I have an opportunity to purchase a D7000 with an 18-200mm VR-II lens for $750. The problem is the lens has a scratch on it (which I have not seen yet), according to the seller. How do I tell the true effect of the scratch on picture taking. The seller says you cannot see the scratch through the view-finder and that it has no effect on the quality of the pictures. Any comments on how to test this camera and lens combination?
The best way to see if the lens needs to be repaired is simply to use it and inspect the images. At wider apertures it would have to be a wide deep scratch to impact images. At stopped down apertures it might be a problem. $750 is a good price for the camera and lens that costs that much alone. Even if you need to have the lens repaired, you are ahead. Have fun with it, its a very good camera Ct Stan St Petersburg Russia
It actually takes a pretty ridiculous scratch to have an effect on the images. See this article for a graphic demonstration of the extreme. Unfortunately, the market as a whole doesn't recognize this, so even a small scratch substantially reduces resale value, despite having demonstrably no impact on the image whatsoever.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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Considering that Adorama is getting $700-ish for E+ rated D7000 bodies, you really can't go too wrong here (assuming the body you are looking at is in good shape). You are getting the 18-200 for next to nothing.
I agree with Stan's comment. If you do something like choke the lens down to f22 and take a picture of a clear, blue sky then MAYBE you can see the scratch. But so what? In real world situations, its quite rare for common scratches to actually show up in the final output.
Thanks for the advice and link. It was very useful.
I decided to go ahead with the purchase. The camera is in excellent condition and the scratch on the lens is hair thin, about one-half inch long. I believe I will have no problems with the lens.
The camera, however, will take a while to learn. The seller also threw in David Busch's Nikon D7000 book. It is over 500 pages long! If this is an indication of how long it will take me to learn the camera, all I can say is I'm glad I'm retired so I have time to read and experiment. I'm coming from a Nikon D60 so I suspect there will be a few differences.
In most cases a scratched lens element can be repaired by Nikon or Nikon Authorized service. The repair is not that expensive. So if you find the scratch matters, you can fix it.
A scratch to the front element will more likely show up in images where light is hitting the front of the lens. It may cause flare. It may also show up in extreme close ups when stopped down - and the 18-200 has a very small minimum focus distance.