Fungus Among Us – “Is that a snow globe in your lens”?

A nice Nikkor lens from around 1951. When a lens is stored improperly you get a snow globe.


I’m calling it fungus but I don’t see the typical filaments associated with fungus. Mold tends to be spotty. Haze is, well hazy. This whiteout is on the surface of the last internal lens element and is not reachable without a teardown of the lens. I’m sending this one off to a professional camera and lens repair service shortly. No promises made but for $90 its worth a try. The lens is in nearly mint condition otherwise.

The seller did offer a refund of $40 on my purchase to help with the repair costs which was appreciated. A lot of problems could be averted by simply shining a bright LED light through a lens before listing it. But this lens is on a rangefinder camera so simply looking through the range/viewfinder wouldn’t have spotted these issues.

Below is a scan of a page from the Sears Camera Catalog from Fall 1952. It goes into an extensive background of the Nikkor lenses that were available for the Tower 35 – aka Nicca Type-3.

DSCF8385 logo

I’ll let you know how it looks when it’s back from service. Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
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2 thoughts on “Fungus Among Us – “Is that a snow globe in your lens”?

  1. Hi,

    Have you ever found the cause of this condition?
    I recently discovered that one of my lens has developed a similar condition to what was shown here. A white layer of tiny dots on an internal element, but all other elements are totally clean. At first glance, doesn’t look like fungus, as you said.

    Appreciate any advice you may give.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello. It sounds like fungus and mold. Fungus filaments take on many different shapes and patterns and most often appear as ‘spiderweb’ looking whitish streaks. Mold often appears as specs or clumps (dots) on the lens surface. Lenses were made in clean but not sterile environments so over time and with the help of moisture and darkness fungus and mold spores will thrive. Some of the earliest lenses used natural materials inside the lens barrel (lubricants and fibers) to cement the lens elements together and hold the lens groups in place. I’ve haven’t been successful with cleaning the internal lens elements but I understand some professional camera service businesses can do so. A big word of caution is that the fungus can eat away at the glass surface leaving permanent etching on the lens. The best thing for older lenses is to not store them in an old leather case where moisture and darkness prevail. Good luck!


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