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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 17 Nov 2007 (Saturday) 04:38
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Secondhand lenses question (off ebay)

130 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Nov 17, 2007 04:38 |  #1

Hello Guys/Gals

Just wondering what to look for buying second hand lenses. I'm interested in getting a Tokina 12-24 to complete my current Kit.

Any thoughts and advise will be appreciated.


Canon 5D MKIII - Canon 7D with BG-E7 grip - 24-70 2.8L - 85 1.2L MKII- 35 1.4L - Tokina 11-16 2.8 - 600EX-RT - 580EXII - 430EX - AB1600 - VagabondII - HO Beauty Dish - Cybersyncs - 'Big Mama' Westcott Apollo Softbox - other modifiers

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Cream of the Crop
10,435 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Oct 2005
Location: Aotearoa/New Zealand
Nov 17, 2007 05:15 |  #2

Check out the "for sale" forum here: why buy from strangers, when you can buy from family? :)

To address your question for directly, my own experience in buying 2nd hand lenses off internet auctions, while limited, has been fairly nasty. You may be OK if the item has some outstanding warranty, and that is transferrable to you, but if it doesn't, and you can't inspect it at your leisure before buying, you may end up on the wrong end of a bad deal. That having been said, I've heard of many people who have had no troubles at all, and the broad perception is that photographers tend to look after their gear. No one can predict how any deal will go, but reputation on the part of the vendor goes a long way.

Cream of the Crop
5,776 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Dec 2005
Location: East Sussex UK
Nov 17, 2007 06:14 as a reply to  @ xarqi's post |  #3

I would be happy to sell on ebay, but never buy a lens that way - they always work out more exoensivce than they should be becuase of the bidding frenzy. i might buy from an established trader selling for a fixed price, so long as his feedback was impeccable. a case in point is one of our POTN members,Kerso, ebay shop Flashcamera, user name same as his member name here - he has excellent feedback both on ebay and on POTN.

But from some stranger you can't go hassle if there is a problem - no way!

Canon 6D
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 , Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro
CanonEF 17-40 f/4 L Canon EF 24-70 f/4 IS L and 70-200 f/4 L :D
Speedlite 580EX and some bags'n pods'n stuff

Tony ­ S
Mostly Lurking
18 posts
Joined Jan 2007
Location: Yorkshire UK
Nov 17, 2007 06:28 |  #4

I have successfuly bought and sold quite a few lenses off e-bay in the past, in fact i just recently bought a second hand Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS, which is Mint and saved a fortune!

First thing is CHECK THE SELLERS FEEDBACK !, The higher the better, read the comments buyers left for him/her this is very important, whilst it is no guarantee of the deal being a good one it gives you some indication of their past dealings,

Second thing read the description thoroughly, what is the optical condition, does the AF work properly etc etc, see if the vendor offers a return policy and don't be afraid to ask questions,

Third thing Don't pay more than you need to, it's easy to get carried away and in the heat of the bidding pay more than you would for a new item!

Hope this helps, Care and forethought should see you fairly safe, good luck! ;)

30D&40D+Grips / 50mm f1.8 Mk1 / Tamron 17-50/ 24-105 f4L IS / 70-200 f2.8L IS, Bags of 'stuff' and no cash left! :confused:

Senior Member
731 posts
Likes: 1
Joined May 2007
Location: North Carolina
Nov 17, 2007 06:58 |  #5

Another vote for the Buy/sell forum here or at Also is a great place to get used lens.

Canon 7D, 40D, 300f2.8L, 70-200f2.8L IS, Sigma 30f1.4, 60EF-S 2.8 Macro, 15-85EF-S , Sigma 10-20, A couple of flashes, strobes and stuff.

4,706 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 36
Joined Sep 2006
Location: West Palm Beach
Nov 17, 2007 07:52 |  #6

You always take a chance on fleabay...I do, so I understand you concern...
I try to get items rated highly by the seller...I look for clear photos that show problems if mention in the item description...but...I'​ve bought items that had AWFUL photos, if I can discern from the photo more than the non-photographer could (like light reflections that may be confused with scratches, or out of focus items that I download and fix in my pc and THEN judge) if the price is really most recent buy is of a lens whose photo was over sharpened (you can see the halo effect around the lens) so I'm hoping that the lens looks better in person than in the the price was right for this 180/2.8 classic

MIME changed to 'text/html' | Content warning: script

My Canon kit 450D/s90; Canon lenses 18-55 IS, 70-210/3.5-4.5....Nikon kit: D610; 28-105/3.5-4.5, 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF, 50/1.8D Nikkors, Tamron 80-210; MF Nikkors: 50/2K, 50/1.4 AI-S, 50/1.8 SeriesE, 60/2.8 Micro Nikkor (AF locked), 85mm/1.8K-AI, 105/2.5 AIS/P.C, 135/2.8K/Q.C, 180/2.8 ED, 200/4Q/AIS, 300/4.5H-AI, ++ Tamron 70-210/3.8-4, Vivitar/Kiron 28/2, ser.1 70-210/3.5, ser.1 28-90; Vivitar/Komine and Samyang 28/2.8; 35mm Nikon F/FM/FE2, Rebel 2K...HTC RE UWA camera

3,963 posts
Likes: 4
Joined Oct 2007
Location: The Jurassic Coast, Dorset, England.
Nov 17, 2007 08:23 |  #7

I'm watching about 13 lens auctions on eBay at the moment. As well as the good advice already given, I always do an advanced search and look at completed listings for each lens, to see what they have been selling for. I base my budget on the going rate, but I also look in the For Sale section of this site to compare prices.

