Good quality camera lenses are expensive and if you want to capture the best photos you can you need the best camera lenses you can afford. Fortunately, the market is flooded with used camera lenses, and if you are prepared to buy second hand lenses you could save yourself a lot of money.
Unfortunately, there is a risk with buying used camera lenses and your bargain camera lens may end up being a very expensive mistake, which you obviously want to avoid. In order to minimise the chances of any second hand lenses you buy turning out to be a costly mistake I have put together a guide on buying used camera lenses, full of tips that I hope you will find useful.
The first and golden rule when buying used camera lenses is to buy from a reputable dealer close to where you live.
I would never buy used camera lenses from individuals. It doesn’t matter if I know the individual, it doesn’t matter how good the lens looks, and it doesn’t matter how cheap the camera lens is – I simply wouldn’t buy from an individual and would always opt to buy from a camera store.
When camera stores buy used camera lenses or take in lenses as part exchange they will rigorously check and test them to ensure they are in a good enough condition for re-sale. A camera store will not only look and physically inspect the used lenses but also test them on machines, take sample photos and then check the photos using sophisticated machinery. Testing a used camera lens isn’t a five minute job, and when I have part exchanged some of my camera lenses in the past the camera store owner has spent an hour or so just to check one lens.
Whilst second hand camera lenses may look in mint condition on the outside there could be a whole lot of nasties on the inside. For example:-
Camera stores do charge more for used camera lenses, after all they have to make a profit as it is how they earn a living, but for the peace of mind you get buying second hand camera lenses from a camera store the little extra cash is well worth it. Even though camera stores will charge more for used camera lenses there are still good deals to be had. As an example I bought a used Canon 28-300 f3.5-5.6L for £567 less than new, which is 31% of the cost new.
This lens was not only in mint condition (rated as a 9+ nearly new) but I also got a 30 day grace period (meaning I could return it within 30 days for a full refund if I changed my mind) and also got 12 months guarantee. The used Canon l lens I bought was certainly a good deal, and whilst I could have bought one privately for a hundred bucks less I would never have been sure that it worked as it should, I would never have got a 30 day cooling off period and I would never have got 12 months guarantee.
Buying used camera lenses and second hand lenses from camera stores really is a no brainer, and if you buy used camera lenses from a reliable dealer you can be sure the lenses have been tested, are working properly and do everything they should do. If, however, you do have any issued with used camera lenses from camera stores you will always be able to take the lens back to get the problem rectified – just make sure the camera store isn’t too far away.
So to buy used camera lenses without getting ripped off simply go and see you r local camera store – it’s as simple as that.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.