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Thread: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

  1. #1

    Default Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Dear all,

    Just thought I'd share with you an experience I had recently buying a Nikon VR lens from the Personal Classifieds section of this forum. I'm relatively new photography, so I didn't know that much about buying lenses beyond checking for dust and taking test shots at various aperture sizes and zoom distances. One of the things I didn't know how to test was the VR.

    Anyway long story short after about a week I started to suspect that the VR was not working. Taking shots with and without the VR made absolutely no difference. After researching a bit more I realized that the VR was not functioning.. so I had to take it back to Nikon. My VR is now working, but after two weeks and $165. ( I didn't confront the seller because i) I only verified that the VR is not working several weeks after buying, and ii) I'm convinced that the seller wasn't out to cheat me.

    So beware when you're buying a VR lens. This is how you test whether or not it's working:

    1) Mount the lens, switch on your camera and the VR, and place the lens near your ear. Press down on the shutter release half-way. On many VR (not sure about IS) lenses you will hear (and even feel) a clunk and what sounds like water flowing. Release, and after a second you'll hear a clunk again and the sound of water flowing will stop. Try several times. The sound is quite unmistakable.

    2) Set your camera to just one autofocus point, and adjust it so that the reticle (the small square representing the focus point) is at the center. Zoom the lens out to its maximum and focus on an object that appears to be about the size of the reticle in the viewfinder. Let go of the shutter-release. Observe how the camera shakes by seeing how the reticle moves about the object. Now press the shutter-release halfway. You should immediately see the image in the viewfinder stabilize. It's a very clear difference. If the camera is shaking just as badly after pressing the shutter-release halfway, the VR is not working. Repeat several times to ensure that the image stabilizes substantially each time you press the shutter release halfway. Again on my VR systems this will be accompanied by a slight "clunk" when the image stabilizes.

    Hope this tip helps other people when they're buying a VR lens.
    Stuff I'm reasonably proud of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctky1973/

  2. #2

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    nice guide for the buyers.
    btw Nikon only charged you $165 to replace the VR module!?

  3. #3
    Member jas1984's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Thanks for Sharing...

    I think a lot of newbie like me will benefit from your sharing..
    Nikon D5000 - 18-55mm l 55-200mm l 35mm f1.8g l Grip
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Out of curosity, what lens is it?
    Equipment: D800|D700|11-16|28-75|105 Micro VR|50 F1.4G|85 F1.8G
    Through the Lens of Cowseye

  5. #5

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by wdEvA View Post
    nice guide for the buyers.
    btw Nikon only charged you $165 to replace the VR module!?
    Surprisingly, yeah. The original quote was for $280, but when I collected the lens they only charged me $165. I didn't ask them why the difference.. lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by jas1984 View Post
    Thanks for Sharing...

    I think a lot of newbie like me will benefit from your sharing..
    You're welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowseye View Post
    Out of curosity, what lens is it?
    PM'ed.
    Stuff I'm reasonably proud of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctky1973/

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for sharing, does the price includes dust removal?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pbear1973 View Post
    Dear all,

    1) Mount the lens, switch on your camera and the VR, and place the lens near your ear. Press down on the shutter release half-way. On many VR (not sure about IS) lenses you will hear (and even feel) a clunk and what sounds like water flowing. Release, and after a second you'll hear a clunk again and the sound of water flowing will stop. Try several times. The sound is quite unmistakable.
    Wanted to clarify that the clunk only seems to happen on lenses with VRII (the new generation VR system). Lenses with VR (like the 18-105 kit lens) don't appear to have this clunk or water-flowing sound even if the VR is working.

    Quote Originally Posted by garbled View Post
    Thanks for sharing, does the price includes dust removal?
    You're welcome. My lens was dust-free when I got it back, so I guess it does. Maybe it's because the dust happened to be on elements that they had to remove to get to the VR mechanism. It's possible that if the dust was further in they would've left it there.
    Stuff I'm reasonably proud of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctky1973/

  8. #8
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pbear1973 View Post
    Wanted to clarify that the clunk only seems to happen on lenses with VRII (the new generation VR system). Lenses with VR (like the 18-105 kit lens) don't appear to have this clunk or water-flowing sound even if the VR is working.


    You're welcome. My lens was dust-free when I got it back, so I guess it does. Maybe it's because the dust happened to be on elements that they had to remove to get to the VR mechanism. It's possible that if the dust was further in they would've left it there.
    Some VR are loud, some are not. Really depends on the lens. Some VR replacements are cheap, some are expensive. The VR module for the 70-200/2.8VR2 costs around 1k I heard.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Another way will be putting the lens on tripod, set VR on, do a long shot, 5-10 secs, a working VR will "over-correct", thus a blur image, while shooting with VR off will get a much sharper image.

