Lens Caps... How Much Do They Affect Lens Value?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike1234, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Probably a silly question but...

    Let's hypothetically say a lens without the original box but has flawless glass and it comes with it's retaining ring and "original branded caps" and it's worth $200. This could be a Scneider, Nikkor, Fujinon, Rodenstock... whatever. Don't consider this as a "highly collectible" lens. This is a very nice user lens in exc++ to mint- condition.

    1. What if it has "no caps" but will be shipped with wrong-fitting covers just to protect the lens during shipping? How much will this affect its value?

    2. What if it comes with "fitting caps with the wrong brand label"... say a Schneider Xenar lens with Canon or Vivitar caps?

    3. What if brand new caps are bought... "perfect fit and no brand name"?

    My guesses:

    1. Lens devalued to $135-150.

    2. Lens devalued to $155-165.

    3. Lens devalued to $170-180.

    I'm asking this because I have about a 100 lenses that all need caps. They're carefully bagged and stored/protected but I'll be selling them soon. Push-on lens caps average cost is approximately $10 each.

    100 lenses at 2 caps/lens is 200 caps.
    200x $10 = $2000 just for lens caps!!
    The Scneider lenses will all have Schneider caps.
    All other brands will have either Schneider or generic caps.

    That's a LOT of money but even if I break even on cost I'll bet I make my money back and the lenses will sell faster. Most of the caps I have are non-fitting off-brand only good for protection during shipping.

    Thoughts please? Think about how you shop for lenses and how this affects your offer price.
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    If you really want caps for them, you may look for a camera swap meet and get a few random ones for very little money. I have both bought and sold lenses that have not had caps. I didn't factor that into the value since they can be easily replaced. I don't know any lenscap snobs.
     
  3. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Mike, I'd rather have caps on the lens when I'm buying. I don't care whether they're original-brand or not.

    If you want to get a sense of price differential at a retailer, browse KEH's listings, especially of lenses for smaller formats. They often have the same lens in stock in the same graded condition, both with and without caps.

    EDIT: I should have said, properly-fitting caps. But it really depends what sort of lens it is. If it's a big, expensive, late-model lens that's missing its original caps, you do have to wonder what kind of care the owner has been taking. OTOH, there are grillions of old press-camera Optars, Ektars, and the like that long ago lost any original caps they may have had.
     
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  4. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Well, since you'll be selling these lenses and presumably will give us the opportunity to buy them, I'd say they are devalued by at least 90%. :smile:

    Seriously, since these are all user lenses, I think you're deducting too much - at least for scenarios 1 and 2. My take:
    #1 deduct $25-30
    #2 deduct $20-25
    #3 deduct $15-20
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Original caps are sometimes a sign that the lens has been well cared for, so the value isn't just from the cost of the cap itself. For classic lenses, original caps may be the only non-custom caps that are likely to fit. New Schneider caps are surprisingly expensive, particularly large ones.
     
  6. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Mike,

    The lack of correct caps to me goes beyond the value of the caps. If the originals have been lost, it means the lens has likely spent much or all it's life unprotected and calls for extra care in buying and return privileges.

    Now having said that, I have a couple of Schneider lenses that I bought from people I know with Fuji front caps. I consider this a plus because they used the more robust Fuji caps, which means they cared enough to replace the originals with caps they thought better. And both these lenses condition reflect their previous owner's care. In this case, non=original caps were actually a plus. As are the occasional Schneider Super Symmar XL with S.K. Grimes caps that come up for sale - those caps have been replaced for a reason

    Cheers, Steve
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If I were buying the lens that originally cost $500 or more at $200, then lack of lens cap or proper case makes very little difference. Perhaps none. This is, of course, lens itself is in perfect condition and the items gets shipped very carefully and fully protected.

    If I were buying the lens that originally cost $300 at $200, then lack of proper packaging would make me think twice.

