Nikon Refurbished 70-300mm AF-S VR Lenses ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alan_bessler, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. I just took a chance on a Nikon 70-300 VR refurb from B@H quite a savings from new paid $349.00 with free shipping. Are the Nikon refurbs usually good buys quality wise? Thanks.
     
  2. Generally - yes. Just keep an eye on anything that may be not 100% in the first 90 days, as the warranty only goes that long.
     
  3. I bought an 18-105 VR refurbished from B&H and I've been very pleased with it. I think it's a good deal since you've got good return policy from B&H, plus 90 day warranty from Nikon.
     
  4. I bought one of those 70-300 VRs. I couldn't be happier, and great savings. It was wonderful.
     
  5. Good price. I've been generally happy with my Nikon 70-300mm AF-D ED zoom lens without VR. I rarely use it anyway. I wonder how much better the VR version actually is than the non-VR version?
     
  6. I have purchased quite a few refurb lenses over the years and have yet to be disappointed. I now look to buy only refurbs and save a whole lot of $$$!
     
  7. "I just took a chance on ..."
    You didn't really take much of a chance if my experience is typical. :)
    I purchased a Nikon refurb AF-S 24~85mm a few years back (from Cameta, but a factory refurb is a factory refurb). Looked brand new, and if not for the lack of the original retail box and the witness mark next to the serial number, one would never know it was a refurb. Still going strong several years later.
    Quality control wise, a refurbished item has likely been given a much closer look than a new one fresh off the assembly line. Because it has been sent back to Nikon USA for whatever reason (many of these are probably "weekend rentals" or simply returns from buyers who changed their mind), it has been thoroughly checked out to make sure all specifications are within limits.
    As others noted, check it out carefully within the first 90 days. If you don't see any faults in that time span, chances are very good you will never have a problem later on down the road.
     
  8. Quality control wise, a refurbished item has likely been given a much closer look than a new one fresh off the assembly line. Because it has been sent back to Nikon USA for whatever reason (many of these are probably "weekend rentals" or simply returns from buyers who changed their mind), it has been thoroughly checked out to make sure all specifications are within limits.​
    I am sorry, but having worked for a Japanese consumer electronics company in the US for a number of years, I have to say this paragraph is full of wishful thinking.
    The people repacking refurbs have no clue about the products, and probably speak little English. The dream that a skilled artisan is checking to make sure the product is top notch is just that, a dream. In many cases, a third party provider handles refurbs on a least cost basis.
    Not that there is anything wrong with refurbs, they are usually no worse than what left the factory, but I am sure they are NEVER any better.
     
  9. "I wonder how much better the VR version actually is than the non-VR version" I tested my ED version to the VR version when I upgraded. Image quality is significantly improved in every way. And, of course, you have the benefit of VR.
    As far as QC goes with Nikon, only Nikon knows for sure how they evaluate what gets sold as a refurb. I agree that refurbs should and are likely equal in quality to new items.
     
  10. My 18-55mm VR and 18-105mm, along with my SB-30 flash are all Cameta "demo" units. They looked new when they arrived, and I've had no problems with any of them. The gear is discretely marked in a way that identifies it as a refurb/demo, however, so if a seller doesn't disclose that little tidbit of information a buyer would have a legitimate complaint.
     
  11. I bought my kid a refurb D5000 & lens and they're as near brand new as you could wish.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  12. The VR is great. Definitely worth the extra $$$
     
  13. Some years ago I bought a factory refurb 180 f2.8 MF at a local camera store. The barrel was scratched and ugly, but there was a factory certificate and the glass was clean. It was a fine lens. I no longer own it but it had been cleaned up internally even though the outside was quite used. Pretty inexpensive.
     
  14. I've been generally happy with my Nikon 70-300mm AF-D ED zoom lens without VR. I rarely use it anyway. I wonder how much better the VR version actually is than the non-VR version?​
    dave, i have the 70-300 ED too. it's an ok lens but lack of VR really hampers it. it's so light that you get a lot of camera shake at longer focal lengths, which means you have to use faster shutter speeds with it. my prognosis on it is, it's average/mediocre until f/8 when it suddenly becomes sharp and contrasty. so i pretty much only used it in good lighting conditions or on a tripod.
    i recently picked up the tamron 70-300 VC and wow, what a difference! not only is it a lot sharper wide open than the nikkor, but the VC works down to like 1/25 at 300mm. can't comment on whether the tamron is better than the nikon 70-300 VR, but i do know i wont be using the 70-300 ED any more, other than as a paperweight.
     
