Lens Caps... How Much Do They Affect Lens Value?
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"?
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.
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.
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.
Last edited by Oren Grad; 02-07-2010 at 07:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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%.
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
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.
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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
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.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
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.
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.
Last edited by Mike1234; 02-07-2010 at 08:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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?
^^^ 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.
2. Sell the lenses faster.