    Typically, when I buy used anything, purchasing decision is partially based on the bargain factor. If it is, ancillary items such as lens caps, original case or packaging makes very little difference. If it isn't such a bargain, then how perfect it is compared to how I can purchase from stores new would become a factor. At this point, I might just as well buy new.

    Psychologically, it'd perhaps be better with no brand cap that fits. That way, the fact that it is not a proper cap isn't so obvious either by logo on the cap or the ill fit. Also, if it is a proper fit, it has use beyond just shipping - adding value to me, the purchaser. It'd be just nice to know this ahead of time, at the time of purchase - rather than finding it later on when I eagerly open the box.

    By the way, all of the lens I bought so far didn't come with caps. One came with proper container, the other with other brand container. The seller told me at the time of purchase and I was perfectly fine with it. All I cared about the lens itself coming safely to me.
     
  8. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I must have 300-400 miscellaneous lens caps of every brand imaginable that I purchased over the years as spares and MAYBE 2 or 3 out of a 100 actually fit these lenses. They're only good for shipping protection.

    I do appreciate the swap meet suggestion but I really don't want to go with my calipers and measure hundreds or thousands of lens caps. Even if they're already sorted the sellers are definitely not going to have all I need. Also, time is at an extreme premium for me at the moment.

    I either want to order them new or just not supply the lenses with fitting/decent caps. I just want to know how these options affect value and selling speed stated hypothetical lens. :smile:

    I should have been more clear about the "hypothetical lens". Let's say it's from the 60's or 70's but is an excellent performer and is fairly popular and respected... a 210mm Symmar-S might be a good example. A current equivelant will cost many times the $200 price mark. Again, a really nice user lens in exc++ to m- condition. Another example might be a 150mm Nikkor-W.

    Many of these are indeed the old press lenses 127/135 Optars, 101/127/152 Ektars, 135 Xenars, etc., and were well protected within the camera bodies. There are many, mnay others though too.

    Lastly, assume the lens comes with a seven day in-your-hands return privilege.
     
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  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I haven't bought a new lens for between 20 & 30 years. If I buy a lens without a cap, original or generic the difference in price I would expect to pay would be on the order of cost OF THE CAP.
    The only time it would make a difference greater than that is if the cap were very rare. Anyone remember the Nikon RF $10k hood?
     
  10. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    ^^^ I want one of two things if I go this this expense.

    1. Lenses sell for more than the caps cost... make $10+ per lens.

    AND/OR...

    2. Sell the lenses faster.
     
  11. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Just me I guess, but I recently bought Tamron caps to put on my Canon lenses because they have the "center pinch' clamping mechanism that often allows getting them on and off with a lens hood on! On used lenses, I'd be impressed that the lens came with caps, but wouldn't much care whose caps, as long as they were the correct size and fit. Of course, I'm not a collector, I only buy the stuff to use.
     
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  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    This doesn't answer your question, but you can get all sorts of lenscaps here for very little money. They're just generic lens caps, but they do the job.
     
  13. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Thanks, Frank. I do appreciate the link. But the sizes I need are quite varied. Too the push-on style they sell have a deeply recessed center that I suspect will contact the front element in many cases.

    I need push-on caps in 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37.5, 38, 42, 44, 47, 50, 54, and 58. Of three of these sizes I need at least a dozen each. Another I need more than two dozen and a couple other sizes I need more than thirty each. About half are Schneider either to fit Schneider lenses or because they were far cheaper than the generic brand. The other half are generic to fit the Kodak, Graflex, and many other brands including an old Protarlinse and a Voigtlander Heliar... just all kinds of stuff.

    I think I'll contact the retailer and ask for a volume discount on the caps. I mean they're just little plastic discs so the markup must be huge. Surely they can give me some discount. :smile:
     
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I know that this is the Large Format forum, but ...

    For some lenses, like lenses for the Mamiya TLRs, it is quite difficult to find lens caps (both front and back), so including the right caps is a real plus.

    Matt
     
  16. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    http://www.filterfind.net/Caps.html

    I have had great results dealing with filterfind.net

    I would much rather buy a lens with proper fitting caps.

