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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎03-12-2019

Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

 I’m contemplating the purchase of an older, more expensive lens — the EF 200mm f/1.8L or EF 200mm f/2.0L USM — and understand there are some risks involved.

 

• Some sellers are not honest. You pay your money and take your chances.

• Craigslist: you pay your money, you take your chances.

• There’s nothing that guarantees that you’ll get what’s advertised; or, that the advertisement is accurately factual.

• Canon no longer repairs some lenses. Is that a prime consideration?

 

Two years ago, I saw a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens in a Las Vegas pawn shop.  On the objective, I saw a fingerprint which caused me to think that its placement might not be accidental. I took some lens cleaner and lens cloth, cleaned the objective — and found that where the very edge of the fingerprint had been, the objective had a huge scratch.  I’m certain the store owners put the fingerprint on the lens.

 

Businesses such as Amazon, B&H Photo, and Adorama sell new cameras primarily, though they do “mine” the inventory of smaller camera stores nationwide which have both new and used cameras. An old, very expensive lens would be quite a rarity and in checking, none have what I’m looking for.

 

• How do you find the honest broker?  Speaking from professional experience, I wouldn’t depend on a Yelp review if my life depended upon it.

• How can you assure that you’re not purchasing stolen gear?  As an investigation recently proved, some small retail stores “fence” stolen cameras.

• How can you be assured that you’ll actually receive the item purchased? 

 

‘Any sage advice from those of you who are bargain hunters, are professionals, or both?

 

 

Chris P. Bacon
F-1; AE-1; EOS 1V, 6D, 6D Mk II, 7D, and 7D Mk II.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-01-2017

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

Buying anything used is a gamble, even from so called friends. I recently purchased a lens from a friend. Lens was no more than 6 months old. I knew that he had dropped the hood as it had a small bend in the mounting area. Lens had 0 damage to it. Buddy advised me that the lens was very tight fitting on the body. Second time I used it the weather seal ripped off. Took it to a local guy, he told me that the bayonet mount "lips" were a bit tweaked and the mount needed to be replaced. Probably should mention that when I sent my camera bodies in for service the lens mount on all of them needed to be replaced...
VIP
Posts: 8,340
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

You mentioned three sites. My advice is to avoid buying used gear on Amazon.

i have bought used accessories from B&H without issue. I even returned stuff without questions or issues. Of course, they ask for a reason, but that was it.

I have never had reason “to go to” Adorama. B&H seems to have a larger and wider inventory. Another good used dealer is KEH. Excellent gear and service. No issue with the one return I had. They saved return postage, and mailed me another one. Told me to keep the dead one.
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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
VIP
Posts: 11,351
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

"• How do you find the honest broker?  Speaking from professional experience, I wouldn’t depend on a Yelp review if my life depended upon it.

• How can you assure that you’re not purchasing stolen gear?  As an investigation recently proved, some small retail stores “fence” stolen cameras.

• How can you be assured that you’ll actually receive the item purchased? 

 

‘Any sage advice from those of you who are bargain hunters, are professionals, or both?"

 

Everybody can find fault or issues with any and all sources.  The only variable you can control is, you need to be smarter than they are. If you are not you put yourself in a position to be a victim.  Doesn't matter if you are buying a used lens, or car or lawn mower, educate yourself before hand.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 508
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

Personally I have bought second-hand gear from Amazon, eBay and our local equivalent Trademe.co.nz.   I have, so far, not been disappointed in doing so, but I have a strict protocol that I follow.  I want to see clear images of the item on sale, not a stock photo.  I also look very carefully at the number of sales made by the vendor and their level of feedback.  If I find negative ones I read them to see what the issue was and the vendor's response, if any.  Someone once gave me some good advice, never consider buying from anyone whose % positive rating is not above body temperature (i.e.98.6) - I expect to see AT LEAST 99% and the greater number of transactions the better.  On such sites I check also to see what level of buyer protection is offered on a product and build that into the equation.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"I have never been able to enlarge a photograph... I am just interested in the shots" Henri Cartier-Bresson
Valued Contributor
Posts: 369
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

I would not be buying a lens from some of the outlets you mentioned, such as eBay, pawnshops, or craigslist. 

 

I myself have bought only from B&H and Canon. Among other things, I've purchased a refurbished camera and refurbished lenses from Canon. The items are backed by the same one-year warranty you would get on a new item. I am not one to roll the dice with flaky sites or outlets in order to save a few dollars. Go with real camera stores and manufacturer outlets, such as Canon, Sigma, Tamron, etc. If the prices are too high, save up until you can afford the lens. But stay away from the risky outlets you mentioned in your post. 

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 508
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

I often look enviously at the deals you get in North America, and if I was in the USA I would probably do the same as John, but over in Oceania we don't have the same resources, such as refurbished, very few deals, and buying ANYTHING from the USA comes with a VERY hefty exchange rate (NZ $ is worth about 65c US) + a big US shipping charge and will likely incur at least 15% tax. So for me, unless I want to pay for a new unit, I have to consider other alternatives. So far, I have not been ripped off
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"I have never been able to enlarge a photograph... I am just interested in the shots" Henri Cartier-Bresson
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New Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-23-2019

Re: Advice sought pertaining to lens/camera purchases

I have bought thousands of dollars worth of used and new Canon cameras and lenses on eBay and been burned only 1 time.  Since, I normally pay through PayPal with my Amex card. If Paypal won't refund me, Amex will do a chargeback. There are a lot of honest people out there that want to sell nice used gear. do be afraid, be prepared.

 

Canon nut since 1980

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