"Popular Lenses Phenomenon" Thu 07-Feb-13 10:42 PM by CaptainYooh
I noticed that some Nikon lenses are incredibly popular and continuously fetch re-sale prices closely approaching their new prices. I am not talking about some out-of-production or rare lenses, no. These are lenses still being produced and available at most respectable stores. On any given day, one can find hundreds of 50mm/1.4 AF-D's, which is a good lens, at bargain basement prices on e-Bay; yet, a marginally better Chinese-made 50mm/1.4G AF-S is rarely re-sold and when it is, re-sells for close to $450+shipping cost. A new one is available from most dealers in North America for $520 with 5-yr warranty that is not transferable. Another example: 105mm/2.0 AF-D DC - $1,050 at the stores new, $850-950 - used on e-Bay. 24-70/2.8 is another one and there are other good illustrations. At the same time, some other decent lenses (e.g. 18-200, 70-300 etc.) seem as if everyone is trying to dump them with re-sell prices lingering at 50% mark compared to new; thus, reflecting this unpopularity accordingly. I fully understand the supply-demand relationships, but this defies logic for me. Not many particular kind of lenses on the re-sale market suggests that people like them and want to hang onto them. Great, understandable. But the supply of new lenses of this same kind is there! It is neither hindered nor reserved. What prompts people to pay this much for re-sale considering significant loss of value associated with non-transferable warranty (at least in Canada it is not transferable)?
#1. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 0
I think it is all a question of perceived value as well as supply and demand.
All the lenses you mention would be considered "pro", current model lenses. As people move up, they want to sell their "consumer" and kit lenses and get "pro' glass. Rarely do people go the other way.
The value of the "pro" lenses is perceived as being higher and people are willing to pay more and ask for more. Sometime those lenses, like the DC lenses, are not available due to limited production runs.
Value is based on what a sell is willing to agree to sell for and a buyer is willing to pay. You may not agree with that being a good value for you, but enough people in the marketplace think it is right to set a typical price.
#2. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 1
I wasn't questioning the value of a good lens at all, Mick. I am puzzled as to why would anyone pay $450 for a used lens without a warranty, when a new one is readily available at $520 with 5-yr warranty.
#4. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 2
I imagine some people value saving the $70 (about 15%) of the cost of the lens.
I have never sent a lens in for warranty repair. I have sent lenses in for repair due to impact damage, but that isn't a warranty item. I have had lenses that were defective when i bought them and they were returned or replaced under the terms of sale.
About 1/2 of the lenses that I have bought have been pre-owned. Of those, only 1 was in need of repair due to impact damage that the seller did not disclose and would not acknowledge.
So, in my experience, saving money by buying good, used, non-warranty lenses isn't much of a risk. I wish I could save 15% on everything.
#5. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 4 Thu 07-Feb-13 08:19 PM by CaptainYooh
Well, that is the only reasonable explanation that I could come up with as well but it is still a stretch for me to accept. My colleague had to send his 28-70/2.8 AF-S for repairs when the AF stopped working and it was nearly $400 bill.
#7. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 0
Not a generalization, but I note that most eBay shoppers aren't savvy enough to used-market brokers or other resale sites to note that they're paying nearly retail rates for used equipment as you observed. It's simply a case of Hey I got it on eBay, I landed a bargain! Indeed...for the seller!
#9. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 0
I've noticed too how people pay almost new prices for used lenses. In some cases it may be the last minute auction frenzy where people don't want to be outbid. That tends to raise prices above what might be a more rational level.
In assessing the price of a mint condition used lens, I would use the grey market new lens price as the comparison point.
The other thing I've observed on sites like Amazon is that there are sometimes listings for a used item with a ridiculously astronomical price. I always wondered if any of those listings ever sell out.
#11. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 10 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:28 PM by CaptainYooh
This is going a bit off-topic now , but Nikon equipment, as any other equipment does break occasionally (and unfortunately). I did have issues with AF on my D3X that needed extensive, and expensive, repairs within the first year of ownership (it was done under warranty). This is not a lens, granted, but you'd mentioned "Nikon equipment". Warranty is a huge factor for me, personally. This is like people who do and don't buy insurance. Peace of mind definitely carries a value premium for me.
#12. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 11
I agree the 5-year lens warranty is a big factor for me, so I buy new if the lens I am buying is something that is other than a stop-gap or stepping-stone. I did buy a lot of used lenses on my way up though, and was able to resell them for little loss.
I've had my 500VR in the shop twice on warranty (broken metal ring that holds the tripod foot, and blown AF motor). No charge and no shipping cost (walked it down to my local dealer both times).
#13. "RE: Popular Lenses Phenomenon" In response to Reply # 0
The list of lenses you list are all current lenses, and very well built lenses. And lenses without obvious and reasonably affordable upgrade paths.
(I don't consider the 200/2 as a "reasonably affordable" upgrade to a 70-200/2.8, for example, and as a prime it is really a different and far more specialized tool for a far more specialized job)
70-300/5.6's are traded for 70-200/2.8. AF-D lenses are traded for AF-S lenses, for the reason Martin and others suggest.
If the 50/1.4 AF-S were upgraded to a 50/1.4 AFS/VR, I suspect it would also suffer a lot of price depreciation as long as the new VR model was not too much higher priced.
I mention VR because it is the only obvious big bullet feature I could think of to add to the current AF-S model.
It would be nice to see if the 105 and 13 5DC lenses take a big dive if they are ever replaced with similar DC featured AFS lenses. I've always wanted to play with one of those, at a price.
The 85/1.4 AF-D might be an exception to the way I classified things. It seems to have held value very well last time I looked. But the new AF-S version is quite pricey indeed, and takes things well out of the $1000 price point of the AF-D model into what I think is a very different level.