As we all know, lenses can be pretty expensive, and a good way to save some cash is buying them used. To help you make the best choice, Artur Fin shares five things to look out for when buying a used lens. These tips will help you to make sure that you spend less money, yet get the lens that’s in a good condition and that you’ll use for a long time.
1. General visual inspection
Before you start checking the details, make a general visual inspection. Look for scratches, dents, and anything that would indicate that the lens wasn’t actually treated gently. If the lens has been dropped or abused, the chances are that some of the glass elements are damaged or that something doesn’t work properly.
After the general inspection, remove the front and the rear cap and look through the lens. Search for dust particles between the optical elements. In older lenses, the fungus can often appear between the optical elements too. So if you’re buying a vintage lens, always make sure to check this too.
Of course, make sure that there are no scratches on the front and back elements of the lens. However, Artur points out that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world if the lens is scratched a bit. He shares a video that demonstrates it, but still, personally – I’d rather stick with an unscratched lens.
3. Loose joints
As Artur explains, many people overlook this. But, no matter if you buy a prime or a zoom lens, the zoom ring and the focusing ring tend to turn loose with time. In addition, it can be a good indicator that the lens has been dropped or used a lot.
To check this, take the lens and move the focusing and the zoom ring around. If the lens has an extending focusing element, move it around to see if it’s loose. Artur points out that his Canon 18-55mm kit lens moves a bit although he hasn’t used it a lot, so the assumption is that some movement is normal. The same happens to my Nikon 18-55 mm, but I used that lens for ages before buying my second lens. Anyway, use your best judgment here.
4. Focusing and IS motors
If the lens has AF and image stabilization, you want to check the motors. Attach the lens to your camera body and take a couple of photos at different focal lengths and different focusing distances. Listen to the focusing/stabilization motor. If it makes weird cracking sounds, it means it’s going to fail soon. Keep in mind that a loud motor doesn’t mean that it’s broken because not all lenses have a quiet AF. Just pay attention to the cracking noises.
5. Aperture blades
This is another thing many people forget to check, according to Artur. So here’s a reminder for you when buying a used lens. Attach the lens to your camera and open and close the aperture. Make sure it opens and closes without any hesitations.
And finally, Artur gives an extra tip: pay attention to a plastic bayonet on cheap lenses or some older models. Make sure that it’s not damaged and that doesn’t move around when you attach it to your new camera.
Do you guys buy used lenses or rather go for new ones, despite the higher price? Are there any tips you’d share for buying used lenses that Artur forgot to mention? Feel free to share them in the comments.
[5 Things To lOOK OUT For When Buying A Used Lens | Artur Fin]
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