testing used lenses for sale

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, everyone:

In view of the high prices of new LF lenses, it is always tempting to try the used market, despite uncertainties about the past history of a given lens (e.g.was it ever dropped?) and the absence of the warranty that would normally come with new product. The particular lenses I have in mind are pre-owned models of lenses in current production by Schneider, Rodenstock, Nikon, Fuji. My problem is knowing a good (or not so good) used lens when I see one. Two questions:

1)At the place of purchase, say a camera store showroom, what are some visual tests that can be performed? Let's assume that I have my LF camera, appropriate lens board, etc. with me.

2) After purchase, on the assumption of a trial period of a few days, what are some diagnostic shooting tests that might quickly reveal problems not apparent at the time of purchase?

Any responses will be gratefully appreciated. All the best, Nick.

-- Nick Jones (nfjones@pitt.edu), July 14, 2001


1.No cracks, no fogging or fungus, do the speeds sound about right, does the shutter stick, try it at all speeds and apetures at least 3 times each. 2. Find a naked tree and focusing at infinity take several shots, after development, check the neg under a loupe, are limbs sharp? If not return it. Pat

-- pat krentz (patwandakrentz@aol.com), July 14, 2001.

All my lenses are used, and I've never had a problem. I always select quality brands (e.g. Schneider Symmar-S and Super Angulons) that have been well cared for. The one thing that I overlook are the few silver specs that can accumulate on the barrel in Schneider lenses. Like the previous post, I avoid lenses with dings, scratches, part of the coating rubbed off, etc.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), July 14, 2001.

Nick. One thing I've learned is not to be too fussy about lenses!!!

I was one of these people who verged on paranoia when checking both new and used lenses!! I agree about checking for signs that the lens has been dropped etc, but small marks (often from over zealous cleaning) and those small flecks/specks that cling to internal surfaces of the elements make NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever to the final image. BUT they do offer a bargaining point with dealers/sellers!

One good way of examining a lens is to open the shutter and hold the lens to the light and have a good look. If you find any of those pesky flecks, pull a face and sigh! and then offer a lower price!!

Regards Paul.

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), July 15, 2001.

Go to the store with your camera & an extra lens board to fit the lens you are looking at. Shoot a few images with it in the parking lot. Most stores will let you do this as it assures both of you that you are buying a lens you want and know will work.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), July 15, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