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Thread: What to check for when buying new lens???

  1. #1
    Member cumzball's Avatar
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    Default What to check for when buying new lens???

    Hi!

    I am thinking of getting a new lens and it's my first time doing so. I m wondering what are the things i have to inspect or look out for and how do i do the inspection for it?

    i have read some where regarding QC issues on new lenses, so how do i check for all these issues??

    Thanks in advance!!!
    Nikon D90 + 18-105mm Kit Lens + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC

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    Member Guystqy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Just check for the usuals:

    - If the front lens have scratches. If it comes with filter, do check for both the filter and lens.
    - The back end of the lens, check to see if there's scratches.
    - Then hold it in front of you, and look through the lens through the back hole. See if there's any fault you can find in the lens through the glasses itself. It should be clear and nice.
    - If it's a zoom lens, try out the zoom mechanism, and check if it zooms smoothly.
    - Then check out the manual focusing ring, whether you are able to manual focus smoothly.
    - Next, use your own DSLR and try a few shots in both AF and MF modes.
    - Then check for body conditions, if there's heavy user marks or whatever (marks, scratches, etc.). But if you do not mind this marks, then you be set to pay for the lens.
    The world through my Canon 50D (35L, 17-55) | Nex 7 (16, 18-55, Sigma 30)

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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Guystqy View Post
    Just check for the usuals:

    - If the front lens have scratches. If it comes with filter, do check for both the filter and lens.
    - The back end of the lens, check to see if there's scratches.
    - Then hold it in front of you, and look through the lens through the back hole. See if there's any fault you can find in the lens through the glasses itself. It should be clear and nice.
    - If it's a zoom lens, try out the zoom mechanism, and check if it zooms smoothly.
    - Then check out the manual focusing ring, whether you are able to manual focus smoothly.
    - Next, use your own DSLR and try a few shots in both AF and MF modes.
    - Then check for body conditions, if there's heavy user marks or whatever (marks, scratches, etc.). But if you do not mind this marks, then you be set to pay for the lens.
    Thanks for the guide. Very helpful

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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Guystqy View Post
    Just check for the usuals:

    - If the front lens have scratches. If it comes with filter, do check for both the filter and lens.
    - The back end of the lens, check to see if there's scratches.
    - Then hold it in front of you, and look through the lens through the back hole. See if there's any fault you can find in the lens through the glasses itself. It should be clear and nice.
    - If it's a zoom lens, try out the zoom mechanism, and check if it zooms smoothly.
    - Then check out the manual focusing ring, whether you are able to manual focus smoothly.
    - Next, use your own DSLR and try a few shots in both AF and MF modes.
    - Then check for body conditions, if there's heavy user marks or whatever (marks, scratches, etc.). But if you do not mind this marks, then you be set to pay for the lens.
    Plus, look through the viewfinder and scroll from the biggest aperture to the smallest one (using DoF preview button) at all focal length. No dust at f2.8 doesn't mean no dust at f32.

  5. #5
    Member cumzball's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Guystqy View Post
    Just check for the usuals:

    - If the front lens have scratches. If it comes with filter, do check for both the filter and lens.
    - The back end of the lens, check to see if there's scratches.
    - Then hold it in front of you, and look through the lens through the back hole. See if there's any fault you can find in the lens through the glasses itself. It should be clear and nice.
    - If it's a zoom lens, try out the zoom mechanism, and check if it zooms smoothly.
    - Then check out the manual focusing ring, whether you are able to manual focus smoothly.
    - Next, use your own DSLR and try a few shots in both AF and MF modes.
    - Then check for body conditions, if there's heavy user marks or whatever (marks, scratches, etc.). But if you do not mind this marks, then you be set to pay for the lens.
    Thanks bro....

    But what shd i look out for in taking the AF and MF mode??
    Nikon D90 + 18-105mm Kit Lens + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC

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    Member Guystqy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by cumzball View Post
    Thanks bro....

