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Thread: Lens purchase on Ebay

  1. #1
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Lens purchase on Ebay

    Hi all,

    I am looking to upgrade my kit lens to the Nikon 18-200mm VR II DX Lens. I have read a lot of good things about this lens and have pretty much made up my mind.

    However, I can see that I can get it a bit cheaper on Ebay - I think i'd pay around 350 for a used, but mint condition, lens. Usually they say that a UV filter has been used since new and that there are no scratches on the glass.

    I am purely here looking for a bit of advice and reassurance that this is ok to do. I appreciate that I won't be getting a manufacturer's warranty and that there will be little or no comeback if something does go wrong with it. But what could possibly go wrong?

    Alternatively, does anyone know the cheapest place to buy this lens retail?

    many thanks,

    Tommy

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Don't know, I always buy from traders and use paypal but you might look around, try Jessops, the London Camera Exchange, Dale Photographic ect or these:

    http://www.mpbphotographic.co.uk/use...on-fit-lenses/

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Tommy

    To me buying on e-bay is a high risk business. And for gear of this sort, I just wouldn't do it. That being said, I am not the person to comment on the practice of dealing on e-bay, because I have never used it.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 3rd September 2010 at 12:54 PM.

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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    what could possibly go wrong?
    - The aperture control could fail

    - The VR unit could fail

    - The AF unit could fail

    - The seller could be lying about the condition of the lens

    I'm not saying don't do it, but do check out everything you possibly can before hand.

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Let me piggy-back on Colin's statement.

    This could be another problem with eBay purchases... Perhaps the seller is not lying... Perhaps the lens had a problem which the seller never noticed and thus never corrected.

    Buying gear on eBay is a chancy thing at best. I have done it a couple of times and have gotten stung once with a 17-40mm f/4L lens that was just a smidgen off focus. I don't think the seller noticed this problem because I had the lens for a while before I actually noticed it. Sending the lens into Canon Service completly negated any savings in buying used. In fact, the bottom line cost was a bit above what a new lens would have cost me...

    I don't mean to mention that all gear sold on eBay is faulty or that all gear sold new is perfect. I prefer to buy my equipment as Canon refurbished items. I have purchased two cameras (30D and 40D) this way and they were perfect while I previously purchased two cameras new (10D and 350D) and needed to send each in for service within the first 90 days of ownership.

    I tend to purchase lower priced equipment on eBay, especially equipment with which little could go wrong. I bought both of my RRS L-brackets from ebay sellers and all of my RRS and Kirk lens plates. There is virtually nothing except getting run over by a tank which could harm that equipment AND if there is a problem - it is easily spotted.

    I don't know how good the Nikon refurbished gear is but, I suspect that it is comparable to the Canon refurbs...

  6. #6

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    Re: Ebay

    I had a very similar experience to Richard with my one e bay purchase.

    And I found that most sellers were bidding against me to force up the price. Every time I stopped bidding before the final bid, I found that the seller contacted me after the sale to say that the winner had backed out of the sale and I could still purchase the item at the final bid price.

    Now I may be cynical, but after that happened 6 times, I started to get suspicious. And as a result, I didn't trust the seller so refused the offers.

    However, I have friends who regularly purchase a variety of items on e bay and think it is a wonderful place to find bargains.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Hi Tommy,

    I'd buy from Amazon or somewhere reputable like that, if new.
    Or from a shop where you can go back and discuss it if there's a problem (new or s/h).

    I have some advice regarding e-Bay, but only because I have sold photographic kit on it, not bought.

