Alternative Nikon Repair Facilities, to Nikon USA (I am now paranoid)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by spencer_hahn, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. I was browsing the forums and came across this:

    In this thread, a consumer bought what he thought was a USA version
    of a D100, when it was in fact an import, and now he can't get
    service. I've read a bunch of threads in the past several months
    pertaining to Nikon's intermittent refusal to service ANY non-USA
    versions of their products, which leads to my question:

    I bought a used F5 from Roberts Imaging in Indianapolis (90-day
    Roberts warranty). Should anything ever happen to my baby, how do I
    know if it's a USA version? Obviously there's a way to track via S/N,
    but is this list public (or leaked)? I'm thinking probably not.


    It's also happens to be leader-out modified, and that counts as some
    type of 'service' right? So do you all think I'm safe? Or do you
    think it's possible it was imported and they just didn't check the
    S/N that time? I'm kinda freaking out here!

    BTW, the S/N is 3020XXX.

  2. You can call Nikon and they will tell you if it is grey or not. If it is grey, I wouldnt worry too much about it. There are plenty of non nikon shops that fix film based cameras. Digital bodies are a whole nother can of worms.
  3. Brian's right, and you may want to check your local repair shops for what they have to
    say also. For simple repairs the local folks are probably going to have a better turn
    around time anayway, and I doubt that they would be more expensive that Nikon's
    techs. Since you're paying the bill in any event, you may as well do what works best
    for you.
  4. I would worry about your Nikon F5.

    I have a friend in the camera repair business who was unable to buy parts for the F4 for years. These companies have ways of making life hard for independent camera repair business. He told me one company was holding on to parts list and charged a $25.00 "research fee." He knows what part to order but doesn’t know the secrete code. This is why people who think governments do not need to regulate these pirates have no idea what they are talking about. I don’t remember which company charged this fee or I would post it.

    A local camera store I frequent will not carry Kodak digital cameras. I can’t remember specifics but they just won’t deal with Kodak on these products. I’ve also heard complaints about problems obtaining parts from the repair industry.

    I believe National Camera has put some legal weight on some of these companies as far as unlawfully withholding repair parts. Minolta got busted for trying to fix prices on the original Maxxum and its lenses. These are not nice companies.

    "Not even a local repair shop because Nikon has not released the proper equipment and software to camera repair shops to make repairs to the motherboard (as of 10/30/2003)." -- Bryan Wynacht,

    This is exactly the kind of problem my friend has had from Nikon in the past and precisely why I respect neither Nikon Japan nor Nikon USA.
  5. I just checked my F-100 and 35mm AFD lens and on both a US in engraved at the beginning of the serial number. I'm not sure if this is done on all models but it might be something to look for before purchasing.
  6. You left out the part about Bryan having his camera for 9 months before he checked
    on the warranty. Had he paid attention when he first got his camera, he would not be
    in the position that he's in now. Of course that doesn't make as juicy of a story as
    your version. A real tear jerker.

    Why not post a list of all of the things that government does really well. That would
    surely bolster your argument. I just love folks that want the government to run their
    lives, and everyone else's. They can't figure out that if you don't like the way somone
    does business that you can go somewhere else, so they just stand around and
    complain. That always helps a lot. And some of those folks continue to buy from the
    very companies that they don't like, that way they can continue to snivel.
  7. Carl--was that directed toward me? If so, I don't see how that has anything to do with my question, so why include it? I simply said that reading this thread got me thinking about MY camera.

    Everyone else--so if it was leader-out modified by NikonUSA, do you think the chances are good it's a USA version, or has anyone gotten their import leader-out modified without any problems?
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Guys, please do not bring those attacks from the other thread into here also. Thanks in advance.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    BTW, Nikon USA's no grey-market repair policy started with the F5 (1996). If you have older cameras, I don't think they can even distinguish whether they are USA or grey. My most recent USA lenses have the prefix "US" engraved along with the serial number, but my 1999 24mm/f2.8 AF-D doesn't nor anything earlier.
  10. Nikon Japan should end this stupid game and stop screwing their customers and they should do this without being force by any government. If Nikon Japan cared about their customers a Nikon warranty would be honored world wide no matter where the camera was purchased. This gray market stuff has been going on for years, perhaps two decades. It’s ridiculous, Nikon can dump products without warranty in the US and Canada and I’m sure elsewhere without a usefully warranty.

