PDA

View Full Version : The best way to store lenses long term? Vacuum seal?



l2oBiN
17-Nov-2018, 01:20
So far I have been storing lenses in a ziplock bag with a packet of silica, preview shutter open. Recently I purchased a vacuum chamber machine and now I am wondering whether vacuum sealing still in the presence of silica bag would be better? Surely it would remove most of the moisture, but would it also a cause the internal shutter lubricants to spread/seep over the leaf shutter leaves and perhaps over the cells themselves?

swmcl
17-Nov-2018, 02:46
Not so long ago I tried to get the Nikon repair shop for the state to clean a process Nikkor of some fungus. They said it was best to let lenses see some UV every now and then. I suspect some clean dry heat and some UV is a good combination. I'd also favour a chemical deterrent of some sort for anything living. Perhaps an alcohol ?

Havoc
17-Nov-2018, 03:36
Vacuum would not be so good for the lubricants. I'd set them in a well sealed glass cabinet, without their caps.

LabRat
17-Nov-2018, 03:44
Sealing them up in a plastic bag has long term issues of its own...

Eventually during very long storage time, the plasticizers in the bags start to outgas leaving a film over items, and could damage some other plastics etc...

As far as sealing, this can trap in outgassed gases, oils, solvents, moisture, and organic compounds and create a closed environment, so not good either... And as well as it can be sealed, daily changes in barometric pressure seeps moisture in that cannot leave...

A gunsmith I knew often had projects involving de-rusting rifles that were stored in "sealed" cases that trapped in moisture, or in satchels made of material that did not breathe...

Bagging is ok for keeping dust from items, but the best thing is storing these in a controlled environment, can breathe a little, and exercised/used at some intervals...

Allowing it near something that will kill organic matter proactively is also bad, as these can also attack materials, finishes etc...

Steve K

Tin Can
17-Nov-2018, 08:03
Firearms and photography lenses are a bit different.

Both 'shoot'...

We always wiped down any firearm if anyone touched it, even for a moment, then into a fleece bag and dry wood closet.

But I come from the far North where humidity is not constant.

As I have written, I had access to thousands of lens collected by one person from 1947 until he passed in 2005.

He had every type and all lenses were in a baggy, but not a ZipLoc, so there was air transfer. None of his bedroom sized collection, stacked from floor to ceiling was damaged in storage and none had fungus. Mid Ohio. He piled the glass in metal file cabinets. Often without lens caps.

Climate makes a difference. I try to not buy glass from very humid areas.

Don't touch glass, don't clean too often and bag loosely.

100 year old glass in OE leather case and caps seems to work just fine. As do wood boxes.

He hid the best glass in the piano. I found them on a hunch.

pgk
17-Nov-2018, 08:45
I live in a damper climate and fungus can be a problem. I store lenses in a metal cupboard in boxes or pouches with silica gel (on old 35mm canister with the top cut away so that it can still be used to clamp mesh into the top, and full of silica gel accompanies the lenses). The trick is to use indicator silica gel and replace it when its done its work. The silica gel can be dried out in an oven (low) and reused. Don't use the old type indicator silica gel as it contains cobalt chloride as the indicator which is not so good in the oven as its toxic. In a damp climate its not such a good idea to store lenses in leather as they can get both mould and haze as a result - just my experience.

tgtaylor
17-Nov-2018, 09:06
I store my lenses in Pelican-type water-proof hard cases with several packets of silica dispersed.

Thomas

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2018, 09:06
The best way is the way that they are packed and shipped from the factory.

Tin Can
17-Nov-2018, 09:10
The best way is the way that they are packed and shipped from the factory.

Of course, but we want to use them!

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2018, 09:13
Of course, but we want to use them!

So, you open the box, take the lens out of the bag, remove the caps, put them on the camera, and shoot. Just reverse for long term storage.
If you have the proper size box it can remain on the board!

Rodenstock shipped with the shutter on B, uncocked.

Sal Santamaura
17-Nov-2018, 09:26
...I try to not buy glass from very humid areas...For used lenses, Japan is one of those areas. I've never purchased a used lens from Japan that didn't need to be cleaned using a solution of liquid chlorine bleach mixed 1+1 with water. That's the only way to eliminate the musty/mildew smell they all arrive with.

Dan Fromm
17-Nov-2018, 09:37
Sal, none of the lenses I've bought from Japanese sellers on eBay was musty.

