Free Content • Buying Second Hand Lenses

Things you need to know when buying second hand lenses

  1. Make sure the lens is compatible with your camera when buying second hand lenses. Some older Sigma lenses will not autofocus when used on one of the latest models of Digital SLR cameras for instance
  2. Make sure there is no fungus inside the lens. Look through the lens and towards a bright light. You may see some marks that look like spider webs. This is definitely fungus inside the lens, and you should avoid buying it
  3. Front and back glass elements should be clean with no marks or scratches
  4. Some dust spots inside the lens are acceptable and will not affect image quality. However, make sure the lens is not loaded with them
  5. Check the focusing ring. Give the focusing ring a complete turn and make sure it works nice and smoothly
  6. If you are buying a zoom lens, give the zoom ring a complete turn and make sure it works nice and smoothly
  7. Mount the lens on a camera and press the depth of field button while changing aperture from a very small to a very large one. Aperture blades should operate nice and smoothly. Check that the aperture blades are clean and still have a matte finish, any shiny surfaces are likely to be a film of oil, avoid buying it
  8. Check if the lens autofocuses properly. Focus on a subject around 2 metres away and take a picture; zoom in while viewing the picture on the rear screen and make sure the focusing is accurate

It is understandable that the seller might not have the time to allow you for all these checks. However, it is your money we are talking about and you should make sure you take all precautions to avoid buying a so called "Lemon" lens from someone who wants to get rid of it.

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    Also, some lenses were made to be sold in the US, and others were made to be sold elsewhere in the world. Some factory authorized service centers in the U.S. are forbidden from repairing any lens which was not intended for sale within the U.S. That means you have to ship your lens overseas for service, with wait times in the months. So check with the buyer.

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