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From what I have learn, there a potential for lenses to get fungus when stored for a long time in a dark and humid area.

For this reason, it is recommended to store them in a dry cabinet that has some way to control humidity between 35% and 45%, and be translucent so that non direct sunlight can pass through.

I have seem lots of people store their lenses with the caps on, to prevent scratches when they bump into each other inside the box, but on the other side, this prevents the ambient light to penetrate the lenses.

So, what you think, should the lenses be stored in a dry cabinate with or without their caps?

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  • Interesting question, which has already been discussed here, with the interesting point made that many lens caps are unlikely to actually provide any kind of meaningful seal.
    – Kahovius
    Feb 12 at 10:10
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Light is only beneficial for inhibiting the growth of fungi if it contains ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. The primary source of UV light among common light sources encountered most places is sunlight. Even then, if there's a "protective" UV filter screwed onto the front of the lens, it does very little to no good to leave the lens cap off, since the UV filter is as opaque to UV as the lens cap is to visible light.

In order for fungi to grow all three things need to be present:

  • moisture
  • organic material (such as dust, which is mostly dead animal skin or dead plant matter)
  • protection from UV light

If any one of those three is not present, fungi won't grow. There's dust in every lens, even before it leaves the factory. You'll never get rid of all dust unless you're working in a NASA grade clean room. But you don't need to. Preventing fungal growth only requires either a dry environment or periodic exposure to UV light. If a dry cabinet is doing its job there's not enough moisture to allow fungi to grow in your lenses and camera bodies.

So, what you think, should the lenses be stored in a dry cabinet with or without their caps?

Personally, I would leave the caps on when storing lenses. But then again, I use most of my lenses regularly enough that they are exposed to sunlight, and thus UV light, on a fairly regular basis. Most of my lenses are used in daylight conditions at least once per month. For the few that are not used regularly, I do make it a point to occasionally (once every six months or so?) get them out, place them near a window with the lens caps off and give them a few hours of exposure to sunlight.

I've not had any issues with fungi in any of my lenses over the past three decades or so, even though I live in a climate that can be fairly humid (the southeastern United States where the weather is highly influenced and affected by moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico). I often use my cameras and lenses in very humid weather. This would include steamy summer days with humidity so thick you can almost cut it and fall evenings when the temperature falls below the dew point while shooting night field sports outdoors. In such cases I make sure not only my gear but also the bags and cases I carry and store them in are thoroughly dried out once I get home before putting everything away.

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Although it's a good idea, it's not necessary per se.

Some climates are more favourable for fungi that will nest in lenses. Especially in very humid climates it would be beneficial to control the air humidity of the room or cabinet lenses are stored in. In other areas of the world, the chances of your glass becoming fungus ridden are much smaller.

Would it hurt to do this though? No. If you have the means to store lenses in a controlled and safe climate, there is little reason not to.

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  • I got you, but assuming that you live in an area with high humidity and really need a dry cabinet, would you store your lenses without caps? Feb 12 at 9:38
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    Yes I would, as UV light hampers fungus growth. It doesn't stop fungus from entering the lens though, and it does not remove fungus. So don't expect fungus to disappear from exposure to sunlight
    – timvrhn
    Feb 12 at 11:36

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