Buying Options

Gray market cameras

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

Gray market cameras can be great value. But if the price of a digital camera is too good to be true, be forewarned; ask lots of questions before buying.

graymarketIf the price of the digital camera you’re about to buy sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Before buying, find out if it is a gray market model and, if so, be cautious. Get complete information about the warranty, included accessories and if they are valid or usable in your country.

The bad news about gray market digital cameras

Some merchants sell gray market digital cameras that seem the same as name-brand but are not approved by the manufacturer. Gray market cameras may not come with a warranty and are ineligible for repair.

Specifications and components such as video output, electrical adapters and camera drivers are often not compatible in the country other than where it is purchased. These items usually can not be changed to another country’s specifications.

Visit a camera manufacturer’s website and read their gray market advisory. It typically states that gray market items are not eligible for warranty service from authorized distributors or service centers. Warranties may only be valid in the country where manufacturer’s products are distributed.

Some good news about gray market digital cameras

Not all Gray Market digital cameras are disapproved by the manufacturer or ineligible for repair. The camera may simply be direct imported with a valid warranty that is backed by the selling merchant instead of the manufacturer.

Make sure. Get it in writing!

Before buying a gray market digital camera

If you decide to buy a gray market digital camera, make sure it is from a reputable, well-rated merchant.

Tip: Check that the barcode with the serial number on the outside of the camera box matches the serial number on the bottom of the camera.


  • Nikon stuff in the US has a special US label near the serial number.
    Here in europe Nikon service points accept international warranties. I had to bring in a SB900 and there was no problem with the international warranty. I don’t know how Nikon US handles this. The surplus actually helps to provide translated manuals and reliable local support.

  • Greg. Your best bet is to call the company where you made the purchase. If you don’t get anywhere with them, call Nikon. By providing them with the serial number on the camera, they should be able to tell.

  • A very helpful article. Glad I found it before buying a digital camera. I spent a little more than originally planned, bought from a reputable company and feel confident about the purchase.

  • The best way to tell if your camera is gray market is to contact Nikon and give them the serial number. There is a barcode with the serial number on the outside of the camera box. It should match the serial number on the bottom of the camera.

  • I have a Nikon D200 digital camera, how can I tell if it’s a gray market product. It came with a us warranty in the box. I paid $1700.00 for the camera.

  • If it’s still in what you believe to be the warranty period, get info about repair centers from Nikon or call the company where you purchased the camera. If it’s out of warranty or there is no warranty, you’ll have to pay for repair work.

  • I have been told that my Nikon D-100 is a gray camera where can I get it fixed… thanks “Greg