    Regarding lenses, make sure, if it is not unambiguously stated in the description, that you ask;

    Is the lens scratch free on all elements?
    Is there any dust visible inside? (either when light shone down and viewed from front or hen held up to light and looked through)
    Is there any mould visible inside?
    Does the focus ring have a smooth action? (i.e. no rough spots, sticking or loose?)
    Does the zoom ring have a smooth action? (i.e. no rough spots, sticking or loose?)
    Do all the switches move and perform their intended operations?
    Does it mount and dismount easily?
    When mounted on a camera, is there any movement of the front half of the lens?
    Does the AF work?
    Does the VR work?
    Does the aperture work? There's no ring, so they, or you, will need a camera to put it on and set it; ensure it stops down when the picture is taken, it'll be wide open the rest of the time - that's normal.
    Does manual focus work?
    Is the lens hood supplied?
    Is a UV or similar filter supplied?
    What colour is the "VR" legend on the top of the lens; Red = VR, Gold = VR2, but don't tell them that
    Does it come with front and rear lens caps?
    Does it come in the pouch?
    Is the manual supplied?

    OK, you might not want to ask them all like that in a huge list, but you get the idea?

    btw, the one on Arith's link is a VR, not VR2 version - but you probably spotted that.

    I have the VR and am pleased with it, sure it has some CA (yellow/blue or red/green) at some focal lengths and apertures, but I find it is the exception rather than the rule. I am more often pleasantly surprised by how little there is.

    Good luck,

  8. #8
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    Re: Ebay

    Sometimes eBay offerings are quite reputable. As an example, I would have no hesitation in buying this EOS 1D Mk-II which is being sold on eBay as used equipment from Calumet Photo...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-Eos-1D-Mar...item53e3027cde

    This is especially true since I have a Calumet store about twenty-minutes drive from my house...

  9. #9

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    Re: Ebay

    I think the (potentially) big problem with the likes of eBay is that - generally - when you buy from an individual, if there's a problem, then the usual response (stated) is "well it didn't do that when I had it so it must be something you've done to it" and (thought) is "I've got (and spent) the money - so what do I care).

    Here in New Zealand we have a national auction site (in fact, I think it's the number 1 site across all of New Zealand for all categories). A new Canon 1Ds3 goes for around $12,000 and I know of one being sold by a full time professional photographer that he's asking around $8,000 for. When asked how many shots it's taken he's come back with "I don't know", but has said that he's selling because "he has other backup cameras" (ie sort of implying that this was a backup camera too). I'm also aware that that camera was used for several years as his primary camera and has done well over 300,000 shots.

    Although it's not on eBay, it could well be. A bit like buying a car that you think has only done 5000km but in reality it's done over 300,000km. I'm not saying don't buy from eBay (I buy things myself), but I generally don't buy very expensive items (say over $1000), and I'm careful and thorough in checking out their reputation. Those with just about any bad feedback - or those who put little care into presenting their auctions - or those who don't answer questions politely and quickly I give a miss to.

  10. #10
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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Tommy

    To me buying on e-bay is a high risk business. And for gear of this sort, I just wouldn't do it. That being said, I am not the person to comment on the practice of dealing on e-bay, because I have never used it.
    Even if the seller were reputable, what are the guidelines for damage during shipment? You are talking about a fragile piece of equipment so cover all the bases.

  11. #11
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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I had a very similar experience to Richard with my one e bay purchase.

    And I found that most sellers were bidding against me to force up the price. Every time I stopped bidding before the final bid, I found that the seller contacted me after the sale to say that the winner had backed out of the sale and I could still purchase the item at the final bid price.

    Now I may be cynical, but after that happened 6 times, I started to get suspicious. And as a result, I didn't trust the seller so refused the offers.

    However, I have friends who regularly purchase a variety of items on e bay and think it is a wonderful place to find bargains.
    Is that the typical way an Ebay bid would go, the seller directly contacting the bidder? It would seem that any seller directly contacting the bidder was trying to bypass the Ebay fees.

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Even if the seller were reputable, what are the guidelines for damage during shipment? You are talking about a fragile piece of equipment so cover all the bases.
    That's easy John,

    As a seller, I always made sure I had allowed in the (extra) shipping charges, that it was insured and was a trackable and signed for on receipt delivery. I also only shipped within UK, I know that lost me some foreign bids and undoubtedly some money, but I didn't have the potential stress of trying to trace something that didn't arrive in language I didn't speak.

    I sometimes under-estimated either the value it sold for, or the weight, and lost out when postage was due, but not often.

