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04-26-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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How to check out used gear?

Hello to all,

I have a simple(not really) question.

I am looking at buying a used k200d, Pentax 18-250mm lens, and a pentax flash.

What should I do to check them out and make sure they are in good working order?
How do you check the body out and the lens and the flash?

Any opinions would be greately appriciated!

Thanks,
Chopath

04-26-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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I'm sure someone will come out with a complete check list, but my basics would be to try it in all the modes on the dial to see if they all work and to check the auto focus. I'd check the sensor for dust with the white wall/sky test. I would think the flash would be fairly straight forward.
04-26-2010, 10:33 AM   #3
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Look for obvious signs of abuse, make sure the equipment is working properly (test all functions).
Take a flashlight and shine it through the lens at various angles looking for excessive dust (some dust is normal, but a lot of dust inside a lens can indicate that there may be problems with the equipment), element separation and fungus.
Put a file that you shoot with the camera into a utility such as PhotoMe which will give you the actual shutter count (it will most likely differ from the file # count).

Other than that, there isn't much you can do.
04-26-2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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Whatever you do, be very sceptic and critical. Especially when the price is "too low".

If something rattles while lens is focusing or you notice something odd, a dishonest person will always say thats normal for the model and that it has never caused any problems.

Don't take it for granted or accept it as is because of the good price and the urge to get the thing. Probably thats the reason the gear is being sold and it may be actually indication of more serious problem. Don't let the seller or your wish to be polite change your opinion or rush you, if something seems wrong, take your time.

04-26-2010, 11:23 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by chopath Quote
Hello to all,

I have a simple(not really) question.

I am looking at buying a used k200d, Pentax 18-250mm lens, and a pentax flash.

What should I do to check them out and make sure they are in good working order?
How do you check the body out and the lens and the flash?

Any opinions would be greately appriciated!

Thanks,
Chopath
The Lens is likely the most valuable part of this lot. A K200d IS going to have a rattle or clunk when you tilt it side to side. As others have said, Power it up (take your own set of AA batteries), put your card in (SD), and take some pictures, checking all the modes and make sure all the buttons work (download a K200d manual from Pentax so you know what Should be). Unless you have access to a computer you probably won't be able to check the shutter count. If you can take a laptop with you, you're solid. Install PhotoMe on the machine and some sort of photo viewer. With PhotoMe, THIS is what you are looking for.. Do Not rely on the camera screen to judge focus and sharpness. Look at the photo on a real screen, if at all possible. Make sure the built in flash works.

Remove the lens from the camera and exercise the zoom and the focus rings (don't remember if this is one or two touch lens). Note any stiffness, slop, etc. Look through the lens, from both ends, holding the aperture open with the little lever on the rear (no aperture ring on the DA18-250, correct?) while shining strong light through the other end. Look for white marks that may show up on the surface of the glass. Put the lens cap on the lens, extend the zoom all the way out and set the lens on a table. You want it to Stay extended. Some may move slightly, some will flop right down. Walk away from the latter (this is in general for zoom lenses).

The Flash.. If the flash is an AFG360 or AFG540, push the zoom button and make sure you can hear the zoom head cycling through the various focal lengths. Put the flash on the camera and operate the Zoom of the lens between 18mm and about 70mm. The flash zoom should move accordingly, up to 58mm on a digital camera (again, if one of the models listed). Take some pictures with it. With fresh batteries, it should take no longer than 4 or 5 seconds (on the long side) to be ready for the next shot. Take a sniff and note any odors coming from the flash while it's charging or after it fires. Make sure when the outfit is assembled, the flash is in P-TTL mode.

If the flash is Not one of those models, still make sure it fires, any mode or buttons you can play with have an idea of what they do so you can check them.

Know the real prices.. I don't know about the camera but the last time I looked, the going rate for a used DA18-250 was roughly $350 (ebay). It may be possible to buy a new one or it's Tamron equivalent for that or less right now. The Flash, if one of those mentioned, $150 and $375 respectively.

Good luck..

04-26-2010, 12:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the input! I am a little worried but glad to get to look at it(unlike ebay). I will let you all know how it goes.

Thanks,
Micki
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