Any Real Advantage In Buying Domestic?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by FrayAdjacent, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Veteran

    I got my EM-5 at the beginning of the year, and I love it. I recently sold the 25mm f/1.4 (and have a 17 f/2.8 and 12-50mm listed for sale) with the intention of picking up a Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8. I was tentatively planning to visit a friend in DC for a week, then head up to NYC in June, and the new lens would be a great walking-around lens.

    Well, plans got dashed for at least the DC part of the trip. Friend took a new job and is starting that week.

    Anyway... looking around at some of the usual domestic vendors, the lens can be had for around $1150. Checking eBay, there are a few sellers with lots of feedback and very high ratings that ship out of either Hong Kong or Japan that are selling for just under $1000. I'm heavily leaning toward buying from one of those sellers. Shipping time doesn't bother me.

    I know the warranty coverage may be different since it wouldn't have technically been bought in the US... but are there any other real caveats about buying from a seller in Hong Kong or Japan?
  2. aikidoka

    aikidoka Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2011
    I think Panasonic warranty only applies in the country where the lens was bought, in this case HK
  3. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    You may get hit with customs and sales tax charges. Worth working out if it'll still be cheaper once you take all that into account.
  4. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
    Not sure how Olympus and Panasonic are about this stuff, but I think cheaper gray market imports were enough of a problem for Nikon that apparently Nikon USA refuses to service or provide parts for anything without a US serial number.

    The key point is that at some point you will be out of warranty and have to pay for a repair regardless. For Nikon USA at least, you can't buy service or parts on a gray market import apparently.
  5. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't think we in the US get hit with that kinda thing, so I'd be dodging regular sales taxes... although if I ordered from one of the major US vendors, I wouldn't be paying sales tax anyway since they are in different states than I am. Amazon collects taxes in my state, tho.

    Yeah, That's what I was thinking but chances are pretty slim that I'd need to use a warranty. I can't remember the last time I had to use a warranty on an electronic device to be honest.

    I think saving $150 (15% or so) is worth a slight bit of risk.
  6. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
    The customs stuff would worry me the most. I have read threads about getting assessed undisclosed customs duties that wipe out the savings. But have never researched it myself.
  7. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    It is really kind of a gamble with pretty good odds. The odds of a lens needing servicing is really pretty slim. However if it does need servicing the cost can be fairly high. I personally would not take the gamble just for my own peace of mind.
  8. cameranut

    cameranut Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 14, 2013
    Virginia Beach, Va
    I just bought the P12-35 myself and did a little research on customs duties re camera lens. From what I was able to find on the internet, the duty on a common camera lens is 2.1% [$21 on a $1000 lens]. I ordered it, but no duty was charged, so still dont know if that is the correct rate !
  9. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Veteran

    Nice to know. Saving $130 is still a decent amount.
  10. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Same goes for Nokton lenses in USA ... grey market lenses get no service.
  11. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    US customs will send you a bill, probably. I was thinking about the 35-100 from Japan. The occasional used mint one is around $1060 and new $1100. That's roughly $300 savings. That would pay for a repair in the unlikely event.
  12. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Veteran

    Well, I ordered the lens on Saturday from a vendor on Amazon that had positive reviews. $975. So I paid $10 extra for express shipping. Got it earlier today. Shazam!

    Haven't had any time to play with it yet, since I had to go to work. Did verify that it powers up and everything works, tho.
  13. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
    It appears Panasonic USA does not discriminate based on the region bought.

    Transcript from Panasonic dated Apr 24, 2013 1:07:57 PM
    In response to question: Digital Still Camera
    System: Welcome to Panasonic Chat. A transcript of this chat will be emailed to you once you disconnect.
    Agent Ashlee R. says: Hello. How may I assist you?

    Customer Ted says: If I buy a used out of warranty Panasonic camera sold in Europe, and need to pay for it to be serviced, will Panasonic service it in the US? Cameras sold in Europe have slightly different settings (25 fps for video instead of 30 fps in the US, for example)
    Agent Ashlee R. says: yes you can repair it in the US sir
    Agent Ashlee R. says: but we normally recommemd that you repair the units in the regions bought
    Customer Ted says: Thanks
    System: The client has lost connection to the server, retrying...
    System: The client has lost connection to the server, retrying...
    System: Interaction Center

    Panasonic Corporation of North America
    Panasonic North America - Electronics for your home and business
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