Any down side to buying grey market lenses? 12-40 in particular

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by WithOpenedEyes, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Other than the warranty. Looking at the Oly 12-40 and the new prices are attractive. Are there any serious problems with this lens that make a warranty something worthwhile?
  2. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Real Name:
    I bought mine grey market from a reputable eBay seller. No issues at all. And I haven't heard of any general issues with the lens that would make me hesitant to do it again. As a Canadian, the cost savings were just too significant to ignore given the price increases resulting from our weak dollar.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I had heard a couple of issues with earlier versions where the lens mount fell off, but apart from that they seem pretty solid! Think of it as like buying used, but you get something that is guaranteed to be "as new"! I'd go for reputable dealers that have good feedback, several offer warranties and I have actually claimed against a grey market warranty offered by the seller and it all worked out good.
  4. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    No issues other than warranty, and assuming you've bought an import from another country rather than a domestic gray market (imported by a domestic seller), you'll have to deal with international shipping to return/replace it if you have any issues.

    Everything else will be the same.
  5. This is all what I've been thinking. It's a fairly solid piece..and yes, I know there's some plastic in there, but the New price for grey market roughly the same as Used makes me want to take a chance on it. I might be less likely to do this with a camera body with way more moving parts.
  6. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    May 1, 2015
    I bought my EM1 from a HK based place which gives three years warranty (not sure if I'm allowed to name names) and it was faulty when it arrived (viewfinder screen wasn't straight).

    Their initial suggestion was to send it to Olympus UK and they would pay the charge but then they agreed to have it picked up and send me a new one - no bother at all. It suggests to me that if there is a warranty claim you send it to local Oly and they pay the bill, saves having to ship it back to HK.
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    Will Olympus service gray market items? I know that Nikon USA will not even touch them, even if you offer to pay for the repairs.

  8. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Yes, Olympus will, I've read a few reports of people getting imports serviced without issue.

    Olympus do not service cameras themselves in the US, Precision Camera does it for them. Worst case you can get Precision Camera to service it directly.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. king_solom0n

    king_solom0n Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2015
    I actually bought one this week. It arrived really quick. Haven't had any issues with it so far.
  10. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    How could they even prove that you bought it grey market? All grey market means is that you bought an item intended for one market from a different market. Because of economics and local laws, grey market items are nothing more than the same item offered at a different price point. Soooo, back to my question, how can Nikon refuse to service an item that they really have no idea of where you bought it? Would it be completely unreasonable to assume you might have actually bought your lens while traveling to Japan, America, Europe, etc.? No.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The serial numbers of official US Nikon imports start with "US". The leading characters in Olympus serial numbers may indicate the market they were made for, or there could be records of what serial number blocks were sent where (This is the most probable since it doesn't require special serialization and still permits required configuration control tracking.) I'm pretty sure every manufacturer knows what was exported to where.
  12. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Yes, but that wasn't my point. Does Nikon prohibit you from buying their merch from locations that you don't live? Seems to me if you (for example) are an American, travel to Japan and while there pick up a Nikon lens and then bring it home to America with you, you have done nothing wrong. You purchased the product in the place it was intended to be sold.

    So based on that how can Nikon refuse a repair claiming it is grey market it they have no idea if you actually bought it in the market it was intended? Just because you have a product serialized for the country different from where you live doesn't automatically mean you must have bought it grey market, right?
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    In the case of Nikon, what you described is exactly what will happen. If you buy a lens in say Japan and bring it to the US you can only have it serviced in Japan. They know exactly which market it's from by the serial number. Not only will they not honor the warranty in the US they won't even repair it at any price, except in the market where it was purchased. They've also quit supplying independent service shops with parts.

    This is causing a lot of grief for Nikon users. Maybe not so much hobby guys but the pros with $10,000 sports lenses really care about this stuff. For Olympus or Panasonic, I don't know their policies but I doubt they're this draconian.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Sounds to me like a very good reason for anyone using their stuff to move to another system. But especially pros who are probably MORE likely to buy from other markets as they travel and need to add or replace to their kit.
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Well, Olympus did have worldwide warranty for plenty of years. Really sad they dropped the practice, it came in handy. I can only imagine the impact it had on pro users...
  16. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Real Name:
    Most pros are going to know what lenses they need before they go on travel, and won't be buying their gear away from their home country. And in the case of Nikon, they're probably NPS (Nikon Pro Service) members who get their gear repaired quickly and won't mess with Grey Market items because of it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    And Precision Camera's prices seem to be lower than Oly USA. PC's website says the flat-rate for 12-40mm repairs is $131 incl return shipping; I'm almost certain that's lower than Oly. The only question is whether any charges for parts are different.

    I'm waiting for a response from PC regarding a quote on a broken mount on my 12-40mm; I've got another thread about it which I will update after I hear back:
    I think I damaged my 12-40mm lens

  18. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Damiano Visocnik
    It would totally suck tho if anybody that travels or moves to "US and A" and owns Nikon gear (that was not purchased locally) would then need service?
    No sorry can't do! ... is that the answer they would get? o_O
    Luckily things are different with Olympus and if I needed attention to my Australian bought equipment, while in US I would be looked after. :th_salute:
  19. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    It is a flat rate either way. And Olympus's prices are exactly the same, $131.36 US...
    Olympus Service & Repair
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I've bought lots of lenses from grey market sellers (both Canon and M4/3)...never had an issue. With the Canadian dollar being so bad and our prices at the store astronomical, my next lens or two will be grey market again.