Sigma 24-60mm F2.8 EX DG for Pentax

I bought my third lens off Craigslist today, which brings my total AF lenses for the Pentax K100D up to four. The only lens I didn’t buy off Craigslist was the Pentax 18-55mm F3.5 kit lens — which I got stuck with because there wasn’t a body-only option on the price list at the online shop where I bought it.

I scour Craiglist on a regular basis for Pentax-compatible AF lenses, but they don’t come up very often. I needed another portrait lens that was wider than the 50mm I currently have, and one lens I’m still searching for is a wide-angle, eg., 10-12mm. There was a 12-24mm on sale at the end of last year, but $700+taxes is more than I’m willing to pay these days. I can buy a plane ticket for that, and that’s usually what I end up doing.

Pentax has a small market share, but companies like Sigma, Tamron, and others do make lenses for the Pentax system and they’re significantly cheaper than what’s available for Nikon and Canon. [Edit July 20: the EXACT SAME lens for a Canon mount is listed in Craigslist for $350, nearly 75% MORE than what mine was listed for. It’s the same glass, only the mount is different.]

I have one other Sigma: the 28-135mm f/3.8 Macro, which I’m pretty happy with considering what I paid for it. The most I’ve paid for a Craigslist lens is $200, which makes DSLR photography affordable for me. If I went with Nikon or Canon, I’d be shelling out more money. I’ll switch systems one day if I decide to go high-end (i.e., commercial), but I’m still in the early learning stage and I have other priorities for my money (i.e, travel).

That said, when the deals come my way like they did today, I take advantage of them when I can!

If you’ve never used Craigslist, check it out. I’ve known about it for a long time, but I’ve only used it in Toronto. I buy used whenever possible and Craigslist is my favourite online marketplace for used goods. It’s also how I found my current apartment! I’ve only used eBay a couple of times and I don’t even look anymore unless what I’m searching for is completely obscure… then again, I can’t think of anything I want so badly that I’ll pay for shipping. Nowadays I’ll only look at eBay to get an idea of market rates for new and used items. Buying local makes much more sense, practically and environmentally.

There is one other advantage of Craigslist over eBay that I’ve never heard anyone say, especially for photographic equipment: because eBay sellers are never seen, there is no way to tell if merchandise is “hot” or not. When I buy lenses from Craigslist, I ask the buyer a lot of questions that screen out the possibility that he didn’t actually buy it. And in the case of my newest purchase, I have the original receipt with his name on it. I know exactly what he paid for it, and there is still 9+ years of warranty on the lens!

Stuff I’ve sold/advertised on Craigslist:

  • bedroom furniture
  • air conditioners (2)
  • metro passes (2)
  • Phoenix SLR lens
  • laser printer/fax/copier*
  • DVD player
  • ridesharing
  • events

Stuff I’ve bought/found on Craiglist:

  • lenses (3)
  • Chinon CE-4 (film) camera
  • Canon A520 digicam
  • kitchen cart
  • folding kitchen chairs
  • baby gates
  • office chair
  • massage
  • my current apartment

I know people who’ve had less-than-stellar Craigslist experiences, but all of mine have been really good, especially photography-related. I get to meet other photographers shooting with a Pentax, and we always have lots of info to share.

What about you? Had any particularly good or bad Craigslist experiences?

* The guy who bought my laser printer/fax/copier also made me dinner!