Identifying USA/gray Nikkors by serial number? (Was: Purchase Used Lens From eBay)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by frankie_frank|1, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. How can I tell from serial number that it is USA model or foreign model?
     
  2. I'm not sure if you can, but maybe this'll help: http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html
     
  3. Or, you can just ask the seller where the lens was made. They cannot lie to you, for you can report this to ebay as a scam.
     
  4. Newer USA model lenses generally have a serial number that starts with "US". It goes like US_XXXXXX (some consumer lenses tend to have up to 8 digits, instead of the 6 found on pro-grade lenses. The grey market lenses seem to lack the "US" lettering. But older USA lenses also lack it.
     
  5. Where the lens is made has nothing to do with whether it is a USA model. That is determined by if it is imported by an authorized importer.
     
  6. Contact Nikon and give them the serial number. They will let you know for sure.
     
  7. I would concentrate on the quality and condition of the lens you are buying, rather than looking for irrelevent details. You are buying a second hand lens, what difference does it make if its USA on non-USA ?
    "Contact Nikon and give them the serial number. They will let you know for sure" And while you're waiting for an answer, you'll lose the lens.
     
  8. Or, you can just ask the seller where the lens was made​
    Last i checked, no Nikon lenses are or were made in USA
     
  9. "Or, you can just ask the seller where the lens was made. They cannot lie to you , for you can report this to ebay as a scam."​
    Have you spent much time on eBay? ;-) :)
    There are people there (fortunately in the minority) who do nothing but lie / distort / evade. And one would not be able to report this type of lie to eBay as a scam until AFTER one had possession of the lens ... and proof of import origin.
    "Newer USA model lenses generally have a serial number that starts with 'US'."​
    Unfortunately, this is not a very good tool to determine if a lens is or isn't a Nikon USA model. Many new current Nikon USA imported lenses do not have a 'US' prefix in the serial number. Some do, some do not. The presence of the 'US' prefix certainly does confirm an official USA import, however the lack thereof does not necessarily mean the lens is a grey market import.
    "Contact Nikon and give them the serial number. They will let you know for sure."​
    Unless they have recently changed their policy, Nikon USA will not give out this information unless you present the lens for repair. They will not (or at least did not) give out this information via phone or email contact. Others here have tried and failed.
    So, in general there is no absolute way to confirm if a used lens was officially imported by Nikon USA unless ...
    • the serial number has a 'US' prefix
    • the lens is accompanied by the original warranty paperwork with matching serial number indicating Nikon USA warranty
    • the lens is accompanied by the original receipt with matching serial number from an authorized Nikon USA reseller indicating Nikon USA warranty
    If none of the above are available, that does not necessarily mean that the lens is an unofficial / grey market import. It could be 'grey', but it could also be 'USA'. Honest people do lose paperwork and receipts. FWIW, any remaining warranty is not transferable anyway, and there are well known and well respected repair shops in the USA that will service a Nikon lens regardless of import origin.
     
  10. "what difference does it make if its USA on non-USA" I assume you mean gray market VS US. It makes a difference when it comes to getting the lens (or body) repaired - Nikon will not service gray market gear.
     
  11. If none of the above are available, that does not necessarily mean that the lens is an unofficial / grey market import. It could be 'grey', but it could also be 'USA'. Honest people do lose paperwork and receipts. FWIW, any remaining warranty is not transferable anyway, and there are well known and well respected repair shops in the USA that will service a Nikon lens regardless of import origin.​
    That is the salient point, IMO. And, of course that the seller has a good reputation, and ideally will accept returns....
    If the piece of gear is new, with warranty, the issue of 'USA vs. Gray Market' makes sense -- otherwise, what does it matter, unless you simply won't be comfortable paying (and waiting...) for any other repair shop but NikonUSA to do any potential repair work?
    Of course, as another poster sagely observed: by the time you resolve this with the eBay seller, mostly likely the lens will be sold. :)
     
  12. Unless you buy the lens new, Nikon will not warrant the lens. However, Nikon Authorized Service in Morton Grove IL will repair any Nikkor irrespective of its import. Therefore the question is moot.
     
  13. when i bought a 24-70 2.8 in the Netherlands after some days i noticed that the serial number started with US. ..... and this was from an official Nikon dealer where i bought multiple nikon items.
    So one need to be careful......
     
  14. Just to add to the conversation. I needed to know if a lens that someone wanted to sell me was a US or imported one so I called Nikon support and they said:
    - If the lens is not in their database this only means it was not purchased from and authorized dealer, BUT does not mean it's grey market
    - Not all US lenses start with "US" in the serial number (I have a couple that do not and are certainly NOT import/grey market)
    - Only camera bodies that start with a 7 in the serial number are non-US
    - The only way to tell if a lens is not a US model if it has just a number for the serial number is to call the Nikon parts department and they have the full serial number database and can tell if it is imported or a US lens. I have not done this as they are closed over the weekend, but will do so on Monday.
    - John
     
  15. I have been a Nikon owner for years. I did not and still do not have a conclusive way to know whether a Nikon serial is American or International. I buy and sell Nikons and get asked all the time and I tell dealers, shops, clients and customers, my Nikon equipment is registered with Nikon, in my name. Nikon has never said, oh, no, oops, your gear is grey. I have an F5 into repair shop for film transport issues. I am asked "is it a USA camera? How the heck do I know?! I registered it with Nikon at www.mynikon.com and the Nikon POLICE DID NOT COME AFTER ME! So, is it a real USA Nikon?! Hell-I-reckon!
     
  16. To conclusively know the immigrant status of any particular piece of NIKON GEAR, one would need constant/instant query access to the Nikon serial number database. Short of that, one would necessarily call or Email someone at Nikon who would be kind enough to stop everything they are doing and go get that information for you instantly. Greed is such a terrible waste.
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Nikon USA lenses and film SLRs come with official Nikon USA warranty cards. If there is an accompanying warranty card, I think it is quite safe to conclude that an item is Nikon USA. I suppose someone can print counterfeit warranty cards, but I kind of doubt that anyone would bother.
    Certain Nikon USA lenses have the "US" prefix before the serial number. With that prefix, I think it is safe to assume it is Nikon US.
    If there is no proof that an item is Nikon USA, I would assume that it is gray.
    Unfortunately, Nikon USA digital SLRs do not come with warranty cards that have their serial numbers on them.
     
  18. After some research I found this information regarding Nikon serial numbers. If the first numbers start with one of the numbers below followed by a zero, that could possibly indicate the origin of the product. The only way to be 100% is to contact Nikon directly. 1800.645.6678 or an Authorized Dealer
    1. Not used
    2. Japan
    3. USA
    4. Europe (excluding UK)
    5. Canada
    6. Australia/New Zealand
    7. Asia (excluding Japan)
    8. United Kingdom
    9. Not used
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    After some research I found this information regarding Nikon serial numbers.​
    Hi Charlie Hoffman, the list you posted is a guidance for Nikon camera bodies, not lenses. And even so, since Nikon sometimes redirect camera bodies from one region to another, sometimes you'll get a serial number that doesn't match your geographical region.
    However, this thread is about Nikkor lenses, not camera bodies. That serial number scheme doesn't apply at all. Nikon merely has one set of serial numbers for each lens model, without regional differentiation. Sometimes a Nikkor lens intended for the US market has the "US" prefix in front of the serial number, but sometimes it doesn't. The presence of the US prefix can usually confirm that it is a Nikon USA lens.
     

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