Used lenses w/ “extremely minor” amount of dust inside

Snapshooter

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Feb 26, 2019
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I am shopping for a used lens, found one I liked, and the listing says that there is an “extremely minor” amount of dust inside the lens. Otherwise in excellent condition. It’s a f/1.8 lens that I would mostly be shooting at larger apertures. I’m thinking the minor dust wouldn’t be an issue, but am interested in getting folks’ thoughts before purchasing. Have you ever bought a used lens described this way and been disappointed?
 
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I stopped worrying about this when I dropped my Oly 45mm f/1.8 in the creek. After a week drying out with an industrial dessicant, the lens works fine but the glass is FILTHY. I mean it is NASTY. Water spots. Dirt. Giant smear of god-knows-what. Still takes great pictures. The only time I've ever noticed the results of the goop inside is that it shows up in the bokeh when there are large bokeh balls so I just consider it character and go with it.
 

phigmov

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I'm not one to criticise people for wanting and keeping kit in pristine condition but lens dust just seems inevitable.

Fun article - guy buys lens off ebay, has deep scratches on front element, does tests to determine impact on photos and then goes further in terms of damaging the lens more to see what happens to the images. TL;DR most minor stuff doesn't impact an image unless you really pixel peep or are shooting edge-case images regularly (or want to keep your kit in perfect shape irrespective of impact on image).

http://kurtmunger.com/dirty_lens_articleid35.html
 

wjiang

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I stopped worrying about this when I dropped my Oly 45mm f/1.8 in the creek. After a week drying out with an industrial dessicant, the lens works fine but the glass is FILTHY. I mean it is NASTY. Water spots. Dirt. Giant smear of god-knows-what. Still takes great pictures. The only time I've ever noticed the results of the goop inside is that it shows up in the bokeh when there are large bokeh balls so I just consider it character and go with it.
Careful, it might start growing mould...
 

PakkyT

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and the listing says that there is an “extremely minor” amount of dust inside the lens.
Sounds like he is the ONLY lister to be honest and mention it since ALL lenses will have some dust in them. He may also be trying to protect himself noting it since he knows they all will have a spec or two, he doesn't want some unrealistic buyer coming back to point out a little dust and make a big deal out of it. He can point out it was stated in the ad.

Want to really drive home the point? Pick one of your lenses you think is clean. Now try and take a photo of it in good light like you are going to sell it. You might be surprised how hard it is to get a shot that looks clean, especially of the front element.
 

phigmov

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I tend to prioritise functionality and optics over appearance - any mention of haze, fungus, oily/sticky blades or stiff focus/aperture ring (sometimes acceptable in some situations where you set & forget - like macro) and I pass. Cosmetic body (not lens) scratches or a little dust internally and I'm fine with it as long as the important bits work the way they should (and the price should reflect that compared to something like-new or pristine).
 
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