLY and everything is in focus. Usual lens limits apply depending on F stop used.

 

At the moment on MPB they are £379 - £399 depending on condition.

 

Allan

 

 

Thanks for the helpful info, Allan. The 18-135 definitely sounds like a lens for me to consider after I win the Alamy lottery  I make it to the Platinum Level. Never heard of MPB, and I won't be shopping in the UK because of draconian shipping charges, etc. Actually, the cost that you quoted for a used 18-135 in your neck of the woods is about what I would have to pay for a brand new one over here at the moment -- about $680 CAN. You blokes get ripped off for camera equipment by the sounds of it.

Edited by John Mitchell
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8 hours ago, gvallee said:

Hi John, I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but having lived 2 years in the Wet Tropics in Cairns, lens fungus is on every photographer's mind there. Everyone I know store their cameras, lenses, external drives plus various other things in a dry cabinet. I've heard many times that fungus cannot be fixed. Can't confirm it, I haven't experienced it. Good luck!

 

It's amazing I haven't had more problems with fungus given all the time I've spent in hot, humid regions. I used to take large packets of silica gel with me. I guess that might have helped.

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24 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Thanks for the helpful info, Allan. The 18-135 definitely sounds like a lens for me to consider after I win the Alamy lottery. Never heard of MPB, and I won't be shopping in the UK because of draconian shipping charges, etc. Actually, the cost that you quoted for a used 18-135 in your neck of the woods is about what I would have to pay for a brand new one over here at the moment -- about $680 CAN. You blokes get ripped off for camera equipment by the sounds of it.

 

Sure do. They do have a branch in the US of A. Look them up.

 

Allan

 

They are also in France, Germany and Europe? according to their website.

 

ITMA

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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5 hours ago, Vincent Lowe said:

 

Yeah but.. which is the best IPA to use - or will any of them do as long as you drink enough so you don't care any more...... 😎

 

Which end of the lens do I pour the IPA in?

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Just now, Allan Bell said:

 

Sure do. They do have a branch in the US of A. Look them up.

 

Allan

 

 

Didn't know that. Shall check them out. However, shopping in the US is even worse for Canadians given the unfavourable exchange rate. Interestingly, Sony seems to take this into account in their pricing -- e.g. a lens that costs $1000 USD in the US will usually be priced at $1000 CAN in Canada.

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18-135 Is a great range for a stock lens. I have one in Fuji, and it has been my most used lens for stock. Also, mine is lightweight.

Its nice that I can pull into a parking lot in my car and zoom in close for a storefront, and without moving, get a more distant shot with copy space.

While I wouldn’t use it for portraits or flowers, it’ll always be a great lens for many uses. I like it on trips, too.

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I did a lot of selling, buying, and trading stuff with MBP in NYC. And I bought a used RX100-5 from them here. They are a first-rate operation.

 

I had fungus problems in Vietnam but not elsewhere. Now I have to check everything. 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

18-135 Is a great range for a stock lens. I have one in Fuji, and it has been my most used lens for stock. Also, mine is lightweight.

Its nice that I can pull into a parking lot in my car and zoom in close for a storefront, and without moving, get a more distant shot with copy space.

While I wouldn’t use it for portraits or flowers, it’ll always be a great lens for many uses. I like it on trips, too.

 

Yes, the equivalent 28-200 lenses were very popular during film days. I'm going to seriously consider this one.

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I've read online that it's not a good idea to a put a fungus-infected lens back on the camera because the spores might get into the camera body itself. This sounds like a real possibility. I'm leaving the lens in the sunlight for hours on end in hopes that it will kill the fungus. No way of knowing if that will be adequate, though. Bummer.

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