Tin Can
17-Nov-2018, 09:44
Ditto

J_3
17-Nov-2018, 11:37
It's been referenced in this thread but the problem with using a vacuum to store lenses is outgasing. The oils and greases in a lens are not designed for use in a vacuum (unless you collect old NASA gear...) and some of the oils are likely to contain fractions with significant outgassing at low pressure. These will then re-coat the lens elements with a thin film of haze and restoring the lens involves tearing it apart and rebuilding it. I think I read some of the old Zeiss Contrarex lenses used molly grease which might be OK in a vacuum (?) but in general it should be avoided.

LabRat
17-Nov-2018, 13:37
I store my lenses in Pelican-type water-proof hard cases with several packets of silica dispersed.


Thomas

But for very long storage intervals (5-10+ years), they should not be stored near foam, as this will outgas and melt eventually, and is bad for your stuff, and very hard to clean up totally...

Steve K

ic-racer
17-Nov-2018, 13:38
Are we talking about storing lenses or shutters? Large Format lenses shouldn't contain volatile hydrocarbons.

LabRat
17-Nov-2018, 13:48
For used lenses, Japan is one of those areas. I've never purchased a used lens from Japan that didn't need to be cleaned using a solution of liquid chlorine bleach mixed 1+1 with water. That's the only way to eliminate the musty/mildew smell they all arrive with.

Use a sensitive device to detect it when it arrives... Your nose, and do a visual check for light powder on surfaces... If it has it, place item in bag or box with a little Thymol solution dipped onto some blotter material (original Listening mouthwash or Lysol contains it), and put together sealed in a warm place for 2 or 3 weeks, then wipe everything with isopropyl alcohol, and let air out for a week or so away from everything...

Steve K

LabRat
17-Nov-2018, 13:54
Are we talking about storing lenses or shutters? Large Format lenses shouldn't contain volatile hydrocarbons.

Any gear... He's right, but even in a non vacuum, bagged greased and rubber items have coated surrounding surfaces...

Let 'em breathe!!!

Steve K

hiend61
19-Nov-2018, 11:43
So, you open the box, take the lens out of the bag, remove the caps, put them on the camera, and shoot. Just reverse for long term storage.
If you have the proper size box it can remain on the board!

Rodenstock shipped with the shutter on B, uncocked.

Bob, and the lenses mounted in Compur shutters? In T?

DrTang
19-Nov-2018, 11:44
I live in a damper climate and fungus can be a problem. I store lenses in a metal cupboard in boxes or pouches with silica gel (on old 35mm canister with the top cut away so that it can still be used to clamp mesh into the top, and full of silica gel accompanies the lenses). The trick is to use indicator silica gel and replace it when its done its work. The silica gel can be dried out in an oven (low) and reused. Don't use the old type indicator silica gel as it contains cobalt chloride as the indicator which is not so good in the oven as its toxic. In a damp climate its not such a good idea to store lenses in leather as they can get both mould and haze as a result - just my experience.

Almost every lens that I've bought that has had mold or fungus 'hazing' has come out of a leather case... now..not all lenses in leather cases have had fungus.. but it is rare for me to find fungus in a lens that hadn't been stored in a bag or case

hiend61
19-Nov-2018, 11:51
A friend who lives in the north of Spain, a rainy and wet area, keep the lenses just in a the driest room of his house and just kept in a Sinar hard case. His lenses are 30 years old and are like new. He avoids keeping them is plastic bags because humidity + temperatures over 20C + darknes + no ventilation equals to a magnificent harvest of fungus.

Corran
19-Nov-2018, 11:58
So, you open the box, take the lens out of the bag, remove the caps, put them on the camera, and shoot. Just reverse for long term storage.
If you have the proper size box it can remain on the board!

So the suggestion is to keep the lenses stored in the original factory cardboard boxes while out shooting? Well, hope the light isn't changing...

I don't know how long is "long term" but personally I think the best option is to store it on eBay, preferably with a no-reserve auction, if you are planning on "storing" a lens for a very long time.

Bob Salomon
19-Nov-2018, 12:01
So the suggestion is to keep the lenses stored in the original factory cardboard boxes while out shooting? Well, hope the light isn't changing...

I don't know how long is "long term" but personally I think the best option is to store it on eBay, preferably with a no-reserve auction, if you are planning on "storing" a lens for a very long time.

