Is second hand equipment less reliable than new?

sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
edited September 2013 in General Discussions
In your experience, is second hand equipment less reliable than new?
Post edited by Golf007sd on


  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,006Member
    edited September 2013
    I've never had a second hand lens or camera fail, and I've bough plenty of second hand gear along the way. The only second hand lens I have now is the 70-300mm VR, and it has been trouble free for well over a year. My D800 was also purchased second hand, and other than the left focus issue it is fine (had 350 shots on it). I usually buy used gear through a local camera dealer so if it gets funky I would just take it back. I also have a used AF-I TC14E and it works fine after many years of use.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    I have yet to find a used/second hand equipment cause me any problems. In fact, I'm 100% satisfied with the bodies and the number of lenses I have purchased via the "secondary market."

    My used gear as follows: D4, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 1.4G, 24-70 & 14-24 2.8, 50 1.4G, 105 2.8 Micro, 18-200 DX 1.7 tele convertor.

    Moreover, I have also purchase many accessories send hand as well...all have served be great.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • flight3flight3 Posts: 379Member
    I also buy some of my gear used, none of it has failed me and my wallet is very happy that I did so :D. I bought my camera new, but all but my kit lens have been bought used. I know I don't have the amount of equipment as some of the others on here, but I plan to continue purchasing used lenses, unless there is a really good deal on a new one.
    Nikon D3100, 18-55mm VR, 50mm 1.8D, Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 OS, Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash
  • DXV_PhotoDXV_Photo Posts: 158Member
    I like buying refurb and would consider this used since it has been used. Some would say that refurb might be more reliable then new since it has been gone over by the service department. I have never had a problem and you end up getting like new equipment without paying new prices.
  • framerframer Posts: 491Member
    We might also throw out in this discussion all the problems that seem to come with new gear, focusing issues, oil spot issues, I remember all the D2h 's had to have their shutters replace with a recall. New does not mean problem free.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member

    Like with most posts that ask for a 'one size fits all', the answer will start with, 'it depends'.

    Manufacturer refurbished equipment usually comes with warranties that are backed for so many days or months that are as good as new for that time period, so what's to loose for that time period?

    A store that sells used might back it up, but then it's as good as the store's word is.

    Off the Ebay - Craiglist, well, same applies, but then there everyone is a ghost. If the repair is small, it might be worth it, but then is it?

    When I bought personal equipment used, and this was a while ago in the 'golden age', the prices were much lower and the expectations were, too.

    The lower the expectations, the less the disappointments.

    I think that applies today, too.

    My best,

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Like others I haven't had many issues. I have been buying a ton of lighting equipment 2nd hand (modifiers, stands, etc.) as that stuff is expensive for the name brand - long lasting items. I bought a 70-300mm VR refurbished about 6 years ago and it is still working great. I used a lot of lenses bought on e-bay (30+) and have only had 1 issue over the years with a sigma that was obviously dropped face first and the zoom was out of whack. As long as there is a return policy even if it is a very short window, I never worry - but do put it through the ringer of tests right away.

    The only issue I have had is a 85mm 1.8 AFD that I had to have serviced for the blades coming loose 3 times (over 7 years) now. It is probably one of my most used & abused lenses (in a bag that gets tossed around a lot) and I need to replace it soon.

    Upgrade cycles for lenses (canon,nikon,sony) are usually 7-10 years and many lenses will last that with daily use. Pro lenses will last 20+ years with moderate use, and kit lenses will even go 15 years. I almost never buy lenses from Pros as they will suffer the most "daily use issues" and stick to finding amateurs off loading gear.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited September 2013
    My own experience with Nikon new gear is 100% positive
    from the Nikon F to my D800

    My only experience with second hand Nikon gear is a DX zoom that failed after I knocked it, climbing over a gate; so not really a fair test. I bought a S/H 50 mm macro off eBay, worked OK for 6 months, then the diaphragm stuck

    My past experience, of "other brand" S/H film cameras is less than positive

    I bought my D800 and most of my present lenses, soon after they were released, so S/H was not an option

    I would love a D4, I don't need one for professional use, so if I could find S/H a bargain, I might be tempted

    sadly D4's seem to command a high price

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    When I do a shoot, I bring a variety of gear... some bought new, some used, some rented. I've never had major issues, but I always have a "Plan B" in case something does break.

