Buying 2nd hand lenses - what to do?

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by st3ph3nm, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. st3ph3nm

    st3ph3nm Guest

    Hi guys,
    I'm on the hunt for a lens for my Pentax ME Super, and apart from the
    lenses that came with it when I bought it - which I tested over time
    by taking photos - I've never done this before. How do you evaluate a
    2nd hand lens?

    Thanks in advance

    st3ph3nm, Jul 2, 2004
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  2. st3ph3nm

    Alex A. Guest

    for me, the first thing is to examine the lens for any scratches or
    markings. test it out if you can, specially with your own camera. make
    sure that nothing sounds loose when you shake it slightly (i have a 90mm
    lens that has a certain internal rattle) otherwise, there's something loose
    where you don't want anything to be moving unnecessarily. find out a
    history of the lens if possible i.e who owned it previously, what was it
    used for.

    i guess that's a start.
    Alex A., Jul 2, 2004
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  3. st3ph3nm

    Ken Chandler Guest

    Originally posted by Bruce Graham <jbgraham (at)> in
    Feb 2003:
    Ken Chandler, Jul 2, 2004
  4. st3ph3nm

    Justin Thyme Guest

    The obvious is to check for the clarity of the lenses - look for scratches,
    fungus, discolouration, dust on internal elements, and other markings. You
    may need to move it around a little to get the light shining on it the best
    to be able to see properly.
    Check the focus motion (and zoom motion if it is a zoom lens) - movement
    should be smooth, without any binding or grinding. Also check to make sure
    the movement in focus and zoom isn't sloppy - there shouldn't be slack in
    these movements. I've also struck some lenses that will zoom in and out
    under their own weight - this can get annoying if you are trying to shoot at
    a fair angle away from horizontal.
    Check the aperture settings - dial the aperture ring around it's motion - it
    should have definite clicks at each Fstop, but at the same time shouldn't be
    loose or tight. Check that the aperture blades move freely, and that the
    aperture opening is changing at each F stop. On K mount lenses like your
    pentax there is a little lever that the camera uses to open the aperture -
    flick this lever a few times - the aperture should open fully and then close
    again when you release the lever.
    Finally, test it on camera - you may not have time to put a roll of film
    through, but at least check that the image looks clear in the viewfinder.
    Check that the lens will make a clear focus - especially at infinity -
    throughout the whole range of it's zoom. If your camera is autofocus, check
    those functions as well. I like to test with no film in my camera - I click
    off a couple of shots to make sure the aperture is closing down and
    reopening correctly.
    Justin Thyme, Jul 2, 2004
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