Like most serious photographers, I baby the sh!t out of my lenses and filters. There is a constant struggle to keep my tools free from dust, sea air, scratches, etc.; but after using a couple of seriously flawed lenses, I would encourage y’all to seriously consider buying a less than perfect condition lens.
As many of you know, I severely damaged a Samyang 8mm fisheye lens during my latest visit to Arches National Park. Since I love that lens, I purchased a replacement a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of a camping trip to Valley of Fire State Park. However, take a look at the side by side images that I took with my damaged and undamaged Sigma 8mm. There is a clear difference in IQ, but considering the extensive damage, the injured lens still performs decently.
Side By Side Comparisons
Recently, I was able to purchase a chipped Sigma 500mm off of Ebay for 1/3 its regular price. The seller stated that he could not see any difference in image quality, despite the glaring damage to the lens. In addition to the major chunk torn off of one of the frontal elements, the lens had also be cleaned of fungus. After my own testing, and to my great satisfaction, I do not see any image quality issues on either my Sony a55 or my full frame a850.
The above damage is larger than a US Quarter
And Check out how these have zero affect on IQ:
I’m sure there is a scientific reason why the telephoto lens is less affected by the imperfection in the lens, but I’m not much of a scientist…