    Even the rentals -- which I imagine get really abused compared to owned equipment -- have all been solid. (Knock on wood). On a typical indoor shoot I rent about $20,000+ worth of lighting gear alone. No issues. Some of the rental gear might look a bit beat up but they keep on working just fine.

    Good quality gear are designed to reliably work day in / day out. They are pretty tough.

    One problem with eBay & craigslist: there are people out there who will knowingly try to sell you defective products. (Just stating the obvious). However, personally I've had good luck with both eBay and craigslist.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,605Member
    My answer...."It depends".

    In my younger days, I bought a lot of used lens and never had an issue with them. But I also sold them after 7 to 10 years and replaced them with a new one.

    I have sold over 20 lens and 15 film and digital cameras on eBay. Never ever had one of these come back. Understand that the majority of these being sold on eBay were for friends. I do all the work, sell them, ship them and normally they give me a tip. My success is because I am a tough conservative grader.

    Perform your due diligent and used lens and bodies are an excellent way to save money. Don't have experience with refurbs but like the concept to save dollars.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    I just looked on Amazon UK and there are sellers that are selling used D600's at half current (reduced) new price. Obviously these have spotty sensor syndrome but then - guess what - they came like that from new so no disadvantage there.

    My own experience is I have had the same experience with new and used Nikon gear - one problem for each. New problem being the EN-EL15battery recall and used being a problem with an 18-105 which Nikon repaired fast and free so I lost nothing.

    If there are no known issues with what I am buying, I will always look at low clicks used first.
    Always learning.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    Most used gear is just as good. The con of used gear is you never know how the previous owner treated it and it is harder to get a good warranty on it. The pros is that you know it is working because someone used it before you...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • scoobysmakscoobysmak Posts: 214Member
    I have bought one used lens, two camera bodies (both film), and rented a teleconveter. Everything I received worked fine except the nut behind the camera needed more practice before really going out to shoot something important, everything wrong was my own fault.

    I admit though, it only takes one horror story to scare people out of 50 great deals.
  • macsavageg4macsavageg4 Posts: 75Member
    It is pretty much all I shoot with with no problems. I also shoot with a lot of repaired/rebuilt lenses as well that I have fixed up. I took probably one of my favorite shots to date with one of the lenses earlier today. It was at an event for cancer awareness and fund raising. The runner just jumped with joy during the completion of the run and the sun and everything just happened to fall correctly to make for a great shot. I took it with my rebuilt 80-200mm f/2.8 on my D800.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Just curious, what do folks think about second-hand third party products?

    It seems most of us are comfortable buying second-hand (or refurbished) Nikon gear.

    But what about second hand Sigmas? Tamrons? Personally, I would avoid them, but it's just my own bias I think.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    There are only two things I haven't purchased second hand (either used or refurbished). My Nikon 35 F1.8 because I got it right when it came out and my Tokina 12-24 F4 II because I also got it when it came out. Everything else I have or had was second hand. I haven't ever had a problem. I haven't had a problem with my new gear I would say just as good.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • macsavageg4macsavageg4 Posts: 75Member
    I only have one lens that I ever purchased new and that would be my Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.0 and I only went for that lens because the Nikon kit lens I thought was meh at best. All of the rest of what I use to take photos with my Sigmas, Tokina, and a few Tamrons were all used or broken used fixed up for full time use. The only additional bit of info I would say on the third party lens make sure you read up a lot on the lenses. Since some of the older third party lenses may not work properly on the newer digitals.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Wow do you fix up the lenses yourself? I can image there must be a lot of great deals if one is handy with repairs.

    I'm kinda the opposite -- when buying used, I usually look for equipment in pristine condition, and am willing to pay a little more for it.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited September 2013

    But what about second hand Sigmas? Tamrons? Personally, I would avoid them, but it's just my own bias I think.
    I also avoid new Sigmas and Tamrons :) but like you, that's just my own bias

    Sigma make great value for money kit and some of them have excellent optics but I like the build quality and the vr on "Pro" Nikon leneses

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • Fred_BFred_B Posts: 24Member
    Oddly, I've only had a problem with a new lens. All of my used lenses have been fine and work with no new issues. My 70-200 was dead on arrival but the replacement has worked fine.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    Sesond hand Tokinas are great, second hand sigmas are iffy depending on the lens. NEVER EVER get a second hand tamron. The only reason to purchase new is the warranty or if it is impossible to find used. Even then refurb gear works well often.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
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