About to buy a used lens, advice needed

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Robin Usagani, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I am about to buy 70-200mm f/2.8 IS mark 1. How do I check if the IS is working or not? On my kit lens 55-250mm is just have the on and off.. but I have no idea whether it is working or not. Can someone help me with this?
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Turn it on and shoot at a slower shutter speed. You'll also hear the IS turn on and off as you start focusing.

    I shot at something like 1/15 (I think) with IS on and got a fairly decent shot. There was some motion blur, but nothing like you're expect for freehanding such a heavy lens at 70mm.

    Sweet lens choice btw.
     
  3. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ok thanks man! I will do that.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can clearly hear the IS start up. It sounds like a muted click.

    Also, you can see the results in the viewfinder as well...especially at the long end. Zoom out and look through the viewfinder while moving the lens slightly. Make sure the IS isn't on...then activate it. You should be able to see that the image in the viewfinder is more stable...it may appear to 'jump' from place to place as you move the lens.
     
  5. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    What Big Mike said!:thumbup: You should definitely hear and see it working in the viewfinder.
     
  6. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What else do I need to check? Can you advice me the things I should do when I inspect the lens? Im going to the guy's house tomorrow.
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Buying used lenses is a great way to save money and get better gear than you normally would. All but two of my lenses have been bought used with nary a problem.

    Always make sure that you review the lens on-line especially if it's somethin gmore on the unusual side. Like cars, some lenses are prone to certain issue, and knowing what to look for ahead of time can save you a lot of grief. As well, know what prices are common, check eBay, used gear stores etc.

    When you first meet with the seller, look at the lens carefully. What is the condition of the exterior? Is is scraped or scratched? Is the filter-ring damaged (always ensure you know what diameter filter the lens takes and bring a filter with you). If a filter won't screw on easily, question the seller, it's usually a good indication that the lens has been dropped or banged hard. The price should reflect this ('though I would likely walk away at this point).

    Ensure you have a small penlight and look through the lens from both ends; look for any odd refractions which might indication displacement or separation of internal elements or fungus growing inside (not uncommon in older lenses). A little internal dust is nothing to worry about. Hold the light against each end element at various angles to look for cleaning damange, scuffs, swirl-marks etc. Again, I would walk away if there are any; this is an indication someone didn't know how to care for the lens.

    Close the aperture (if you don't already, check to ensure you know which pin on the lens operates the aperture) and watch it carefully. When you let the pin go, it should snap back quickly and evenly; look for any signs of oil or residue on the blades. When they're closed, do they form an even pattern, or do one or more appear to not be in the same position? If so, you know what to do here.

    Smell the lens carefully. Sound funny? Probably, BUT if a lens has been stored somewhere damp (especially an older lens) you may smell a damp, moldy/mildew smell. Again, you know what to do if you thing there's any indication of that.
    Mount the lens on your camera; ensure that it functions correctly in ALL modes, take and CHECK test shots in manual mode at all apertures. Mount and unmount the lens several times, ensuring that it feels smooth and doesn't catch. Manually focus the lens and operate the aperture ring (if so fitted) if it's a zoom, operate that. These functions should feel smooth and positive. If there's slop, grinding, or points at which something feels wrong, walk away. Ensure you do this with the camera in normal shooting position, upside down, lens pointed up, down, etc. often a problem can manifest itself in one position and not in others.
     
  8. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ran out of thank you today. Thanks man!
     

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