How To Clean Camera Lens Fungus Off A Vintage Lens: Video

We’ve discussed camera maintenance and fungus prevention many, many times. It’s a topic that comes up annually, especially when the weather is hot and humid, and we are worried about our expensive lenses. While modern lenses are seemingly less susceptible to fungus, they’re not immune to lens fungus growth, which is why we take care of them.

But what happens when we come across a beautiful vintage lens that you can buy second-hand, but that’s full of fungus? Well, you try to clean off the fungus from the lens, and get it working as good as new, of course! That’s what we are going to see in this camera lens fungus cleaning video.

Mathiew Stern shares with us his journey of finding a rare Benoist Berthiot Cinestar GC 75mm f/1.55 projector lens at a ridiculously low price. The catch? It’s completely, and disgustingly, full of lens fungus. In order to use the lens, he must first clean out all the fungus from the lens and ensure that it never returns.

Lens Fungus Cleaning Process

Mathiew shows us how he carefully disassembles the lens and then cleans the fungus from the lens with Hydrogen peroxide and water. Finally, he also removes some old glue that had congealed and cracked, to make the lens clear once again.

The experiment is quite interesting to me, and it’s interesting to see just how much better some of these lenses can perform when cleaned up and restored properly, bringing them back to life.

Fungus on Lenses

Fungus is a type of microorganism that grows when specific conditions are prevalent. They can grow on camera lenses, and other optical surfaces sometimes, causing considerable damage to the camera equipment.

Lens fungus is typically found in humid or wet environments, where there are long periods of high humidity. When conditions are right, camera lens fungus can grow very quickly on a lens. The fungus can cause permanent damage to a lens, and it is challenging to remove completely.

Preventing lens fungus is much easier, and all it takes is some Silica Gel, and an airtight container to store your camera and lenses in. Silica Gel is inert, non-toxic, and completely safe to use. Best of all, Silica Gel can be reused up to 500 times.

Vintage Lenses: Fungus Cleaning & Restoration

Vintage lenses create images that are unique, as many of them are hand-made, and each one brings an individual quality to the images that they create. It’s nice to know that these lenses, even if not maintained in the best condition, can be restored by skillful lens restoration experts, ready to be used for many more years to come.

Lens Maintenance Resources

There are some concrete steps that you can take to make sure that your lenses don’t get fungus growing on them.

Note: Fungus Cleaning Should Be Done By Professionals

If you have a fungus problem with your camera lenses, you will need to take them to a professional to have them cleaned. You can try to clean them yourself, but it is very difficult to remove all of the strands of fungus without damaging the lens permanently.

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas is a Product Photographer and Filmmaker based in India. He has been taking photographs (almost) all his life. He has a diploma and a bachelors degree in Visual Communication, where his classmates all believed that he would write a book on photography... Instead, he writes on this website (because - isn't a community more fun?).

His passions include photography, parkour, wide-angle lenses, blue skies, fire extinguishers, and fast computers.

In addition to writing for Beyond Photo Tips, Susheel is a staff writer for, and owns and runs ColoursAlive, a photography, and video production studio.

You can connect with Susheel on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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