    The cheap tricks these companies pull on independent camera repair businesses should end also but they don’t so laws are required. Some people are blissfully unaware of how they are protected and how unprotected they would feel if the world was run by thugs. A friend of my father’s remembered when his home in Kansas City was dynamited. His father was well liked so he was tipped off 60 seconds before the bomb blew. The target was the neighbor’s house. His family lived the others died.

    At one time the cities of Italy were at war. Can you imaging Los Angles attacking San Francisco or San Diego? Once the whole world was like that.

    "Carl--was that directed toward me?" --Spencer Hahn

    Most likely at me because I’m very customer oriented. I was this way when I ran my own photo finishing business. I worked with open accounts and I could not afford to screw my customers as I relied on repeat orders from a fairly small number of customers.

    My F5 has a little oval-sticker that says "NikonUSA." Any fool could have these printed. I don’t know in fact that I have a Nikon USA F5 because the warranty cards could be fake also. The store I bought my camera from was in business for at least 25 years and I trust them. I do not trust Nikon with cause. I’ve had problems with their network of authorized repair stations. I know at least some of the cheap tricks they’ve pulled on my camera repairman friend.
  11. Yes Spencer, you should be paranoid. You made a mistake buying that body (((used))) whether its US or Grey. If Roberts sold you a used F-5 then the original warranty is no longer valid. No extended warantee is available for you either. Why? These Nikon warranties do not transfer with change of ownership. My local authorized repair facility has dialed me in on the repair hassles people now face. SO, They have convinced me to purchase new in the box nikon with full usa paperwork ONLY! They are the only facility and dealer of several dealers locally that have displayed "Nikon USA's stance on grey market repair sheets" available on their counter. Ever seen one of those? I even have a copy I got from them. They hand'um out if you ask. By the way, I know of only 1 ebay seller that reminds bidders of his used newer era nikon equiptment that clearly states in his auctions" he is not a authorized nikon dealer and warranties do not exist for his used items". Obviously this cuts into final sales dollars but he's honest and upfront when reselling Nikon. Lindy
  12. I ran into a similar problem some time ago, the film counter inside the viewfinder of my Nikon F5 started to malfunction, I bought the camera at a dealer in Brooklyn that sold it to me supposedly with a Nikon warranty product for three years. I realized that this wasn't true when I tried to get the camera fixed at Nikon USA using my warranty, they said no, the camera is gray market, we won't even touch it for a fee. I contacted the dealer to complaint, and they sent me a warranty certificate to get the camera repaired at Mack Camera under warranty, I took my camera there and they fixed it properly at no cost.

    Now, a gray Nikon F5 is still a Nikon product, and I think that what Nikon USA does not accepting these cameras even for "paid repairs" is wrong, they should repair them and charge for the repair. On the other hand, theoretically, a Nikon "gray" product doesn't come with a Nikon USA Warranty, but it's supposed to have Nikon's Japan International Warranty, which means that any Nikon Authorized service facility outside the USA is obligated to make any "under warranty" repairs at no cost, therefore I don't understand why they would also refuse to repair cameras purchased outside of the country as others here suggested.

    My advise, contact Nikon Japan and explain this situation to them, or force the dealer to replace the product if it can't be fixed in the USA where you purchased it.
  13. No Spencer, it wasn't directed at you. :eek:)

    David is the one bleeding for Bryan, who shot himself in the foot (metaphorically) by
    not paying attention to what he was doing, and now wants everyone to feel sorry for
    him. An immediate dispute with his credit card company would have taken care of the
    problem a long time ago.

    Truth be told, you really have to look to find a grey market D100, the reputable
    dealers, B&H, KEH, Adorama, etc., don't even list them, and only offer the USA
    warranty models. But, if one lies down with pigs.................
  14. Shun, I’m not bring in an attack in form another thread I’m pointing out that others know that Nikon withholds parts and I forgot software and my friend and his business has experienced exactly the same treatment from Nikon as the local repair shop Bryan Wynacht took his D100 to.


    Lindy Stone,

    Can you post a copy? I really like to see it ("Nikon USA's stance on grey market repair sheets")


  16. Wait wait wait...

    I'm not asking if I got a NikonUSA warranty. OBVIOUSLY I didn't get a NikonUSA warranty. I hope most people interpreted the question as: "Should my camera need servicing in the future, will it be accepted by NikonUSA?"

