Help evaluating lens. Nikon 70-200 VR1

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by Snoggin, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Snoggin

    Snoggin TPF Noob!

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    I'm taking the ferry over to San Francisco in a couple of hours to look at a Vr 1. The guy I am meeting bought it second hand from a pro photographer about 1.5 years ago. Overall it is 2.5 years old?

    I posted earlier bout how to evaluate a lens and someone mentioned bringing a strong light and shing it thru and looking for dust fog etc... I tried this on my tamron 17-50. And can't see much.. The perturbed hole is very small... I tried setting it to 2.8 and its still pretty small so I can't see much. He says the lens is in excellent condition. But how do I tell? I am bring my body and 17-50 along and will take some test shots... What to look for?

    Hopefully 17-50 on the way in and 70-200 on the ferry ride back. ..

    Help me make sure I do as well as I can.


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Reposting:

    John's "How to buy a used lens":

    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 something more 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 think 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.
     
  3. Snoggin

    Snoggin TPF Noob!

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    THANK YOU VERY MUCH

    Tim

     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The 70-200 VR-1 makes a slight bit of noise as the VR engages, and disengages;the sound is almost like a faint clicking, or a 'tick', and then kind of a very low,quiet, very slight,slight "high-frequency,low-volume, electronic vibration-like sound". Hard to describe, but there *is a slight sound* associated with VR on that lens.

    Internal dust? YES, expect some. It has almost no practical effect. If you can shine a good LED flashlight inside of a lens and get just the right angle of view, you might see a frightening amount of dust inside of many very fine lenses. Just as if you look at your food with a microscope, you'd be afraid to eat it.

    See if the VR works by shooting some shots at slow, hand-held speeds, like 1/15 second at 200mm with the VR enabled,and some with VR set to OFF. Then, zoom in and see how the shots look on the LCD...you should see a difference.

    Set the f/stop to a smallish aperture, like say f/7.1. Then shoot an 8-frame sequence of something very flat-toned, like the sky, or a wall, or the side of a building, then run thru the sequence and see if the tonal value is all VERY,very similar; you are checking to see that the aperture mechanism can stop down, and re-open, and stop down to the SAME-SIZED aperture, repeatedly. If the exposures are erratic, the aperture control mechanism is likely wonky.

    The 70-200 VR was a pro-grade lens and was built solidly. It is however, a lens where "professionals" are currently in the process of trading up to the very-newest model, so there are plenty of them on the market. As always, whenever you do find a flaw while examining a lens, always talk it up, very vocally and mention it, more than once, as you examine the lens. Always make a big deal out of small flaws when examining a lens...it tends to give you a psychological edge when bargaining. Like, when shining an LED flashlight through the lens, state, "Wow--this lens has a LOT of junk and crap inside of it! Are you aware of how much dust is inside of this lens!?" "Here, use my flashlight, and take a look!" (Never mind that this dust has little effect, mmmkay....it is a HUGE AMOUNT OF DUST AND CRAP inside of a lens you've come to horse-trade for!!!!)

    As you review then finish each of your tests of the lens, do not sound positive, but instead finish each with a disapproving "Huhhhh...", or "Hmmmmmm"--- one that has a negative undertone to it. Even if the 8-frame aperture test looks rosy, as you scroll thru it twice, finish with, "Hmmmmmm." Not, "Oh-it looks great!!!" Even if it looks perfect. Emphasize every weakness. Don't fall in love with it. At the end, offer LESS than asking price, by $300 to start. If he/she says no, then bring up a "flaw" you earlier "found". (cough, cough). Is this making sense???
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    *Note to self: Avoid doing business with Derrel





    :lol:
     
  6. Netskimmer

    Netskimmer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Confidently addressing any issues you perceive with a lens is important and calling attention to them can be a sound negotiating tactic but I wouldn't overdo it. If I were selling a lens I knew to be in good shape and someone kept loudly and repeatedly wailing about all the 'flaws' in the lens then I would assume that he is either full of it and trying to low-ball me on the price or he really thinks the lens is in poor shape which means he doesn't know what he talking about, very difficult to please, and I may end up being harassed by some jerk who has buyers remorse because of some imagined flaws. I would try to address his concerns and assure him the lens was in good order but if he persisted I would probably just walk. Remember, a seller can also smell a sour deal and walk away.
     

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