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Thread: Buying 2nd hand lenses

  1. #1
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Here is a short checklist to buying 2nd hand lenses. I've done some edits on 23 May 09:

    1) Look through the lens (dismounted) and at a light source (or bring a torch light) so you can clearly see the front and rear elements (glass) with the maximum aperture. Remember to remove the front filter first.

    2) Make sure there are no spots, smudges, cracks, haze, fungus, etc. when you look thru the item (got spots might be fungus). Normally, there would be some dust in the lens. It is up to your comfort level how much dust in the lens you can accept.

    3) For normal twisting type, make sure twist motion is smooth when extending focal length.

    4) Do a few test shots at different focal lengths and different f-stops to see if the picture is sharp. Pictures at different f-stops may reveal different defects, e.g. a speck of dust might show up at f/22 but not at f/2.8. Note that at a small aperture, e.g. f/22, a picture taken may also revel dust on your sensor (CCD, CMOS) is dust on t be the lens. To confirm if that is is dust on your sensor, use a different lens and shoot using a small aperture. If it is dust on your sensor, it will show up at the same position on the picture taken.

    5) Make sure the aperture can reach maximum (i.e smallest f-number) and minimum (i.e. largest f-number) and photos taken are acceptably sharp (make sure zoom in on your LCD and see). Normally, the sharpest aperture for a lens is about 2-stops from the smallest f-number.

    6) Make sure when mounted, the lens is mounted firmly (normally there is a little lag, just a tiny bit but should not be able to twist the barrel, pls do not force twist).

    7) For Nikon lens, make sure that the aperture is snappy. You can do this by flicking the lever at the lens mount area. When you push the lever, the aperture should go to the largest, and when released, the aperture should go to the smallest quickly. In some old lenses, there may be oil on the aperture blades, which may cause the aperture blades to get stuck or to slow down the speed of the aperture closing. This can cause over-exposed photos.

    Extra checks:

    8) Prior to seeing the seller, ask them to send you some pics taken using the lens as well as physical pics of the lens. Ask him for the Lens code for Canon Lenses so you can check the age of the lens. The Nikon serial number should be able to roughly gauge the age.

    9) Ask the seller if he can grant a 7 day personal guarantee just in case the lens breaks down within 7 days.

    10) Make sure the seller agree to your paying price and not on the spot increase. If he increases on the spot, walk away.
    Last edited by geraldkhoo; 23rd May 2009 at 10:03 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by geraldkhoo View Post
    Here is a short checklist to buying 2nd hand lenses:

    1) Look through the lens (dismounted) and at a light source so you can clearly see the front and rear elements (glass) with the maximum aperture. Remember to remove the front filter first.

    2) Make sure there are no spots, smudges, cracks, etc. when you look thru the item (got spots might be fungus).

    3) For normal twisting type, make sure twist motion is smooth when extending focal length.

    4) Do a few test shots at different focal lengths and different f-stops to see if the picture is sharp. Pictures at different f-stops may reveal different defects, e.g. a speck of dust might show up at f/22 but not at f/2.8.

    5) Make sure the aperture can reach maximum (i.e smallest f-number) and photos taken are sharp (make sure zoom in on your LCD and see).

    6) Make sure when mounted, the lens is mounted firmly (normally there is a little lag, just a tiny bit but should not be able to twist the barrel, pls do not force twist)

    Extra checks:

    7) Prior to seeing the seller, ask them to send you some pics taken using the lens as well as physical pics of the lens. Ask him for the Lens code for Canon Lenses so you can check the age of the lens. The Nikon serial number should be able to roughly gauge the age.

    8) Ask the seller if he can grant a 7 day personal guarantee just in case the lens breaks down within 7 days.

    9) Make sure the seller agree to your paying price and not on the spot increase. If he increases on the spot, walk away.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    take a picture of the seller..... just in case...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by geraldkhoo View Post
    9) Make sure the seller agree to your paying price and not on the spot increase. If he increases on the spot, walk away.
    Normally, I only heard about buyer on the spot decrease price.. Haa haa

  5. #5
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiao_shin View Post
    Normally, I only heard about buyer on the spot decrease price.. Haa haa
    Decrease price on the spot ?
    Must teach us ur secret then

    Ryan

  6. #6

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by giantcanopy View Post
    Decrease price on the spot ?
    Must teach us ur secret then

    Ryan

    Means meet up already.. Buyer want a lower price than agreed.
    This is unethical, teach you for wat?

  7. #7
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiao_shin View Post
    Means meet up already.. Buyer want a lower price than agreed.
    This is unethical, teach you for wat?
    Oops misread. i thought asking seller for a lower price

  8. #8

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by geraldkhoo View Post
    Here is a short checklist to buying 2nd hand lenses:

    1) Look through the lens (dismounted) and at a light source so you can clearly see the front and rear elements (glass) with the maximum aperture. Remember to remove the front filter first.

    2) Make sure there are no spots, smudges, cracks, etc. when you look thru the item (got spots might be fungus).

    3) For normal twisting type, make sure twist motion is smooth when extending focal length.

    4) Do a few test shots at different focal lengths and different f-stops to see if the picture is sharp. Pictures at different f-stops may reveal different defects, e.g. a speck of dust might show up at f/22 but not at f/2.8.