    I absolutely disagree that buying used is a mistake. A new F5 runs $2000, while a used one set me back only $800. Sure it's scuffed up, but *it still works* (for now). Some people would say "if you want a pro-level body, save up to buy it new...blah blah blah".

    That's total crap.

    For me, I don't see any reason to buy new when you can buy fully-functioning used equipment for 40% of the price. It's kinda like getting 2 1/2 chances to get a good one. Kinda. And usually it turns out OK the first time, and you save 60%! Again, kinda (that "brand new" feeling is not worth 60% to me). Also, if I can test it out in-store and they can back it up with a 3-month warranty then I have a warm, fuzzy feeling of pseudo-security.

    Until those 3 months are up.

    But anyway, no one's answered the second half of my question:

    "If it's been leader-out modified, is it likely to be a USA version?"

    The 90 days expire in early December. Do you recommend I get a Mack warranty before then or just risk it with faith in Divine Providence and the Nikon name?
  17. Most of the new Nikon equipment that I bought from B&H was advertised as USA
    Nikon warranty. I have noticed that the equipment has a serial number preceded by
    the letters "US". I suppose this means United States which may be different from
    imported models, I don't know.
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Spencer, if something goes wrong with your F5 later on, you can always get it fixed by Mack for a fee, right? Unless your used F5 is not in good shape or you are planning to use it in rough conditions, I am not sure an extended warranty really pays. But that is your decision and "luck" is part of it.
  19. ""If it's been leader-out modified, is it likely to be a USA version?"

    Spencer, this is strictly a guess, but, I would think that it was a USA warrantied model
    that Nikon modified.

    " The 90 days expire in early December. Do you recommend I get a Mack warranty
    before then or just risk it with faith in Divine Providence and the Nikon name?"

    At B&H, they state that Mack warranties must be purchased no later than 30 days
    after the equipment purchase. But, as Shun has said, don't get too worked up over
    this. I do understand your concern, but check the serial number, and then just go
    from there. Again, your local repair shop may be able put you at ease, check it out.
  20. "If it's been leader-out modified, is it likely to be a USA version?" --Spencer Hahn

    Or maybe Canada? Or maybe ___________ ? Perhaps it is likely USA but how would you know?

    "Do you recommend I get a Mack warranty before then or just risk it with faith in Divine Providence and the Nikon name?" --Spencer Hahn

    And what if Mack can’t get the parts, specialized equipment, tools and software?

    Additionally, Nikon USA does not sell F5 or F100 parts or specialized test equipment to independent service centers. --Nikon Dealer Information

    Spencer Hahn’s question is an excellent one and one everyone buying used will have to ask. Not only this but Nikon won’t repair a lot of USA warranty products that are discontinued. I have a Nikkor lens that I bought new with Nikon USA warranty from an authorized dealer that Nikon won’t repair and local independent shops won’t repair either. I bought this lens as a close-out eleven or twelve years ago. I’ve done minor repairs or adjustments on about a dozen Nikkors but this is a zoom lens. I now have a choice of attempting a repair that's beyond my knowledge or accepting it as a $600.00 paperweight ($785.00 in CPI adjusted dollars). I won’t know if it’s beyond my skills until I’ve repaired or butchered it.

    I suppose it’s my fault for trusting Nikon?



    If it’s an unconditional repair or replace warranty (all cause) and if your conscience allows my friend has seen N65(s) and such that he believes were placed on a driveway and run-over because the owner no longer wanted the camera. He has to look at them and say Yup! It’s uneconomical to repair.

    My friend is working as a sub-contractor to a major chain part time because the specialty camera retailer in who’s store his shop was located folded.

    If you can still get a Mack warranty it might be a good idea. I presume you would want the camera repaired, the first paragraph was not a "serving suggestion."


  21. I don't think Nikon sells this gray market gear to the gray importers. It's originally given for an authorized dealer to sell, but because the gray importer imports it to US, while the Nikon warranty card says "distributor: Nikon Singapore" or whatever, then it can't be sold with that warranty as the sales receipt would be from a company based in the US, while the warranty is meant for the Asian market [say]. Thus the problem is not Nikon Japan's fault, since they cannot control this.

