Podcast Episode

The Lensrentals Podcast Episode #33 – How to Buy a Used Lens

Published November 26, 2020

Each week Roger Cicala, founder of Lensrentals.com, hosts conversations about the art and science of capturing images. From photography to videography, film, history, and technology, the show covers a wide range of topics to educate and inspire creators of all kinds.


How to Buy a Used Lens

With it being a holiday today here in the United States, we decided to pull an episode from our archives that is one of our favorites – How to Buy a Used Lens. In this episode, Roger Cicala and Joey Miller sit down with Connie, who runs Lensrentals.com‘s sister site, Lensauthority.com. for those unaware, Lensauthority.com is where Lensrental’s inventory goes after its rental cycle has been reached, and sold off at some pretty incredible prices. Roger, Joey, and Connie sit down and talk about what you want to look for when buying used gear, how gear can be expected to hold up over time, and some valuable resources to check out if you’re buying on the used market. They also go through their process of selling used gear to make sure customer gets the best product and without any surprises. 

Listen in to learn all the ins and outs of buying used gear, what you should look for, and what to avoid. And tune in next week as to get back to our regularly scheduled programming of a new episode from the Lensrentals.com podcast.

Gear Referenced in this episode:

Tamron 35mm f/1.4 and f/1.8.
Tamron 45mm
The f/4 versions of Canon 24-70
Tokina 12-24mm f/4
Sigma 28mm Art is one of the smallest of the Sigma primes
Sigma 40mm Art


B&H used
How to Test a Lens article


00:30 – Roger Cicala introduces Joey Miller and Connie Candebat

01:30 – Roger talks with Joey and Connie about how to not buy a used lens

03:00 – How one great copy of a $300 lens does not mean all of those lenses are great

04:20 – Connie talks about how to find a bargain when buying a lens

06:30 – Roger laments about primes verse telephotos

07:30 – The gang talks about third-party lenses and what to know about each of them

09:20 – Roger talks about servicing lenses when you buy used

10:10 – While hard to service geographically, Leica servicing does offer free repairs and servicing

11:10 – Joey talks about buying used gear online, and what marketplaces to look for

13:00 – Roger talks about the risk of buying gear that might be stolen

13:50 – Finding bargains when the brand releases a new version of a lens

15:00 – Finding cosmetic defects to help find deals

17:20 – Differentiating a scratch, a ding, and a dent

18:00 – Roger talks about some of his biggest bargains when buying used

18:45 – Roger talks about finding a spider in a lens, and the optical changes it caused

20:00 – Wheeling and dealing with used prices

21:00 – BREAK

21:30 – Joey talks about buying extended warranties on used gear

22:15 – Connie also talks about third party warranty providers

23:30 – How parts can be hard to find for older equipment

25:50 – How to assure you give time to inspect gear before committing to buy it

26:50 – Why you should take photos of the box upon receiving gear

29:00 – Roger asks if you should be concerned about a lens age when buying used

30:40 – Why higher-priced gear often holds up better over time

33:00 – Connie and Roger talk about pricing out used lenses

34:00 – Roger talks about what you should do the moment you get your purchased used lens, and what to look for

36:00 – Joey talks about Image Stabilization units, and what to look for

37:00 – Connie talks about how to test a used lens

39:00 – Connie, Roger, and Joey talk about zoom creep and barrel jiggle

42:00 – Joey talks about looking for buffed out scratches


The Lensrentals Podcast is a production of Lensrentals, founded by Roger Cicala. Our production staff includes Drew Cicala, Ryan Hill, Sarah McAlexander, SJ Smith, Julian Harper, John Tucker, and Zach Sutton. Other contributors include Roger Cicala, Joey Miller, Ally Aycock Patterson, Joshua Richardson, and Philip Robertson.

Thanks to Jacques Granger for our theme song.

Submit a topic idea, question, or comment, leave us a voicemail at 901-609-LENS, or send us an email at podcast@lensrentals.com.


Author: Lensrentals

Articles written by the entire editorial and technical staff at LensRentals.com. These articles are for when there is more than one author for the entire post, and are written as a community effort.

Posted in Podcast Episode
  • Troy SentAmessage

    What are the mechanical lens you keep referring to that are “tanks” or repairable?

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