Gray Market equipment

ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
edited December 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I noticed the advert for the "Gray Market" D800, and was curious why anyone would buy those?

http://kenrockwell.com/tech/gray-market.htm

Doesn't seem like a very good bargain, at any price...
I mean, if you can't even upgrade software?

What purpose would these cameras be, just incase of repair needs or servicing, replacing a shutter...??
A lens, I can see, but even the SB-910 can be upgraded through the camera. So what then?

These two items alone are too expensive, to not have the ability of service, repair or other work.
I find software updates can often be helpful, and many bring significant improvements to the hardware.

Just wondering where you are then, without that awesome responsibility from the company, down the road.
D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
SB-910~WG-AS3, SB-50, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s* x2, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-I 60MB/s* x1
Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AT, GH-300T, SBH-250, SBH-100, PH-22 Panhead
Lowepro S&F Deluxe Technical Belt and Harness ~ Pouch 60 AW 50 AW & 10, S&F Toploader 70 AW, Lens Case 11 x 26cm
FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Vivitar Zoom 285, Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePlay XD1080

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Comments

  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    edited December 2013
    Some arent worried about a repair/update down the road. I would never buy grey market lenses or gear. In fact Flashes are usually so cheap $400esque at worst so it is best to buy them new as they are more fragile than some of the other gear out there and much cheaper. I really wouldn't be surprised if some grey market items are actually stolen/black market goods in disguise.

    Used gear that has a white market serial number however is all game for me even if I dont consider it valuable enough to repair on damage. Used gear can be a great bargain often and will serve you well for years given you know what to look for when you purchased it.
    Post edited by kyoshinikon on
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 309Member
    I can understand importing something into the Euro zone and sell it cheaper compared to local MSRP.

    However, US is typically lowest priced market. I'm wondering where the profit margin for grey market comes from and why somehow it's cheaper to source it from a higher priced market abroad?

    I have a bad feeling that those are customer returns in foreign markets. They may not be seriously wrong, but I doubt that they are brand new.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    edited December 2013
    @tc88 Gray market could simply mean that it does not come in through a "authorized" source. Meaning, a company in the US could order directly from Nikon Japan, skipping the middle man, aka Nikon USA/Canada/Europe etc. The savings come in the form of skipping the middle man and the cut taken by said distributor.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    Buying grey market is a muddled state of mind:

    If you buy grey market, your motivation is to save money - usually because you don't have enough. WHY would you (with little money) want to take a risk on your body going faulty and either having to pay big money (if it were under the white market 2 year warranty period), or even have the repair centre refuse to repair it (as I have read here can happen)?

    My D7000 had a problem with not being able to move the centre focus point during the last few months of its two year warranty period for example. My 18-105VR zoom ring started to hang up. Both repaired free, and those two if grey market purchases could have cost me way more than the difference in price between grey and white. No warranty, no free shipping, no good feeling that the Nikon Repair Centre will fix anything free.

    What if you'd bought a D600 grey import - what kind of service would you get?

    In the end, the wrong people are getting the profit from importing it, and that only benefits them.
    Always learning.
  • JuergenJuergen Posts: 315Member
    It is a gamble really.
    I bought a couple of lenses during my stay in Asia, not so much because they were a lot cheaper than in Germany, but because I stayed there quite some time and wanted to use it. One of it was a 14-24. When I used it and was not impressed with it, because it did not seem to be as sharp as I expected it to be.
    When I returned to Germany, I brought it to Nikon, and they testified, that some of the elements in the lens needed alignment. No warranty because I bought it in Asia. Repair cost about 150 €. After all, I still saved some money.

    I probably would not buy a camera body on the grey market.

    A couple of years ago I bought a van on the greenmarket though. Volkswagen, about 30% less of what I could have gotten it in Germany for. This big saving was too tempting to let it go by. I was lucky, I did not have any problem with it.

    I think in Europe with VAT and big differences in cost throughout the countries, the grey market is tempting. Whether it is worth to take the risk, everybody needs to decide for himself.
    D4, D800E, Nikon 1 J2, 600 f/4, trinity, PC-E 45, PC-E 24, 105, 50 f/1,8g, 85 f/1,4, Sigma 150-500
  • ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
    edited December 2013
    Is it 'gray' or 'grey' ?? As I'm seeing both spellings...

