What To Look For When Buying A Used Lens

1. Absolutely no dings, scraps, marks on the lens body and glass. Especially look closely at the front edges as this is where a drop will almost always make a mark.
2. Shine a light into the lens from both front and back elements to see if there is ANY inside dust, moisture, or the start of fungus (you usually only see fungus if the lens has been in very humid environment for an extended period of time and it often starts showing around the very edges of the glass first)
3. Try to find lenses that have been used in the studio only or came packaged with a new camera and not used at all. Having the original box and packing is a plus.
4. Check to see if the lens moves effortlessly (smooth as silk) when using the focusing ring AND zoom ring AND changing the aperture.
5. Does it come with a filter already on it and do they state they added the filter the minute they got the lens. What does the filter look like – clean, scratched, filmy, dinged etc.
6. Does the outside of the lens look new or dull – as in oil from hands, age, wear, being tossed in a camera bag, carelessly being hung around neck while galloping across fields etc. 🙂
7. Know who you are buying from and if they are reachable if there is a problem. Do they keep their equipment in a camera bag with separate partitions or just tossed in a bag or laying around attached to a camera body?
8. When buying from ebay, there is always the buyers protection, the pictures (make certain they are of the actual lens and not just stock photos), and your intuition (you know, that gut feeling that tells you this is a great transaction from a trustworthy seller – or not).
9. When you first receive a lens that you have not seen in person…go thru 1-6 above and shoot some images in a variety of lighting, focus, and zoom situations.

Generally, in a perfect world, you will buy used and get a lens that looks and operates like new and you might save a bundle.

Review of Lowepro Exchange Messenger Bag

I have now used this daily for 2 months and it has become my all time favorite bag for carrying everything I need for back and forth to the studio and out and about essentials as well.

This bag holds a LOT of stuff and I use it to carry a little digital Canon S95 for spontaneous grab shots, wallet, appointment calendar, pens, cell phone, e-cig supplies, business cards, cheater reading glasses, and even a small stainless coffee thermos.

Using the two dividers it comes with, I have the main bag divided in 3 sections. One holds thermos, center holds camera which is in another little Lowepro Rezo 50 with extra batts/memory cards. The 3rd section is for a variety of smaller accessories i.e. pocket calendar, wallet.

Then there are the 3 additional pockets on the front (one even zippered) that make it so easy to have instant access to a variety of small things without digging in the main compartment. This is very handy for cellphone, glasses, pens, business cards, e-cig.

While this is the usual Lowepro durable quality, there is one issue that I have solved AND could have been addressed in the original functional design of this messenger bag…it is too bottom saggy. Left as it was originally designed meant that everyting just kind of lumped together at the bottom of the main compartments even with the dividers.

I easily solved this by taking a divider from another bag, it already had velcro along the full length of each side, and put it in the bottom of my center division with it’s velcro attached to the strips already inside the messanger bag. This has perfectly provided just enough firmness that the bag sits nicely, holds it’s shape, keeps everything well protected, and maintains the super lightweight requirement for a bag I carry daily.

This bag is now fully functional for me, looks great, carries a lot of stuff, can carry lots more as needed from time to time, AND is very comfortable to wear for hours.
I even tossed my regular Canon in my center divided space for a special just-in-case event and it was fine.

I like having a bag that is versatile, doesn’t cry out “I’m a pro photog”, and is durable and comfortable. This bag does it for me.