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04-30-2009, 11:32 PM   #1
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Gray market lenses

OK..so I'm a novice. But what is an "official gray market lens"? I'm heading to Hongkong next month, and have been warned to beware of them....

05-01-2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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Gray market lenses are lenses imported into a country without official manufacturer support. The main issue is warranty claims rather then the actual quality of the lens. I can't say there are "pirate" copies which would be of dubious quality.
05-01-2009, 03:54 PM   #3
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There are all kinds of counterfeit products coming out of China these days, and while I can't point to any photo examples of this, I'm sure they're out there.

My main point is, in today's free trade environment (mostly), there's not much of a reason for--or advantage to--taking a chance on grey market items.
05-01-2009, 05:14 PM   #4
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My understanding of a "gray market" item is that it has been sold outside of the standard importer/dealer relationship, not that it is a counterfiet product. A gray market item probably won't be covered under warranty. You will see statements in online sellers ads that will mention a lens as "Pentax USA" and possibly the same item with a slightly lower price without that label. That is probably a gray market lens the dealer purchased from an overseas distributer. Most of the time the price difference is only 20 or 30 bucks and to me isn't worth the hassle of not having a warranty if the need arises but if the savings are a lot it might be worth buying. Its the same risk as buying used.

05-01-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
My understanding of a "gray market" item is that it has been sold outside of the standard importer/dealer relationship, not that it is a counterfeit product. A gray market item probably won't be covered under warranty.
Reeftool is right! One aspect of gray market products not often discussed is that these products are sometimes not packed or stored properly, and may have shipped slowboat in extremely hot or humid conditions. Hence the absence of warranty. Buying gray market is cheaper but is always a gamble.
05-01-2009, 09:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkpotter Quote
Reeftool is right! One aspect of gray market products not often discussed is that these products are sometimes not packed or stored properly, and may have shipped slowboat in extremely hot or humid conditions. Hence the absence of warranty. Buying gray market is cheaper but is always a gamble.
I agree that buying gray market is a gamble, but it does not void Pentax' warranty. It means that the Pentax organization in the country where it was purchased will not repair it at no cost. You have to send it to the nearest international Pentax depot, and you have only the one year international warranty.

Jeff, I'm with you. It just is not worth the hassle should something go wrong.
05-12-2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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Thanks, everyone! Appreciate your comments/advice!
05-13-2009, 02:10 AM   #8
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Actually I have no aversion whatsoever to getting a grey import.
Lenses, like camera bodies are global products and the definition of a grey market simply means that there is no local warranty from the Pentax agent for the product at the time of purchase, though it is not unusual for the shop selling the grey item to provide a shop warranty. In no way is the item counterfeit as alluded to by some. The lens will look and function the same.

My take is one can save quite a bit of money by buying a grey market lens. There are savings upfront if there are no issues with the lens within the typical 1 year warranty period, compared to buying a warrantied lens. One still pays for the same service/repair fee irrespective if the lens was originally a warrantied set or a grey import after the usual warranty period expires.

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