Why I Buy Camera Lenses Used

Camera lenses are expensive

Even the cost of entry level lenses quickly adds up, so numerous new and also seasoned photographers choose to buy their gear used. This is perfectly OK for lenses, as itís quite possible to save as much of 50% off the original cost.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 Non-D Fast Telephoto Portrait Lens

Iíve saved a lot of money of buying lenses used, simply as I buy the upper end lenses, there are some good deals to be had and converse to camera bodies, I have no concerns over additional megapixels or speedier frames per second being released. Similar to most photographers, I began with entry level camera gear and worked up to higher end lenses. One of my favorite lenses, a Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 shown above is a treasured piece in my camera bag plus one Iíve owned for several years. I paid $349. for this lens while the new cost as of this article is $479. Good glass remains good glass with just little care and precaution, and should be around for many years down the road.

However there's a few key points be aware of when buying used

Point number one is the benefits of buying a lens used from a company such as Adorama or B&H is their lens descriptions and ratings are typically on the conservative side, at least in all my dealings with them. Perhaps I've just been lucky, although I have never received a bad used lens from Adorama, B&H or Amazon. Unlike an anonymous vendor on Ebay or other similar sellers, the vendors listed above have a generous return policy if somehow you are unsatisfied with the lens.

Nikon 55-200mm VR f/4-5.6G Lens
I'm particularly proud of the great little Nikkor 55-200 VR Lens that was just like new
for only $140.00. They sell new for $249

From my point of view, evaluating a lens once you have it in your hands the whole process is not unlike buying a new lens. A rave lens review you read about in a camera magazine or online may not be representation of an honest review of an early production, cherry picked, lens and may not at all reflect the quality of such lenses that were mass produced and sold at retail stores. You would be naive in assuming that a particular Nikon or Canon lens you had read about in the past and drooled over is an optimum sample version.

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD IF Lens Main
Another "Buy" was this Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO
I paid $349.00 and the cost new is $449.00

While it's unfortunate that the cost of a particular lens is no quality guarantee coming from any of the major Japanese companies is a thing of the past. I understand that Leica assures that every and every production sample features an optimal optical bench function although you pay a very premium cost for that sort of assurance. I've purchased lenses used from private sellers and have ended up with several extraordinary deals on excellent lenses.

However it's much more difficult to find those kind of bargains that make buying lenses used worthwhile for a few of the high technical lenses in high demand such as a Nikon 18-200 VR lens or a Nikon 70-200 VR. For those kind of lenses you may as well buy new. The resale price from new is slight and the cost of not repairing even one tiny little issue over the course of a 5 year warranty is more than any amount of savings you got from acquiring a lens such as that used.

It's pretty obvious to see that I saved on average $100.00 per lens, now multiply that by, say 20 lenses, you got the idea. Enough savings to buy a good used Nikkor 70-200 VR.

New Article Oct 19, 2011

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