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I recently bought a used 70-200 f/4L (non IS) for a super low price (about $200). It looks perfect, and the optical performance is out of the box good. BUT the top of it (the actual top of the lens), where the red ring sits, and where you put your lens lid, is "loose", I can easily move it. Can this affect the performance?

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I had this on my old 2.8 USM version and in my case you could actually see movement along the entire barrel when twisting.

I took it into Canon as I needed the IS replaced on a seperate lens and they told me something had gone inside of it (I think it was some form of bearing, but this was about six years ago). They asked if I wanted it repaired for £200 (I was a penniless student they'd put it back and tightened everything so the movement had gone so I opted against it.)

  • Optically there was no difference.
  • I was aware of the issue
  • The movement came back after a whilst due to general use.
  • I had the lens for five years, lived with the issue, it didn't fall apart.

However I'm probably not a good example. I could very well be the exception that proves the rule. I wouldn't now take the chance I would get it checked out and if needsbe repaired. The last thing you want is it falling apart and you're then out of a lens. Considering you spent $200 even after any repair there is a high chance you'll be quids in and still have a deal. It could very well be why the lens cost only $200 in the first place.

One thing I certainly would not do is glue it. Maybe tape it where the tape can be removed. The risk being something else goes wrong and you are then not in a position to get that repaired because it's glued. You could also potentially damage any resale value.

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I've got this on one of my Pentax lenses. Its no big deal, I wouldn't glue it in though. For now I just line up the piece and push it in - once every so often it comes loose again so I push it back in. No loss of quality at all.

For me I'm keeping my eye out for a replacement lens entirely but price point of yours on the used market is quite a bit more so you might want to look for one on ebay marked as "Parts Only" though it probably doesn't pop up too often.

The main issue is if you want to use filters and such which is the only reason I'm considering a replacement.

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