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70-200 IS II shelfed for 8 yrs - would u buy?

I'm considering buying a used 70-200 f2.8 IS II that was purchased in 2010, used on a safari trip and then put on a shelf and never used again.

What if anything could be a concern due to lack of use?

I plan on using it on my camera to take some test shots to listen to and look at ... what else can I do myself before buying/look for?
Body: Canon 6D, Canon T1i, Canon Elan II,
Glass: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, Canon 70-200 f/4 IS II, Canon 16-35 f/4, Canon 100 f/2.8 macro.
Flash: Canon Speedlite 430ex ii


Check for fungus in lens. Othernthan that I see no reason why storage vs use would make a difference.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


You need to give the lens both a visual and functional inspection.  I suggest downloading the lens instruction manual from Canon Support, so that you can familiarize yourself the lens.  But, first and foremost, do a complete visual inspection.  Look for mold, and give the inside of the lens a not so obvious gentle sniff.  Your nose can detect mold, fungus, and mildew, too.


That lens has a few control switches on it.  You need to test their functionality, most especially the focus distance setting switch..  The IS options are harder to test.  You need specific shooting conditions to test them out properly.  But, you can test the focus range, by checking if it can focus at close range, about 10-15 feet with one setting.  You should be able to get faster, sharper focusing at distant objects with the long distance setting.


A brand new lens should have come with a hood, a padded pouch, and a tripod ring with foot.  If any of those items are not included, or missing, then negotiate the price downward.

"The right mouse button is your friend."


I would have NO issue with buying a lens that had been sitting on the shelf as long as it is clear of fungus and is functional as pointed out by the previous two posters. 


Sitting on a shelf in a dry environment is NOT going to harm the lens HOWEVER make sure that it wasn't put on the shelf because of some issue.  Give the lens a full operational test including multiple images in all modes.  Give the lens a good workout with IS engaged and use servo AF in multiple situations to make sure that some "glitch" doesn't show up that may not be apparent in a casual test.  Make sure that the zoom and focus controls operate smoothly.  The lens may be perfect or it may have become a shelf queen because it had some issue and the owner may have truly forgotten that there was a reason why it was shelved.


It should come with all accessories and if not the price should be less, if accessories were lost this may be a clue that the owner wasn't very careful in the treatment of the lens.  I recently purchased a 300MM F2.8 at a much better price than new.  I knew the background of the lens so that buying a hot lens wasn't an issue and this lens saw very little use because it came from someone who is more of a gear acquirer than a user and most of the included items were still sealed in their original plastic from Canon with the lens body and hood completely free of any cosmetic blemishes.  But if the price had been fairly close to new I would have paid the extra for the warranty that comes with new along with knowing exactly how the lens had been treated.


The 70-200 2.8 is an excellent lens and if you find a used one in good conddition at a very attractive price then buy it.  I don't track usage by lens but I am pretty confident that my 70-200 2.8 is my most used lens.  It provides great image quality over a very versatile "zoom" range.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

++ on all thats been said.  and...  A bright little flashlight lets you "see" alot inside the lens. 


Bring a tripod.  This will let you mount and hold the lens steady while you put it through its paces.  The IS can be tested free-hand of course.   Good luck with it 🙂

Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10, 430EX III-RT ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw/MF656Cdw ~Pixel 8
~CarePaks Are Worth It


"What if anything could be a concern due to lack of use?"


Nothing. All lenses set for a period of time. New or old. I have lenses that have set for many times longer.   I would consider the price first, which is?


BTW, if the lens never got wet fungus should not even be a concern.  If the lens did get wet, the fact it got wet would concern me more than fungus. Like how wet?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


Of course I would.  Lack of use is usually not a problem (unless it was stored in a bad environment)... and probably it's a benefit.


If it was stored in humid conditions, then fungus can grow on internal optical surfaces.  To check the lens, remove both front and rear dust caps and just look through it (do not attach it to the camera... just look through the lens with your own eyes).  


You may see minor bits of dust -- don't worry about those because it wont show up in your images.  All lenses will eventually have that (this lens would probably have less if it was used for a few weeks and then capped for the next 8 years).  You can do a google search to get examples of what lens fungus looks like ... so you know what to look for.



The optical configuration between a version II and version III is identical.  Canon changed ONLY two things when they came out with version III... (1) they changed the shade of the white paint on the barrel and (2) they changed the anti-reflective coatings on the lens elements.  The new coatings are supposed to be a little better at resisting lens flare... but the II already has extremely low lens flare so this difference is subtle.  Apart from that the lenses are identical.


If it has a good price and doesn't have fungus, I'd snatch it up.


Whenever you buy a used lens you should check that manual focus works from end to end ... no jamming, no scraping sounds, etc.  Same should be true for zoom.  Also make sure when attached to camera that auto-focus works, aperture works (use the Depth-of-Field preview button your camera to test it while watching to make sure the aperture blades open & close correctly.)  Make sure the switches, etc. all work.


If everything works and it's a clean lens... get it.



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da