Grey Market Cameras: What they are and how to avoid them

Grey Market Cameras: What they are and how to avoid them



You’re at home, and you notice that the camera you’ve been eyeing is being sold online for a significant amount less than everyone else! You print off the ad to bring to your local camera store, hoping to get the lower price, and you quickly find out that they cannot sell you the camera at the price that is listed.

If the store doesn’t give you the price you found, you may as well go buy it off of that online retailer. Saving $100 on your lens could just help you get that nice filter you’ve wanted to try, or let you upgrade to a new camera bag. What you don’t know is that you could be buying a gray market camera.


What is the gray market?

‘Gray market’ products are purchased for lower prices overseas and sold in the U.S for a little less than the competition. Not only is the online retailer getting more profit from selling gear like this, you are actually losing in the long term as you won’t have a valid U.S manufacturer’s warranty.


Why does the warranty matter?

Repair facilities will reject repair requests on that product, and if you find out that the product was damaged prior to you receiving it (maybe even while in the factory) — you won’t be able to get any help from the manufacturer.

In order to protect their customers from gray market products, manufacturers recommend only purchasing products from authorized retailers (like The Shutterbug). We are bound by an agreement to only sell products at a certain price, set by the manufacturer. All “price drops”, “blow-out sales” and “Holiday Deals!”, are all scheduled by the manufacturers. If an item is sold outside of that price, the retailer can lose their authorized dealer status.

Manufacturers manage prices for a variety of industries that may surprise you, including TVs, cameras, and even non-generic branded medicine (like Tylenol). The more you know, the more we are doing our job at The Shutterbug!


Have more questions? Schedule a 1-on-1 in-person photo class at the Shutterbug (1 hr for $45) online or in-store! Need to rent a camera? Give us a call for availability at (503) 639-5088.