ebay or not to ebay???

Started Aug 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
Roland Ashdown
Forum MemberPosts: 85Gear list
Re: ebay or not to ebay???
In reply to Simonics Balazs, Aug 9, 2011


I got all my lenses from eBay and have been very happy (read: lucky). The types of glass I'm interested in are "usually" previously owned by people who looked after their large investment. But the body, for me, is a different matter.

My tips would be:

1) Really look at the images, and ask the seller loads of questions including posting recent images including EXIF data. If they "seem" stand-off-ish, or your gut senses something iffy, there's a reason. But I've been lucky in that the sellers have been honest and accurate with their descriptions.

2) Manage your own expectations - The price is attractive for a reason.

  • For my Leica Summicron 2/50, I knew exactly what I wanted and prepared myself for what to look for (kept a close eye on Pebble Place of serial numbers, etc). Worked out a treat for me and got a very good example of (arguably) the best std lens ever made for £200.

  • For my Zeiss 2.8/21, it was damaged and the description said so (dropped from a camera bag and landed on the front bezel; loads of pix on the listing and good descriptions of the problem). I researched my local repair shops and found I could get it repaired for a reasonable cost (if the damage was actually as described and not on the glass). Net result is I got a £1500 lens for £600, all in and repaired, and it's the most amazing lens that's my 1st go-to when I take out the 7D. This was a very risky purchase and I had to convince my self that I might loose the money I paid if it was a stinger. But I managed the risks in my own head.

  • For the 2.8/24-70L, I followed the same logic as above but for a working model. OK, the lens hood was scratched, and there's muck etc on the parts that the user works, but if the glass is clear, and the action is smooth, I'll live with having paid £350 for a £900 piece of quality glass (having said that, it's absoulte PANTS when compared to the Zeiss and Leica - but what a multi-purpose lens to have in your bag)

3) Actual body - By all means buy overseas. For my case, a good friend was working in Korea and picked one up for me there (he's a canon freak too, so that helped with him checking it over) at the same time as he bought a 24-105L. He checked it out for me on test shots with his lens and all was OK. I saved £500 of UK list.

But if he wasn't going there, I'd have bought in a store. And as the price of the 7D was high at the time, I'd have bought a different body entirly (probably a Pentax K-7) but the chance came so I took it.

For what it's worth, I'd stay well clear of "known" counterfeit countries of origin from eBay (or other such places) unless you can be there in person for the body. Outside of the EU there's import duty too to consider, which will eat into the savings (and may even prove more than if you went to a local shop and got a deal!) Same applies for NEW lenses (IMHO). I can't justify the cost of new glass, so I play the risk game for used classics and have so far reeped the rewards.

Hope this helps.

Share What You Know, Learn What You Don't.

Canon 7D
Canon 2.8/24-70 L
Zeiss 2.8/21 Distagon T* (ZE)
Leica 2/50 Summicron-R ROM

 Roland Ashdown's gear list:Roland Ashdown's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax smc FA 43mm F1.9 Limited
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