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Old Aug 6, 2010, 2:00 PM   #1
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Default What to look for when buying used

I'm considering buying a used lens to save some $$, what should I look for? Any questions to ask the seller, looking for flaws in specific locations...anything to make it a safer buy?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 6, 2010, 3:39 PM   #2
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I have bought many used lens, and never had a problem.

Not sure where you are buying, if from ebay, I would check there feedback, and never buy from someone less than 100% feedback.

See if they are orig owner, is it a gray market lens.

Is the glass clean, are there any chips, dings, scratches on body or glass.

If you find one, I would post here and ask about the lens, and what it is worth, etc.

The people here are very knowledgeable and helpful, they have helped me many times.

Good luck
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Old Aug 6, 2010, 4:01 PM   #3
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Check that the focus ring and, if applicable, the zoom and aperture rings, turn smoothly.

Check that the lens attaches to your camera without binding, that it operates correctly. If your camera has a DOF preview button, set the camera to a small (numerically large) aperture, and press the DOF Preview button. The viewfinder should dim quickly when you press the botton, and should brighten quickly when you release it. Take some photos, some using a large aperture and some at a small aperture, and make sure they're all properly exposed. Check that the lens can be easily removed.

Check that the optical elements at both ends of the lens are clean and undamaged (no scratches, chips or other marks.) Check that the interior optical elements are clean and unmarked (no etches or fungus.)

Check that all the diaphram blades are clean, dull (as opposed to shiny), and undamaged.
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Old Aug 6, 2010, 8:38 PM   #4
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If you purchase used through a reputable dealer such as B&H, Adorama, or KEH, the condition of the lens is given, and these three, to the best of my knowledge, are pretty conservative in their ratings. Their customer service is also very good, and returns, even on used equipment are handled well.
Since the only way to be 100% sure of a used lens, is to try it on your camera, you have either to trust the vendor, or be able to try it before you purchase.

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Old Aug 6, 2010, 9:26 PM   #5
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In addition to checking for scratches, dust and fungus, check the aperture blades. If the lens has an aperture ring, set it to something like f22, which will stop down the lens. Then (at least with Pentax lenses) push gently on the lever that opens the aperture blades and check for signs of oil on the aperture blades. If there is any, skip the lens because the oil will stop the blades from operating properly (I know, I have one like that).

Once you get the lens, take some pictures of something like a brick wall or a flat chart or something like that. Make sure that the left and right sides look the same, that one side isn't blurrier than the other (make sure the camera is square to your subject).
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 9:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
If you purchase used through a reputable dealer such as B&H, Adorama, or KEH, the condition of the lens is given, and these three, to the best of my knowledge, are pretty conservative in their ratings. Their customer service is also very good, and returns, even on used equipment are handled well...........
I've got a guide to selecting used lenses that a customer sent to me ages ago. (Not an Adorama thing). It's in a word document & I'd be more than happy to email it to you if you drop me a line: [email protected].
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 11:59 PM   #7
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For those who like to buy used lenses in a hands-on environment, read

PAWNSHOP LENSES (and other used lenses) - A Buyers' Guide
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