Buying 2nd hand lens versus new


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barrietan

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Nov 22, 2006
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#1
Hi there,

Pardon me if this is already a much discussed topic. What is your experience buying new versus 2nd hand lenses and what advice would you give a "lay"/beginner person buying for the first time?

Also how can i protect myself from buying "bad copies", whether its new or 2nd hand?

Tks much.
 

Artosoft

Senior Member
Aug 31, 2005
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#3
Hi there,

Pardon me if this is already a much discussed topic. What is your experience buying new versus 2nd hand lenses and what advice would you give a "lay"/beginner person buying for the first time?

Also how can i protect myself from buying "bad copies", whether its new or 2nd hand?

Tks much.
You only know it is bad copies until you use it. But mostly it is PLBV (problem lies behind viewfinder) case.

Regards,
Arto.
 

Caspere

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Jul 27, 2003
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#4
You don't.

For new, at least can go back to them (if reputable)

For used, only get from those you know, or been "old" & "good" on CS. This mean "less risk" doesn't mean "no risk"

YMMV
 

deckard

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Oct 13, 2006
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#5
for cheaper lens you can gamble a bit. ( get good deal ) , but for really expensive lens, better get first hand. you never know if the owner have done anything to it before. :think:
 

chantyeroop

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Apr 21, 2004
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#6
Never got new ones before. So far all my purchases for used ones is ok, no problem.

Getting used ones means taking some risks if there's something wrong with them.

Always check and test the lenses thoroughly before committing the purchase.
Check whether there's :-
1. Signs of fungus growing.
2. Aperture setting. Fire some shots with different aperture settings.
3. Check it's focusing at different focal length.

If you are very particular about the cosmetics, then get new. Period.
 

barrietan

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Nov 22, 2006
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#7
Tks for the many comments!

Yes, indeed its like a gamble. But i really like buying things second hand. I believe that most of us Singaporeans treat our purchases well. And most times, we like to reward ourselves by upgrading and selling our still-very-good electronics. Or there are those who have to sell in a hurry for a whole variety of reasons.

But for the really important lenses, i don't mind paying a premium for new too. But do most of our reputable shops have a return/refund policy in situations where we aren't satisfied with the lenses?
 

Sep 5, 2006
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#8
my thinking is quite contrary - premium lenses are too ex to buy new, so should go for 2nd-hand. chances are the previous owners had taken good care of them (bar accidents) since they are expensive and they want to retain the resale value!

cheap lens eg. the 50mm f/1.8 you can probably get new since the % cost savings is not that great.

sometimes getting a new item keeps the morale going also. lol...

in any case taking risks usually gives greater rewards (or not). just be really astute when dealing and careful when inspecting.
 

Snowcrash

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Jan 18, 2002
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#9
Tks for the many comments!

Yes, indeed its like a gamble. But i really like buying things second hand. I believe that most of us Singaporeans treat our purchases well. And most times, we like to reward ourselves by upgrading and selling our still-very-good electronics. Or there are those who have to sell in a hurry for a whole variety of reasons.

But for the really important lenses, i don't mind paying a premium for new too. But do most of our reputable shops have a return/refund policy in situations where we aren't satisfied with the lenses?
For new lenses in singapore, no return/refund policy. But can service at it respective service center.

For 2nd hand, still is "buyers beware" as there are good sellers as well as bad ones.

For checking on 2nd lenses - look out for fogging/fungus and bring your DSLR to test the aperture settings etc.

For back-focusing harder to check on spot but can try the service center and there will be charges if it's out of warranty.

Happy 'hunting' for good bargains!:)

BTW all my lenses are 2nd hand, some even used less than a year and comes with warranty.
 

yehosaphat

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Oct 28, 2005
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#10
For 2nd hand options, try checking out their iTrader ratings and reviews given by other people who has bought from them.
 

honda

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Nov 30, 2004
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#11
I had the experience of exchanging my purchase one day after i bought it. May 2005 i bought olympus e300 and exchanged at cathay photo peninsula the next day for canon 350d. May 2006 i bought a olympus viewfinder magnifier and exchanged the next day at cathay marina for a canon a420. December 2006 i bought canon g7 and exchanged at cathay suntec the next day for canon 17-85is. Very happy with the service.
 

barrietan

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Nov 22, 2006
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#12
Thanks for all your helpful advice! I just asked also a couple of the shops and they said they have a exchange-within-7-days policy for the same item. So i guess that's quite reassuring when i consider buying a new lens.