    But what shd i look out for in taking the AF and MF mode??
    When testing out the AF mode on the lens, check to see if it can auto focus properly. Play about with the focus pts, trying a few shots at each major different end of the 9 focal points (left, right, centre, top and bottom). It must be able to lock-on the focal point quickly if you are in a brightly lid environment. Then check your shots to see if the image captured has the right focal point focused when you shot it.

    When testing out the MF mode, just check to see if you can manually focus smoothly with the ring, and if the image captured is good.

    That's basically about it.
    The world through my Canon 50D (35L, 17-55) | Nex 7 (16, 18-55, Sigma 30)

  7. #7
    Member cumzball's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Guystqy View Post
    When testing out the AF mode on the lens, check to see if it can auto focus properly. Play about with the focus pts, trying a few shots at each major different end of the 9 focal points (left, right, centre, top and bottom). It must be able to lock-on the focal point quickly if you are in a brightly lid environment. Then check your shots to see if the image captured has the right focal point focused when you shot it.

    When testing out the MF mode, just check to see if you can manually focus smoothly with the ring, and if the image captured is good.

    That's basically about it.

    Thanks bro!!
    Nikon D90 + 18-105mm Kit Lens + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC

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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Personally, if you want to have a quick check then by all means go ahead.

    But in general, I tend to trust the manufacturer (Nikon in my case) to just deliver something that's in excellent nick. The fact is the odd dust spot in your lens isn't going to have any impact on your images, and most lenses will pick up dust as you use them anyway.

    I mean, when someone buys a new car I don't generally hear of people asking mechanics to give it a thorough check, nor do I see people buying DVD players bring their TVs down to the store so that they can check that everything's in good order.

    I'd wager that easily more than 99% of the lenses being sold produce better quality images than the quality of photography produced by 99% of the forum.

    Check quickly by all means, but don't spend 20 minutes giving it a thorough scrutiny and then ask for an exchange when you find one spot of dust.

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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Also, Guystqy seems to be talking about inspecting second hand lenses, since he mentions "user marks". A new lens shouldn't have been used.

    And for used lenses, that's not basically about it because there are other things you might need to check for, such as if you're a Nikon user and the lens has an aperture ring you'll want to make sure that's working alright.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    oh, and look very x 100 carefully at the glass, i nearly bought a lens with a small little 'bubble' on the glass

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by speedstep1 View Post
    oh, and look very x 100 carefully at the glass, i nearly bought a lens with a small little 'bubble' on the glass
    Which, again, doesn't impact the quality of your images. Once upon a time it was a sign of good optical glass manufacturing.

  12. #12
    Member Guystqy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Also, Guystqy seems to be talking about inspecting second hand lenses, since he mentions "user marks". A new lens shouldn't have been used.

    And for used lenses, that's not basically about it because there are other things you might need to check for, such as if you're a Nikon user and the lens has an aperture ring you'll want to make sure that's working alright.
    Ehh, yeah, perhaps the last point on the user marks is more for buying second hand lenses. But the other points are also what I would look out for when purchasing a new lens from the shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Personally, if you want to have a quick check then by all means go ahead.

    But in general, I tend to trust the manufacturer (Nikon in my case) to just deliver something that's in excellent nick. The fact is the odd dust spot in your lens isn't going to have any impact on your images, and most lenses will pick up dust as you use them anyway.

    I mean, when someone buys a new car I don't generally hear of people asking mechanics to give it a thorough check, nor do I see people buying DVD players bring their TVs down to the store so that they can check that everything's in good order.

    I'd wager that easily more than 99% of the lenses being sold produce better quality images than the quality of photography produced by 99% of the forum.

    Check quickly by all means, but don't spend 20 minutes giving it a thorough scrutiny and then ask for an exchange when you find one spot of dust.
    Even trustworthy manufacturers have QC issues off the factory so there's nothing wrong with checking it out before buying a lens. And those checks wont even take up 5mins. Of course i agree with you that we cant be too picky, but at least make sure that what we pay is what we get. You never know if there's a fault with the lens straight from the factory.

