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 Post subject: Buying used lenses
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:40 am 
Has any of you experience (good or bad) with buying used camera lenses? What should I be careful about, how do I spot defects on lenses, and what defects can I expect to find? Ebay is really appealing price wise but I feel it's like buying with blindfold on and I don't have any experience in buying used lenses. Theres is also a lot of shops here in Paris that sells used lenses which is a bit pricier. If only I could afford new lenses :wink:

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:08 pm
Posts: 8003
Location: Germany
Yeah Rune, Paris is not cheap, isn't it?

I have looked at eBay but only to sell lenses, not buying it.
The most important topics to look for in a lens description seem to be:
- focussing/zooming is smooth with no scratching sounds (indicating debris)
- the aperture moves easily and is not looking oily
- front and back lens is without visible scratches
- there is no fungus in the lens (indicating humidity)
- the "body" of the lens is without signs of a major bump
And the general caution has to be applied when buying from eBay. read the description careful and check the ranking of the seller.
My experience also is, that a Nikon or Canon lens in good shape is not cheap on eBay either. So I'd rather go to a store to check out the mechanical, electrical and optical quality.

Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D810+assorted lenses

Last edited by Thomas on Fri May 11, 2007 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 6:07 pm 
I would steer clear of e-bay - its a lottery not an auction ! Prices generally go higher than you'd expect and you still can't see it yourself. If the description is really good and you trust it, so will others and the price will rise. Great place to flog your gear though! Oh and be wary of fake memory cards etc.

I would guess - maybe Gordon or Thomas can confirm, there might be some good buys (outside Paris) in shops selling older lenses that were designd for 35mm film but will actually still do the job very well. That's assuming you are digital.

Or join a camera club - real enthusiasts often sell on what you might see as really top kit at good prices.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 5:26 pm 
Yes, Paris doesn't seem cheap to me, or I haven't found the right shop? If I want new equipment I'm better of ordering it from Marseille (or in another country).

I googled for places to get used lenses and it seems that and www.adorama are one of the better places to put your money. I really fancy the design of those vintage Minoltas so it would be nice to get hold of a couple of those before they get collector prices :) Though Sony does use the same design the old Minolta logo still adds a little "vintage" value.

And thanks for the advise about used lenses and eBay, I think I will forget them for now then.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 10:09 pm 
Just an update on e-bay prices - I watched 3 Nikon 18-70 - all went for around 115 GBP. One even said the front lens was "a bit dirty" :shock: :shock: :shock: and it still had loads of bids.

I have even sold faulty electrical goods - quite clearly stating the faults but people buy and give me great feedback :D !!!

So a great place to sell, but buy with caution because you are bidding with loonies!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9978
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
I'm a great fan of 2nd hand camera gear, especially lenses, but would be reluctant to buy without being able to check it over in person. This is one of the great downsides with ebay, although if you're local to the seller, you may be able to meet in person. I've sold some older lenses on ebay and for some of them met up with the buyer. Of course there's also risks in doing this.

I think ultimately unless it was from a friend or a seller I could meet in person, I'd only buy 2nd hand from shops. But that's just me.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 6:45 pm 
I have ended my used lens rave for now and ended up with three new lenses; 50/1.7, 28-135/4-4.5, 70-210/4 and a UV+Pol filter for the 28-135 (72ø) for a total of 285€. The 70-210/4 I got at eBay despite the warnings but a lesson is sometimes better learned on your own, it had a little ding on the edge of the front lens :( But I got the 28-135 from an ad so I could see it for my self before buying it, and it was in mint condition almost never been used and still in its original case 8) Those are all Minoltas from '85-'86 and is a big step up in quality compared to the kit lens.

Conclusion - same as your advices ;)

Next up, save for a new prime lens at the low end.

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