Info - Useful information: March 2005 Archives

In Japan and other asian countries with wet seasons, fungus and other mold growths are a serious problem for camera collectors and users. How do you keep the little critters from growing on your prized possessions? Fungus requires two things to grow: moisture and dark. Take either of these away and you'll be spared the shock of finding your prize Summilux with white spiderwebs or spots growing on the lens surfaces.

Use it or lose it: Simply using your camera frequently is a good way to prevent mold from growing. Sunlight and UV light both kill fungi. Take your camera out often and the sunlight will naturally kill off anything in it. Nothing hurts a camera more than storage. Even if you can't use it, take the lens off the camera and put both in the sun for a few hours. It's important to take the lens off because the sun coming through the lens can burn a hole in your camera's shutter. Remember to take all your lenses, auxiliary viewfinders, and filters out for this treatment. Fungus is contagious.

To get maximum life from your inkjet or traditional photography prints, you should either store them in a cool, dry, dark, archival storage box or album -- or frame them. The three things that damage prints the most are:

  1. Moisture: Condensing moisture (i.e., droplets or water) will cause prints to stick to each other or to the nearest closest surface. Even high levels of non-condensing moisture (i.e., high humidity) will cause the print layers to delaminate, bubble up, or for dyes to bleed or transfer to other surfaces.
  2. Ozone: Ozone and other environmental contaminants can reek havoc on dye-based images -- including those made by traditional RA-4 photography. Framing helps by considerably cutting off the outside atmosphere. If you can, take the extra step of covering the back of the frame with a protective sheet.
  3. Ultraviolet light (UV light): This is the major cause of fading in dye and pigment based prints. UV light is powerfully active, it actually destroys the molecules that give your prints color. Cutting off as much UV light as possible will make your prints last.
You can cut UV light many ways. Most simply, putting your prints in a dark box or album. You can also cut it at the source. Many fluorescent lamps are powerful emitters of UV wavelengths. You can either buy bulbs with UV-cut filters in them or buy a UV-cut sleeve for your existing bulbs. Your quality lighting specialist can help you with this.

Last year, I left my Canon 10D charger in the states accidentally when leaving on my field research in Japan. Rather than buying the $50 replacement charger from Canon, I bought a $10 clone charger/battery set from accproshop off ebay. It's worked great. The charger came with both a 120/240V wall-wart power supply and a 12V car DV lighter plug. The wall-wart makes it larger than the original Canon but the presence of a 12V plug is nice. Shipping was $8 to Japan.

To be on the safe side, I always unplug the charger after the green light turns on (don't want to fry the batteries). The $5 BP-511A replacements I got from the same place have also worked out great with my 10D. I've tested them out and they last just about as long as the genuine Canon ones, which cost about $60 each.

Accproshop is the store I used on ebay, but there are many sellers, mostly located in Hong Kong or China. Just search for 'BP511' or whatever battery type you use. There are clones of all of the major manufacturers. Prices range from $5-10 each. Watch out for shipping -- many companies charge $15 shipping/handling on a $5 battery -- so you can tell where they are making their money.

If you know of other sources, feel free to post them as comments to this thread.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Info - Useful information category from March 2005.

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