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Thread: Buying used lens

  1. #1
    flipmode's Avatar
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    Buying used lens

    I often see used lens for sale online but have never purchased one for fear of getting a bad copy. For those of you who have purchased used copies, what steps do you take to carefully inspect a lens?

    I'm looking at a used canon macro 100mm f2/8 as well as a 70-200mm IS.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Buying used lens

    In a city like Vegas there has to be a few camera shops that sell used lenses. At least there you can bring in your camera try it on for size and do your haggling in person.
    Last edited by McQ; 24th November 2010 at 07:19 PM.

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    flipmode's Avatar
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    Re: Buying used lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    In a city like Vegas there has to be a few camera shops that sell used lenses. At least there you can bring in your camera try it on for size and do your haggling in person.
    There's actually only two major camera shops here in Vegas. It's crazy but true. I'll have to check what they have in inventory as far as used lens.

    I definitely intend to try the lens on my body, but other than that, how do you inspect for scratches or what other tests should I perform in such a limited time when viewing?

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Buying used lens

    Quote Originally Posted by flipmode View Post
    There's actually only two major camera shops here in Vegas. It's crazy but true. I'll have to check what they have in inventory as far as used lens.

    I definitely intend to try the lens on my body, but other than that, how do you inspect for scratches or what other tests should I perform in such a limited time when viewing?
    See the following:
    http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-bu...a-lens-342325/

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Buying used lens

    I have a post here at CiC somewhere (extensive searching has failed me, but you may have better luck) of the things I looked for when buying or selling lenses. It has a fair amount of overlap with the link John just posted, but was in a list format so easier to use as a checklist.

  6. #6
    flipmode's Avatar
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    Re: Buying used lens

    Thanks John for the link. It was very useful.

    Also, thanks Dave. I'll have to see if I can find the thread you're referencing.

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    Re: Buying used lens

    I cannot advise for or against purchasing lenses used. I can simply tell you my experience with used glass.

    I have purchased four used lenses: 90mm f/2.8 Tamron Macro and 17-40mm f/4L from eBay along with a 300mm f/4L IS and a 400mm f/5.6L lens which I purchased from a friend.

    I was extremely satisfied with the 90mm, 300mm and 400mm lenses but, found after a while of shooting that the 17-40mm was just a TAD front focusing. This was not apparent at first. But when I discovered it. I needed to send the lens into a Canon service center for correction. The cost of that correction which, obviously, was not covered by warranty, ate up any savings I gained buying the lens used and then some.

    That means I had a 75% overall satisfaction rate in buying used but, when buying from strangers, that rate dropped to 50%.

    On the other hand, I have beeen extremely satisfied when purchasing my 30D and 40D cameras as Canon Factory refurbished items. I would investigate the availability and prices of refurbished lenses if I were in the market for glass. Often the price of a refurb from Adorama in New York City (Adorama provides their own warranty to extend the Canon refurb waranty to a full year) equals or is even less than a used lens with no warranty whatsoever.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Buying used lens

    Another good question would be, knowing your personal experience handling your own lenses would you feel confident selling yours to someone else? With the concern with scratched lenses I could very well inspect the item before selling but would I have some bias toward favoring my equipment's quality? The answer is I probably would have some bias, but in the world of fair trade I would at least acknowledge my findings before selling to someone.

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    Re: Buying used lens

    Quote Originally Posted by flipmode View Post
    There's actually only two major camera shops here in Vegas....

    BTW I'm going to have a trip to Vegas (from Poland) .Could you tell me where are these shops with used lenses in Las Vegas please?

    It 's gonna to be the first visit in USA of mine .So all addresses are nice visible.
    Last edited by incus; 4th February 2011 at 05:07 AM.

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    Re: Buying used lens

    I second the suggestion of using Adorama with the addition of checking B&H Photo for used items first. I have purchased used equipment from each of these places with completely satisfactory results. When I purchased used items from them, they offered a very fair return policy on used items. I would investigate before a purchase just to make sure. I definitely would try to find a lens from one of these two or even better, from your local Photography store.

    As far as testing, the tips given in the link from John are very good.

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