    The problem arises because of the large number of unauthorized imports to the US, which forces Nikon USA to fight it by making life for the gray market items difficult. However, it's not fair for the second hand market, as it becomes very risky to buy a used item in the US. Fortunately this problem doesn't exist in Europe.
  22. If you have older cameras, I don't think they can even distinguish whether they are USA or grey.
    Unfortunately, that's not true. When I needed service on some gear I bought used (F3HP and some lenses; I buy all my gear used, or have so far), I called Nikon USA to ask if there was any way I could tell if it was imported (a great likelihood since I live in Asia-intense Hawaii). Their response? "No, you have to send it in. We'll make that determination. If it's grey-market, we'll send it back to you" [not repaired, of course].
    What is true is that Canon USA will repair equipment (and honor the warranty if there is one) no matter where it's from. Just one more example of how it is that Nikon execs pulled the amazing feat of losing their market dominance to Canon. A whole bunch of business types at Nikon need to be fired.
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    So Doug, did you actually send it in and get an answer?

    Again, Nikon USA's no grey repair policy started with the F5 in 1996. If you have a 1980 F3, I kind of doubt that they still have records from 23 years ago, especially since computers were no as common back then.
  24. No, Shun, I didn't send it in. The prosect of being without it for several weeks, only to have it possibly returned unrepaired - meanwhile I'm out the shiping charges - was not one I looked forward to. If it were true that Nikon can't tell where pre-F5 cameras were made, that would mean that nikon USA will repair most of the cameras out there. And yet that is the opposite of what they say they will do.
  25. Nikon USA does not have a legal monopoly for importing Nikon product into the United States. If Nikon USA had they would exercise it. Nikon USA is not independent of Nikon Japan so how is it not Nikon Japan’s responsibility. If I sell something with my right hand and warranty that it is free of defects can my left hand refuse to make the promise good? This is ridiculous. Nikon Japan has a moral responsibility to it’s customers and it has the means to devise a system whereby every customer who legally buys a genuine Nikon product is covered.

    When Nikon was imported by EPOI and not a division of Nikon Japan, EPOI had a legal right to an import monopoly and exercised it. US Customs enforced EPOI’s legal monopoly. Tourists could bring in a small amount of Nikon equipment purchased on vacation or business trips usually only on their person.

    The gray market is not illegal, black market meaning stolen goods is. Nikon USA is using nefarious means to try and create a monopoly that it has no right to. This all goes back to the mother company. One person has no leverage against Nikon USA and Japan. We the people do. We the people should.
  26. We the people are - they're buying Canon.
  27. If I send a fax to Nikon Canada, I can get a free estimate for any Nikon camera part I want including the part number. Pretty much any repair shop should be able to handle a film camera, although its possible that the F5 may need some computer diagnostic equipment in some cases that Nikon may or may not sell to independents (if so big $$$$).
    Call Nikon, give them the serial and they can tell you if its Nikon USA or not. Honestly though, with their flat rate repair costs being so high, its gotta be pretty major for Nikon to be the cheapest! There are many independents that can do as good or better a job than Nikon (Winball Camera in Toronto for example).
  28. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In the US, Mamiya is a trademark for Mamiya USA. It is illegal for anybody else to import anything with the Mamiya logo into the US, but somehow it is ok for tourists to bring one item each in at a time. I am no legal expert in this, so don't ask me for the details.

    As a result, there are no new gray-market Mamiya cameras at the camera stores, but Mamiya USA prices are sky high, roughly twice as the corresponding prices in Asia. So what do the consumers do? They mail order directly from Asia, Europe (where Mamiya prices are still much lower than those in the US), etc. Or people just bring them in as tourists and re-sell them at places such as E-Bay.

    If Nikon can somehow ban the import of grey-market Nikon products, Nikon will be like Mamiya now. And I don't think the sky-high Mamiya USA prices are "good" for us consumers. In fact, that was one of the main reasons that I chose Contax instead of Mamiya for my medium format needs.

    As long as there is a price differential among different areas/countries, people will find a way to take advantage of the lower price elsewhere, and there will be grey market. Lots of Europeans buy Nikons in the US to take advantage of the lower US prices too. When I lived near New York, for several years I used to visit B&H every month. They are jam packed with European tourists speaking everything but English.
  29. For the record (I guess the other thread was deleted???), I think its a highly unscrupulous practice to refuse paid repairs outside of warranty. Nikon USA should be happy to getting paid for warranty service on a body that they would have had to repair under warranty! I'll bet the profit margins on a single repair equal several F5 sales...