    I just finished reading his and thought I could share it: http://www.acecam.com/message/4839.html

    I recently have been searching the magazine advertisers for a new camera and a lens. I'm learning as I go that most of the prices posted are for grey market items.

    From what I understand, grey market usually means a lower price, but no USA warranty. Some say they have an "International Warranty."

    Can some one explain this difference and let me know if it's worth buying "grey" or not? What I'm looking to buy is a Nikon N70 and a Nikkor 35-70 f/2.8D. I've seen differences in price of a couple hundred dollars. Thank you much.

    Editor's Explanation:



    Some mail order advertisers get your attention with an incredibly low price for a camera you've been thinking about buying. This is usually a tip-off that the camera is a grey-market version. (of course, some advertisers with incredible low prices don't really have the merchandise either, and you'll learn this when you try to place an order.)

    Grey market or gray market merchandise are cameras and lenses manufactured and originally destined for sale in other countries (such as countries in Europe and South America.) The cameras/lenses became distressed merchandise (sometimes because the intended recipient couldn't pay for the shipment) and the merchandise is then bought by a US mail order dealer, imported into the US and sold without a US warranty. This means the camera equipment can often be sold for substantially lower prices than identical models properly imported into the US. Although the camera may come with an international warranty, this can mean you'll have to either pay for the repairs should the camera or lens fail during the warranty period, or jump through a lot of hoops figuring how to use the international warranty to get your camera repaired. It has been reported that both Nikon and Canon's US authorized warranty repair facilities refuse to perform warranty service on grey market cameras.

    Some sellers of grey market cameras provide their own warranty in lieu of the manufacturer's US warranty. (B&H Photo is one example.) So the choice of retailer you purchase a grey market camera from is equally important.

    As long as the seller advises you beforehand the item you want to buy is "grey market" there is nothing wrong with grey market merchandise. Be aware of the warranty problem however. Also be aware sometimes there are slight differences in the same model of camera intended for another country. For example, some of Canon's models bear different model numbers and names in the European market than those intended for the US market.

    Another name for grey market merchandise is "parallel imports."

    Some retailers won't touch grey market merchandise (Samy's Camera for one) because of the possible downside and aggravation for both the consumer and retailer should a camera or lens fail during the accustomed one year warranty. The importation of grey market merchandise also has negative impact on sales of higher priced same model cameras with US warranty.

    The United Kingdom also has grey market activity.

    Grey market film is also sold by some mail order dealers. We would have reluctance purchasing grey market film because of the storage and transportation variables which may lower the quality of film reimported from another country.



    I think I will steer well clear of these items, and not consider it a saving, not in the long run, not at all.
    Thanks for the replies, it makes much better sense to me, and has taught a valuable lesson.
    So no, not even a grey market lens for this cowboy.
    Post edited by ChasCS on
    D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
    SB-910~WG-AS3, SB-50, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s* x2, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-I 60MB/s* x1
    Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AT, GH-300T, SBH-250, SBH-100, PH-22 Panhead
    Lowepro S&F Deluxe Technical Belt and Harness ~ Pouch 60 AW 50 AW & 10, S&F Toploader 70 AW, Lens Case 11 x 26cm
    FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Vivitar Zoom 285, Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePlay XD1080

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @ChasCS: @PB_PM: "Is it 'gray' or 'grey' ?? As I'm seeing both spellings..."

    Depends on whether you speak English or American. We are two nations separated by a common language...
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • NukeNuke Posts: 64Member
    There are different types of gray market. I live in Canada and have bought gray market TCs from B&H. B&H marked them as gray market. I have bought USA market products from B&H. They are also "gray market" here in Canada. The downside to this type of purchase is, I have to return the product to the USA if they require service.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2013
    I would not have an issue in purchasing Grey market from a reputable retailer such as B & H, Adorama, etc. I might even purchase an extended warranty which includes everything, as this can be done and still save money on some items.

