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Thread: Buy used lens - what to ask

  1. #1
    Member Mircula's Avatar
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    Buy used lens - what to ask

    Hey,

    I was wondering what questions I should ask if I want to buy a used 2ndhand lens.

    What photos of or from the lens should i inquire and what exactly should i look at.

    Can there be little failures inside the lens etc. which might not be seen on first sight but when taking specific photos?

    Cheers,

    Mirc
    Constructive criticism is most welcome!!!

    Canon 40D, 100-300 5.6 L
    Sigma 17-70
    Manfrotto Tripod

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    any dust ?
    any fungus ?
    any scratches on front or back element ?
    any focussing noise/tightness ?

    would be about it normally apart from obvious (mount, age, condition)
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
    Website : http://www.peakactionimages.com
    Please support Precious Hearts
    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Ask if you can return if it isn't in the described condition.

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    is there any oil on the aperture blades (it isn't a show stopper)
    does aperture spring back quickly or is it sticky
    fungus on lens elements
    haze, oil vapour can deposit internally on lens elements
    lens seperation, glue between lens elements can 'un-glue'
    is focus action smooth, stiff, sloppy (with play)
    cleaning marks or scratches on fron/rear lens elements
    dust internally
    any dings
    is the filter thread OK, they can be damaged/dented so a filter can't be fitted
    any modifications (it happens, but not often)
    what does it look like, clean and looked after or been through the wars

    All of the above can be perfect and you can still have a dud optically, it happens. Hell, I've bought brand new lenses that were duds and had to be replaced. Of the last 6 or 7 lenses I've bought second hand only one was a dissapointment and it was sold by some one who claimed to 'not know much about lenses', hence their poor description. Even after paying to have it repaired it I'm very happy, but only having paid the right price for it in the first place.

    Be carefull about sellers claiming to not know much about cameras or lenses as it often means that they don't really want to give a better description, so NEVER EVER pay top dollar in such cases. If they don't tell you specifically that the item is good in a particular respect, such as fungus, then you can't hold it against them! The other side of the coin is when a lens is perfectly photographed and described, especially when it is a desireable item, it will tend to attract more buyers and possibly a premium compared to a poorly photographed and described lens. If you buy a poorly described item then you are taking a gamble to some degree, depending on any ability to return it.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 23-07-2010 at 1:59pm.

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    Some ask for the number code within the lens mounting surface , not to be confused with the lens serial number. They are able to tell the month and the year of date and the factory where the lens was made, if it is an L lens by Canon. There's a lot of info on the net as to how to do that dating.
    "The greatest camera in the world is the one you hold in your hands when shit happens." ©2007 Raoul Isidro

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