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Thread: Used Lenses

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    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Used Lenses

    I know there is probably a thread about this, but the search isn't letting me find it. I would like to know what all my Obi Juan Master Jedi photographers think about buying a Used, Like New lens from a person on Amazon. The savings are enough to think about it. I try to only buy anything from those with 100 % feedback. The savings on Amazon are really good even for new equipment, but to save a few hundred $$ more is nice for me, just starting out. All opinions welcome. Grasshopper awaits your excellent advice!

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Used Lenses

    Hi Liz, usually Amazon is not problem, particularly if it is a reputable company. If it is an individual, the 100% feedback can be weak unless they have sold a large number of items with 100% positive feedback. Company or individual, you'll need to know up front what the resolution process is if you are not happy with the purchase. As with any purchase, if you do your homework diligently, you'll likely have an acceptable outcome.

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    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Used Lenses

    Learned my lesson about that on my first ebay purchase many years ago. Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Liz, usually Amazon is not problem, particularly if it is a reputable company. If it is an individual, the 100% feedback can be weak unless they have sold a large number of items with 100% positive feedback. Company or individual, you'll need to know up front what the resolution process is if you are not happy with the purchase. As with any purchase, if you do your homework diligently, you'll likely have an acceptable outcome.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    Hi Liz,

    I have had some very good success buying used lenses both on eBay and locally and I have had some purhases which were not great.

    When Canon brought out the 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, owners of the 24-70mm f/2.8L lenses were dumping their lenses right and left in order to buy the new lens. As a result of supply and demand, the prices of 24-70L lenses on eBay took a momentary dip. I got one at a very good price and was very pleased with the quality and condition. I used this lens for about four years and then sold it for more than I paid. I sold it because I was using the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens far more often than the 24-70L; not because of any fault with the 24-70L.

    I also purchased a used 90mm f/2.8 Tamron AF SP (notthe letest Di model) for about $100 including shipping. The lens works great and is all I need for my macro work.

    On the other hand, I purchased a 17-40mm f/4L which was just a touch off in focus. I don't think that the seller noticed this and I didn't until I had been shooting with it for a while. The repair costs at Canon Service ate up any savings I gained by purchasing the lens used. The moral of this tale is that even well intentioned and honest sellers can sometimes sell a flawed product.

    I purchased two lenses (300mm f/4L IS and 400mm f/4.6L) from an acquaintance who was a Texas commercial photographer nd needed to sell the lenses quickly in order to fund some faster glass for a lucrative night high school football contract. These lenses were in primo shape and I got them at a great price mostly because, I was really intending to get a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens and kept saying no to the 300mm and 400mm lenses until the price was lowered to a point where I could no longer refuse.

    Two things to be careful of... If a price seems too good to be true, it often is and insure that a seller has a good track record (if buying from eBay). Don't just look at the seller's feedback percentage, investigate the idividual feedbacks.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzy310 View Post
    The savings on Amazon are really good even for new equipment, but to save a few hundred $$ more is nice for me, just starting out. All opinions welcome.
    Grasshopper - beware...

    I know the urge to go with a great low price for new equipment may be tempting, but you really need to shop around and ask yourself, if the manufacturer list a price of $A, major photo equipment stores have a price of $B, how can this little guy sell the same thing for so much less than than the other two ?

    The answer is that the little guy is probably not selling the same thing.

    In the photo equipment industry, manufacturers have established distribution partnerships with the major players in each market and country where they sell their products. This is why prices at super stores like Adorama and B&H Photo Video have very similar pricing on identical items.

    To compete with the big boys, there are small companies who instead of following the rules, they cheat ! Playing against currency exchange rates and sale prices set by the local economic factors, they'll call a friend in India, Japan, or some where who'll buy a bunch of stuff and mail it. When the equipment arrives, they now can sell it at significantly lower prices than everyone else. This has become known as the gray market and manufacturers have been fighting back.

