myBLOG-Online – my first experience of buying used camera gear

My first experience of buying used camera gear

In my previous blog, I wrote about my issues with spending money on myself, eluding to the purchase of a used Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art lens from KEH. Today, I write about my experience of buying used camera gear from KEH, something I had previously shied away from, fearing ending up with non-working gear.

I had been lusting after this lens for some time to improve my real estate photography work, I have felt for a while that my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L was holding me back, I wanted a little more of a wide-angle lens to get the shots I really wanted. So, when I saw the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 Art lens for $885, a whopping $715 off the new price, I took the plunge and ordered the lens from KEH, still fearing I’d end up with junk, due to previous bad experiences with buying non-camera gear on the used market.

The buying process was simple, just like buying from Amazon or any other web store, but I had some reservations, the biggest being the disclaimer “Item pictured for illustrative purposes only, actual item not pictured.” being posted on the product page. My first thought was “why are they not showing the actual lens?”, especially when paying 45% less than the MSRP, wondering if it’s too good to be true?

The lens arrived on the date promised, but do note that if you order on the weekend, the item does not ship until Monday, I paid for 2-day shipping, but unlike Amazon, those two days do not include weekends. Unfortunately, they shipped it by FedEx, who I cannot stand, because they just drop the item outside your door, and run, they do not ring the doorbell, or knock on the door. The only way I know it’s arrived is because I signed up to, and they send me a text when it has been delivered. And on this occasion, the FedEx delivery driver left my $885 package six feet from my front door, in plain view of the whole street, and out in the open, on an intermittently rainy day, rather than on my covered porch.

I brought the package inside, with great anticipation, hoping that my new lens is in good condition and functional. I opened the box, which was well packaged with bubble wrap, and found the lens case, which I unzipped to find the lens, with the back of the lens facing me, sending alarm bells ringing in my head, as the back cap was very scuffed up. I proceeded to pull the lens from the case, and looked at the front cap, which had significant scuffs on it, further fueling my paranoia. The lens itself was in excellent condition, which according to KEH is 80-89% of the new condition, with only one minor scratch on the side of the lens, with the glass elements front and back being in flawless condition, leaving me a happy chappie.

Of course, the next step was to test it to make sure it’s fully functional. I attached my new SIgma lens to my Canon EOS 6D MkII, and everything worked as expected, auto-focus functioned quickly and accurately, with no issues on the photos taken, other than some dust on the lens, which was quickly fixed with a wipe of a cleaning cloth. Leaving me satisfied with my purchase, given the much-reduced price I paid.

Based upon the grading standards that KEH uses and displays on their website, from my single experience, I think they are honest about the condition of their products. Although I do wish they took photos of the product you receive, so potential buyers can make a decision before buying it. That said, I would recommend KEH, and would certainly purchase again from, as a source of good quality used gear.

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