If you cannot afford a new lens, you can still do with a used one. However, you should make sure that you buy a functional one. Here are four guidelines for buying a second-hand camera lens.
1. Buy From a Reliable Persons or Shops
You do not have to be acquainted with the person who is selling you a lens. However, you should grill the seller thoroughly to prove their sincerity. Authenticate their personal details as well as those of the lens before starting any transactions.
2. Assess Their Conditions
Check if the lens is infested with fungus, severe scratches or dust. The best way to test this is by shining light through the lens, and any anomalies will be clearly displayed. Also, ensure that the lens is centered well. A skilled photographer, like Patrick Mahony, will tell you that the imperfectly centered lens performs differently on both ends.
3. Evaluate Their Mechanical Condition
Again, professional photographers, such as Patrick Mahony, will advise you to check for deep scratches, dents, and oily aperture blades closely before buying a lens. If it has dents or scratches, they should not be severe, and the aperture blades should be free from oil stains. The blades should move freely, and if they are very easy to turn, the lens might be overused.
4. Autofocus Operation
Although the autofocus performance speed differs depending on lens or camera being used, it must be smooth always. You should make sure that the AF runs at the expected pace. Always ensure that it is accurate and locks well on a subject in Continuous and Single focus modes. Check the minimum focus distance and the infinity focus.
Patrick Mahony advises you to regularly scout for used lenses, as they can be a great way to acquire otherwise out-of-budget gear.