    In more than 20 items, I was lucky no-one 'tried it on' and attempted to claim it arrived damaged - but my stuff was very well packaged and I took safety photos of the addressed parcel before posting. Like everything in life, plan for the worst

    Cheers,

  13. #13

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    Re: Ebay

    All of the above are excellent comments. I've used ebay many times over the years for various items. I only use paypal, check the return policy and check the negative comments made over the past year. I've purchased from Canada, the US and the UK. I've also used a classified site called kijiji.com. You might have a similar site in the UK?

    If you are in the Amazon is a good choice plus B&H photo seems to have a good reputation. I know both ship to Canada, so they likely do international overseas shipping. I have not purchased camera equipment from either, so cannot speak from personal experience.

    Another route you might try is to contact a local photography club. You may find some hobbyists either upgrading or selling off their equipment that way.


    Myra

  14. #14
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    That's easy John,

    As a seller, I always made sure I had allowed in the (extra) shipping charges, that it was insured and was a trackable and signed for on receipt delivery. I also only shipped within UK, I know that lost me some foreign bids and undoubtedly some money, but I didn't have the potential stress of trying to trace something that didn't arrive in language I didn't speak.

    I sometimes under-estimated either the value it sold for, or the weight, and lost out when postage was due, but not often.

    In more than 20 items, I was lucky no-one 'tried it on' and attempted to claim it arrived damaged - but my stuff was very well packaged and I took safety photos of the addressed parcel before posting. Like everything in life, plan for the worst

    Cheers,
    Dave,

    Makes a lot of sense, the precautions you took to deliver quality goods. I would almost think that each seller should have some type of verification of the working order of electronic equipment. I know that Ebay is basically a virtual garage sale but some items sold have value to both the purchaser and the seller.

  15. #15
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    All of the above are excellent comments. I've used ebay many times over the years for various items. I only use paypal, check the return policy and check the negative comments made over the past year. I've purchased from Canada, the US and the UK. I've also used a classified site called kijiji.com. You might have a similar site in the UK?

    If you are in the Amazon is a good choice plus B&H photo seems to have a good reputation. I know both ship to Canada, so they likely do international overseas shipping. I have not purchased camera equipment from either, so cannot speak from personal experience.

    Another route you might try is to contact a local photography club. You may find some hobbyists either upgrading or selling off their equipment that way.


    Myra
    Myra,

    Amazon and B & H do seem to be more reputable, although Amazon does list some items which are sold directly from the seller and not a warehoused item. Like you said, check the negative comments and cross your fingers.

  16. #16

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    Re: Ebay

    <LOL> I just realized I wrote "If you are in the Amazon". Duh!

  17. #17
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    Re: Ebay

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    <LOL> I just realized I wrote "If you are in the Amazon". Duh!
    I thought you were using trendy lingo!

  18. #18
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    Re: Ebay

    BY THE WAY..,

    The signs of a possible eBay fraud:

    1. The price is unbelieveably good... When something is too good to be true it usually is...

    2. Few feedbacks or feedbacks for only cheap merchandise or only as an eBay buyer...

    3. Recent date of joining eBay...

    4. Not accepting paypal - wanting cash or money order...

    5. Auction image of item is stock image from manufacturer...

    6. Seller not being aware of item and describing it incorrectly...

    7. My personal prejudice is against sellers from Brooklyn, New York and from Eastern Europe. I am sure that there are very reputable sellers from those areas but... excuse me for a second a herd of pigs just flew over my roof and their oinking was so loud I had to shut the window.

    AND... of course we can rule out the sellers who have multiple bad feedbacks...

  19. #19

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    Re: Ebay

    Yes, Richard, when I was looking for an e bay purchase and found that I had been out bid I kept getting offers from Brooklyn for even better equipment at a cheaper price. All I had to do was send them the money and then . . .

  20. #20
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    Re: Ebay

    Hi there, I completely buy and sell all my camera kit on ebay. Some great bargains include a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 + case for 320.

    Just go with people with a high ratings and read the description carefully. If there isn't enough detail on quality of lens, ask for photos and email them for details!

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