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How To Easily Remove Fungus From Your Lenses

By Holly Roa on February 1st 2017

Inexpensive vintage lenses have many potential uses and are easy to find for sale on websites like Ebay and Craigslist, and from film aficionados to video makers to mirrorless shooters there are plenty of people on the hunt for these lenses today. They can be fantastic value, but when shopping the used market for them there are some flaws to keep in mind when inspecting pre-purchase.

One of these issues, fungus, has a fairly simple and painless fix. It involves a little tinkering, but if you’re not normally the type to dig into your newly acquired photography equipment’s innards for repairs, this video from YouTuber Mathieu Stern will walk you through the process.

You Will Need:

•A Lens Wrench

•Hot Water

•Dish Soap

•White Vinegar

•Quality Paper Towels

•Rubber Gloves

Use the lens wrench to remove the front of the lens. Once it’s off, the glass will be removable.

Using hot water, wash the glass with dish soap and use the paper towels to carefully press it dry and follow with a white vinegar rinse to remove any calcareous residue.

One it’s good and clean, handling the glass with rubber gloves to prevent smudges, put it back into the barrel and put the front back on.

It’s not brain surgery, but the nature of the task may make it seem daunting to some people who are nervous about damaging their lens. It’s a valid concern, but less worrisome with these cheap, old lenses, and a video guide.


With this technique in mind, you can feel a bit more comfortable purchasing vintage lenses online where you can’t physically hold the lens and look inside for fungus. Surely the technique works best on simple lenses and is probably best suited to primes, but in the era when these lenses were made, zoom lenses didn’t have anywhere near the quality that they do today anyway. Happy bargain lens hunting. Let us know in the comments what your favorite vintage lenses are and how you use them!

Source: fstoppers]

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Seattle based photographer with a side of videography, specializing in work involving animals, but basically a Jill of all trades.
Instagram: @HJRphotos

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rudi Gennari

    Hello! I did this with one of my Canon lenses and now there´s condensation (fog) trapped between the 2 glasses that form the front element. It´s not just one glass like your video. What should I do? Thanks

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  2. Boudewijn Kegels

    I tried last year to dismantle my Canon EF-S 17-85mm/4-5.6 IS USM to replace the flatcable of the iris. I got stuck not having strong and fine enough PZ000 screwdriver and had to reassemble. Then the focus got stuck as well and had to bring it for the 3rd time to repair. Don’t do it if you don’t know what you’re doing with these modern things. I followed a video, but it was not enough. Ended up buying a prime that hopefully doesn’t have such a vulnerable flat cables, i hope :  a Sigma 50mm/1.4 Art.

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  3. Mircea Blanaru

    Very nice advice. The lens wrench is somehow difficult to obtain if you don’t want to buy via the internet I think, but I can be wrong…

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