    When dealing with an unknown seller, one can sometimes do a search for this seller and "reviews" which will in many cases turn up negative comments if these are present. The nature of the comments can assist one in determining if the offered item is "too good to be true" and a possible bad outcome is a high risk.

    In the 1960's I purchased a grey market Nikon F Phototomic T, the meter of which never worked. But, the retailer was in Hong Kong and in those days, without any internet, communications were limited and the response to queries was often non-existent.

    Unless one can save enough to purchase an extended warranty form a reputable retailer, I would avoid grey market.

    Oh, "gray market" is what Ken Rockwell call it…LOL"
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I have in the past ordered stuff from Hong Kong it was half the UK price
    with such a big saving I was prepared to take a risk
    but I had no problems
    Today the saving is very small so I don't bother
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    So, I live in Greenland, and have bought most of my gear within the EU. One lens I bought when I was in China, and some when I was in the US.

    This summer I took all to Nikon Denmark, and ALL were serviced and aligned free of charge.

    Are you seriously telling me if I moved to the US or Canada, that Nikon US and/or Nikon CA would not service my equipment FOC? Really, they wouldn't live up to Nikon warranties?

  • tc88tc88 Posts: 309Member
    I have to admit that I haven't heard clearly from any retailers how and where they manage to get the grey market items for cheaper. So I can only guess here. But here is my reasoning.

    (1) Japan has higher MSRP than US. I would imagine the dealer cost at Japan is also higher or comparable to US. So I don't see sourcing directly from Nikon Japan will really be cheaper.

    (2) To source from Nikon Japan, I would imagine one has to be an authorized retailer in Japan. It's not as if I can go to Nikon Japan directly and buy a bunch of cameras at dealer cost. I don't see how US stores would qualify at that.

    (3) If it's sourced from authorized retailers from Japan, I would imagine the minimum MSRP also exist in Japan. I don't see how that can be got around.

    (4) So the only possibility I can come up is authorized retailers at places like Japan offloading open box items at deep discount to foreign customers.
  • NukeNuke Posts: 64Member
    @Killerbob;

    My understanding is there is a different policy for visitors from out of country. Nikon Canada or Nikon USA would probably help you as a courtesy. I on the other hand, as a resident of Canada and a holder of Nikon USA hardware would probably be refused servicing by Nikon Canada.

    The vast majority of my Nikon hardware is from Nikon Canada because of just that reason. Each Nikon division is trying to support their own retail chain. Cross border shopping has been going on between Canada and the USA for a very long time.

    That's my understanding anyway. It might be flawed?
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    I can appreciate Nikon CA (or any other country division) trying to protect their respective retail chain, but I actually think it is against fair trade lwas to deny FOC service under warranty. I know it is an expensive point to make if it goes to court, but I for sure would put up a fuss, if I had moved to the US or Canada, and was refused service.
  • NukeNuke Posts: 64Member
    I can appreciate Nikon CA (or any other country division) trying to protect their respective retail chain, but I actually think it is against fair trade lwas to deny FOC service under warranty. I know it is an expensive point to make if it goes to court, but I for sure would put up a fuss, if I had moved to the US or Canada, and was refused service.
    I don't think that is the same thing either. If you moved to the US or Canada and can prove you purchased the hardware from Nikon EU before moving, you'd probably get the support.

    The issue is, if your living in say Canada and buying Nikon hardware from the USA.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Good luck. Each of the Nikon legal entities are incorporated independently in the country of origin. Who are you going to sue? If Nikon USA refuses to work on goods that they deem are "illegally" imported, that is well within their rights. They will say "Go back to the country you purchased it in for service"

    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • NukeNuke Posts: 64Member
    I can understand importing something into the Euro zone and sell it cheaper compared to local MSRP.

    However, US is typically lowest priced market. I'm wondering where the profit margin for grey market comes from and why somehow it's cheaper to source it from a higher priced market abroad?