  15. Lens arrived today it looks brand new and came with case and lens hood, both of which also look like new. I will give it a good workout tomorrow,thanks everyone for your comments.
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Upon reading this thread earlier this month, I thought $350 is an excellent deal for the 70-300mm AF-S VR so that I also gave it a try. Unfortunately my experience is not so good.
    My lens arrived from B&H. It came in a plain cardboard box with a generic (no Nikon logo) lens cap and a white generic rear cap. I mounted it on my 16MP D7000 (DX format) on a tripod and I immediately noticed unsharp images even on the 3" back LCD.
    In the last few days I tried that lens also on my D700 (FX) and D300, and the problem is very consistent: it is totally unsharp at 300mm. At 200mm is it ok, but I can still see some subtle problems. Attached is a test shot on the D300. The top is the entire frame, the middle is the front wheel crop using the 70-300 VR @ 300mm, f5.6, with VR off. The bottom is the same image using the 300mm/f4 AF-S @ f4.
    Everything was captured on a D300 body @ ISO 200 with 1-second exposure delay on a Gitzo 1325 tripod. Earlier I had another similar image captured on my D7000, and I had sent that to a few people for their opinions. Thom Hogan feels that is some sort of motion blur, perhaps due to malfunction of the VR mechanism (even though I had switched off VR on a tripod).
    I guess this is merely my bad luck. Before I too thought Nikon would check refurbished lenses thoroughly before shipping them out again, but apparently Dan Brown is right that there is not much checking. This lens is definitely going back to B&H.
    00YIK1-335609784.jpg
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    So I called B&H Customer Service and explained that my refurbished lens was defective. The person (Frank) who answered the phone was polite and helpful. He even offered to pay for return shipping cost, via UPS Ground. It took a week before that lens got back to B&H, and they just sent me e-mail acknowledging that they got it.
    In the mean time, a friend at work saw my lens and thought it was a great deal, so he too ordered one from B&H. His refurbished 70-300mm AF-S VR arrived and he immediately noticed that something was rattling inside. I saw his lens earlier today and decided to test it. I quickly noticed that it could not AF. Upon further inspecting, I realized that the focusing ring is decoupled from the focusing mechanism, as I could turn the ring but the focus scale did not rotate. Most likely, some screw got loose inside so that the focusing mechanism is broken.
    Needless to say, my friend is sending his lens back to B&H. I am waiting for my replacement lens and hopefully that one is good. But it makes me wonder how much checking Nikon has done before they send those lenses out as refurbished.
    B&H's customer service is, so far, excellent, though.
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Eventually B&H just gave me a refund. Since I saw problems with two out of two refurbished 70-300 AF-S VR, I don't think I want to try another one.
    B&H's customer service has been excellent, as usual. They paid for the return shipping in both cases. My credit card was refunded after a week.
     
  19. @ Shun: Where was the focus on the original image with 70-30mm VR?
    I have new 70-300mm with warranty and wanted to do focus test on it since quite some time. Though I have taken portrait in the studio and they came out really sharp but in outdoor not as expected, may be a user error.
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ray, I attempted to focus on the side of the car. It is more or less a flat subject from bumper to bumper parallel to the plane of the sensor. Clearly the 300mm/f4 has no problem with it. I had a tripod set up and I never moved that between lenses. I merely swap the camera with the 70-300 on and then the 300mm/f4 w/ tripod collar on and attach the body onto the lens.
    I also have a 28-300mm/f3.5-5.6 AF-S VR. While it is nowhere as sharp as the 300mm/f4 AF-S, even that superzoom is much better then the defective 70-300 AF-S VR. I figured that if I need a zoom that reaches 300mm/f5.6, I might as well just use the 28-300.
    Of course 2 defective samples out of many is still a very small percentage. I am just somewhat discouraged by this experience. Hopefully others have better luck with refurbished lenses.
     
  21. the reason for asking for the focus point was ... just to understand if the crop area is from focus point or the corner. I understand subject is to the same distance from plane of sensor and due to this everything should be sharp. It does look like unfocus/unsharp cropped area.
    I will give it a try (basic and real life focus test), when weather is better here in New England.
     

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