What are your thought on buying new vs used lens?


TPF Noob!
May 2, 2013
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
As I am looking to buy used Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 lens, I was thinking...

Would it make a lot more sense to look into buying brand new with Nikon's 5 years warranty, instead of a used one?

Thoughts, pros, cons?
Most of my lenses are used. The cost savings at purchase time is worth it to me. I have yet to break a lens and I don't really baby them either.
Many of my lenses were bought used.
High end lenses are built to be used (and sometimes abused) by professional photographers but many of them are very well taken care of....so it's not usually all that risky to buy a used one.

They also hold their value very well, which has it's pros and cons. The pro is that you could own it for a long time and sell it for a good price if you need to. The con is that good lenses aren't all that much cheaper on the used market. Maybe 75-85% of new.

Buying refurbished is a great idea, if you can find what you're looking for.

If buying from an individual, I'd certainly recommend buying locally, where you can check it out in-person.

I'd also recommend looking at Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com
I actually never bought a used lens or camera. But I would in the future. I've bought several other pieces of gear used. When I started out I had a thing for needing every piece of gear to be brand new. If money isn't that important, there's something to be said for buying new. You get the best starting point and the lens will serve you longer, but you do pay more. You also have a chance to establish a relationship with a local dealer who can help you get deals on other new stuff. I don't regret buying new. But most of my future purchases will likely be used. I know brand name stuff is solid so if it's reasonably well taken care of I know it'll be a deal. And I don't have a money tree so used is really the only option.
I buy just about all my photo equipment used.
All my lens if you look at the bottom are used except the 50mm 1.8 which was only 200$ so I didnt bother buying it used.
We Nikon shooters pay extra to have a new Nikon lens warranty extended by 4 years. We pay the extra cost even if we don't take the necessary steps required to have the extension applied.

FWIW, that 4 year extension only applies when you register the lens at NikonUSA.com. If you don't register the lens, the warranty is for just 1 year.

I figure if I buy a lens older than 1 year, it has already been field tested, and is highly unlikely to have subsequent issues that would be covered by a warranty.
I apply the same logic to DSLR camera bodies.

My experience over a 20 year period indicates that what I expected is indeed true.
By buying used, I have never paid the extra for a warranty I was likely to not need.
In 12 years, the only repair I have had to have made to my DSLR gear would not have been covered by the warranty anyway. An errant soccer ball ripped a 500 mm lens off of my camera body stripping the lens mount screws right out of the body.

No doubt, it helps if a used gear buyer is familiar with what they are buying so they can tell a good deal from a bad deal.
I buy used sometimes. But I got screwed one time by a guy selling me a bad used lens he knew had problems. Shame on me for not checking it out within the return period.
I have bought a couple of lenses used and it worked out great for me. If possible do it locally where you can try the lens out before you pay for it or if you do buy online make sure it is from somewhere that offers you some sort of return policy if the lens doesn't work as described.
I normally buy used lenses if at all possible. On something like an 80-200/2.8, I would definitely want to see and examine the lens, or have a return period, to make sure it's fundamentally sound. "Some" 80-200 lenses were used daily by pros, and might be very beat-up. On the older models, the focus limiter switches can give out or break (on all three of the screw-drive earlier models, I have seen these issues); keep in mind, some of the early 80-200 models are now over 25 years of age.

I've only had a couple Nikkor lenses break down on me since 1982.
my 24-85 was bought used, the 70-200 refurb, and the 24-70 brand new. I haven't had a moment's problem with any of them. I wouldn't hesitate buying used if I got to see and try it.
My D7000 was used, my 35mm 1.8 was used, my 50mm 1.8 was used, my 85mm 1.8 was used.

The only equipment i have bought new is my speedlights, tripod and filters etc.
D3100 Refurbished
18-55mm Refurbished
55-200mm Refurbished
18-200mm used
50mm 1.8 used
28-70mm 2.8 used

The only thing I have new is a D7100 body and that was a Fathers Day gift from the family.
Sounds like as long as lens is in good condition problems are rare.

Most reactions