    I've converted the official warranty policy to acrobat format if anyone wants to host it.

    I had an F3 repaired/overhauled by Nikon Canada that I bought from an Ebay auction in Toronto. I have no idea where the camera originated from but its from the early '80s. Every other repair I've used independents just because it didn't make sense to use Nikon. (MF lenses)
  30. I just checked both of my F5s. Neither has a US stamped on it. One was bought new here in Chicago when they first came out and the second is a Nikon refurb. There is a circular stamp in the metal after the number but that may be on all of them.

    FWIW, salesmen in Japan are shocked to learn that Nikon USA won't repair Nikon's bought elsewhere. They always proudly hand me the "International Warranty" and tell me that if ever needs service Nikon will fix it. Then I tell them the truth about Nikon USA and they are very surprised and tell me stories of Nikon equipment from other countries that is readily repaired. So the "lack of fix" is in for the US but not the rest of the world.

    The only time I had a problem with something I had bought in Japan, I returned it to Japan. Postage, insurance and all was cheaper than Nikon USA. And I got it back much faster. I haven't sent a Nikon to a Nikon center in years. I just run them up to NCS, whose owner used to be part of the Nikon center there before they closed it and he has it back in no time at a reasonable price.

  31. jbq


    Does anybody know how that works in the other direction? Will Nikon France repair Nikon USA products? I'd like to by an N75 as a Christmas present for my father as a replacement for his F501 (N2020). Will he be able to get it repaired in France if something goes wrong?

    Similarly, I may buy a D100 soon to add to my family of 3 Nikon bodies. In 18 months I'll most probably have to move back to Europe. Will I be able to have my D100 serviced there?

    Anybody know about Canon? (I'd consider a 10D but the price difference between Nikon's 18-35 and Canon's 17-40 plus the cost of replacing my existing Nikon glass with Canon glass tells me that a Digital Rebel may be more in my price range and I don't like the feel of the Rebel).
  32. There's a ton of mis-information in this thread. Just call 1-800 645-6687 (1 800 Nikon-US). They'll be happy to tell you their policies.
  33. Nikon USA will repair stuff bought in another country, as long as you can prove that you bought it from an authorized dealer abroad. Original warranty card + receipt. I don't know how one would do with a second hand item, sounds like that could be troublesome. I guess they want to kill the 2nd hand market.

    I've never heard of anyone having problems getting Nikon stuff bought in the US repaired in Europe. Never tried though.
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Even though Nikon USA and Nikon Canada wouldn't fix certain cameras, there are other avenues to get your grey-market cameras fixed. B&H, etc. use Mack to provide warranty service for their huge grey-market sales. Conni and Alex have mentioned NCS?? in Choicao, just to name a couple. The good news about Nikon is that in the 26 years I have used Nikon cameras, only a few items have ever require repairs. The bad news is that Nikon USA charges a lot for some simple repairs. Therefore, there is incentive to find alternatives anyway.

    Conni, since you have actual experience sending stuffs to Nikon Japan for repair, could you provide this forum some details, such as where you sent the item to, how they charge for the service, how to inquire, etc.? This kind of info should ease some of the concern here. I really don't believe that any broken grey-market Nikon items will automatically become paperweights. The real problem is that the repair cost is usually so high that a less expensive item is ferquently not worth fixing, but that is a separate issue.
  35. Shun:

    NCS Camera Service is a repair facility in Morton Grove, IL. The owner worked for the Nikon Service Center on Dempster AV. When Nikon operated it. He and another former employee bought it when Nikon decided to reduce the number of repair facilities. They then split from each other and started separate establishments, so both are still in Morton Grove. NCS is owned by a Korean who (it appears to me) has all Koreans (or at least Asians) working in repair. The prices on repair are very good and the turnaround time boggles if you're used to Nikon. I have helped several photo.netters arrange to use this company and all have been pleased.

    NCS Camera Service
    8728 Ferris Av
    Morton Grove, IL 60053

    Be aware that they are not native English speakers and depending on who you get, you may need to be a bit patient with language.

    I refer to them as "the Nikon repairing, chain-smoking Koreans who can fix almost anything fast." They fix other cameras as well.