    The end users, i.e. Grasshoppers, buying the cheap equipment will have everything anyone else has with the bonus of saved money, that is until something breaks. That is when the nightmare begins. Your $200 camera, normally selling for $500, is only a few weeks old and you contact the manufacturer and they tell you to "Take a hike" ! Manufacturers will not honor any warranty on gray market equipment. Or, your equipment works flawlessly for years, you decide that it needs a routine check up, you send it to the manufacturer and you hear back "Jump off a cliff" ! Manufacturers will not service any gray market equipment.

    Contacting the seller will be worthless, they'll be either out of business or just tell you it's not their problem.

    I know it may cost a bit more, but if you choose to buy new, you can often get the best deals, with valid warranties, from super stores like Adorama and B&H Photo Video.

    If you are not sure of a particular seller, contact the manufacturer and ask about them. The manufacturer will know every official retailer in their network and they'll be able to tell you if the equipment is official or gray.

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    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Used Lenses

    Thank you so much for the excellent advice Obi Juans. I did read a review that someone wrote on Amazon, that said their camera and lens had come in a plain box with no protective packaging. That in itself is probably enough to make me think twice. I am checking out the 2 places you sent me Steaphany. I appreciate the input.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    Hi Liz,
    my little experience in that matter tells me to be very carefull on buying used lenses.
    I have some examples of what happened to my friends.
    One bought a canon ef 28-70 f/2.8 L some month ago on ebay, in a while the zoom control has became very hard to rotate between 28 and 40mm. An other of my friends bought in a photographic shop a sigma 24-70 f/2.8 that showed a defect on focusing: after AF locked on the subject, some kind of quite quick motions of the lens (as for quickly recompose) lead to the loose of the focus point(probably some inner lenses have had a bit of space to slip). both of them tested the lens before buying it.
    ...

    what I would say: a lens (or a camera) has a lot of things that could fail and sometime it is hardly to discover the failure at the first test.


    anyway there are many people that bought used parts and are happy for their choice because everything worked well.

    anyway, I could add, that an used lens has for sure a shorter life

    at the end, I think, all turns to this simple question:
    are you sure that a saving of 10%-20% could justify the risk of throwing the part in the trash after an year or after a week?
    usually I don't think so,
    so I bought all the new parts I could afford

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    Re: Used Lenses

    I can go along with much of what Richard has said, but I have bought some cracking good lenses secondhand and quite a few at very reasonable or even cheap prices. You certainly have to know what you are doing, however, and realise that many sellers don't know all the ins and outs of what they are selling, so it is necessary to ask questions and know what questions to ask and, if possible, see the lens before you buy. However, as I have said if you are careful and know what you are about and do all the background research you need there are some incredibly good lenses out there on sale secondhand. So I would encourage anyone to get lenses by this means as long as they are prepared to do lots of homework and ask lots of questions before they buy.

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    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Used Lenses

    Thank you so much photo peeps Good advice from everyone. I will bite the bullet and buy my lenses new. All the places have 3 year extended warranties for a price. So far adorama is the cheapest. $199 for 3 years which includes accidental damage. That would cover the camera and 1 lens. I have narrowed it down to 2 choices for a basic walk about lens, and am waiting on a few more answers. I appreciate all the comments.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    Just want to point out that https://www.lensrentals.com/ has used equipment for sale from time to time and they give full disclosure upon their items. The prices are good and they are an incredibly respectable company to deal with.

    The same can be said of http://www.bhphotovideo.com/ and http://www.adorama.com/ regarding their used equipment. Their prices are slightly higher than you can find elsewhere, but the old adage is "you get what you pay for".
    Last edited by hoffstriker; 13th September 2011 at 11:04 PM. Reason: forgot link

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Used Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzy310 View Post
    Thank you so much photo peeps Good advice from everyone. I will bite the bullet and buy my lenses new.
    Probably a wise choice. Once you feel you're as savvy as the guys doing the selling, you can venture into that market. But until then, stick with reputable dealers such as Adorama.

