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06-23-2013, 05:14 AM   #1
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opinion question on a used vs. new 35mm 2.8 macro lens

I have a quick question.

So Im looking into buying a 35mm macro lens. I can technically afford a new one, however, I'd like to save as much money as possible. I am currently living in shanghai, where there is a big market devoted to camera's and things, and I have found this lens on sale, and have heard good feedback on the products people have picked up here. My issue, which I need help with, is whether or not its worth it to buy the new lens.

The used lens is 2980RMB, which is about 485 USD,
The new lens is around 3500 RMB, which is around 570 USD.

Ive looked at the used lens, there are some obvious use marks and wear and tear on the outside, but they appear to only be cosmetic. The lens and element looked fine, from both end, just some dust on the glass, but thats it. Before I buy it im going to put it on the camera and check out the auto focus. (I believe the same location also offers lens cleaning, would that be worth it after buying a used lens?)

I was wondering though, because this will be my first big buy for a lens. Is it worth spending about 100 dollars more for a new lens? or should I save the money and get the used lens. Unfortunately, I have limited time to decide. Any help will be very much appreciated.

also, Ive looked at some used buying guides online, so I know the major things to look for, however, if you know of something people routinely forget to check, please fill me in

Thanks again!

06-23-2013, 07:20 AM   #2
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I work on a simple rule to decide whether to even consider second hand purchases; the price asked must be 3/4's or less of the new price, and for that price I would expect the item to be nearly new and in mint condition.

I adjust my expectations for age/condition downwards as the price lowers.

In your instance, based on the condition, I would not expect to pay more than half the new price.

Your proposal breaks my rule(s) on price and condition, so I would not buy it.
06-23-2013, 07:50 AM   #3
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The only lens I've bought new was my DFA 100mm. Everything else has been used including quite a few that are considerably older than the 35mm you are looking at. I would almost always go with the used one, assuming condition and operation are satisfactory. That is not to say I would buy THAT used lens as I've had no chance to examine it. But if you can put it on the camera and test it then I've no problem with used.

I agree with JohnX on the price although I find 80% is closer to where good Pentax equipment is at these days. The condition concerns me a bit, but I've no idea how closely you examined. Minor marks usually do not mean much but if they are noticeable at a casual glance they will affect the resale price even if operation is unaffected.

On a lens that new I would not be worrying about a lens cleaning, either it is in good enough shape or walk away. There are lots of those around the used market, don't get fixated on that particular one.
06-23-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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I assume you get a warranty with a new lens there. Used lenses have no warranty, so you will not get that peace of mind. However, it does not have an SDM motor, so realistically there is not much to go wrong.

I'm assuming this a Pentax 35mm Limited. This is a particular lens (and series of lenses) that you won't find for 1/2 price unless it has been dropped and is broken (and described that way). They hold their value.

First I would determine if a 35mm macro is the right focal length for what you are going to shoot. A longer lens will give you more working room is you are using lights, and is a bit further away from bugs.

If a 35mm Limited is what you want, great, but there are many good alternatives that will save you money.

06-23-2013, 09:02 AM   #5
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I have four DA Limited lenses (all except for the 35), and three were bought used. These are well constructed, so as long as they've been cared for, a used lens will outlast me.

That being said, I would expect the used lens price to be a little lower. Given that you're in Shanghai, I would offer 2500 RMB and see what happens.

I was in Shanghai a few weeks ago, and the 35 Macro would have been nice for my visit to Yu Gardens.
06-25-2013, 04:02 AM   #6
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Original Poster
this is the lens I found in the shanghai camera market. They have listed it online in their taobao store

i know its hard to tell from the pictures, but if any of you with keener eyes can me see anything big, can you tell me?

thanks a lot!
06-25-2013, 07:06 AM   #7
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The problem with used lenses is the possibility of issues with it. Since sending it in for repair will cost at least $150 - $200, it makes sense to look for used prices at least that much less than the current new price.
06-25-2013, 07:30 AM   #8
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$85 difference between new and used? That's a no brainer. Forget it. Buy New.


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