Radioactive Camera Lenses?

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eire1274's picture
Joined: 09/12/2003
Posts: 1309

An interesting article on PetaPixel:

On my old 35mm, a Pentax K-1000+, it was a pro-grade ALL MANUAL camera body, which was nice, because through the 90's when I was shooting exclusively on film, the SLR industry had shifted entirely to auto-focus lenses, meaning that there were a ton of old manual-focus lenses out there for next to nothing. Which means I've owned several of these radioactive lenses.

My sister still shoots with that camera and a 52mm Vivitar lens, which is packed with early 70's Kodak glass. I knew this lens was a problem, because if I left film in the body for too long (which I was prone to do) with the Vivitar mounted it would be speckled with bright unexplained overexposure spots when I developed it. Film reacts to radiation just as it does with light, and this is a simple proof that something in the Vivitar was contributing exposure.

The plus is, the radiation output is low enough (and short ranged, under 3 feet) that using the lens every day for an hour, you wouldn't absorb significant radiation. You'd have to put it under your pillow and sleep on it for decades to cause any real damage. But it leads you to question what else is out there that could be dangerous or toxic because we didn't know what was in the materials when it was produced.

Have fun, be safe! Sláinte!

Nick McDermott - 3dGM Admin

spawnkiller's picture
Joined: 05/06/2012
Posts: 315

WOW, wasn't even thinking some lenses were radioactive !!! That scare me a little, many products we're using are surely not good for our body... Micro-waves, cellular, wi-fi, imagine if all that is somehow dangerous and only the next generation realise it...

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