Old 11-04-2009, 09:18 PM   #1
ssw9662
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Default Buying Used Lenses

I finally have some money saved up so I'm looking at getting a new lens as an early Christmas present for myself.

I could afford a new entry-level zoom lens with the money I have now (the Canon EF-S 55-250mm is what I was looking into at that amount), but I'd like to see if I could score a used version of a better lens for a reasonable price. I've seen many websites selling used glass, but naturally I only want to buy a lens from a trusted and reliable site. Can anyone recommend good websites and other sites to stay away from for used lenses? $500 would probably be my absolute limit now, but if I could grab a nice lens (in particular, an L lens) used for that price I would be happy.

TIA,
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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The 55-250mm IS is a great lens. Sharp, nice contrast, good color etc. It's no L glass, but it'll do the job if you need that range. Advice for used lenses? I always bought new. Adorama, KEH, and BH Photo and Video are 3 sites that come to mind right now. I know a few people who used all 3 for used equipment, lenses included, and are very pleased. The great thing about those sites too that they grade the used equipment. Some of the used stuff was used a few times, so it's like new but you get the used price. The only time I bought used was a few days ago, when I wanted to upgrade the kit lens (Very very very cheap used) and get the newer kit lens as I'm not financially able to go for a nice(r) wide angle. Always ask questions if you go to ebay or something, and if you have the slightest quirk about something even on KEH or BH Photo, ASK them. Don't get surprised so your used experience won't be a bad one. Hope this somewhat helps.

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Old 11-04-2009, 09:26 PM   #3
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I've picked up a used Canon 10-22 and 70-200 f/4 L from KEH.com and didn't have any problems with them. I also sold them my old 28-200.

I can heartily recommend either of those lenses, although I'm not sure if both of them would fit into your price limit (the 70-200 should, I think I got mine for 450 or so).
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:40 PM   #4
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I bought a 28-135 IS lens from a local. I found him on Craigslist and the lens was in great condition. When buying something like a lens Cragslist is a great place because you can meet the person and see the lens before buying. You also can negotiate prices. I got my lens for 350 with a camera bag included. He threw the bag in right on the spot. I recommend Craigslist for expensive transactions.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:22 AM   #5
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KEH is the way to go. And don't settle for anything less than L glass if you can at all help it. Several of my friends have the 18-55 and 55-250 combos, and all of them are having problems after owning them for just a year...you get what you pay for.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:38 AM   #6
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No lens is bullet prof, Sand or dust will get in the best lens so test by zooming in and out and manual focus to make sure that works. Look thru both ends looking for something out of whack or chips in the glass. Test shots( take them before buying!) By shooting close and far with the AF making sure its fast and sharp. If it looks good it most likely is but some pro glass can have nicks and or dings and you will get them much cheeper, Likely they may need some work down the road if there lose or sloppy. I had a lot of luck getting good ones but test and make sure you can send it back if you don't like it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:42 AM   #7
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KEH, Craigslist; the 70-200 f/4 L without IS is in the $500 neighborhood, haven't checked used prices too recently, though

I like th 55-250 also, look for it used or refurb. And yes, put money into glass, but don't be in a big rush to do it all at once, if $500 stretches you, don't do it yet, be patient.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:03 AM   #8
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I've always had trouble with used lenses bought on eBay, but I've never had trouble with lenses bought from KEH. Superb people to buy from.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssw9662 View Post
I finally have some money saved up so I'm looking at getting a new lens as an early Christmas present for myself.

I could afford a new entry-level zoom lens with the money I have now (the Canon EF-S 55-250mm is what I was looking into at that amount), but I'd like to see if I could score a used version of a better lens for a reasonable price. I've seen many websites selling used glass, but naturally I only want to buy a lens from a trusted and reliable site. Can anyone recommend good websites and other sites to stay away from for used lenses? $500 would probably be my absolute limit now, but if I could grab a nice lens (in particular, an L lens) used for that price I would be happy.

TIA,
I was in the same boat as you were looking to get by cheap. However, I "splurged" and bought the 70-200 L from B&H. I don't consider it inexpensive by any means but so far it has been worth every penny I have paid for it. I'm sold on L glass.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:07 AM   #10
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Thanks for the helpful replies everyone!

I've heard nothing but good things about the L-series, so I know I couldn't go wrong with one of them. Since I'm nearing my railfanning "off season" (thanks to disappearing foliage and cold temperatures), I could certainly afford to wait a few more months to save up the cash I need. The best price I could find for the 70-200 on KEH was $569, but with Christmas approaching it wouldn't surprise me if I found a better deal within the coming months.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:43 AM   #11
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I recommend Adorama, and B&H. You won't go wrong. The prices are the lowest, and if there is a problem, you are safe.

I bought my 17-40 as a demo and my 70-200 f4 IS new at Adorama. Both lenses are outstanding in color and sharpness. They have made a big improvement with my photography.

Both are available used about $600 if you get the non IS 70-200.

The 70-200 f4 IS has weather sealing though.

However, you might consider the 24-105. It is probably a better size for overall railfan use. However, it is double your budget.

Once you do L glass, you never go back.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:55 AM   #12
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the Buy-Sell forum at www.fredmiranda.com is an excellent place for buying (and selling) camera equipment. Have had several excellent transactions there both buying and selling. Its probably the only other place I'd purchase used equipment other than from B&H, KEH or Adorama. You should be able to find a used 70-200L F4 for $475-500 at Fred Miranda.

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:34 PM   #13
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I have 17-40 F4, 24-105 IS F4 and 70-200 F4 All L glass

The 70-200 is the sharpest - if you can pick that up on your budget you won't regret it
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:37 PM   #14
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I suppose some used, old fashioned manual prime/telephoto lenses are out of the question?

Every lens I own, save one, is used. Nothing wrong with used lenses... especially higher end stuff since it may well have been owned by a pro and the good stuff tends to be treated better by the previous owner (that is not written in stone, though). I bought mine from Alt Camera exchange (now closed) and more recently, Henrys... both in Toronto so likely not much help.

Do not purchase signt unseen... ever.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
I recommend Adorama, ......
I bought my 17-40 as a demo and my 70-200 f4 IS new at Adorama. Both lenses are outstanding in color and sharpness. They have made a big improvement with my photography.
Great to get feedback from a happy customer, thank you for posting!
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:56 PM   #16
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Whoa. Just goes to show ya. You don't know who's lurking out there...

Well, Helen welcome to RP!

Maybe a nice dialogue between photographer's and a dealer will develop.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
Whoa. Just goes to show ya. You don't know who's lurking out there...

Well, Helen welcome to RP!
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
Maybe a nice dialogue between photographer's and a dealer will develop.
I'm here to help if needed - but if I miss a posting, (I cover around 500 websites & blogs....) I love receiving emails: helen.oster@adoramacamera.com
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:00 PM   #18
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Wow. All those times I lavished praise on Canon for what they did when my 10 to 22 mm died (the day after the warranity ended) never got a response like that.
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:09 PM   #19
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Wow. All those times I lavished praise on Canon for what they did when my 10 to 22 mm died (the day after the warranity ended) never got a response like that.
Thanks!

I meant to add above (but the'phone went & I hit submit without thinking), that I have a guide to buying used lenses. It isn't an Adorama piece, just something I came across a while back and really enjoyed. I stupidly didn't keep a note of the author so I wouldn't want to post it on a forum without being able to acknowledge him. However, if anyone would like a copy, I'd be very happy to email it to you
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