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Trying to clean out lens fungus, but lens will NOT come apart


Samuel King
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Trying to clean out lens fungus, but having trouble taking apart the lens

I have a Sankyo XL-60S. I’ve successfully figured out how to remove the outer lenses from the camera body (pretty easy), and I recently purchased a spanner wrench so I can take the 2 lenses themselves apart to clean out the fungus in between them. However, it seems as if the lenses are INCREDIBLY tightly torqued, and I cannot for the life of me separate them.

I’ve tried muscling my way through it and it will not budge even a little bit. Even got my dad and girlfriend to give it a shot and no luck. Feel like I’m playing with fire though and don’t want to continue forcing it and risk the spanner wrench slipping and scratching the lens.

Anything I can do to get these 2 lenses separated?

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You’ll probably find there is fungus deeper in too, but accessing the rear group on Super 8 cams can mean full camera disassembly. Zooms are not easy to work on, or at least not easy to correctly re-assemble so that they still work properly. Make sure to mark and measure everything, including start threads and distances at infinity etc. 

If you have a very tight lock ring, or two sections tightly screwed together, a bit of acetone or thinner dripped into the thread can help. Gentle heat from a hair dryer in combination with acetone, sometimes repeated, can work, but be very careful with heat as you can induce lens separation. Be careful of any plastic with acetone and heat, only do this to metal.

Some element groups may be permanently swaged into a housing, making it impossible to open. You also might encounter fungus between a glued doublet, which can’t be accessed without having it split apart ($$).

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Thank you for the response, Dom! Tried finding some answers over on Reddit but no one was able to help, so it feels good to get some feedback here.

It's been a while since I've opened the outer lens up, but if I recall correctly there was actually no fungus beneath the outer lens layers (thank god). The camera appears to be in pretty pristine condition other than the fungus in the outer lens.

In addition to my problem in my original post, there was a smaller lens beneath the main outer lenses that I was able to remove, as well. It also has was appears to be fungus on it. I let it soak in some hydrogen peroxide for almost an hour, and the fungus didn't come off. I'm afraid this will be the case for the main 2 lenses that I'm trying to separate (assuming I'm able to do so). Do I need to soak for longer, or is there some other solution I should be trying?

In the meantime, I'll go ahead and give the acetone/hair dryer thing a try for the outer lenses. Thanks again!

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