Is this a good price for a second hand 50mm?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by steviem, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    So the next lens I'd really like is a 50mm. I've been looking and saw a Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7 for £75. Is that a good price for it?

    I already have a Tamron 55-200, a Sigma 28-70 (plus an 18-70 kit lens which I don't like much). I find most of my portraits on the Sigma are taken around the 50mm length and 100mm on the Tamron.

    Eventually I'd like something really wide for architectural and landscape photos, but a cheap 50 will be more use to me at the moment.
  2. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Minolta is not a brand we see much anymore, but have you tried looking at B&H, Adorama, or KEH to compare that price? I have no idea what a fair price for that lens is (£75 seems a bit expensive for a 50mm, but I have no grounding in Minolta glass); those shops hopefully will.

    It's always a good idea to have a fast 50 around, and I'm sure it'll serve you well.
  3. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Really depends where you saw it and what condition it's in. If it's in a dealer and it's in good condition with a warranty of some kind I think the price is fine.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I can't speak for the price, but as someone who cut their photographic teeth with a Minolta system, I can tell you that Minolta glass is quite good. They made all sorts of specialized lenses and accessories, things that just do not exist any more - at least on the consumer level - digital cameras.

    If you can get your hands on the lense before purchasing, look at the internal glass surfaces. Should be relatively dust free and no scratches. Shake the lense - a little rattle is OK, but listen for something loose inside (that would be bad).

    Turn the focusing ring. If it hasn't been used a for bit, it may be a bit stiff - but it shouldn't grind. If it's stiff, keep turning it back and forth (with out too much force) - if it appears to be loosening up a bit, you should be OK. You may just need to spend an evening spinning it back and forth to get the lube stuff smooth again. If the focus ring doesn't loosen up even a little bit while you are examining it, you may need to send it out for a cleaning.

    Turn the aperture ring to close down the diaphragm. You won't see it close while the lense is off the camera, but there is a little lever you move with your finger that will close it down. Slowly open and close the diaphragm and watch the leaves. Do they move smoothly or jerk into position. If they are smooth, that's good. Are the leaves dry? They are supposed to be unlubed, or lubed with a dry lubrication. If you see that they have been lubed with oil, you will be sending it out for cleaning sooner or later, because when the oil dries it will cause sticking and your exposures will be erratically overexposed.

    Check the filter threads on the front - bring a filter to screw on and off to check for roundness (I forget the diameter, but I'm sure you can get that off the internet).

    If it passes all of the above tests, it's likely that if you take care of it, your ability to buy film will expire before it does.

    You will find that at f/1.7 you will be able to handhold in rooms that are about 3 to 4 times darker than you are used to, though I'm guessing a bit as to the lenses you already have.

    I still have my Minolta FishEye lense, and a macro bellows unit, both the smaller field unit and the "in the lab" geared unit with a precise mm ruler. Wow. I hadn't thought of this stuff in ages..... still in my basement.

    If you can get 75 pounds for a 50mm lense, I wonder what that other stuff is worth??? Just musing out loud....

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