Buying a Used Flash

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by scorpion_tyr, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. scorpion_tyr

    scorpion_tyr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Warning: Noob here with noob questions.

    A local pawn shop has a Canon 580 EX II for $199.99. The flash test fires just fine and all the functions seem to work. It also looks brand new. The only wear marks I could find was one small little line on the "foot?", where it has obviously been put on a camera at least once.

    Would I be wrong in assuming that any flash has a "life" or number of times it will fire before eventually going bad? I understand it's probably not a set, or known number just something that will not last forever.

    If so is it just the bulb that burns out? If so can that be easily replaced?

    I'm just wondering all this because it looks like whoever owned it previously took very good care of it, but to my knowledge there's no way to tell how many times it has been used or how many times the clowns behind the counter have pressed the test button and blinded each other (something they so kindly demonstrated for me while negotiating a price). I would hate to buy it and use it just a few times and then have a $200 paperweight.

    Is there anything else I should look at or test before I purchase it?

    Any other info or opinions are welcome. Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I'd try putting it on a camera and making sure that it works in the E-TTL mode. Make sure that the head zooms along with the lens (flash facing forward). If you had another Canon flash, you could try testing it the wireless communication works.
    Make sure it tilts and turns freely (well, stopping where it's supposed to).

    Yes, the bulbs can be replaced, I don't know the price though.

    For $200, it sounds like a good deal.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Flash tubes are about $12 if you get the part and replace it yourself.

    Caution: Extremely high voltages can be present in the speedlight capacitors, at a high enough current to kill if care is not taken to discharge the capacitor before attempting to replace a flash tube.
     
  4. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Thats a very good price for a pawn shop. Like others suggested I would take a camer and try it on camera. I would think its a stolen flash though. The pawn shop is going to put a big price increase on it to cover his overhead and proffits. So, someone let it go for way less than it was actually worth. I would not think someone who actually owned it even if in dire money problems would let it go that low (with craigs list and ebay so easy). I am betting less than $100, probably $75.
     
  5. scorpion_tyr

    scorpion_tyr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not going to say that it's not stolen, but the only thing that leads me to believe it's not is that it's been there since December, and was originally priced at $300. It was priced at $250 yesterday and I managed to talk the guy down to $200. Tried to go lower, but he wouldn't budge. It's pretty rare that you can go into a pawn shop and actually get paid a fair price for something you're selling.
     
  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    If thats the case, money talks. Don't just negotiate. Pull out 9 $20 bills. Let him know your serious and have the cash. Not just running your gums. :p You may find yourself a $180 580 that way. ;)

    Keep another $20 in your wallet just incase he is absolutely firm. $200 is a very good deal for a fully working unit!
     
  7. scorpion_tyr

    scorpion_tyr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks to all for the advice! I went and tested it on my camera and everything seemed to work just fine. They were pretty firm with $200, even though I pulled every trick in the book. Told them I just couldn't do $200 right then and there so they offered a free 6 month full warranty on it if I put it on lay-a-way. I figured since I'm going out of the country for a few weeks anyways I went ahead and did it. Gonna pick it up as soon as I get back.
     

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