Checklist for Buying Used Lenses Options

photoling 500 - 1998
@2018-07-02 22:56:25

Every photographer wants the best lenses, but we do not always have the money to buy new. Buying used camera lenses for your DSLR is a far cheaper option for most photographers, however you need to know what to be cautious of and what to look for when shopping around. Use this checklist for buying used camera lenses to have a successful buying experience.

photoling 500 - 1998
@2018-07-02 22:57:06
  1. Look at the front and rear lens elements. Are there any scratches? Angle the glass towards a light and look at the reflection. Are there any marks or swirls in the lens’ coating?
  2. This one is kind of up for debate, but hold the lens towards a light source and look through it. Is there dust or fungus on any of the inner elements? While some dust is normal on almost all lenses, fungus is not. Fungus is a deal breaker because it etches the glass and can never be fully removed without a re-polishing. Dust on the other hand isn’t something to worry about unless the seller said the lens had just had a fresh cleaning or is supposed to be new. If it’s supposed to be a clean lens, make sure there isn’t a lightly frosted look to the inner glass as it will affect the image quality.
  3. Check the lens mount for brassing. While brassing isn’t a deal killer, again, if the seller said in like new condition, be sure that it is.
  4. Check the lens terminals. Make sure the pins aren’t loose and that it doesn’t look like someone did a crappy repair job.
  5. Mount the lens to the camera. Check to see that there’s very little play between the camera mount and lens mount. Also make sure the camera doesn’t show any kind of error message when moving the lens and holding the shutter half way down.
  6. Does the lens AF? Make sure it does.
  7. Does the lens focus to infinity and up close through the entire zoom range.
  8. If the lens has a focus scale, check for cracks in the plastic. Then check that the scale matches what the lens is doing (i.e. if you’re focused to infinity be sure the scale shows infinity).
  9. Use AF and select a focus point; take a picture. Review the picture and check focus. If your camera works with every other lens you’ve mounted on it, but not with this one; there’s a problem.
  10. Use manual focus and be sure it’s smooth; if it catches, there could be a problem. The same goes for the zoom; If it catches, there could be a problem.
  11. Check that the filter threads have no flat spots and that a filter will screw into them
  12. If the lens has IS and other switches, be sure these features work. On most image stabilized lenses, you can hear the IS motor working.
  13. If the lens is supposed to have full time manual focus override, be sure that it works.
  14. Set the lens to infinity focus and focus on something up close. Does the lens AF as fast as it’s supposed to? Different lenses will have different focusing speeds, but knowing how slow or fast it should be is important. If it’s horribly slow and it’s supposed to be lightning quick, there’s a problem.
  15. Check the lens grips and be sure they’re snug. While loose grips are pretty common on older lenses, they are normally cheap and easy to replace. If it’s a known problem before you buy the lens, be sure that you can get a replacement and that they’re not discontinued. While this isn’t a huge deal, I’d hate to use rubber bands on a lens I just paid through the nose for.
  16. Check the outer condition of the lens. If the lens is supposed to be new, check that the lettering isn’t starting to wear off and that there aren’t scuffs in the paint.
  17. To get real picky, look at the screws that hold the lens together. Professionals use the correct screw driver sizes so that there’s very little damage to the screw heads. If the lens screws are all mauled up or mis-matched, it might make me think twice. If it’s a new lens, then that’s a no go.
  18. Do a shake test. No, i mean give the lens a little shake. Does anything rattle? If it does, what is it and where is it?

photoling 500 - 1998
@2018-07-02 23:20:53

To check aperture blades, you will have to mount the lens on your camera, then close down the aperture and use depth of field preview button if necessary. Are there any oil marks on the blades? Do they move freely?

photoling 500 - 1998
@2019-01-01 09:10:03

Used Gear from Major Retailers

B&H Photo - Check daily as B&H occasionally has 10-rated (or email-for-condition) reconditioned/refurbished Canon lenses.

Adorama - The online used Canon lens inventory is generally strong here.

Canon Store: DSLRs | Lenses | Flashes - The Canon Store typically has a nice selection of like-new refurbished DSLR and EOS M-series cameras, lenses and Speedlite flashes available.

Cameta Camera - Located in Amityville, NY and typically has used Canon Lenses.

KEH - Again, used Canon lenses are often available at this retailer.

Midwest Photo Exchange - Used Canon lenses are often mixed with the new lens listings at this retailer.

Used Gear from Personal Sales - One of the most active camera equipment buy/sell forums on the net and rich in used Canon EF lenses. Reasonable deals on used Canon lenses sell extremely fast here - sometimes in minutes. - Many used Canon EF lenses show up in the classifieds section. - Login required. A buy/sell forum that usually has many used Canon EF lenses.

Used Gear: Personal Sales via Major Retailer

eBay - Used Canon EF lenses bring a premium at eBay (good for sellers), but the selection is usually large. I placed it in a category on its own because while it may be a peer-to-peer transaction, eBay typically provides a money back guarantee ensuring you receive the item as described in the auction. Be sure to check auction details carefully to see if your transaction is backed by eBay's coverage.

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