How durable/reliable are off-warranty lens?


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photoeye

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Sep 14, 2009
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#1
Hi I am a beginner in DSLR who have a Canon 500d for a few months. I am thinking of upgrading the lens. Due to the high cost of original Canon lenses, I am considering buying used lens including those off warranty ones. However, I am concerned that after spending hundreds or even thousand of $, the lens might just kaput (died). Nowadays, lenses come with high electronic components for auto focus, image stabilizer and motor drive (USM). How durable are these modern lenses?

Is there a average lifespan for lens as there is for DSLR?

Appreciate that the experienced, the wise and the experts can share their experience and enlighten me.

thank you very much.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#2
I have 26-year-old lenses that work perfectly. I have 10-year-old SSM lenses that work perfectly.

As in all cases, it depends on how well they are kept. Fungus will be a bigger risk than other stuff.
 

night86mare

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Aug 25, 2006
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#3
see your luck.

if you are not willing to take the risk, or don't think you could handle it if you get a lemon, then don't buy grey.
 

chalib

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Oct 4, 2007
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#4
Be specific. Which canon lens are you referring to?

There are few lenses well known of weak motor mechanism
 

photoeye

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Sep 14, 2009
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#6
I have 26-year-old lenses that work perfectly. I have 10-year-old SSM lenses that work perfectly.

As in all cases, it depends on how well they are kept. Fungus will be a bigger risk than other stuff.
Sorry, what is SSM lenses?
So lenses would not just died off suddenly, like DSLR. I read somewhere in CS that someone's 450D just kind of died after 2 years.
I have a 10 years old Nikon lens for film camera that still works ok, but it does not have IS or motor. I thought modern lenses with all the electronic parts may not last.

thank you for your advice.
 

crapex

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Aug 11, 2007
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#7
maybe you can ask the buyer the age of the lens.. or the lens code if its an L lens.. can help you judge if its worth buying a 2 or even 10 year old lens for the price ure offering.. all in all as long as you are a careful user who knows how to mantain ur lens it shldnt fail suddenly :)
 

Kirika

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Aug 18, 2007
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#9
I do not know what the average lifespan of a lens is, but I'm assuming that modern lenses are less durable because they're run by electronics. And electronics are a lot more delicate than mechanicals, especially in the high temps and high humidity of Singapore. But all things being equal, I usually factor in a service risk for the lens. Most warranties are 1 year, right? So if the lens you buy goes kaput after a year, you'll have paid the same for the repair as you would have for an out of warranty lens. A basic repair usually goes for $300 or less, so I'd add that to the price and see if it's still worth my while. The repair may or may not come, but the price paid for a new lens is guaranteed to be that much higher. That's my heuristic, anyway.
 

Edwin Francis

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Mar 24, 2006
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#10
So lenses would not just died off suddenly, like DSLR. I read somewhere in CS that someone's 450D just kind of died after 2 years.
thank you for your advice.
Yes, they can die suddenly. No one can guarantee that a used lens you buy today will not just die tomm. Buying one out of warranty means taking your chances, even if it looks in great shape and has been well maintained. And it's the same with DSLRs. I read the thread you mentioned about the 450D -- things like that happen to all manufactured products. There'll be a small percentage that fails 'earlier than expected', some even the day after you buy them brand new from the store. In the 90s, I had two high-end Metz flashes fail 3 months after the warranty expired. Guess you could call it 'arse luck'. :dunno:

That said, I have a Canon 70-210 USM F3.5-4.5, bought used early last year that's probably 15 years old. No problems with the electronics and optics. But some mechanical wear means bad zoom creep (more like zoom drop actually).

If you're worried, you might want to ask for a personal warranty for a week. But of course, it could fail on day 8. :confused:
 

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