If it is an item that is available new, make sure you do a Google search for prices on that item and set your own budget according to what the lowest new price happens to be.

If you are after a common lens then don't allow yourself to get carried away with the bidding. There will be others. Bide your time!

One thing that never fails to amuse me is how some people bid used items up so high that they pay close to or sometimes even more than you can get the item for new! Earlier in the week a used camera bag I was watching was bid up to within £4.00 of the brand new price!



Gear list

130 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Nov 17, 2007 11:07 |  #8

Thanks guys for all your help and thoughtful advise. I will keep evething what you guys have said in mind. Worst comes to worst i might just buy it brand new. Depending on the final price of the auction


Canon 5D MKIII - Canon 7D with BG-E7 grip - 24-70 2.8L - 85 1.2L MKII- 35 1.4L - Tokina 11-16 2.8 - 600EX-RT - 580EXII - 430EX - AB1600 - VagabondII - HO Beauty Dish - Cybersyncs - 'Big Mama' Westcott Apollo Softbox - other modifiers

134 posts
Joined Sep 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Nov 17, 2007 11:36 as a reply to  @ device01's post |  #9

I can tell you how I post on ebay when selling photo stuff. And I've sold some lens with decent prices. Here's what I had on the listing:

- When and where I bought the lens.
- Approximately how many shots I've taken with it.
- Any problem, if any, I have with it.
- Reason I'm selling.
- Link to my zenfolio site so people can look at samples if they want.
- Brief personal comments of the lens, so people know I'm an actual photographer, not someone who just buys and sells used lenses.
- Welcome any question about the lens.
- Post photos of the actual lens I have (not stock photo), including shots from the side, down the front element, and with all the packaging/manuals/acce​ssories (if any).

I am not a very active ebay user, but I have bought dozens of stuff (not just photo equip) on it over the years and sold perhaps a dozen (not just photo equip). My ratings is 100% positive.

I don't expect every seller to be this thorough, but if I see a listing with most of the above, I think I'll be pretty confident in buying it. (external link)
5D/BG-E4; 70-200/2.8L IS II, Sigma 8-16, Tamron 28-75 Asph, Tokina 10-17 Fish, 1.4x III; 580EX II; G7 X
Full Gear List

"all warm and fuzzy"
3,735 posts
Likes: 11
Joined Oct 2007
Location: OC, CA
Nov 17, 2007 12:13 |  #10

I have bought all my "nice" lenses off Ebay with no problems what so ever... a 70-200 f/4, 17-40, 100mm macro - anyway all have been positive experiences.

My process is simple: I check as many reviews, references, sample photos from a given lens on this forum as possible, then I thoroughly read the Ebay posting a couple times, checking seller feedback, I also check for anything "written between the lines" that would indicate this person or item is not legitimate in someway, i then double check the current going rates on Amazon and B & H for a quick legitimate street price comparison and then if none of those have disqualified an auction or item in my mind, then I buy or bid.

Fortunately so far so good :-) just get familiar with the products from 3rd party sources such as POTN and other reviewers, don't trust the Ebay seller (who is just as likely not a photographer) to provide you with all the facts/info, since they are there to SELL! Just seek several 3rd party sources of info, just like if you were writing a paper in college, all your info can't come from one source (or less than 5 non-internet sources for that matter, right?) haha... should help eliminate most surprises, short of the poster outright lying, but even that would probably show up in their feedback...

http://www.paradigmpho​ (external link)

Senior Member
726 posts
Joined Apr 2005
Location: Boston
Nov 17, 2007 12:49 |  #11

I have bought a lot of stuff on ebay. Some camera, a lot of electronics etc. I have had one bad camera experience and I can only really blame myself. The item was a film camera described as "working but selling as-is" the seller went on to say he wasn't a photographer and didn't know how to test all the features. Suffice to say that the shutter mechanism as beyond repair and so the item didn't work. I didn't spend a lot of money on it and I really wasn't that mad, but it was listed as "working" when it didn't.

My general practice both before and after has always been that the price better fit the item. This only bad experience I've had still was okay because the price fit the item and I was willing to live with it. When it comes to a lens, I would buy from the sell forum here or Fredmiranda or KEH long before I would buy on Ebay. Why? Not because of my bad experience but because of the type of sellers on ebay. If the item is cheap it's probably being sold by someone who doesn't know what they have and probably couldn't describe it properly. If it's reasonable, ebay bidders will bid it up beyond reasonable usually. I find that people selling on this forum and are photographers - maybe amateurs but still photographers. They are into their gear, they take care of it and when it comes time to sell it, they are usually interested in a reasonable price.

That's not to say you can't get a bargain on Ebay, but they are much fewer and far between these days from my experience. Plus the people here are a community and are typically very interested in keeping up their reputation.


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Secondhand lenses question (off ebay)
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