You love to belittle and read in!

The topic was long term storage, not storing while shooting!

Use your imagination and see if you can tell the difference between the two!

Bob Salomon
19-Nov-2018, 12:02
Bob, and the lenses mounted in Compur shutters? In T?

Same way, also those shipped in Prontor.

Same goes for the lenses shipped from Linhof and Wista.

scheinfluger_77
19-Nov-2018, 12:34
Sal, none of the lenses I've bought from Japanese sellers on eBay was musty.


Ditto

Double Ditto.

Corran
19-Nov-2018, 12:39
Lighten up Bob.


So, you open the box, take the lens out of the bag, remove the caps, put them on the camera, and shoot. Just reverse for long term storage.
If you have the proper size box it can remain on the board!

Leigh
19-Nov-2018, 13:38
I do not recommend any storage strategy that involves putting the lens in any kind of vacuum.

Doing so will allow lubricants to migrate and plastics to out-gas, causing problems that can only be corrected by complete disassembly, cleaning, and rebuild by a professional with appropriate test equipment.

- Leigh

Two23
19-Nov-2018, 20:42
Ditto


Double ditto.

Kent in SD

pgk
20-Nov-2018, 04:30
FWIW I recently got two scarce Leica lenses back from service. I bought them rather cheaply because they were slightly hazy. Fortunately they have cleaned up fine and there is no trace of any damage to the optical surfaces so the risk of buying them paid off. The haze though, was almost certainly as a result of these lenses spending a couple of decades or more in their leather cases inside a cardboard box, and whilst they had obviously been kept in dry conditions, something had managed to create a thin layer on the optical surfaces - the leather?, the cardboard? lubricants? - one or several of these must be the culprit. I have other lenses of the same age which show no signs whatsoever of haze but I suspect that they have been in regular use rather than stored. So my take is that long-term storage isn't a good thing at all. I'd strongly suggest periodic 'airing' and using lenses in order to check them and ensure that they don't sit in the same, still air for long periods of time. I try to cull my lenses so that I don't have many that never get used - easier said than done though.

Michael E
20-Nov-2018, 06:26
I have a bunch of late 1980s Zeiss Jena Tessars (50 to 360mm) still unused in their original plastic bag inside the original cardboard box... I haven't noticed any haze, but maybe I should check gain. But they are not in a shutter, of course.

Bob Salomon
20-Nov-2018, 07:07
I have a bunch of late 1980s Zeiss Jena Tessars (50 to 360mm) still unused in their original plastic bag inside the original cardboard box... I haven't noticed any haze, but maybe I should check gain. But they are not in a shutter, of course.

For what its worth, from when we were Gepe:
1 - Sometimes it appears that the glasses, mostly on older mounts, have a grey coating. Why is this and how can I clean the glass?
The grey coating you see on the glass is probably calcium-carbonate crystals emerging from a chemical reaction between the carbon-dioxide (CO2) in the air and the Calcium (Ca) in the glass. This can sometimes be seen as a grey haze on the surface of the glass.
It is a phenomenon that occurs with all glass materials, from the finest wineglasses on the shelf at home to normal windowpanes. After a period of time a grey surface appears which naturally has to be washed off to become clean again.
This problem is known among all glass manufacturers and they are, of course, trying to find a permanent solution to it, but so far they have only managed to delay the reaction.
It is difficult to determine how long a period of time it is before this greyish surface occurs, however, it is important to store the slide mounts in stable conditions, preferably dry and at a constant temperature. However, these crystals are not dangerous or harmful to the slide film, as it remains on the glass and does not transfer to the film.
A recommended method of cleaning glass slide mounts is to use a liquid lens cleaner and a smooth lens cleaning cloth.

Tin Can
20-Nov-2018, 07:42
The only lens I have that has changed while in my possession is a 790mm Reinhold, it is now 5.5 years old and has had OE caps on it always except when shooting.

Never in a bag or box and stored with my other LF.

It has a distinct dull haze coating now. I don't know if it is a glass or plastic optic so haven't attempted any cleaning.

The tube is PVC pipe. One cap is paperboard and the other grey plastic.

Andre Noble
22-Nov-2018, 08:16
A Mamiya lens tech once told me air flow is very important. I also us a small Germ Guardian UV sanitizer in my storage space that runs daily on a timer. I am blessed to live in year round arid climate.