    But on that extended warranty thing. Mmmm. I'm always very sceptical about such things whether it's on cameras, lenses or washing machines. My default position is that it's a rip-off. I've never had cause to regret not having taken out extended warranty on any item.

  12. #12
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Used Lenses

    I've been known to drop things, break them, and other klutzy actions. The warranty covers accidental damage, even water damage. It's not too awfully expensive, and last time I bought a tv, the motherboard went out after 12 months. Without the extra warranty, I would have been buying a new tv, because the repair was more than a new one. We live in a throw away society these days. My receiver for my satellite went out, so today they replaced it free. My laptop has had every part replaced under the extra warranty. Donald...am I the Lemon Queen? (Here in the US, we refer to crappy products as lemons in case you didn't know )
    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Probably a wise choice. Once you feel you're as savvy as the guys doing the selling, you can venture into that market. But until then, stick with reputable dealers such as Adorama.

    But on that extended warranty thing. Mmmm. I'm always very sceptical about such things whether it's on cameras, lenses or washing machines. My default position is that it's a rip-off. I've never had cause to regret not having taken out extended warranty on any item.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    But on that extended warranty thing. Mmmm. I'm always very sceptical about such things whether it's on cameras, lenses or washing machines. My default position is that it's a rip-off. I've never had cause to regret not having taken out extended warranty on any item.
    Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. If it also includes an insurance cover (dropping / water damage etc) then I guess that's something to factor into it as well. It's my understanding that - as a whole though - the retailers offering the extended warranties win absolutely BIG TIME.

    In a book I'm currently reading they use the example of Best Buy Electronics:

    2007 total profits = $1.38 Billion

    and of that ...

    Profits from Extended warranties = 790 Million! (57%!)

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    Re: Used Lenses

    I recently bought an expensive lens from Adorama. Firstly the second hand lenses were few and far between and they all usually belonged to pro photographers and the paint work was often chipped and scratched. I don't care how good they say the optics are. If the lens looks like it's taken a hammering, it probably has. I bit the bullet and shelled out the $ for a brand new one and I'm a happy camper.

    Extended warranties = biggest rip off of all time. Here in NZ we have pretty strong legislation protecting the consumer and in most cases if you make enough noise, it gets sorted.

    My wife once took an extended warranty on a microwave oven which packed in just within the extended period. Man, did I cop it for a few weeks! Duck curry (aka humble pie) was all I ate for a while. Nothing like a woman saying "I told you so".

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    Re: Used Lenses

    I've had good luck with ebay and shopgoodwill.com. You have to watch goodwill though as they sell stuff "as is." They are mainly for manual lenses which are usually hung on the front of an old 35mm camera. My best luck has come from buying used through a reputable dealer. There are two in Canada who I have no compunction dealing with. As a for instance I am awaiting a Pentax K10D with only 4000 shutter actuation's which cost 300.00 Canadian. If isn't as advertised they'll take it back. I have found that dealing with private individuals is the diciest.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    I have had very good luck in buying used lenses but I buy them locally off Craig's List or the like and carefully examine them before purchase.

    I wanted to make a point about original manufacturer's warranties. I see many people advertising that a lens or camera is still in warranty because of its age. I don't know about Canon but Nikon's warranties apply to the original purchaser and are not transferable. You may get around this if the person you buy the item from gives you the original sales receipt and they have never registered the component with the manufacturer. My advice is to assume that there won't be any warranty on the item no matter what the seller says.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    I don't think it matters all that much if the item is new or used. The question, as someone else mentioned, is whether or not you can return it if it turns out to be unsatisfactory. I bought my D90 new off of Ebay twice. The first time the seller never sent it. Because I was able to get my money back rather easily, I have been encouraged to buy from Ebay ever since. Recently, I bought my first used lens, a Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro, off Ebay. It arrived packed as new. It works beautifully. But, if it didn't, I would have returned it for a full refund. Of course, I had to get it at a good discount since I am missing out on having a warranty and it is used. Whether you get a lens new or used, from Amazon or Ebay, make sure you have a good return policy and are willing to use it. Test the lens out as soon as it arrives. If it doesn't perform, send it back. Immediately.