    I do not represent them. I just have been so satisfied with their service and prices that I recommend them regularly and feel confident doing so.

    An example was 9/02 I took my original F5 to them for a CLA because I was getting a bit of shedding that drove me crazy. I took it up and they asked if anything was wrong with it and I told them no. Several years before I took a fall down the side of a mountain in the Japanese Alps and the F5 flew over my head. It got a thumb-sized dent in the DP30. I took it in to another repair facility in the area and they tested the shutter and said it was fine. But as time went on, I got more unsharp photos and thought it was my fault because I have a bit of family inherited tremor. The next day after I took the F5 to NCS, he called and asked if I knew that the shutter was "off" considerably and did I want it repaired. I said yes and got a new estimate. When I got the camera back, it was like new and no more unsharp photos. He also removed the thumb-sized dent from the DP30 and if you didn't know it was there, you would never find it. The first place I went didn't know about the self-healing shutter on the F5 and so didn't know that it would keep compensating with more difficulty as time went on. When I told them about it later, they admitted they didn't know about that.

    They also put back together a Tokina zoom that one of my student's husband dropped out of his state police car. It is as good as it ever was and they had it back in a week.

    Now, about sending Nikons to Japan, I will have to do some digging here because it has been awhile since I did that and I can't find the info I need to give you. I will get on it tomorrow and get back to the forum to let you know.

    If you need more help, I can do that for you. NCS doesn't do e-mail so if you know what you need done and don't want to make a long distance call, you can e-mail me the information and I will call them and get a quote for you, if you need for me to do that.

  36. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Thanks Conni.
    Here is some additional info from Conni via private e-mail on sending Nikon products to Japan for repair:
    Nikon Service
    Crest Bld. 2nd Floor, 5-11-4 Ginza
    Chuo-ko Tokyo Japan
    tel: 011-813-3248-3780 (from the US)
    fax: 011-813-3248-3781
    And according to Conni: "If you call, don't expect someone to speak English with you right away or possibly at all. You must send a copy of the Nikon registration form and/or you Nikon International warranty. They accept Visa and Mastercard."
    So there are alternatives to Nikon USA even though they won't repair your grey-market items. Some of us might prefer these alternatives anyway since Nikon USA charges a lot for repairs.
  37. I don't blame you, this is about the dumbest policy that I have ever seen. I can understand why Nikon would not service a gray market camera under warranty, but to refuse to service it for a fee is stupid. Of course, I do think that the management at Nikon has been living on a diet of stupid pills lately, the APS cameras are a good example of a stupid decision. What about all the people who move to this country from Europe or Japan and bring their cameras with them? They have set things up so that if you were to buy a used camera from a Nikon Japan employee in this country you could never get it serviced. Thank heavens that some of the former service centers are now independent, it does give us one venue for repairs. It's just another example where greed outweighs common sense. Come on, Nikon recieves money for every camera sold and if they really wanted to stop gray market sales all they have to do is stop selling the cameras to the importers who are doing this.

    Imagine how many cars GM would sell if they refused to service any model sold in Canada? Not very many and I suspect the government would step in with some restraint of trade citations. Maybe we should start writing our congressman (tongue in cheek sarcasm because it would not do a thing).
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I can easily see why Nikon USA doesn't want to fix grey-market cameras sold in the US, even for a fee. That is probably their best weapon to discourage people from buying grey-market products, which is hurting Nikon USA big time. I do feel that grey-market products are unfair to Nikon USA, which has to pay for all the advertisting and promotion while someone else avoids those expenses and gets a free ride to sell the same products at a lower cost. Meanwhile, some of Nikon USA's prices are really high. In a way it is good to have competitions from grey-market products and other brands such as Canon to keep them in check.

