July 25, 2014, 09:40:44 AM

Author Topic: Refurbed lenses and sharpness  (Read 1368 times)

Ruined

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Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:56:07 AM »
Hi all,
So while I have bought refurbed bodies, I've never bought a refurbed L lens.  I can see why someone would return a body because it did not meet their needs, but returning an L lens I would find less likely for this reason as its pretty clear what a lens is able to do upfront.

Reason behind my train of thought is the below:
1) Canon refurb stock to my knowledge is generally customer returns in the 30 day period or dealer demos
2) I've heard lots of people who will do sharpness tests with brand new lenses and return them if they do not match some of the reference tests online.  Or sometimes they will order multiple copies and return the less sharp ones.
3) Most of the time due to copy variation less sharp copies are generally considered in spec (i.e. look at lensrentals data), and thus Canon would not adjust it
4) Thus, when buying a refurb lens and thus a customer return, there might be a higher probability you would get a less sharp copy than if you bought new

Is this reasoning crazy, or do others agree? :)  I do know many people are happy with refurbed lenses, and I am not talking about getting a lemon here, just a lesser chance of getting the brightest bulb of the bunch.  I've also heard quite a few stories of people getting refurbed lenses with a lot of dust inside, though it is unlikely that would affect image quality.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 09:59:21 AM by Ruined »

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Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:56:07 AM »

mackguyver

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 10:19:16 AM »
Hi all,
So while I have bought refurbed bodies, I've never bought a refurbed L lens.  I can see why someone would return a body because it did not meet their needs, but returning an L lens I would find less likely for this reason as its pretty clear what a lens is able to do upfront.

Reason behind my train of thought is the below:
1) Canon refurb stock to my knowledge is generally customer returns in the 30 day period or dealer demos
2) I've heard lots of people who will do sharpness tests with brand new lenses and return them if they do not match some of the reference tests online.  Or sometimes they will order multiple copies and return the less sharp ones.
3) Most of the time due to copy variation less sharp copies are generally considered in spec (i.e. look at lensrentals data), and thus Canon would not adjust it
4) Thus, when buying a refurb lens and thus a customer return, there might be a higher probability you would get a less sharp copy than if you bought new

Is this reasoning crazy, or do others agree? :)  I do know many people are happy with refurbed lenses, and I am not talking about getting a lemon here, just a lesser chance of getting the brightest bulb of the bunch.  I've also heard quite a few stories of people getting refurbed lenses with a lot of dust inside, though it is unlikely that would affect image quality.
The only problem with your logic is that Canon examines all of the lenses they sell refurbished, and I'm sure they check the calibration/alignment along with the other functions.  I have a Extender 2x III and a TS-E 24 3.5 II that were purchased refurb and both appear brand new and the TS-E 24 is stunningly sharp.  I'm curious to hear if anyone else has had bad experiences, but I'm 100% satisfied on my refurb purchases - bodies and lenses.
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JPAZ

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 10:36:53 AM »
My 100-400 Canon refurb functions as well as a 100-400 should.  No complaints, there.  It was blown out of the water by a rented 300 f/2.8 but I suspect the 300 is way sharper than any zoom and also maybe alot of other primes, so this is not a far comparison.

I'd not hesitate to get another refurb.  Just check it carefully when you get it, like you would any other new lens.
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drolo61

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 11:31:00 AM »
Have not bought refurb yet, but try this line of thought
Routine QA does not test each individual copy as thouroughly due to volume
Returned copies should be below 1% and will be "hand-tested" before delivery and adjusted if needed
Woulnt you get a positive selection?
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Ruined

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 11:46:58 AM »
Hi all,
So while I have bought refurbed bodies, I've never bought a refurbed L lens.  I can see why someone would return a body because it did not meet their needs, but returning an L lens I would find less likely for this reason as its pretty clear what a lens is able to do upfront.

Reason behind my train of thought is the below:
1) Canon refurb stock to my knowledge is generally customer returns in the 30 day period or dealer demos
2) I've heard lots of people who will do sharpness tests with brand new lenses and return them if they do not match some of the reference tests online.  Or sometimes they will order multiple copies and return the less sharp ones.
3) Most of the time due to copy variation less sharp copies are generally considered in spec (i.e. look at lensrentals data), and thus Canon would not adjust it
4) Thus, when buying a refurb lens and thus a customer return, there might be a higher probability you would get a less sharp copy than if you bought new

Is this reasoning crazy, or do others agree? :)  I do know many people are happy with refurbed lenses, and I am not talking about getting a lemon here, just a lesser chance of getting the brightest bulb of the bunch.  I've also heard quite a few stories of people getting refurbed lenses with a lot of dust inside, though it is unlikely that would affect image quality.
The only problem with your logic is that Canon examines all of the lenses they sell refurbished, and I'm sure they check the calibration/alignment along with the other functions.  I have a Extender 2x III and a TS-E 24 3.5 II that were purchased refurb and both appear brand new and the TS-E 24 is stunningly sharp.  I'm curious to hear if anyone else has had bad experiences, but I'm 100% satisfied on my refurb purchases - bodies and lenses.