Are there any helfpul threads or links about how to test the lens when i go and buy it at a shop/ 2nd hand?
 

user111

Senior Member
Jul 27, 2004
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#13
check AF
check aperture closing down, check the blades as well
check focus limiter
check for fungus
check for mechanical looseness
check everything
 

XC Pictorial

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Apr 29, 2006
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#14
One good thing about 2nd hand is you are able to test it really inside out
and fr a reputable trader, you can trust them if its a sharp copy (as most of the 3rd party lens, even some L lens, have both lemon and jewel out there) ;)
 

XC Pictorial

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#15
Just to add to the above,
If you are actually hardcore enough, you can buy the seller coffee as he waits while you bring along ur little daughter as a model, try shooting her at all focal lens and apertures, even bring along a similar lens to take images to make comparisons, then load everything onto your laptop, view the images at 100%...

I encountered the above seller before, minus the free coffee for me, and the similar lens as one that is worth twice the value of the one im selling :bsmilie:
 

Hacker

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Dec 6, 2005
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#16
I had the experience of exchanging my purchase one day after i bought it. May 2005 i bought olympus e300 and exchanged at cathay photo peninsula the next day for canon 350d. May 2006 i bought a olympus viewfinder magnifier and exchanged the next day at cathay marina for a canon a420. December 2006 i bought canon g7 and exchanged at cathay suntec the next day for canon 17-85is. Very happy with the service.
This means someone is buying all the stuff that have been touched, opened, used and who know what.
 

Caspere

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#17
One good thing about 2nd hand is you are able to test it really inside out
and fr a reputable trader, you can trust them if its a sharp copy (as most of the 3rd party lens, even some L lens, have both lemon and jewel out there) ;)
And if the sellers' standard is not as high, and and have always loved the "so-called" sharpness for the X number of years he owned it? You can only question his standards, not his integrity.
 

arpinkor

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May 13, 2005
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#18
This means someone is buying all the stuff that have been touched, opened, used and who know what.
Yeah, it cuts both ways, can change means you may also get something stated as new but someone else already returned, for whatever reason.
 

barrietan

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Nov 22, 2006
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#19
Hi Caspere,
love your comments! Hope you find a really good deal for your Canon 28-70mm f/2.8L lens. I actually seriously thought of bidding again for your lens after i backed out cos you seem to have been a serious photographer for the last 10 years and you probably tested out all your lenses carefully already.

Which brings me to a thought: If you see a CSer with many years of experience selling a lens he's used for a long time, wouldn't you trust his lens that he's selling, more than say someone who probably is newer and less experienced, since he would probably have worked out whether its a good copy or not?
 

Caspere

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Jul 27, 2003
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#20
Hi Caspere,
love your comments! Hope you find a really good deal for your Canon 28-70mm f/2.8L lens. I actually seriously thought of bidding again for your lens after i backed out cos you seem to have been a serious photographer for the last 10 years and you probably tested out all your lenses carefully already.

Which brings me to a thought: If you see a CSer with many years of experience selling a lens he's used for a long time, wouldn't you trust his lens that he's selling, more than say someone who probably is newer and less experienced, since he would probably have worked out whether its a good copy or not?
If he has held on his equipment for a long time, beside the above said, it can also mean that he use it more often than those who own it for collection purposes. So, the collectors' items may be newer and less worn out?

Seriously, I am almost embarassed to say I don't do "technical" tests for my equipment. Most, if not all, my experiences are with real world shooting. Of course I will check with people/friends, and occassionaly refer to "tests" & "reviews" done by other people like photozone/photodo/dpreview. I used to frequent photo.net often, but I was not as serious as the people there about their art.

Of course I must say I am pretty lucky in the sense I have yet to end up with a "bad copy" camera/lens, but everything there's always a first! Like ... I have yet to use my 24-70L so cannot make any remarks yet.

Then again, I read of people who were constantly given lemons; either the body/lens is not calibrated, or backfocus, or with multitude of reasons. I must say I am thankful for their experiences as I read them, and kept aware of developments. Indeed, my Sanyo 2500mh batteries couldn't hold charge like most people's, and it went back to Sanyo.

Trust is only as good as money is green.
 

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