    I still don't know as a fact that Nikon USA wouldn't fix any Nikon products purchased outside of the US with an international warranty. Based on the info Ilkka provides from Europe and what I have seen with Nikon products purchased in Asia, Nikon USA is supposed to fix those products. They are not "grey market" since they are imported and sold in the respective countries via the official channels.
  39. "Imagine how many cars GM would sell if they refused to service any model sold in

    Scott, try getting a Mercedes dealer to work on a grey market Benz. Not at any price!
    See Shun's post for the reason. I like the choice of grey market or US equipment, and
    the fact that I can buy either. I also know the risks, so I don't see why some are
    freaking out over this. Companies are not responsible for bad choices made by
  40. While it is true that in some cases (600 mm f/4) the gray market item is much cheaper than the Nikon USA version, we don't know how the USA version would be priced if the gray market didn't exist. Nikon USA might reduce prices due to larger volumes sold.
  41. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, we do know about Mamiya. See my previous post on the details. Since there is no gray-market Mamiya in the US, they manage to price everything sky high. At one point I was interested in the Mamiya 7 and made a comparison; prices in Hong Kong are, depending on the exact item (body, lens, etc.), 40% to 60% of the same item in the US.

    If Nikon USA prices are just slighly higher than gray, I am willing to pay a bit more. But for some items the difference is crazy. We already discussed the 600mm/f4 AF-S II before. When I bought my 200mm/f4 AF-D macro a few years ago, the difference was like $1050 Gray and $1450 US. To me it was a very easy decision since there was no way I would pay an extra 40%, although that spread has narrowed since then.

    When the D1x was still new a couple of years ago, it was in the high $4000 range. A friend of mine here in California found some seller in Japan thru E-Bay. He bought one directly from Japan for $3000+. The only problem was that the manuals were only in Japanese. Otherwise, everything was brand new and worked fine. He saved over $1000.

    Whenever there is a price difference, there will be a way. It is just like a lot of people in the US are now buying drugs from Canada.
  42. Just to let you know: Nikon Switzerland repaired my 70-200/2.8 (bought in the States) under warranty withouth batting an eyelid, though they perfectly knew it was not an "official Swiss import". They didn't even asked me for the warranty card. Same story with my F5: I bought it used and they fixed it for free although the camera is 6+ years old. They even repaired things which, as far as I know, wouldn't have been covered by the warranty even if the camera had been new (e.g. they replaced the loose handle rubber cover and replaced the flash socket which I managed to dent - although very slightly and without compromising its functionality).

    I am totally happy with the quality of Nikon's service in Switzerland.

    On the other hand, I find the situation in the States very embarassing for Nikon. I believe Nikon Japan should really put a stop to this ridiculous discrimination between USA items and grey items. After all they are all Nikon products.
  43. Roberto, that's exactly the situation in Finland as well. I have never been asked to present a warranty card and even 5 year old equipment has been serviced free. I've been most impressed with them.
  44. Hi,

    I'm in Australia and over here, Nikon's importer is Maxwell Optical. They are sort of like EPOI. I'll write about both warranty work and paid repairs.

    I had a 105mm f/2.5 lens bought from Malaysia and I had to have it serviced for fluff in the lens. I did it twice over the 1 year warranty, the 2nd time in the 11th month of warranty. I use a local Nikon authorized service center (independant, but recognized by Maxwell/Nikon and is allowed to buy spares and equipment from Maxwell/Nikon) and know the owner quite well. The first service, all I had to give him was the International Warranty card, just to show that the warranty period was still valid. He told me that for repairs under warranty, all work gets sent to Maxwell. So off my lens went to Maxwell with the warranty card and it came back all fixed up with a service report. The 2nd time, it was the owner's assistant who handled it and he asked me for the purchase receipt as well just in case. So I gave him a copy and off it went to Maxwell again and it also got the service. Free of charge. For Maxwell Optical, they will honour warranty as long as it says on the card, "Nikon International Worldwide Warranty". Now, of course, Nikon USA has a different warranty card, am I right? I haven't tried to service a Nikon USA product yet (don't have one), but I think it's because the warranty card we get (in the rest of the world other than the US) with lenses and film SLRs say "International", and hence they have to honour it. Of course, now with the digital SLRs the warranty card is saying that it's only valid in the country it is distributed in.

    Paid service:
    Sent my Nikon F4 which was purchased 2nd hand in Australia, no questions asked. As long as you pay, it is fixed.
    Sent my 80-200mm purchased 2nd hand in Hong Kong and they also got it fixed, no questions. As long as it was a paid service, no rejects unless there are no more spare parts available (like the Nikon F2, sob sob). If you brought in a spare parts body to cannibalize for your camera, no problem either.