    5) Make sure the aperture can reach maximum (i.e smallest f-number) and photos taken are sharp (make sure zoom in on your LCD and see).

    6) Make sure when mounted, the lens is mounted firmly (normally there is a little lag, just a tiny bit but should not be able to twist the barrel, pls do not force twist)

    Extra checks:

    7) Prior to seeing the seller, ask them to send you some pics taken using the lens as well as physical pics of the lens. Ask him for the Lens code for Canon Lenses so you can check the age of the lens. The Nikon serial number should be able to roughly gauge the age.

    8) Ask the seller if he can grant a 7 day personal guarantee just in case the lens breaks down within 7 days.

    9) Make sure the seller agree to your paying price and not on the spot increase. If he increases on the spot, walk away.
    very useful, but then even if it the image seems okay on your camera LCD, may not be okay when you reach home and view it on your com.

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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses


  10. #10
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by advrider View Post
    take a picture of the seller..... just in case...
    ha ha! then we can start a most wanted list with pictures
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  11. #11
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by geraldkhoo View Post
    Here is a short checklist to buying 2nd hand lenses:

    4) Do a few test shots at different focal lengths and different f-stops to see if the picture is sharp. Pictures at different f-stops may reveal different defects, e.g. a speck of dust might show up at f/22 but not at f/2.8.
    To test for dust or defects in the lens, pick a blank light-colored wall (e.g. white, beige, etc.), focus in and shoot that blank wall with the different apertures. This is how I see if the specks would show up in the picture.

    When looking at 2nd hand lenses, esp. the older ones, it is quite inevitable that there would be some dust specks in the lens. Hence, the decision is yours whether you want to get it, esp. when they do not show up in the picture.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    It's possible. When buyer meets seller, buyer see some minor defects on the lens. Buyer did not want to buy the lens. Seller decrease price. Buyer considers the price against the defect. Defect does not affect picture quality. Buyer accepts lowered price.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by cantaresg View Post
    It's possible. When buyer meets seller, buyer see some minor defects on the lens. Buyer did not want to buy the lens. Seller decrease price. Buyer considers the price against the defect. Defect does not affect picture quality. Buyer accepts lowered price.
    Ya, happens to me once too ...

    Met with seller for a camera, then tested out and discovered some problems that he did not highlight in the post. He said that he had not used the camera for a long time and is not aware of the problem. I gave him the benefit of the doubt lar since I had dealt w him before. But given the problem I was not ready to take the camera at that price.

    Seller gives a very good discount to me in view of the problem ... So I thought that so long as I can live with the problem, y not?

    makes good sense for duly checking the item ... You might be able to get a good win-win situation ... any serious buyer would give you time to check out the item (any seller rushing off immediately is a big RED LIGHT for me)

    and I always bring along a camera when buying a lens (and a lens and CF card when buying a camera). For tripods etc, always try to make sure that it is usable (and tough ... afterall I am mounting very expensive eqpm on that thing) ...

  14. #14

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    If buying older manual lens, do check for the focus torque. Fully manual lenses must have a focus torque feeling to it, not tight or too loose. If the focus is way too tight, the heliocoilds might be damaged. Ifs its way too loose, the heliocoilds might need retuning or regreasing. Had such a lens once, and found the focus loose. Cost $100+ to clean and regrease. Newer Autofocus lenses seem not too have much focus torque due to the need for the AF motor to focus without hinderance.
    5D MII w/16-35L,Sigma 28-70&Nikkors(35f2,85f1.4,105f2.5,180f2.8ED)

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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by geraldkhoo View Post
    To test for dust or defects in the lens, pick a blank light-colored wall (e.g. white, beige, etc.), focus in and shoot that blank wall with the different apertures. This is how I see if the specks would show up in the picture.

    When looking at 2nd hand lenses, esp. the older ones, it is quite inevitable that there would be some dust specks in the lens. Hence, the decision is yours whether you want to get it, esp. when they do not show up in the picture.
    you are more lightly to see dust spot on your sensor than the lens...

  16. #16
    Senior Member scud's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    take your time to test out the used lens u intend to buy, even if it is a new one from shops.
    bring along a friend if you are not sure what to look out for.

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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Useful info, thanks for sharing
    Canon 5D mkII|24-105 F4 IS L|70-200 F4 IS L|135 F2 L|580EX|

  18. #18

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiao_shin View Post
    Means meet up already.. Buyer want a lower price than agreed.
    This is unethical, teach you for wat?
    ya, very sad to say, there are people, not many, who meet up an ask for discount after an agreed sum. Normally will ask them to go back n think then call again to deal. A waste of time...

  19. #19

    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by advrider View Post
    take a picture of the seller..... just in case...
    hahaha ya
    actually should have pictures of both buyer and seller

    i've been in/heard of situations where both sides know how to play you out
    there are really some imbeciles out there, take my word for it

    i remember someone started a kb thread about how
    some goof put mint condition for his lens
    then got fungus inside

  20. #20
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd hand lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by advrider View Post
    take a picture of the seller..... just in case...
    shoot a photo of the seller's nric +D

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