    The service at filterfind.net is great, and I think the Kaiser caps are excellent—they run from around $4 - $7.50. Perhaps make an organized chart to put an organized order together, easy as 1234.
     
  17. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Nice link!! Their prices on Kaiser caps are 40-70 percent (average about 1/2) the cost from B&H!! I wonder if B&H will price match... it would be easier than ordering from two places. If not, to heck with B&H. I'll buy my Kaiser caps from these folks!!
     
  18. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    If I buy a lens, it is generally because I'm getting an excellent deal on it. That said, I wouldn't allow the absence of a bit of plastic I could scrounge from elsewhere become a deal breaker.
     
  19. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    It just seems to me that people would consider their time valuable enough to pay the $20 per lens for really nice caps (my break even point). Finding two properly fitting caps, ugly or not, can take some time. This also saves the lens buyer the time/effort of having to order new ones.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2010
  20. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    Honestly, I think it's a waste of time buying all those caps for lenses you're selling. When I buy a used lens, I'm interested in the condition of lens and the shutter (if any). The caps are nice, but if the price is right, I can buy them. These days I mostly buy older lenses and they're usually missing the caps. I don't see the caps pushing the value of the lenses above the actual costs of the caps+shipping, so why not make it easier on yourself and just sell the lenses as-is.
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    If I had ten lenses to sell I might think about buying correctly sized caps. With one hundred though, I don't think I would bother. I would just pack them well with a good quality polythene bag as the first covering then plenty of foam (assuming you are posting them).


    Steve.
     
  22. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    The funny thing is I've already collected all the size data via caliper and the list is already composed so most of the work is already done. In fact, I already have every one of them in my B&H "Wish List" so all I have to do is click the "Add To Cart" button. Several years ago I bought/sold quite a bit and it was my personal experience that good caps, especially the correctly branded ones made a difference in selling price. In that light, many of the replies here surprise me. Maybe APUG is just a more forgiving and open-minded group. :smile:
     
  23. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I don't know it we're a more forgiving group. I think it's more that we're not so much collectors for the sake of collecting rather than we're a bunch of users. As such we're more interested in equipment that will serve us and is in good condition. In my opinion, if the lens is clean, clear and mechanically sound, that's fine. Cosmetics are relatively unimportant.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Ditto.

    I think your value deductions are way too extreme for lenses without the original caps.

    Having them is nice, but I would say that in most cases, it does not significantly affect the value at all...unless it is obvious that they have been on the lens for its entire life, in which case it is really the over all condition of the lens that matters, not the fact that it has the caps.
     
  25. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'd much rather get lens caps, especially the ones original to the lens, when buying. But if the deal on the lens is good enough I don't mind spending the $30 or so to buy them myself. It's not that big of a deal... except for the 67 mm slip-on that I now seek -- it seems like that is the only size they don't make anymore.
     
  26. paul ewins

    paul ewins Subscriber

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    Mike, if you were offering the same lens - in the same condition - with and without caps then I am more likely to buy the one with caps, but I wouldn't pay more than the cost of the caps to do so. In your situation I would be inclined to concentrate on the lenses in best condition as having a set of caps is not going to make some old beater shoot any better. I live in Australia where the supply of LF gear is quite small and tends to be expensive. Most of my gear has been bought from eBay or KEH and generally has been at the older and cheaper end of the spectrum. With limited choices I take what I can get and regard caps as a bonus.

    There doesn't seem to be much of a collector market (apart from me) for Schneider lenses so people will be buying on the usefulness (to them) of the lenses. I would expect an otherwise pristine lens to have the caps as a sign that it has been looked after and would tend to think twice about an expensive lens that is missing its caps. For a Symmar or Symmar-S it wouldn't bother me if the caps were missing, even though they are a pain to replace. For an APO Symmar or APO Symmar-L (not that I have any) I would expect the lens to be in excellent condition and have the caps.