Tag Archives: clean

Lens Fungus Cleaning

It’s a safe bet that most of you never heard of lens fungus, but it’s a reality that you have to deal with in humid climates. Lens fungus will rear its ugly head when moisture gets trapped inside the lens. What lens fungus does is cause cloudy patterns to form on the lens. Fungus first starts growing in the lens barrel feeding off all the accumulated dust particles. The best way to avoid dust and lens fungus is to keep your camera and lenses cleaned and in airtight containers with bags of silica gel, which absorbs moisture. You’ll want to periodically clean the outside of your lenses – the glass and the lens barrel – to remove any dust deposits and to remove any grease deposits (this is food for the fungi).



Store in a Dry Place

Avoid lens fungus by always storing your photo equipment in a cool, dry place. If you live in a humid area, then store your equipment in airtight containers with small bags of moisture-absorbing silica gel (those white bags that were packed with your lens when you bought it). You may need to buy some at your local camera shop. Remember to periodically change the silica, as it loses effectiveness as it becomes full of moisture over time. Some types of silica gels packs are re-useable after drying in a low oven. With the camera and lenses packed airtight with moisture-absorbing gel, they should be safe. Remember that it’s important to let your equipment dry out as much as possible prior to sealing it all up. Fungus will grow on your lens in less than a week if you expose it to damp, dark, and warm conditions, so please avoid these at all costs.


Keep a Plastic Bag Handy

It’s raining outside and you want to take advantage of the all the great reflections, so you venture outside and brave the raindrops. The first thing to remember – before you step out the door – is to wrap your camera in a Ziploc bag to avoid moisture from getting inside the camera. If you forget to do this, then you must completely and effectively dry your camera and the lens before safely storing them. One last storage caution – avoid storing your camera in leather bags, where fungi can easily grow and eventually harm the camera.


Removing Lens Fungus

If your camera happens to get infected with fungus, you need to act quickly because some fungi secrete acid that will eat away at your lens’ protective coating; the fungi may even etch the glass and ruin the lens. Luckily for us, this type of fungus is rare. There are few mixtures you can make to clear away fungus. A hydrogen peroxide blend with ammonia is a good method, as is a vinegar and water solution to remedy the fungus problem. Make sure you don’t delay, or you’ll need to have the lens professionally dismantled and cleaned, which will be expensive. If the lens has to be re-coated, then you’re looking at another big charge.



Your camera is an investment – perhaps a major investment, and the regular and proper maintenance of the camera body, the lenses and other equipment will ensure that your investment will last for over a decade. Don’t skimp, because there’s nothing more frustrating than missing that once-in-a-lifetime photo because the camera is not working or is damaged. Treat your camera and equipment with care and respect, and they should provide you with many years of good service, exciting memories and fantastic pictures.

via Lens Fungus Cleaning | Learn How to Clean and Avoid Camera Lens Fungus.




Yashica Mat 124 Cleaning : Taking Lens

A Great tutorial on how to clean the normal taking lens


Yashica Mat 124 Cleaning (1 of 4): Taking Lens

Yashica mat 124 with front taking lens removed

The next four posts will be on the cleaning I finished today on my Yashica Mat 124.  This was not a full CLA (clean-lube-adjust) mostly because I’m not confident I’d be able to get it working again if I got into the precision mechanisms on the camera.  Instead, I focused on fixing the major problems I mentioned in First Shoot Results: Yashicamat 124 Issues: an oil-fogged taking lens and a major light leak.

There are four parts to this series (I’ll link them up as I get them done):

  1. Cleaning the taking lens (this post).
  2. Cleaning the viewing lens, mirror, and screen.
  3. Light seal replacement on the door (to fix the light leak).
  4. Fixing the light meter (a.k.a. retrofitting a battery to work).

I am posting this information because I believe it can be helpful to the general public, both for fixing up old Yashica Mats (these techniques will likely work on a 124G also) and just to show that if I can fix up an old camera, you probably can too!

Of course, I need to give the standard disclaimer: attempting this procedure could easily damage your camera and/or lenses.  So know the risks going in, and if in doubt, take it to a professional!

* * * * *

I started by cleaning the taking lens mostly because it was the task I was most afraid of, and if I screwed up the main lens or shutter, there’s no point in putting time into the other stuff.  Cleaning the taking lens requires removing one or more of the lens elements using a spanner tool.  The spanner tool fits into these little notches on the lens:

detail of front of Yashicamat 124 taking lens

Of course, I don’t have a spanner tool.  And, they cost $20 or more (and I do not think a regular spanner can reach into the back of a 124, but correct me if I’m wrong!).  The other option was to take the $70 camera into a shop and pay more than the camera is worth, so it was time to figure something out.  I eventually settled on this odd tool:

DIY spanner tool

Yes, this is two blocks of wood, screwed together, with nails through the cube-like chunk.  I drilled holes in the wood to prevent the wood from cracking.  The idea was that the nail points would act like the spanner tips, and I could bend the nails to adjust it.  I hit a snag when I first applied the tool to the front lens element and it popped out of the notches, scratching my finish.  Yikes!