  10. #10
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by rainman View Post
    Another way will be putting the lens on tripod, set VR on, do a long shot, 5-10 secs, a working VR will "over-correct", thus a blur image, while shooting with VR off will get a much sharper image.
    Not necessarily so. New generations of VR/IS is capable of detecting if it is mounted on a tripod. So your test of VR/IS overcorrecting may not be true in all circumstances.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Not necessarily so. New generations of VR/IS is capable of detecting if it is mounted on a tripod. So your test of VR/IS overcorrecting may not be true in all circumstances.
    Yes this is true of all VRII lenses, including both the first and second generation 18-200 lens. Yes, that's correct. Both the 18-200VR and 18-200 VR II are VRII lenses. The difference between them is that the second generation lens has a locking switch at 18mm to prevent zoom creep. Correctly the 18-200 VR II should really be designated as 18-200 VRII II.

    Confusing as heck. But please don't be tricked when people try to tell you that the older 18-200 lens only has VR and the newer has VRII. They're exactly the same lenses except for the locking switch. See this review:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNNJ8...feature=relmfu
    Last edited by pbear1973; 16th September 2011 at 10:51 PM.
    Stuff I'm reasonably proud of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctky1973/

  12. #12
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pbear1973 View Post
    Yes this is true of all VRII lenses, including both the first and second generation 18-200 lens. Yes, that's correct. Both the 18-200VR and 18-200 VR II are VRII lenses. The difference between them is that the second generation lens has a locking switch at 18mm to prevent zoom creep. Correctly the 18-200 VR II should really be designated as 18-200 VRII II.

    Confusing as heck. But please don't be tricked when people try to tell you that the older 18-200 lens only has VR and the newer has VRII. They're exactly the same lenses except for the locking switch. See this review:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNNJ8...feature=relmfu
    No they are not exactly the same lenses. There are modifications to the barrel as well as internal parts that rectify the flex cable snapping issue in the first version.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    No they are not exactly the same lenses. There are modifications to the barrel as well as internal parts that rectify the flex cable snapping issue in the first version.
    True, what I meant was optics-wise.
    Stuff I'm reasonably proud of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctky1973/

  14. #14
    Member JohnJon82's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    I bought a 2nd hand and the lens making a "clunk" sound once a while when IS is on. Thought something spoilt before asking Google... IS - no sound good, got sound no good
    Canon EOS 600D | 17-40 L | 24-105 L | 100 L | 50mm 1.8II | BG-E8

  15. #15

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Extracted from Nikon Service & Support:

    The best way to see and test Vibration Reduction operation is to zoom the lens to it's longest position (i.e. 200m), make sure the lens' VR is turned "On", look through the lens and focus on a subject about 10 feet away.
    Next, move your finger from the shutter release button (this will stop the VR) and try to hold the camera as still as you can while looking at the subject through the viewfinder. Notice how the subject moves arounnd in the viewfinder due to your slight camera movements. After a few seconds (and without taking your eye from the viewfinder) half-press the shutter release to re-activate VR. You will now see the image freeze and remain much more stable than with the VR off.

    You may also hear a slight 'clicking' noise from the lens when the half switch is pressed and the VR module is activated. This clicking noise is perfectly normal, and can be expected. Different lenses will produce a slightly different click, some are a little more audible, some less audible, this is also normal. Through the viewfinder, the image may move slightly when the VR activates or deactivates, this is also perfectly normal.

    While Nikon Vibration Reduction is an effective technology, it cannot stop all camera movement, nor does VR stop any subject movement. It can, however, allow slower shutter speeds than you could use without VR and enable photography otherwise impossible.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Buying 2nd Hand VR/IS lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by LFC25 View Post
    Extracted from Nikon Service & Support:

    The best way to see and test Vibration Reduction operation is to zoom the lens to it's longest position (i.e. 200m), make sure the lens' VR is turned "On", look through the lens and focus on a subject about 10 feet away.
    Next, move your finger from the shutter release button (this will stop the VR) and try to hold the camera as still as you can while looking at the subject through the viewfinder. Notice how the subject moves arounnd in the viewfinder due to your slight camera movements. After a few seconds (and without taking your eye from the viewfinder) half-press the shutter release to re-activate VR. You will now see the image freeze and remain much more stable than with the VR off.

    You may also hear a slight 'clicking' noise from the lens when the half switch is pressed and the VR module is activated. This clicking noise is perfectly normal, and can be expected. Different lenses will produce a slightly different click, some are a little more audible, some less audible, this is also normal. Through the viewfinder, the image may move slightly when the VR activates or deactivates, this is also perfectly normal.

    While Nikon Vibration Reduction is an effective technology, it cannot stop all camera movement, nor does VR stop any subject movement. It can, however, allow slower shutter speeds than you could use without VR and enable photography otherwise impossible.
    Haha on my 18-200 the "click" is more like "clunk!". Apparently it's even worse on the 70-300 VR.
    Stuff I'm reasonably proud of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctky1973/

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