As I build out my camera kit, I find myself wanting to expand my options. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using used lenses. With a few caveats…

  • Buy them from a reputable vendor or someone you know.
  • Inspect the lens for wear and mold.
  • Make sure the lens is compatible with your camera.

I bought many of the lenses in my kit from photography friends who were upgrading. Others are older prime lenses bought from reputable camera stores. It is perfectly acceptable to build your kit anyway you see fit. Ignore the pressure to buy the newest, hottest, or most popular lens and buy what you can afford (remembering of course its better to buy one good lens than two cheaper lenses).


Many old lenses are very solid and work well on modern cameras. If you are unsure about a used lens, you can take the lens to a camera shop to have it evaluated. You can even adapt lenses to work on different manufacturers cameras. Many companies make adapters that allow you to mount a lens from one manufacturer on a body from another.Adapters from companies like Fotodiox and Novoflex are good quality, well-built, and fairly inexpensive.

Although adapting a lens between mounting systems may sound like a perfect solution, you should be aware of two potential drawbacks:

  • You likely won’t get any autofocusing capabilities. If shooting video, this is not the biggest deal as you’ll focus manually in most cases.
  • The camera will need manual control rings for aperture and focus, which is fairly standard on older lenses.

Head down to your local camera store, camera in-hand and start testing out some used lenses. If nothing else it will get you thinking about the impact of glass on your shot.

Disclaimer: Make sure you evaluate closely any purchase decisions and check return policies before purchasing any gear.