Aren't most of the minor sharpness variations due to manufacturing tolerances in the glass?  I am not talking about a major issue, just rather being on the bottom of the sharpness spectrum for the particular lens you pick up; lensrentals data indicates even the most high end lenses have a pretty wide range of sharpness from copy to copy.  I would think that is something Canon would not be able to correct without replacing glass, which I doubt they would do if "in spec."  I am sure it is possible to get a tack sharp refurb lens, I am just wondering if the chances are lower than new because they are essentially mostly returns from customers that were dissatisfied for some reason - and I see all the time on forums tried 2 copies of this lens, 3 copies of that lens, etc, to get the sharpest copy.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 11:49:30 AM by Ruined »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 01:09:08 PM »
I've bought a number of refurbished lenses and bodies, and they have been very good.  They are said to get a extra set of checks.

Most issues, if there are any are due to decentering (Zoom lenses), not due to lens tolerances.  Its true that lenses do have tolerances, but most people cannot distinguish the difference because its so small, and some careful testing is required.

I expect that most returns are due to people realizing that they have bought something that is over their heads use wise and they wisely return it rather than having it lying in a closet.

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2013, 07:50:09 PM »
Have not bought refurb yet, but try this line of thought
Routine QA does not test each individual copy as thouroughly due to volume
Returned copies should be below 1% and will be "hand-tested" before delivery and adjusted if needed
Woulnt you get a positive selection?

Personally, I'd go with this although a 100% of my refurbished lens (I only have 1 and it is not an L) would not qualify as sharp. When I bought it, I was new to photography and thought that I just was not able to use it right, but now that I'm more experienced, I just think this 70-300 IS USM is not a good copy of a not so good lens...

Nevertheless, I would still expect an L refurb to have better or equal chance of performing alright as a new one.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 07:53:23 PM by IMG_0001 »
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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2013, 07:50:09 PM »

F1point2

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013, 03:33:15 PM »
If you can find a good deal on a refurbished L lens, go for it, as it's usually fairly thoroughly checked by the manufacturer, and you end up saving some $$$.  If you buy it from a shop (as opposed to private sale) you usually get the same kind of warranty as with the brand new equivalent.

You are right, sometimes even brand new lenses, out of box, need calibration.  If I recall correctly, the shop where I get my gear serviced and calibrated said that Canon calibrates to minimum 95% accuracy, that is their bench mark - on brand new lenses!  I'd actually like to hear from Canon whether or not that is true, but seeing as their service/repair turnaround time here in Ontario was/is painstakingly long, I haven't dropped off gear to them in over 5 years. 

Still, I have a refurbd 24-70, works great, never needed to calibrated it even.  Unlike my primes.. sigh.


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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013, 04:53:44 PM »
I've purchased three refurbished lenses. I am not a fanatic about calibration however, so I'm probably not the one to ask, but I've found them to be identical quality to lenses I've bought new.

I'm not sure, however, that this statement is correct: "Canon refurb stock to my knowledge is generally customer returns in the 30 day period or dealer demos."

I've always been curious as to where the stock really comes from, since I can't imagine that they can all come from customer and dealer returns. Especially because, during sales it's not uncommon for Canon to "restock" the store. How can you "restock" a store with returned items on such a consistent basis?

Now that CanonPriceWatch carries the number available in stock for each lens, I find this even more unlikely. For example, they currently show more than 500 40mm pancake lenses in stock. I seriously doubt that the majority of those lenses would be from customer returns.  I strongly suspect that many of these lenses were never sold or spent any time out in the "wild."
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2013, 12:12:15 AM »
I've purchased three refurbished lenses. I am not a fanatic about calibration however, so I'm probably not the one to ask, but I've found them to be identical quality to lenses I've bought new.

I'm not sure, however, that this statement is correct: "Canon refurb stock to my knowledge is generally customer returns in the 30 day period or dealer demos."

I've always been curious as to where the stock really comes from, since I can't imagine that they can all come from customer and dealer returns. Especially because, during sales it's not uncommon for Canon to "restock" the store. How can you "restock" a store with returned items on such a consistent basis?

Now that CanonPriceWatch carries the number available in stock for each lens, I find this even more unlikely. For example, they currently show more than 500 40mm pancake lenses in stock. I seriously doubt that the majority of those lenses would be from customer returns.  I strongly suspect that many of these lenses were never sold or spent any time out in the "wild."
While its possible that new lenses are reboxed and sold, the quantity of lenses that are sold is very large, Canon might produce a million a year of some lens models.  If even 1% of those are returned, that's 10,000 lenses.
When you add up all the cameras and lenses shipped to Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Sams, Amazon, Newegg, and a thousand other camera stores, the numbers really add up. 

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Re: Refurbed lenses and sharpness
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2013, 12:12:15 AM »