    I have a bad feeling that those are customer returns in foreign markets. They may not be seriously wrong, but I doubt that they are brand new.
    Actually, I will dispute that. Nikon USA has a policy that all dealers must show the same advertised price. I'm not sure if you can call the dealer and get a lower price or not? You'll have to ask our US friends. In the USA they bundle Nikon purchases with other things like SD cards, bags, filters etc. and still show the same price for the bundle as the Nikon USA MSRP, to lower the price. That's great if you need the other hardware. Many of us don't.

    I (generally) find our Canadian prices to be lower then the USA prices on Nikon hardware. Nikon Canada has no such restrictions on their dealers. Each dealer can sell at what ever they feel is their bottom line. There are deals to be had in the USA when Nikon USA lowers the price on lenses or camera + lenses for a period of time. We never see such offerings here in Canada from Nikon CA. That being said, our day to day buying of Nikon hardware is generally lower if you shop around within Canada.

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    Is it 'gray' or 'grey' ?? As I'm seeing both spellings...
    Most likely typos. It was in my case.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
    No, not you bud, because if you do a search on Yahoo, you'll see there are both spellings used.

    I didn't know grey was a colour, or simply used for the description of goods bought and sold.
    Gray on the other hand is the color of my dark blonde hair now.

    http://www.greyorgray.com/about.html

    No, Not just you bud...
    D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
    SB-910~WG-AS3, SB-50, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s* x2, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-I 60MB/s* x1
    Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AT, GH-300T, SBH-250, SBH-100, PH-22 Panhead
    Lowepro S&F Deluxe Technical Belt and Harness ~ Pouch 60 AW 50 AW & 10, S&F Toploader 70 AW, Lens Case 11 x 26cm
    FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Vivitar Zoom 285, Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePlay XD1080

  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Actually what Nikon's definition on "grey market" says is that goods imported to a country and sold to customers, circumventing the national distributor, are not nessesarily covered FOC. However if you have a receipt from a Nikon distributor in any country, that will be covered - also in another country than the said distributor. That means, if you go to The US and buy a lens from an official Nikon dealer, and get the proper stamps, and then go back to the Europe, Nikon Europe has to service it. Only if you do NOT have a receipt from a Nikon dealer, and may have purchased it from an online vendor circumventing Nikons distribution channel, are you out of luck.

    I just ran that by my brother who is an corporate lawyer in Denmark, and he agrees that is what Nikon in Europe says on their website.
  • ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
    That's interesting and I'm glad to learn this. Thanks.
    D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
    SB-910~WG-AS3, SB-50, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s* x2, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-I 60MB/s* x1
    Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AT, GH-300T, SBH-250, SBH-100, PH-22 Panhead
    Lowepro S&F Deluxe Technical Belt and Harness ~ Pouch 60 AW 50 AW & 10, S&F Toploader 70 AW, Lens Case 11 x 26cm
    FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Vivitar Zoom 285, Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePlay XD1080

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    To be a savvy consumer, you have to take proper steps in oder to insure any gear you purchase is covered under warranty should it need service. I personally, would not buy any gear that has been tagged as "grey market," sold or distributed under that label. Hence, even though Adorama & B&H sell them, the cost saving is mute...for me. I would much rather find the saving in the used market..ie, Ebay or local privet seller.

    With that said, I agree with spraynpray comments. +1 buddy.

    @Killerbob: thanks for the clarification. I have spoken to Nikon USA in the past about such matters and they have informed me that they will ONLY warranty items made and sold by authorized dealers within the USA.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    That's exactly the point. Nikon USA has a different policy than Nikon Europe. In the EU Nikon has to play ball differently because of EU law and also just practical matters because there are so many countries in close proximity. Good luck getting Nikon USA to honor a warranty from another country especially Canada or Mexico.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    @Golf007sd: This thread has opened up a large can o' worms for me, because if one buys used off ebay or wherever, one has zero idea of where the item originated...
    Always learning.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @spraynpray: Easy fix buddy: ask the seller for the item serial number, then call Nikon USA and they will tell you if it is a US model or not :P

    When I buy from a privet party, I make sure they have the box to go with the item. US gold boxes usually start out with a (U) XXXXXX. I then check the serial number on the box and make sure it is the same on the item. If so all is good so long as the item function to my specifications.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
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