Gray Market Lens Repair, Serial Numbers, etc.

Started Dec 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP JAF_AZ Senior Member • Posts: 2,703
Michael1234 ... some follow up ...

michael1234 wrote:

I just finished reading through it all and I did it because I am also concern about a purchase I did on ebay nikon 80-200mm 2.8 import as it may seem as it doesn't have a US prefix before the s/n and all my other lenses have.

The lack of a US prefix does not necessarily mean it's gray market. Some Nikkor models are not stamped with a US prefix before the serial number. I don't know about the 80-200 models (and there have been several). The 300/2.8 lens (and I think some of the other big primes as well) don't have a US prefix. One thing you might try is looking on eBay for a particular model. If the seller has any pictures where the serial number might be, click on the picture and zoom in. You can usually easily read the serial number. Depending on the model, you might see a US prefix or you might not. That was somewhat maddening for me when I was shopping around for a used 300/2.8 VR1 or VR2. That's when I discovered that this model does not have the US prefix before the serial numbers. So, you might call Nikon service on the phone and ask them to check their database to see if your specific lens is gray market or not. That's what I did.

After doing some research I found out that yes its possible to get a grey market lens fixed that you bought in the US. Do not send it directly to Nikon USA but do on the other 24 or so authorized service centers.

I spoke to an authorized Nikon service center today in Arizona (one that I am very familiar with and that I trust). They told me that if they have to order parts from Nikon, they must supply the serial number of the lens to Nikon. If Nikon determines that the lens is gray market, Nikon will not supply the authorized service center with the parts. Thus, you'd wind up with a $1000 (or whatever you paid for it) paperweight. If they don't need parts, you'll probably be able to get your gray market lens serviced. But don't bet the grocery money on that. Whether you can get the lens fixed or not may depend upon whether the authorized service center has to order parts from Nikon. Bottom line: it's a crap shoot.

Second- you can used a authorized retailer and let them send the lens out for you.

Maybe, I don't know. I don't think I'd risk making that my fallback strategy.

Third- its bogus that if you buy a lens in Japan or Denmark and bring it here then Nikon will not service it. All you have to produce is a receipt as evidence.

That's already been discussed earlier in this thread by someone else. I am no expert on that. That said, I think it's different if you bring a lens in from another country where you bought a non-US lens legitimately, but needed service while you're in the US visiting or shooting internationally on assignment or whatever. That's far different than knowingly buying an imported lens here in the US (when you could have bought a US lens).

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