As a professional photographer, I have often been asked by amateurs how they can get professional quality, expensive lenses for the best price. It can be overwhelming, with all of the purchasing options available these days. There is no magic answer to this question, so if you want to have a try at improving your camera equipment by adding a professional lens to your arsenal, be prepared to do a little legwork.
The very first thing you need is some idea of the type of lens you want. This sounds simplistic, but anyone who has perused the photography section of ebay can tell you the broad range of lenses available. Do a bit of homework - take some books out of the library, buy a few photography magazines, or search reputable websites. Make sure you know something about what you are buying, and what you will use it for. Going all out on an expensive macro lens won't do you much good if you are interested in landscapes.
Once you have decided on the type of lens you want, do some research on the normal retail value. This is the price you can expect to pay for a new lens from a mainstream shop. Websites like "kelkoo.co.uk" and "pricerunner.co.uk" are helpful resources, and a quick and easy way to source the items that interest you. This step can also be as simple as walking down to your local camera shop if you have a good one in your area with a large selection.
eBay has been much touted as a cheap and easy way to get used camera equipment and parts, but this is not always the case, and has become less and less true very recently. The best deals are not always to be found on eBay. Still, it is worth the look, providing you do your market value research before you venture in. Always look at seller feedback and reputation, which will help you gauge whether you will receive good quality items at reasonable prices. One bad review does not a bad seller make, but consistently poor feedback should make you wary, and should be a sign to look elsewhere, whatever the price. Another area to check is the seller's location. That great deal may suddenly become much pricier than you bargained for once shipping from China is factored in! Be aware of issues like duty and tax when buying from outside your own country as well. Buying from eBay can seem daunting, but if you make yourself knowledgeable about the lens you want, then you just might luck into a fabulous find at a terrific price.
If you feel comfortable buying online, check other online resources like i-bidder.com. These sites sell items that were left unclaimed at airports, repossessed items from bankruptcies, items abandoned in storage containers, etc. These resources can be a great source of lightly used equipment, and will sometimes provide deals well below normal retail values. Again, be wary, use reputable sites, know what you are looking for and when to stop bidding.
If buying used online makes you nervous, local second-hand retailers are a wonderful option. London Camera Exchange is one that I would personally recommend. I have found them to be good value for money and reliable, with a six month guarantee on items purchased in their stores. Having that safety blanket if something goes wrong can be very reassuring for those more expensive used purchases. If you don't have one in your area, check for other local retailers that deal in second-hand photography equipment and check their reputation among other photographers.
If you know how to check for scratches and electronic defects once the lens is in your hand, then online bidding resources are most likely your best bet. You will be able to check over your purchases and ensure they are of the quality promised and have not been damaged or misused in any way. If your knowledge stops short of the mechanical details, then a reputable second-hand retail shop is probably the best way to go. All of the mechanics and the lens quality will have been checked thoroughly by staff, and there is that six month guarantee to fall back on as an extra safety net. Of course, if you happen to know a friendly neighbourhood professional photographer (such as myself) then you could always use their knowledge and expertise to check over your online purchases.
No matter which route you decide to take - retail, eBay, bidding sites, or second-hand shops - having some rudimentary knowledge is always key. Check reputations and reliability, whatever the resource. Do not be tempted to overbid on auction sites in the excitement of closing the deal. That first big lens purchase can be a bit overwhelming, but if you put the effort into finding the best deal, then you shouldn't be disappointed and can get on with the excitement of playing with your new toy!posted by michaelabela.weebly.com