So, I backed off and regrouped, resigning myself to buying an actual spanner tool online.  But, after reading more (including this great thread at photo.net on cleaning the taking lens of a 124G), I realized that most people just jimmied something together to replace the spanner tool, and the lens really isn’t on there that tightly.  I also realized that my nail tips were way too blunt, so I sharpened them with a rotary tool:

Tip detail of DIY spanner tool

Then, placing the ‘tool’ (I loose the term loosely) into the notches, I was able to easily rotate the front element out.  It really does not take much force at all, which was a nice surprise for me.  I’ve heard you can do it with a screwdriver and a small hammer, but try to get a spanner before you try that!

Removing front element of Yashica mat 124 taking lens with DIY tool

Note the scotch tape over the lens to protect it in case I slipped.  The tape also makes it easy to rotate the lens out without using the tool once it is loosened.  Once removed, the blades of the shutter are revealed (the aperture is wide open and hidden):

Yashicamat 124 without front element (showing shutter)

Now, some people recommend cleaning the front of the rear element by forcing the shutter open on bulb with a locking shutter release.  Of course, I do not have one of those, and I did not want to run the risk of getting solvent on the shutter mechanism (which often wicks into the internals) so I decided to remove the rear element also.

I read online that it is possible to unscrew the rear element with your fingers (in gloves) so I tried that, but all I accomplished was smudging my lens with whatever lube was on the household gloves I used.  I DO NOT recommend that because it was quite hard to clean off.

Yashica mat 124 rear element with smudges from rubber gloves

Instead, I bent my homemade spanner into shape and got it out easily.  This is the back of the shutter:

Back of yashica mat 124 shutter

And these are the lens elements, front and back:

Front and rear elements of Yashicamat 124 taking lens

Front and rear elements of Yashicamat 124 taking lens (other side)

Note the paper towels that I laid down under my work area to keep everything clean and unscratched.

In my camera, pretty much all the oil residue (that was ruining my images) was on the front of the rear element.  I used rubbing alcohol, q-tips, and lens paper to remove it, but I’d recommend a better solvent if you can get it.  Definitely don’t use rubbing alcohol if it has anything in it besides alcohol and water!  And, avoid getting it in the camera body because the water in it can cause things to rust!

Then, I reassembled the lens elements.  Again, scotch tape came to my aid because it gave me good grip on the front element (screwing it in and finishing with the homemade spanner):

Using tape to replace front lens element

It also helped with the back element:

Tape stuck to the back element

Allowing me to lower it into place with pliers (I don’t want anything scratched in the light box!):

Lowering rear element into place

Sadly, it was too hard to screw it back in with the tape, so I used a pointy tool to push on the notches until it was screwed in, then tightened it (lightly!) with the spanner.

Screwing Yashicamat 124 rear element back into place

And, the end result?  A perfectly clean lens (well, there are a few specs of dust in it):

A view through a cleaned Yashicamat 124 lens

I’ll tell you, this fix had me very worried and it took me two weeks to start on it because I did not realize how easy it would be to remove the lens elements.  Don’t hesitate to try this on a cheap camera yourself if you can handle the risk of damage.  Just go slow, be careful, be careful again (one slip of a screwdriver can do damage!), but realize you don’t necessarily need to hire someone to clean your lens!

If you have any questions, let me know.  And next time, I’ll let you know how the viewing lens and screen cleaning went!

via Yashica Mat 124 Cleaning (1 of 4): Taking Lens « Used Camera Database Blog.

How to clean antique/ vintage camera

For the retro photographer, stumbling upon a vintage camera at a garage sale or thrift store is like finding buried treasure. The old mechanical cameras that are so prevalent at swap meets and secondhand stores are hailed for their reliability, even after decades of use and abuse. Even the cosmetic issues that plague old cameras–grimy leatherette, dusty lenses and sticky mechanisms–are easily resolved with a few household products and a bit of gentle cleaning.

  • 1

    Blow away surface dust from the entire camera. Point the tip of the air blower away from the camera to avoid blowing dust into the body.

  • 2

    Remove the lens from the camera and blow away dust from the barrel and optics. Moisten a lens tissue with a small amount of cleaning solution and swab the front and rear glass with a gentle circular motion. Wipe the lens barrel clean with a microfiber cloth.


  • 3

    Hold the air blower 4 inches from the inside of the camera body and blow away any internal dust. If you are cleaning a single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera, blow the retractable mirror and focusing screen clean.

  • 4

    Dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water. Wipe the entire camera body clean, including the viewfinder window, and allow it to air-dry. Use cotton swabs to clean in between grooves and crevices. For tough grime or a sticky leatherette, douse the cloth with a small amount of solvent, such as mineral spirits or isopropyl alcohol. Rub the dirty area with a gentle circular motion.

  • 5

    Place the camera and lens on a warm windowsill for several hours to loosen sticky mechanisms, such as a focus ring or wind lever. Exercise the camera’s shutter and wind lever in addition to the lens’s aperture and focus rings to redistribute the lubricant.

  • 6

    Reattach any frayed or loose pieces of the leatherette to the camera body with a small drop of white glue. Allow the glue to dry overnight before use.


Tips & Warnings

  • Ensure that no flammable items are near the lens while it is in the windowsill. Depending on how the lens is positioned, its optics can focus sun rays and cause a fire hazard.

  • Avoid cleaning your camera with harsh chemicals, rich soaps or degreasers. These will seep into the camera body and disturb delicate mechanisms.

Read more: How to Clean Old Cameras | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8180995_clean-old-cameras.html#ixzz22xUxPkSP