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Chapter 10

Buying Used Equipment

There is a vast amount of used equipment on the market. To not take advantage of this can be expensive as high quality goods are there for the taking. Shutterbug magazine lists a vast amount of used equipment and is well worth its purchase price. Or visit Shutterbug on the web at Shutterbug is not the only source of used goods, of course. Most any camera shop will have used equipment as well. And usually it includes a 30 day warranty. Between local camera shops and the large stores in big cities you can obtain just about anything.

How To Check A Used Camera

Here first impressions are important. Does it look like it was kicked down a flight of stairs? If so pass it by. Run the camera through its entire range of shutter speeds, they all must function. While you can not possibly determine if the fast speeds are accurately times they must all work. Open the camera back and look at both halves of the focal plane shutter. Both portions must be in good shape. It is possible for one half of the shutter to have a hole in it while the other is fine. Look at the shutter, advance the film and trip the shutter to see both halves. This is easy to do. Look through the viewfinder, even without a lens fitted, the viewfinder should be clear, not dirty or dusty. Look into the camera and look at the mirror. Any problems there? Then verify the the camera's light meter is working properly by comparing it to a meter of known accuracy. Pick an expensive one in the shop and use it to check the camera. Do this in bright and dim light. Lastly, shoot a test roll of film right there in the store.

How To Check A Used Lens

Look closely at the lens. Are there any scratches on it? A scratch on the glass farthest from the camera, the front of the lens, may not be to serious while a scratch on the glass closest to the camera is a disaster. Now look into the lens. Are there any discolored areas? This might look like a splotch inside between the elements. This is caused by the adhesives between the internal elements separating. Check the aperture by setting the lens at it smallest setting probably f16 or f22. Now while looking into the lens examine the aperture leaves. Are there any spots on them? This will be lubricant and it can, on the leaves, cause them to hang up and hinder adjustment at small aperture settings, f11, f16, f22. This is trouble because when the lens is set to f16, there can be enough resistance to actually inhibit the aperture leaves from actually getting to the f16 position. Be sure to look at the filter mounting threads on the very front of the lens they should be in good shape verify that the threads have not been damaged. Fit the lens to a camera and verify that the distance marks actually focus where they should. Especially the instance the infinity ( ) marker.

How To Check A Used Electronic Flash

As these are almost totally electronic there is not much that can be done to judge the inside. Run through the entire range of settings being sure that all of them function. Advanced units can be set to half, quarter, eighth power and others was well. Be sure the camera bracket is included as well as the rechargeable batteries and charger. Be absolutely sure that the charger will function on 120 volt alternating current, 120VAC. This can easily be seen by looking at its plug.Use an electronic flash meter to verify that it is working as it should by shooting it against a wall and reading the light with the meter. The meter and the flash should agree.

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