Friday, January 18, 2013

How I Keep Fungus Out

Have you seen those new lens caps and body caps with built-in dessicants?  What a neat idea.  I just don't like the prices ($24 each).

What I have been doing is to use these reusable dessicants, which cost only $6 each.

They're made of aluminum and have a small window where you can see the desiccant crystals change color.  When they turn pink (as shown) they can be reactivated by baking in an oven for 3 hours at 300 degrees F.  Because of their low cost, I was able to buy several.

Of course, to be effective the lenses and cameras have to be in a watertight container.  For that I bought an ammo dry box (around $17) which is not literally watertight but has an o-ring seal and is "water resistant."  Good enough for me.  The interior dimensions are 5.8 inches x 11 inches x 7.2 inches.  It's smaller than I would like but is enough to fit a few lenses (just not the bigger ones).

I was able to fit 5 lenses in the box.  From left to right: Sigma 50 1.4 (with hood), Nikkor 50-135 3.5 AIS, Nikkor 85 1.8G (with hood), Tokina 10-17, Tamron 70-300 VC (with hood)
For my larger lenses, I just insert a couple of the reusable dessicants in the lens case.  It's not airtight but oh well.

The one advantage of the BRNO dri-cap system is that they claim to be able to maintain relative humidity in the ideal range.  Apparently, if the relative humidity is too low, there are certain kinds of fungus that can thrive.  Unfortunately I have no way to tell what the humidity is when I use these alternative products.  Perhaps for pricier lenses, the BRNO dri-cap may be worth it.

UPDATE:  I found a large reusable desiccant. I ordered one for my closet where I keep all my cameras and lenses.  I also ordered a digital hygrometer (humidity monitor) which is very reasonably priced.  When I'll get them I'll post where my relative humidity ends up.

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UPDATE 1/24/13:  I've received the Lockdown silica gel can and the digital hygrometer.  Here are the results.

BRNO dri-cap rear lens cap.  Canon mount (Nikon mount below):