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Got a brand new lens that came with a mark on it.. What to do?

Hi everyone,

I just received a brand new Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 III lens as part of a Rebel t3i bundle I ordered from a company called Cameta Camera. I took it out of the box and took the front lens cap off to inspect the outer glass because I am **bleep** like that. I saw what i thought was a few specs of dust so i capped it and put it in my bag until later that night. I tried to clean it several times and everything came off except one tiny mark that is close to one edge of the glass. I tried everything to remove it and finally I figured out that it is a defect in the actual glass, not sure if to call it a pit or a tiny scratch or what. Anyway, it bugs me a lot so i called the company and the have this process for returning that is a pain where you have to pay shipping to send it back, they inspect it, and if they decide you didnt do it, they will send a new one and reemburse you part of the shipping. It also has what looks like some air bubbles in the inner glass but i know thats normal, those are actually near the center and i hear they would not affect the image quality.

I am just wondering if you guys think this would affect the image or not and would you bother with the pain in the butt return process? I have taken a few photos with the lens but i am not sure whether it affects the image or not i am not a pro and really dont know what to look for, i do not see anything obvious though like you would with sensor dust.

I would love to hear from some pros or anyone who has encountered this or knows anything about it.. I only have 5 days to decide what to do and the 4th is coming up so i probably need to decide by tomorrow.



Most likely it will not effect the image noticable, but there's one way to find out.


As far as the company, don't you have the option to return it (not exchange)?  Personally, I'd do that, even if it was going to cost me a few dollars, and I would buy the same kit from a reputable company like B&H or Adorama.  It's be worth the money to me to not support a company with lousy customer service.


Barring that, if the defect is in the glass it should be a no-brainer that it's not your fault.  But with a lousy company you never know.  If you can't return it for whatever reason then I guess you have to decide if it's worth your time and energy to deal with it, or just try to forget about it.  If you can.

Unfortunately it came as a bundle with the t3i, tripod, etc... So i would only be able to return everything which i dont want to do. So i only have the option to send it back and wait for them, pay $200 for them to ship me the lens first and then if they accept the return, they would refund it... Or just deal with it.

Is there some sort of test i can do i really do not know what to look for. Like is there a color i can take a photo of and then make some sort of adjustment to look for a bad result? My guess is it would not look like a spot but may be a discoloration or something which so far I havent noticed but like i said, i do not have a trained eye for lens stuff.

There are only two solutions. Live with it or return it. I don't think your new camera lens should have a defect but you ask if it will impact image quality and I'm thinking, "Will I ever forget about that defect?" which to me would be almost as annoying as having to be worried about image quality. It's a psycological thing.


If you do return it, don't be surprised by being asked to pay return shipping. If you return it for replacement and the seller is amenable to replacing it, I would imagine you'll not be charged for shipping a second time.

To be honest, I actually have obsessive compulsive disorder so its true, the fact that it is there drives me freaking batty lol. I am surprised other people like yourself, feel the same. I just am wrestling with whether i want to deal with the return hassle or not so i am trying to convince myself if there is no image quality difference, and i can get the lens as clean as possible aside from that mark, then slap my UV flter on it... Maybe I can forget about it.

I actually spoke to Canon also but I do not know if the guy really knew what he was talking about. He said that a speck on the lens would show up as a speck on the photo but other stuff i have read says it could show up as only a slight contrast difference that 90% of people wouldnt notice. I have also read some articles where they destroyed a lens by cracking the front lens element from the center, out in about 10 different directions and it still took good photos so the information i am getting is mixed as to what i should look for on a photo. If I could tell any sort of effect on a photo caused by it, then i absolutely would return it. But because photos can be so different you might notice it on one but not 100 others depending on the focus, aper, etc right?

@Trea wrote:

I actually spoke to Canon also but I do not know if the guy really knew what he was talking about. He said that a speck on the lens would show up as a speck on the photo...

He doesn't know what he's talking about.  Grab a small piece of paper, put it on the lens and take a picture.  You might be surprised at how little it impacts the final image.


You know the choice you have to make, the rest is up to you.  I know exactly what I would do: I'd send it back, tripod and all, and buy from someone else.  And I'm not obsessive about specs on my lens.  If something was going to bother me then it's a no brainer. 


Are you saying that it costs $200 to ship the kit?  That's not right, it shouldn't cost near that much. Amazon would be broke if it cost that much.  I would find a slower, cheaper method to send it back.  Or I'd fight like hell that they sent me a defective product and they need to pay to ship it back for an exchange.  Squeeky wheel gets the grease.  Raise hell.

A pin piont scratch will NOT show up in any of your photos.  Period, now you know.  But how much larger than a pin point will show up?    To convice yourself, take a few snaps of your white ceiling.  Or go outside and snap a blue sky.  Stop your lens down some but try several f-stops.  You must remember the stuff on the lens is OOF.  So the sensor will never see it.

Some smudges can reduce contrast and a keen eyed person can see it.


Now the question, should you return it.  And the correct answer is absolutely.  Now you have that part answered, also.

Send the entire kit back and buy one from B&H or Adorama.  Do it today!

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

The store the OP purchased from appears to be a legitimate Canon Authorized retailer, in business since 1985 and has a good return policy. I see no need to punish them for a problem that fairly belongs to the factory.

Yeah the speck is the size of a piece of dust, close to the rim of the front lens element. It looks exactly like a piece of dust but isn't one.. You have to shine a light in the lens at an angle to see it. I dont know if i mentioned or not but there is also a piece of dust in the inner lens glass close to the center but i have read that is completely normal and isnt something to worry about. At this point from what you guys said and everything I researched, i do not believe it will show itself on my photos. I am curious though why you and Skirball would tell me that, and then tell me i should return the entire kit and buy it from B&H though... It seems you guys are super biased towards B&H lol. I know B&H is good and I got my last video equipment from them a few years ago... But they cannot come close to giving me the price that I got for the stuff in this bundle. I paid less for everything I got including the camera with the extra lens, than if I had of bought the camera and extra lens seperate from anywhere else including B&H. I am on a budget so i researched heavily before buying for the best price i feel pretty good about that.

So do you think I should swap the lens just for the fact that I paid good money for it and it is supposed to be new, therefore not having any permanant specks on it (thats how i think and it seems a lot of folks do about lenses).. Or is there some other reason?

Also, if i were to send it back do you think when they do their inspection, and see how tiny it is, that they may say nothing is wrong with it because it would not affect the image? I also worry about them not even seeing it if they dont use a light to look for it.