18-180mm lens returned! (sorta)
I just got the lens back today. Well, not really. I got a brand new lens!
Now I didn't purposely put any identifying marks on it to verify, but I think that a "factory demo" with 6 months of use by me would show some signs of wear but this has none! And the zoom ring is distinctly stiffer. Sweet! Then the first thing I did was touch it with my greasy fingers because I was eating fries at the time and was very excited, so it is a little less clean already.
I took a few pictures to verify. It doesn't necessarily look sharper but the pictures no longer look "just wrong" like they used to even when viewed small. Colors and focusing accuracy are much better, and contrast seems higher. The focus is still twitchy and hasn't yet developed the fine art of mind reading, but it actually leaves some part of the shot in focus, and seems quieter. Well, I'll verify the new lens quality for sure.
This was perfect timing. I'm leaving in about 30 hours for a 5 day backpacking trip through desolation wilderness and was really hoping to have this lens, so I was very happy to have it today. It better work right, cause its gonna be taking a lot of important pictures soon...
It is great to pay for a used lens and get a new one for only the extra price of shipping.