Buying a grey digital Nikon

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by solareslarrave, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. First, let me say that I exhausted the search possibilities in Photo.net before posting my question.

    I am already familiar with grey products. In fact, I did buy my an F80 (not N80) some years ago, from B&H and never had a problem with
    it. Although all my lenses are used, I'm sure some may be grey as well... And I know about issues with Nikon not even touching grey
    gear. However, despite these circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate about buying a Nikon grey digital camera (I know of a place where they
    repair the stuff that used to be an authorized Nikon center) if it wasn't for one aspect: updates.

    Do these cameras receive ocassional system updates? Is it necessary to download software of some type for them after purchase? Has
    anyone here bought grey Nikon digital cameras on purpose?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Why would it matter the color?
     
  3. My experiences downloading firmware with my Nikon DSLRs is as follow: I live in Japan but I rather go to the Nikon US
    web site coz it is in English. To down load printable English PDF manuals they ask for the serial number of the camera and
    after I entered my Japanese serial number I was transfered to the Japanese site. With the firmware I don't recalled to had
    been asked for the s/n and I just downloaded it from the US site. You can just try. Go to the web site and see if you can
    download firmware without entering a s/n. If they ask for it they will transfer to the site of the region where the camera is
    coming from and you can download from there no matter where you are.
     
  4. A non-authorized repair shop may not be able to get the parts for a Nikon DSLR if it needs to be repaired.
     
  5. I have found there is such a small difference (if any) in price in DSLR cameras thanks to places like eBay that it does not pay to buy gray, especially for an expensive body or lens.

    Nate, 'gray' refers to non-USA gear, not the color of the product. Nikon will not service 'gray' market cameras/lenses should they break (it is not a matter of not servicing them under warranty with you paying the repair bill, they will NOT service them, period).
     
  6. Statistically the chance of failures within the guarantee period is about 1%, so it's most likely you'll never have a problem.
    I've owned about 10 camera's in my life and never needed any repair. So if you can save some money on grey import, why
    not.
     
  7. Folks, my concern is not repairs, I know about that. My concern is about software and support.

    Nate, grey is a designation for a product imported by the store directly from the manufacturer, and not through the US
    distribution. It's also known as "import" as opposed to "US version." In the case of Nikon products, the grey cameras
    and lenses are not subject to service or warranty repairs by Nikon in the US, and cannot be sent there for repair.

    However, my concern is NOT the repair situation, but the software support. Do these cameras require software add-ons
    later on? If so, the fact that a camera is "grey" would have an effect on this circumstance?

    Thanks!
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What exactly is your concern about software support? You should be able to upgrade the firmware on your Nikon DSLR regardless of whether it is gray or not (unless it is something really old such as the D100 which you have to ship back to Nikon for firmware upgrade).

    You simply download the new firmware and load it onto your camera. Nikon USA may require a serial number to access the new firmware, but it should be easy enough to download from Nikon Europe or Asia, or find someone else to obtain it for you.

    The main issue should be repair. I am not sure shops such as Authorized Photo Service in Chicago can fix DSLRs.
    And if the price advantage is not big as Elliot points out, I would stick with Nikon USA DSLRs.
    If there is a huge price differnece such as 30%, maybe it is worth the risk to buy gray.
     
  9. The camera system updates are called 'firmware updates'; not every camera has them, and some are more useful than
    others (fixing significant bugs or adding new features). My experience with Nikon Europe's support site was that
    it allowed access to all downloads (including firmware) for any camera (even those I don't own, let alone
    anything I might have bought as a 'grey import') once I'd registered a single Nikon product. If other regional
    Nikon sites have a similar policy, then you shouldn't have a problem (unless absolutely everything you own is
    'grey', in which case you might, at worst, have to register with and download from the regional site that matches
    your gear's intended market).
     
  10. Well, Shun, your reply did cover my concern, which was whether I could get any firmware updates. I guess that if I buy a
    grey camera I will have to find out which region it comes from and then find the corresponding Nikon site and enter it there.
    Apparently, Richard has done it already.

    I'll check my choices before buying. Right now, the price gap between grey and US is widening, which makes it more
    tempting to go for an import product.

    Thanks for your replies!
     
  11. Nikon Europe (UK) is actually my local site, so I haven't had to go in search of a different regional site myself. But my point was that (AFAIR) registering just one UK item (I think even a lens or a film body) gives access to all downloads, including dSLR firmware. I'd only have had to go to a different site if everything I'd bought was grey (i.e., if I'd had no UK serial number at all to register). Can anyone confirm if registering a single serial number on the US site gives access to everything, or do you need (e.g.) a D3 serial number for D3-specific downloads..?

    One other thing to be aware of - many 'bait and switch' operators quote fake low prices they have no intention of honouring for supposedly 'grey market' gear, so make sure you're buying from somewhere reputable (check resellerratings.com etc.)
     
  12. I found a store with a very high score in the Resellersratings.com site: it's called us1photo.com. IIRC, it comes up when
    you google the D700 in their shopping index. Of course, there were all the possible variations of the typical bait-and-
    switch stores (and I had the resellersratings website open on a separate tab, checking these vendors out), but there were
    also some good ones listed. In this particular place, the D700 body appeared in two versions, one for $2599 (USA) and
    the other (grey) for $2419. The rest of their stuff is priced more or less according to usual market prices. Hence, my
    question about purchasing gray. Adorama does not offer any gray model of this camera (and they used to sell grey
    cameras, as they were the only ones offering the Nikon F80S some years ago), and neither does B&H.

    I do have an SB-600 in import version. I'll try to figure out where the serial number belongs and, if I find it relatively
    easy, I'll think about buying the D700 in grey. Again, thanks for the replies!
     
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When the savings is merely 7% ($2599 vs $2419), I think you are much better off getting one that is not gray.
     
  14. If you worry a lot, you could be never satisfied....



    For example, the recent Nikon D3 version upgrade made a correction to the German language menu that is somewhere inside the camera. The upgrade was 'user' made, and if one were never to use the menu in German, chances are good your images taken would never notice something was different.


    If you want a path to camera upgrades and go grey market to save a few bucks, you will generally get what you pay for. (If Nikon USA failed to support a request from you, would that be worth the savings?)
     
  15. Shun, I just asked for information. Granted, worrying causes insatisfaction, but my question had nothing to do with
    worrying. Thanks anyway.
     
  16. The money you save compared to an officially imported version is less than the cost of one-way shipping to Japan for repairs - which is your only repair option. Add to that the fees and hassle of customs brokers.
     
  17. Something else to consider is resale value - it will be much less with a gray market camera.
     
  18. OK, got it. I'll get the red, hot, fiery USA version. Not that I was going to buy otherwise, mind you...
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Francisco, I just want to point out that I wasn't the person who brought up the "worrying" issue.
     
  20. You are right, Shun. But I ask for information before worrying about anything. Have a nice, productive day!
     

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