View Full Version : Storing Lenses in plastic bags...

4-Sep-2005, 14:12

Just a curiosity here... if I were to store my lenses in a plastic bag and these lenses were kept in one of those plastic see-through containers... do you think the lens coatings etc could be damaged?

The reason I'm asking this is because plastic does give off vapors of sorts and, with the lid closed on the container, I'd hate for these vapors to damage my lenses (3 Fujinons, 1 Nikkors, and 2 Schneiders...)

Anyone have any experience with this storage method?

TIA for any answers... :)


Will Strain
4-Sep-2005, 14:17
Dunno about the vapors.. I personally would be more concerned about trapped moisture.

ronald moravec
4-Sep-2005, 15:08
Bags designed for food should be ok. Ise a desicant inside to trap moisture.

Bob Salomon
4-Sep-2005, 15:12
If the bags have plasticisers in the plastic they will give off by products that can end up on the glass and that can not be removed from the glass safely. I lost several Zeiss Softars thanks to plasticisers from a poorly designed filter wallet.

4-Sep-2005, 15:26
Are the plastic lens covers immune from this off gassing?

Bob Salomon
4-Sep-2005, 16:18

Yes. Usually it is PVC that can be a problem.

Frank Petronio
4-Sep-2005, 16:52
One of those Domke filter wallets killed mine FWIW.

I think the padded Vecro lenswraps are better for lens storage because they can breath slightly. In a humid or wet environment I'd put all my gear into a waterproof case only for the period necessary, not for long term storage.

dan nguyen
4-Sep-2005, 17:04
I use a piece of lin free cotton rag to wrap the lenses, and put the wrapped lens in a ziplock bag, also I put in 1 or 2 desicant bags (depends on the size). The cotton rag could be a filter barrier for the lens (just in case).

Ling Z
4-Sep-2005, 23:28
All my lenses are stored in ziplock bags with two to three silica gel bags inside, and I have never encountered any problem.

John Kasaian
4-Sep-2005, 23:55
Most all lens caps are plastic---my Schneiders and Nikkors are anyway---I wonder what the differences are between the plastics used on lens caps and the plastics used in zip lock bags?

Yeah, I'm clueless.

paul owen
5-Sep-2005, 13:37
As a point of interest, every new Schneider I have been fortunate to buy has always been "sealed" in a plastic bag. Is this true of other manufacturers? I should imagine that a lens would have to spend quite some time in such an environment for it to have an adverse effect on it? The best preventative measure is to use them often enough so that they don't stay in plastic bags for too long!

Dan Fromm
5-Sep-2005, 16:25
Henry, why use a plastic bag AND what sounds like a food storage container?

I ask because most of my lenses are kept and travel in food storage containers with appropriate padding. Brands? Rubbermaid and (please, no ribbing) Martha Stuart. The containers keep dust out very well and seem to protect the lenses from impact. So far I've dropped only one Rubbermaid container with a lens in it. It broke, the lens is fine.

My lenses that aren't are in closed cameras, in a "lens wrap," or stay home and hide in drawers. So far, no problems at all. Oh, yes, lens caps on all of them.


Bob Salomon
5-Sep-2005, 18:32
"have been fortunate to buy has always been "sealed" in a plastic bag. Is this true of other manufacturers?"

Yes. But not in bags that have plasticizers that can migrate onto the lens surfaces. And didn't those lenses have lens caps on them anyway?

5-Sep-2005, 20:01
Hi all,

Thanks for all the responses... very much appreciated. :)


Moisture won't be a problem since the lenses are used only indoors. Secondly, I'll be sure to include little satchels of silica inside the case. The container I'm looking at are made by a company called Sterilite. They have a lid on them and the body of the case is a see-through plastic material which facilitates seeing what's inside.


Moi 2... that's why I thought I'd ask. :)


Plasticisers? How would you know whether this is in the plastics? Is there some indications of its inclusion?


Good question. :) Now that I think about it... I'm going to have a carpenter design a wooden storage unit with a dense foam on the bottom. The sides of the unit will have grooves cut into them so that the Technika mounted boards will slide into those grooves. That'll circumvent the need for the plastic bags (for separating the lenses from one another inside the plastic container (14x17x12).)

My wife has been on me to take all my gear off the fireplace mantle in the front living room. :) Hence, the need for the storage solution. :)

Thanks again


Bob Salomon
6-Sep-2005, 04:27
" with a dense foam on the bottom"

Make sure it is not a formaldhyde based foam. Uretahne based foam gives the best support and protection and does not shread or liquify like formaldhyde based foams.

6-Sep-2005, 14:23
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the advice... urethane based it will be then. :)


6-Sep-2005, 15:01
Man, you anti-plastic bag folks are freaking me out. All my stuff is stored in plastic food bags. I'm half afraid to dig out the old gear now.

So I need new wraps? Guess I could find a use for Molly's old ripped-stitch mink coat... or would I be considered some kind of elitist? Okay, okay, fox it is. That's the ticket.
Save the Naugas

Richard Ide
6-Sep-2005, 15:48

Plastic food bags are made from low or high density polyethylene which are among the safest materials, so I don't think you need to worry. Polyester is another safe plastic. Negative and slide storage sleeves are made from both plastics. I remember going into this subject a few years ago with an Agfa sales rep who was also a photographer. I had used vinyl storage for slides until I found out the plasticizers in it could be a source of potential problems.


dan nguyen
6-Sep-2005, 22:25
Hi all,

OK..OK..... this is my cloth wrapping around the lens theory.

It's from my own personal experiences. One warm day I went out with my photo-gear in the trunk of my car. At the destination, I took the the camera and the lens out and to my horror..... the plastic ziplock of the lenses was full of condensed humiditity and the lens are wet..... means droplets of water.... I put it back and drove home and... The week after that, I put a piece of cloth around the lenses and try again in similar situation... Guess what?... the cloth absorbed all the moisture.... moisture in the bag but not on the lens....

well.... it works for me to protect my lenses....