Going "gray" ...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Fishrrman, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #1
    I was wondering if anyone could post about their good -- or bad -- experiences buying gray market cameras and lenses.

    I was considering a new Canon EOS R w/24-105.
    "Going gray" could save me around 700+ over buying with the USA warranty.

    I'm fully aware of the possibilities of dealing with a warranty issue during the warranty period (1 year). But... if a repair cost less than $700, I would still be either "even or ahead". After a year had passed, wouldn't matter, because I'd still have to pay.

    I've been waiting for Canon to put the EOS R into their online refurbished store, but it doesn't appear to be happening. I've bought from the Canon refurb store twice before, very satisfied and saved good $$$ both times. But no EOS R there to buy... :(

    So... I might take the risk of "buying gray".
    What say you?
    Any dealers to recommend?
     
  2. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Location:
    Tanagra
    #2
    I’ve purchased used equipment from B&H. I find that their ratings are conservative—usually the gear is nicer than expected. I’ve purchased lenses and a bridge camera used (FZ1000). At least with them, you have a return window to put the product through its paces, and they seem very easy to deal with on returns too.
     
  3. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #3
    I've never bought grey and don't think I ever will. I don't knew for sure, but I imagine that in addition to the warranty issue, the manufacturer will not give you any technical support at all. My philosophy is that if it is something important enough to have right now, then it is worth the price. If it is not worth the price, then I can wait.
     
  4. tizeye macrumors 6502

    tizeye

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    Jul 17, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    It is not worth the risk long term. While I don't know if Canon does this, but Nikon out of warranty doesn't matter, they won't repair a gray market camera, EVER. They will only work on a camera originally purchased from a worldwide authorized dealer network. I one asked them if on a shoot and all my gear is stolen, having to be replaced on the local/foreign market to complete the job, would NikonUSA recognize the foreign warranty and out of warranty repairs, and the answer was yes IF purchased from an authorized dealer in that country. While 3rd party/independent repair shops might repair a grey market camera as they sell these independent warranties, the question is can they get the parts that Nikon controls. While they may not do it today, historically, Nikon had played hardball by withholding parts.

    The next issue is if you go to sell it, price may not be supported...and the buyer may be unknowingly buying into a nightmare. Far better to save money buying used as dealers such as B&H and KEH typically will not purchase to sell used gear that is gray market, or worse, the serial number has been reported stolen.
     
  5. Fishrrman thread starter macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    "While I don't know if Canon does this, but Nikon out of warranty doesn't matter, they won't repair a gray market camera, EVER."

    From what I can gather, Canon is exactly the opposite.
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #6
    Every time I see this thread I think it’s something to do with hair!

    Anyway I’d not risk buying a camera this way. As others have said if you are looking to save money second hand from a reputable dealer is the way to go.
    Most of my glass was bought that way.
     
  7. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Keep in mind that you are likely to have to pay duty and the various fees if you are buying from abroad. I recently bought a lens adapter and after waiting weeks for it to get through customs got a big bill for the duty. Nearly new used is a better bet as you will likely get a warranty if its from a dealer. I've noticed that whenever there is a new camera out, shops will have lots of 'open-box' discounted cameras that have been sent back by Youtube 'reviewers'.
     
  8. tizeye macrumors 6502

    tizeye

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #8
    It is even worse when it is your last name and people want to know about shades. Went to an orthopedic surgeon about knee pain and he wanted to know if bondage was involved. I shot it right back at him, asking if he read my biography, Grey's Anatomy.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 15, 2019 ---
    Are you trying to tell me that those snotty nose pubescent teens with their voice cracking don't actually own that $3000 camera body that they are making an unboxing video but are playing with their daddy's credit card canceling the purchase with the return period. Tell me it isn't so!
     
  9. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #9
    Likewise.

    Initially, I thought that this was to do with hair, as well.

    To the topic at hand: As others have already remarked, if you are buying something that expensive, buy it from a reputable and authorised dealer. That way, you know that it is legitimate, and you also know that warranties will be honoured.
     
  10. tizeye, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019

    tizeye macrumors 6502

    tizeye

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #10
    Yes, found that out the hard way. Ordered several lens from a Sony authorized Canadian dealer (Vistek), and interestingly, the Canadian warranty is 2 years vs 1 year for US identical lens. I was basically playing the exchange rate, saving several hundred. First couple of times they shipped Canadian post handing off to USPS and apparently the cost for the 35 f2.8 and 55 f1.8 didn't exceed the customs duty threshold. But then, the 70-200 f4 was shipped FedEx and not only did I have the customs duty bill but also the FedEx customs clearance broker charge, essentially wiping out the exchange rate savings.

    Not certain if price includes Canadian taxes, but next time in Canada, may need to go shopping and carry it back with me - although the exchange rate isn't as favorable now.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    I've kicked the idea around myself. I think the concensus back when I was asking is to avoid it. I'm personally not against it, provided you know the risks. The one take away I got from my research is that even if a third party warranty was advertised, its all but useless. If you go into the deal with your eyes wide open realizing that you will not have any sort of warranty and you're ok with that, then go for it.
     
  12. Moakesy macrumors regular

    Moakesy

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    I have bought grey in the past, a long while ago. It was through an importer, so I purchased in the UK and they had done all the import stuff, meaning the price I paid was a known deal. Basically they sourced it from Hong Kong, imported it and then sold it cheaper than official UK dealers.

    For me it worked out ok. Saved a considerable sum and got the product I wanted. It never went wrong, so no repair nightmares.

    It depends on what you think the chances are of it breaking. We all are aware how completely new products to market can be unreliable (think of the various Nikon quality issues they had a few years ago), so consider that.

    I wouldn't buy grey today, as I earn more than I did and I'd rather pay extra for the peace of mind, but 20 years ago, when money was tight, it enabled me to save some much needed cash.

    $700 saving is a lot of money, so for me personally, as long as you know what import taxes are and that if it goes wrong you are on your own, then I say why not? Just be happy if it works out and don't complain if it goes wrong.
     

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11 April 14, 2019