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Old Dec 31, 2003, 11:47 PM   #1
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Default How to buy a used lens

I am so new to this my camera is still being shipped (300D Dig Reb) and I would like to know what to look for and what to look out for when buying a used lens.

Answers like:
Are pawn shops ok?
How about the newspaper?
Photo magizines or trade publications?

How do you know if a lens has been handled rough besides obvious damage?

Is there little clues to look for like dirt or stuff in little cracks, specifically any signs that would tell you if a lens was taken care of?

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 1, 2004, 12:38 AM   #2
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Best pointer is to buy new...or at least from a reputable source with a return guarantee...especially, if you're not knowledgeable about the product!
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 11:33 AM   #3
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I've bought and sold various bits of my camera gear as I've grown it, while buying new is the best, sometimes you can't afford new. In addition some lens can't be bought new anymore e.g. the metal mount Mark I 50mm f1.8 lens.

First - deal with a reputable store, I would only buy used from a place that I've bought a lot of new stuff in. They aren't going to 'cheat' me on a bit of used gear to make a hundred dollars profit if in doing so they they ruin their chances of ever having me as a customer.

The place I deal with (Henrys in Toronto), has a 120 day waranty and a 14 day return policy.

Second - Specifically to lenses check them visually, work the focus in AF and MF modes, zoom etc. What you want to see is that the lens itself looks like it was well cared for. Take a lot of pictures at all the aperature settings, you'll see any dirt or fungas inside hopefully that way.

Third - third party lenses lose their value quickly, Canon lenses will hold their value. I looked at a set of lens and the Tamrom was half price, the Canon (in poorer condition) was 75% of the price of new. Make sure you know what the new price is in order to understand how good a deal you're getting.

Also - make sure what you're getting is compatible with your camera - some Sigma lenses won't auto focus on cameras newer than the Elan 7.

I'd stay away from stores other than good photoshops. What I'm trying to buy is a lens that someone has upgraded from or traded in to buy new stuff.

One other thing that I've learned - if the store caters to students at art college/university programs, there may be times of the year when used photo gear is more available. Around here the worst time to get used medium format equipment is in October, 2nd year photo arts students buy it all up in September then sell it in May.

remember - it's buyer beware and if its too good to be true, it likely is.
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 11:06 PM   #4
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I appreciate the tips. Yes I will most likely buy the majority of my stuff new, but I seem to always be looking for that sweet deal out there and if it approaches I just would like a little more knowledge to ensure it really is a good deal.

Does Canon make lenses specifically for some of the big bargain store chains or give them their own model numbers? I am specifically referencing Circuit City. They have a Canon 80mm-200mm Telephoto EF Zoom Lens model # CAN C219871 which I can not find anywhere else on the web for a comparison price or review.
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Old Jan 6, 2004, 1:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Does Canon make lenses specifically for some of the big bargain store chains or give them their own model numbers? I am specifically referencing Circuit City. They have a Canon 80mm-200mm Telephoto EF Zoom Lens model # CAN C219871 which I can not find anywhere else on the web for a comparison price or review.
The model number is Circuit City's (not Canon's). To compare, search Canon's site for the specs of the Circuit City lens to get the actual model number, then Froogle that info.

Of course, all this assumes it is a current item and not discontinued...
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Old Jan 7, 2004, 1:05 AM   #6
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Thanks, worked like a charm. That sale price is not what it's all cracked up to be. I found the same one cheaper at B&H
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