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    Re: Used Lenses

    Ive never found a secondhand lens cheap enough to warrant me buying it .
    when I was looking for a Nikon 60mm macro a couple of years ago I found a hong kong seller with them 240 cheaper than here and cheaper than any secondhand one here.
    after emailing Nikon UK to see if they would honour the warranty here ,to which they said yes,I decided to go for it and 3 days later it arrived and 2 years later Im still very very happy with it .
    I did get a 15 import duty bill from DHL but still a big big saving.

    if you do buy from Amazon make sure it says "Sold by ****** and Fulfilled by Amazon. "
    that way if any thing goes wrong Amazon sort it

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    Re: Used Lenses

    The trouble with a question like this is that it is bound to produce contradictory responses and those that have bad experiences are, perhaps, more likely to comment than those with good experiences. All I can say is that I have bought many second hand lenses, mostly Minolta Rokkors but also some Vivitar (both Series 1 and non Series 1), Tokina, Kiron, Sigma, Tamron, Canon and Soligor lenses and I am happy with all these. The only lenses I have bought which I am not happy with are lenses that were 'thrown in' as extras when I bought something else. However, I do always do my homework and only buy a lens that I know is worth buying and has had good reviews both in the photographic press and by actual users. So, for instance, I have recently bought a Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm lens in preference to the 28-105mm Series 1 lens having done my homework on both lenses. So even from good manufacturers it is worth finding out about each individual lens or, for example, as in the case of the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 zoom the exact version of the lens. Some versions of this lens (versions 1-3) are top notch and highly sought after, whereas versions 4 and 5 are not anything like as good in either build quality or performance.
    Most people are aware that across manufacturers the same focal length of lens or zoom can be miles better by one manufacturer than from another similar manufacturer. It is just a matter of doing the homework to know which manufacturers lens is top notch and then being prepared to wait for a good example which is scartch, dust and fungus free and in working order to come onto the market hopefully at a not too unreasonable prioce. The only way to discern these things is to ask the seller straight questions if they don't specify from the outset what exactly is the condition of the lens. Most sellers who have a decent lens on sale, however, will be only too glad to state these kind of details to start with in their advert because they know that is what buyers will look for. But what the heck - the fact that people don't trust buying second hand lenses is good news as far as I am concerned - it means I am able to buy lenses I want at a far cheaper price because there is less competition!

  20. #20
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    Re: Used Lenses

    I've bought two lenses from eBay. One has been great, the other I had to send back because the focussing was broken. Often you are buying from people just like yourself. In this case it will be fine.

    Make sure you read the advert fully and check the seller's feedback. I often ask why they are selling the item. I once asked for someone to post some more pictures of a lens and they said that they did not know how. The answer did not suggest it was a photographer selling the item and so I passed on that one. A good answer is usually a move from APS to full-frame, they have other lenses to cover the range (with valid examples), they do not use it enough anymore, moving from Canon to Nikon (with reasons), etc. Not that the lens has seen 300 days shooting in the Amazon jungle and is now no good for the pro-photographer owner due to wear.

    However I have only bought items less than 250. This is the limit where eBay will refund your purchase fees if you raise a complaint and the seller ignores it. eBay will then chase the seller for you. Although I have no experience of this it gives me confidence buying anything up to the 250 threshold.

    http://pages.ebay.com/buyerprotectio...FAQ/index.html

    If you do buy from eBay make sure you fully check out the item when it arrives. It should be as specified on the advert. If not then you will have a case for returning it. All of my eBay returns have been like this. The item did not match what I thought I had bought.

    There is a time limit for this though. (The link above states 45 days.) After that then you are on your own. You should find out about warranty service on used goods if that is important to you.

    Alex

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