    I think it is Nikon USA's way of trying to "persuade" buyers to buy from them and not through imports. (They also want you to buy brand new, that's why the F80 and D100 can't meter with AIS, but that is a Nikon Japan strategy. Good thing they shaped up with the D2H). It is not a nice way to do things, AND I 100% DISAGREE WITH IT, but think again, if Nikon loses sales on the camera front, where will it get its revenue? From the low-margin flash memory industry? It's unfortunate, but until Nikon starts to diversify like what Cano* did, it has not much choice but to scrape as many sales as possible, otherwise it might sink ship.

  45. The Nikon USA warranty card includes the International Warranty, it's just the second page of the card or something.
  46. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The different levels of services between Europe and US is not all that ridiculous. I just read a new UK photo magazine a couple of days ago. A lot of the prices in the UK are almost the same in numbers as those in the US, but the currency is Pounds in the UK and US$ in the US. In other words, things are like 1.7x more expensive in UK. If Nikon USA could charge that much more, I am sure they would privde much better services too.

    If a lot of people in Switzerland bought their Nikon gear from either the US or Asia and then turn around and got the superior services in Nikon Switzerland (or whatever they are called), they would be in financial trouble in no time and would have to take "defensive meastures" just like Nikon USA.
  47. While I see your point (or Nikon USA's point, whatever), I can't really understand why Nikon USA won't repair a grey market item even if its owner is willing to pay for it.

    Excuse me, but this is crazy! I can imagine several scenarios where this would lead to controversial situations. For example, if you bought a used item without knowing it was "grey" (there is no way to check). Another example: I have all the receipts and warranty cards of my cameras and lenses at home, in a box. Suppose I moved to the States and this box got lost (I moved 6 times in 3 countries in the last 10 years - something like that can really happen): Nikon would refuse to service my equipment, even though I bought everything from official distributors and I used to have all the right papers.

    You can go on forever enumerating scenarios where Nikon USA doesn't gain anything and the client, instead, find himself in an unconfortable situation. Ok, you can always send your hardware to another repair shop, however (call me naive if you want) I would rather send my 500/4 (no, I don't have one: just think of an expensive lens) to Nikon rather than a generic repair shop.

    Finally, while it is true that Nikon has got higher prices in Europe, this doesn't say much about their profit margins. For example, in Switzerland *EVERYTHING* is more expensive than in the States (sometimes much more so). Actually Nikon equipment is not so "more expensive" in comparison to, say, laptops, meat, restaurants, hotels, gas or houses. If you think how high the salaries (and the cost of life) are here, it is understandable that the price of an F5 is somewhat higher. This price differential has certainly other reasons: in the past, in the North American market there has been more competition than in the European, and foreign companies have been driving the prices of many items down in an attempt to penetrate the market. (I mean, how come a luxury Italian cars or clothes are cheaper in the States than in Italy?)

    Comparing prices between two continents makes sense to a buyer, if he or she can buy in whichever of the two. But saying that Nikon prices in Europe are higher, therefore the service must be better is probably not completely correct if you do not consider the boundary conditions.
  48. Obviously, Nikon Japan is hand-in-glove with Nikon USA or the US versions wouldn't have US stamped on them in the factory.

    BTW - The two shops that have been mentioned in MOrton Grove are not generic. They are both still authorized Nikon repair shops.
  49. I'm coming rather late to this thread, but I have info that may be useful for anyone doing a keyword search. I live in Hong Kong and am thinking about buying a Nikon D100 and 12-24mm from a US source (no 12-24 lenses right now in HK and the D100 is cheaper in the US). After much misinformation, I have discovered that Nikon HK (aka Shriro) will not honour a Nikon USA warranty for a digital camera, though they will fix the camera for a fee. Film cameras and lenses are, however, repairable in HK under the Nikon USA warranty. My options on the D100 are either to send it back to the US for warranty repair or to buy a Mack warranty, which is apparently good internationally, though they have a poor reputation.
  50. Nikon will repair a grey market item but not under a warranty.
  51. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon will repair a grey market item but not under a warranty.​
    Scott, Nikon USA and Nikon Canada will not knowingly repair any grak-market item for those respective countries. That is a well known fact. By definition, a gray market Nikon item is something imported into the US via another importer other than Nikon USA, thus bypassing Nikon USA's profits, and sold in the US. Check stores such as B&H; they have very clear explanation for what gray market is.
    If you go to Japan yourself and buy a Nikon camera in Japan, and then you bring it into the US, it is not gray market.

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