Used camera equipment marketplaces
September 8, 2008 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for non-Ebay, online or offline marketplaces for used camera lenses.

I'm looking to buy some "new" lenses for my Pentax, but none of the camera stores near me seem to carry used ones. I'm trying to be cheap and avoid buying brand new - what I'm really looking for is a used lens with an aperture priority mode that is a quality piece of glass. Ebay seems to be populated with junk, and I'm a bit leery of using them now anyway.

So where do people go to trade camera lenses nowadays, especially older Pentax lenses? Online shops or stores near Boston are equally acceptable
posted by backseatpilot to Shopping (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The big 3: Adorama, B&H, KEH. Also keep an eye out on photography-related message boards (Boston-related flickr groups,, bulletin boards at camera stores) for swap meets.
posted by matildaben at 8:39 AM on September 8, 2008

The usual photo-gear sites - B&H, J&R, Adorama - have used sections that may or may not be useful to you.

One remark, though - aperture-priority is a function of your camera, not lens, unless there's something about (older?) Pentaxes that's unusual.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:39 AM on September 8, 2008 has a used section, which is probably worth checking out. (And yeah, your AE mode comment doesn't make sense. It's not a function of your lens.)
posted by chunking express at 8:42 AM on September 8, 2008

Aperture-priority is a function of the glass on Pentax. The aperture ring had a spot marked "a", I believe, that allowed automatic aperture selection based on shutter value (shutter priority), but that ring could be rotated to an aperture value of your own choosing, as well; i.e. aperture priority.

Point is, any lens which is for pentax mount is going to have an aperture ring on it.
posted by notsnot at 8:47 AM on September 8, 2008

Best answer: One great place to check out a wide range of equipment and find some (reasonable) deals on used mid-range lenses and newer nice lenses is a photography equipment show/sale. You're in luck, that the Photographic Historical Society of New England is hosting their semi-annual Photographica sale September 27/28 in Wakefield, MA (previously, it's been in Waltham, Watertown, and others). I've been a few times, and while I haven't walked away with any amazing deals, there's enough there to get your wheels spinning and determine what you might want to ultimately buy.
posted by zachxman at 9:18 AM on September 8, 2008

I've bought several items there, including a lens. Also, the forums are great.
posted by spicynuts at 9:24 AM on September 8, 2008

I've used KEH before and was happy with my purchases. They tend to be VERY conservative with their quality ratings. Anything above Bargain should be pretty flawless, and the Bargain stuff just has some rough edges. A minor negative is that they strip the lenses before selling them, so even if it originally came with lens and end caps and a nice case or something, they won't include that.
posted by smackfu at 9:50 AM on September 8, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, I had no idea about KEH before; their used section is pretty good and I found the lens I was looking for. And I'm definitely driving out to the camera show.

Pentax lenses have an "A" setting on them that allows aperture priority. My point in including that data was that I currently have several very old lenses (pre-aperture priority) that are kind of a pain to use on my current camera body.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:01 AM on September 8, 2008

It wouldn't hurt to take a look at the local Craig's List; there's a Photo & Video Equipment category in the For Sale section. While 99% of the stuff listed there is either crap or doesn't pertain to you, there might be one or two gems, and you should be able to look at the lens in person before handing over the money, as the seller will be local.

I was able to pick up a nice Nikon 28-80 f/2.8 from a grad student looking for next month's rent last year through Craig's List.
posted by chengjih at 11:34 AM on September 8, 2008

Pawnshops. Local photo swaps.

That A on the Pentax lenses allows the focussing to be done
with the aperture full open, for a brighter viewfinder image.
Then when you depress the shutter, the lens is stopped down
to the selected aperture as the mirror flips up.

The A position on the aperture ring allows the Camera to set the aperture,
rather than having the aperture set solely by manipulating the aperture ring.
Aperture-priority exposures are easily done with a lens without an A
position by simply setting the desired aperture on the aperture ring.
I feel your pain on the old M lenses on the Pentax SLR bodies. I just
leave them wide open, and then stop them down before I shoot.

Finally, many of the newer Pentax autofocus lenses do NOT have an
aperture ring. Most distressing. My K1000 beater camera, which I use to beat things
to death, can no longer accept "every pentax lens ever made".
posted by the Real Dan at 11:40 AM on September 8, 2008

In you join the Analog Photography Users Group, you'll have access to their classifieds (and be part of a fantastic community).
posted by aladfar at 6:12 PM on September 8, 2008 and FredMiranda (I have bought/sold ~20k on each).
posted by SirStan at 6:51 PM on September 8, 2008

Response by poster: A late update for anyone still looking at this:

Decided to go with KEH. Bought a used 18-50mm zoom for my Pentax dSLR back in October. On New Year's Eve, the zoom ring slipped and the lens was stuck in the 18mm position. I sent an e-mail to KEH customer service explaining the problem and my frustration that a "like new" lens broke three months after I purchased it.

I got a response back from someone at the company explaining that they have a 60-day warranty on all of their used equipment, but that they would repair my lens at no charge even though it was outside of that window. Mailed them the lens and got it back in perfect working order about two weeks later.

So, I had a generally good experience using KEH. The people that I interacted with at the company were all friendly and willing to help, and the equipment that I purchased was very good (I think the failure was due to some ice getting caught in the lens that night).
posted by backseatpilot at 8:46 AM on March 15, 2009

« Older Dryer cut clothing. Dryer folk not helpful.   |   Careers after going to law school part-time Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.