Buying off Craigslist

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by FemFugler, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. FemFugler

    FemFugler TPF Noob!

    Nov 12, 2009
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    In regards to buying off Craigslist (or equivalent or similar things), i was wondering if there's anything to keep your eye out for when purchasing say a lens off of someone. Obviously if it has noticeable damage on it then you shouldn't buy it, but is there anything else. Sorry if this is a dumb question... but can lens's appear to be in good condition but really not work or whatever? I guess perhaps water damage and what not... is there anything you can look for on it upon inspection before buying? (i guess i sort of answered the question there...) This probably varies from seller to seller, but in general do sellers let you try it to make sure it works? or are you supposed to just take their word for it? (lol)

    I was browsing the CL for lens's an came across some decent priced ones but am unsure about the whole thing. I don't want to get scammed or anything. My dad has bought lots of electronics off of CL, but I've personally never done so because i've never really had much of a need to. Even now i can afford a new one, but hey, as a student(as anyone else actually) if i can save a $100 or whatever then I'm all for it.

    I'd also like to get a flash but i didn't find anything really except for a sb 900 for $530 and i don't think i need one like that... i mean a sb 400 or sb 600 would do for me most likely. I think i'll just buy new for the flash.

    Anyway thanks in advanced. Also sorry for the 'duh' questions....

  2. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

    Jul 30, 2009
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    i purchased my canon 70-200 2.8 off CL with no issue. the seller had posted pictures of both the lens, and pictures taken with the lens, but i am not going to spend that kind of money from a private seller without testing it. i had pre-arranged with him to bring my own camera to insure the AF and IS worked without issue, as did the buttons which control each of those features. i would expect any half decent seller to honor the same.

    likewise, after i bought that i sold my cheapy tamron 75-300mm to a guy, and offered the same to him. i handed it to him in the box and told him to take it out, take a look, play with it, etc to be sure he's cool with it before spending the money (was only $85, but still). he just took it and gave me the money. i guess he didnt much care, and i was fine because i at least offered.

    for flashes i bought both of the ones i have now new because there hasnt been anything in my area on CL. i wanted one to be canon brand for ttl/ettl for those times when i had to use a flash on camera, and i wanted the much talked about vivitar 285hv for 100% off camera work. the 285hv is only $90 so its a cheap way to add extra strobes after you get your initial setup. you'll have to decide which way to go.

    i dont know nikon stuff, but the 430ex ii which is what i got is one step down from the top of the line 530ex ii. i think the sb600 from nikon is similar, with the sb900 being their top of the line. looking at the prices seems to support this as the sb600/430ex ii are similarly priced as are the sb900/530ex ii. i'd wait for a nikon person to chime in to be sure.

    the only thing i feel im missing from the flash is weather sealing, so if you feel thats important to you its probably worth it to get. personally its not something i much worry about, so saving the $300 was much better for me.
  3. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

    Mar 3, 2010
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    Fem -

    The SB-400 isn't much more powerful than the flash that is built into your camera, I would suggest the SB-600 for most people.

    As for lenses, there COULD be issues that you can't see until you take it, put it on your camera and take a picture ... but, if you can do that before you hand over the cash I would have no problems with buying something on CL ... heck, I think I've even done it once ...
  4. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

    Jun 2, 2008
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    St. Petersburg, FL
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    Yeah, I wouldn't mind buying off of craigslist... of course I don't mind buying off of ebay etc.

    I think the only things I would be concerned about would be #1 as was mentioned before can you test all of the functions etc. in advance. I think it'll probably be difficult to tell if you get a sharp copy of the lens or not, but, at least you can make sure everything works.

    The other thing is whether or not the item is hot.
  5. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Mar 24, 2008
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    St. Louis

    I bought photography gears off ebay and craigslist.

    For craigslist, here are the steps I will do for lens purchase.

    1. Meet the seller in person in a public place. Prefer day time (more light for gear testing)
    2. Take a look at the outside of the lens and see if it is in good shape.
    3. Turn the zoom ring (if it is a zoom lens) and the focus ring make sure they are smooth.
    4. Take a look the front and the back lens element and make sure they are fine.
    5. Look through the lens from the front and the back (Use a flash light to shine from the other end if you have a flash light handy. If not, at least point the lens to the sky) Make sure there isn't a lot of dust inside, no haze or fungus.
    6. Look at the lens mount and make sure they are fine. No corrosion, no missing contacts or damaged contacts.
    7. Try the lens on your camera. See if the autofocus (if it is a AF lens) works. I will point the camera to a near object, then a distance object and then back to a near object for the AF.
    8. Set the aperture to the smallest (i.e. F/22) and look at the front of the lens while pressing the DoF preview button. The shutter blades should close. Press it few times and see if the blades close and open without any issue.
    9. While you are looking at the closed blades, make sure they looks okay. No damage or oily blades.
    10. If it is a IS/VR/OS/VC lens, try the lens with it turn on and off.
    11. Try the lens with manual focus as well.
    12. Take some photos with the lens and review them on a laptop if you have one.

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