    No offenses alright?


    Quote Originally Posted by cumzball View Post
    Thanks bro!!
    Welcome!
    The world through my Canon 50D (35L, 17-55) | Nex 7 (16, 18-55, Sigma 30)

  13. #13

    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by cumzball View Post
    Hi!

    I am thinking of getting a new lens and it's my first time doing so. I m wondering what are the things i have to inspect or look out for and how do i do the inspection for it?

    i have read some where regarding QC issues on new lenses, so how do i check for all these issues??

    Thanks in advance!!!
    asked before....... i wrote detailed things 5 times already, please do search, thanks.....

  14. #14

    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    ok ok fine

    just do a quick one, see if got obvious cosmetic damage

    then, see if front element back element got scratch, etc

    then mount the lens carefully, take wide open, compare by eye against samples you see on internet. please note, you should not be handholding for this test. then stop down to f/8, see again........

    to be honest, who cares, most shops got replacement clause on the receipt, just don't lose it. i just make sure the lens is working and do a quick go over to see that there doesn't seem to be backfocusing or softness problems.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Guystqy View Post
    Even trustworthy manufacturers have QC issues off the factory so there's nothing wrong with checking it out before buying a lens. And those checks wont even take up 5mins. Of course i agree with you that we cant be too picky, but at least make sure that what we pay is what we get. You never know if there's a fault with the lens straight from the factory.

    No offenses alright?
    No offence whatsoever, but like I said, do you get your new car checked? Your new phone? Your new PC?

    Maybe if a lens has *known* issues then by all means. But if there's not then personally (and obviously you think differently which is fair enough) I think we should be happy to take things as given.

    The question I have is why people seem to get obsessive about camera gear?

  16. #16

    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Check quickly by all means, but don't spend 20 minutes giving it a thorough scrutiny and then ask for an exchange when you find one spot of dust.
    i also not sure why people want to make sure good cosmetic condition........

    to me, i plan to keep my lenses for long long time and while that doesn't throwing them around, it also doesn't mean wrapping them up in cotton wool whenever i go shooting. i don't think i have come across a lens that was regularly used that didn't have light user marks.

    but oh well, everyone has their own preferences when buying....... i mean, i'm sure some of these people bring the lens home and put them in a dry cabinet and worship them everyday (e.g. do the daily morning ritual of kowtowing to the dry cabinet high above).. not all of course, but some.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    i also not sure why people want to make sure good cosmetic condition........
    To be fair, when buying used then good cosmetic condition does help indicate better treatment and/or less use, although this isn't obviously guaranteed. Should this be the case then the mechanics of the lens are less likely to be hard pressed through lots of service or ill service.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    it also doesn't mean wrapping them up in cotton wool whenever i go shooting.
    I don't think that's a good idea really, cause cotton wool has a lot of fluff and you don't want to take the risk that some of that is going to get inside your lens. I mean if you imagine the amount of damage a speck of dust causes, you really don't want to have fluff in your lens o.O

    On a more serious note, wrapping lenses in cotton wool and going shooting isn't too bad, there are those that wrap in cotton wool and leave them wrapped ^.^ (Except maybe to unwrap to look at, touch, and re-wrap)

  18. #18

    Default Re: What to check for when buying new lens???

    I'm a person who will check out the cosmetic of a new item, because I expect to get something nice as it's advertised. Even though I know I'll be keeping it and user marks might appear, but they are from my own usage... I don't expect a manufacturer's usermark (slight one due to testing is tolerable ) or scratches or sth

    Of course, with some basic functions check. Agree with Jed that a simple check will do, and we should have trust on certain manufacturer.

    Not to forget, make sure the serial number on the lens is the same as the warranty card that comes along.
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