Japan Is The Best Place *ever* For Used Lenses!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mr. B, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005
    Haha, sorry for the all caps title, but I do not lie.

    People in Japan upgrade often for the newest lenses, and take impeccable care of their old ones. They often sell them back to camera stores when they upgrade, and the camera stores also take very good care of the lenses.

    But people don't really like to buy used lenses (because they carry over a bit of their last owner or something...)

    So usually stores have a surplus of good used lenses.

    This means that when a lens comes along that works fine optically, but has dings or scratches on the outside it's all but worthless to the store because they have so many perfect ones already that people don't really want.

    ANYWAYS I've been buying up a storm, and I need to share it with someone.

    So far I have purchased (all used, changed to equivalent dollar amount)...

    canon 60mm f/2.8 macro (perfect condition)
    300 dollars.

    canon 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 ("junk section", has fungus lines inside, can't see in pictures)
    30 dollars.

    canon 70-210 f/4 ("junk section", had fungus on the front element, opened and cleaned)
    10 dollars

    canon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 USM ("junk section", can't manual focus when in Auto focus?)
    30 dollars

    canon 80-200mm f/2.8 L ("junk section", dings on the outside, but seems perfect internally)
    150 dollars.

    The only lens I owned before this was a previously used 28-105mm 3.5-4.5... ha...


    IF you go to japan, visit these stores.

    MAP camera - Shinjuku.

    Fujiya camera - Nakano

    Lemon Sha - Ginza

    All of these stores sell used lenses and cameras at great prices, but map and fujiya have "junk" sections where you can find AMAZING deals. So far it seems like MAP camera refreshes randomly, and Fujiya seems to refresh on mondays.

    ("junk" in japan ranges from small scratches to being completely broken. Bought the 80-200mm L lens in the Fujiya junk section...)

    Hope this helps someone... I'm completely addicted!
  2. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    Did you see any medium format or large format lens/shutters?
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Japan is a great place for used cameras, the Japanese are always crazy about the latest and greatest, so they have a rich used market -- which are integrated into normal shops. A few years ago I've bought an Olympus E-20, used, for 60000 Yen (back then 450 Euros, a bargain): great camera, great price.
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Great place for camera gear, period. Well, it is if you're from outside the US. The prices are comparable, I believe.

    Anyway, I haven't looked at their used lenses, but if I get a chance to, I will!! The thing about Asian countries like Japan is that they generally buy new. Period. It's not just camera stuff. The used car market in large Asian cities like Tokyo and HK isn't as big as elsewhere because fixing cars costs a lot of money, what with rental space costing a premium. Because of this, you're not going to see a large number of mechanics with massive garages and 5 mechanics who are going to fix your car quickly. You're going to see small mechanics, not a lot of space, and innovative ways to maximize that space. I've seen mechanics that are a bit wider than the car itself, but they have a weird elevator/lift system that moves a car they're not working up a level, above the car they ARE working on. They just cycle through these cars using this weird dual-armed lifts. They may even be multi-armed.

    I'm not sure where I saw this, though. It may have been HK, not Japan.

    Anyway, I'm going to Japan (for the 3rd time in 12 months) this December. I was there in August as well. I'll keep a look-out. However, I'll be in and around Osaka, so I'll have to find different shops.
  5. Butthead macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2006
    You lucky dog, for work or play ;) ? Though I love sushi, if I was in that part of the world, I'd spend the cooler/less humid days in HK, cause I'm insanely crazy about dim sum, and then sum....chocolate dresses too, when modeled by cuttie Cantonese English speaking natives :)...(2nd from bottom looks particularly yummy) http://gallery.muzi.com/pfg/english/1006577.shtml

    Speaking of autos, it would be nice if you could buy a 'certified used' Canon or Nikon lens from an authorized dealer, just like with autos that come with limited warranties, that go through a thorough inspection/cleaning.

    But here in lala land, center of Americas car culture, you'll find lots of mechanics because there are so many cars, used or new. But where do you get the idea that used cars are any less expensive to fix in America, as opposed to Asia? 2002 Audi A4 water pump & timing belt, local dealers quote between $1.5-2k...man, that is insane. Until you find out that someone's new VW Beatle they are leasing, had vandals cut the covertible top, and that the dealer will charge $4k to replace it!!! (that's 1/3rd of the value of the car!).

    I see more used lenses and cameras on e-bay than at any pro camera shops. And I notice quite a few retail? sellers on e-bay from HK, why is that?
  6. bogman12 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2007
    OKay so they got good prices on used current model L prime lenses?

    The ones you mentioned are rather old and/or undesirable due to its specs and/or condition. Examples of those lenses can be had for rather cheap on ebay or KEH.

    I'll be visiting Japan soon and would like the scoop.
  7. Mr. B thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005
    Well they have all lenses used in absolutely perfect condition, but because they are so perfect you aren't exactly paying nothing. In fact you'll still pay quite alot.

    And the new lenses are at the very least as expensive as amazon, if not more so.

    Japan is the perfect place to buy used lenses, but I guess I should have stated that it's the OLDER lenses that it really shines at.

    Obviously if you're a pro then I guess older lenses won't be so appealing, but for 90% of people the older lenses will produce way better products than equivalently priced newer ones.
  8. Kingsly macrumors 68040


    Good find! There's also a swap meet-type place, I believe near Shinjuku or Asakusa, where they sell new but outdated electronics and camera gear. I am completely drawing a blank on where and what days, but ask around... someone is bound to know about it. :)
  9. Forced Perfect macrumors 6502

    Forced Perfect

    Jul 2, 2004
    Toronto, Canada.
    Side note: As for the 18-55mm not having Full-time Manual Focus, that is because unlike the ring type USM found in higher end lenses, the 18-55mm (along with quite a few other models) has a micro USM motor.

    The only micro USM motor driven lens with FTM is the 50mm f/1.4 USM. It uses a special clutch system to allow it.

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