The terms "grey market", "direct import", and "Imported", refer to the same thing in this article. B&H sells most products with a warranty from the manufacturer or from the manufacturer's licensed importer. We also sell some products we've obtained from sources other than the manufacturer or its licensed importer. These are "grey market" products. "Grey market" is not illegal, not factory seconds, not demo merchandise, not cheaper or inferior products. In fact in almost every instance a "grey market" product is absolutely identical to its US-warranted counterpart. "Grey market" and US-warranted products are manufactured in the same factories from the same components, and sub-assemblies, to the same specs and tolerances, by the same workers. In terms of the item itself (excepting PAL video -- see below) there is no difference at all. A "grey market" Nikon 50mm f/1.4 D-AF lens (for example) is exactly the same in every possible way as the US-warranted version.What are the differences as far as a customer is concerned?
In most cases the difference between a "USA" and a "Grey Market," or imported product, is the cost of the item and the terms of the item’s warranty coverage. The products themselves are otherwise identical. As a rule, "Grey Market" items cost less than their USA counterparts. "Grey market" products never qualify for manufacturer's rebate programs.What kind of warranty is available?
For IMP items only, B&H provides a warranty identical to the provisions and limitations of the manufacturer's warranty for such items, with the exception of the time period, which is equal to the term of the manufacturer's warranty or one (1) year, whichever is less.* Your dated B&H sales receipt is all you need to obtain warranty coverage from B&H for a "grey market" product purchased from us.
Should you experience a problem with a product sold with a USA warranty, it can be sent to any of the manufacturer's authorized service facilities for servicing (and some even to any worldwide authorized service facility depending on the brand). A "direct import" or grey market item would have to be returned to B&H if it required in-warranty service.
For film cameras, lenses and speedlights, a product with a US-warranty should be reciprocally warranted by the manufacturer's service centers worldwide. B&H Photo-Video does not sell any "grey market" still-digital cameras at this time.
A resident of the USA may wish to make the buying decision based on price since the cost of shipping to a US service center or to B&H should be about equal. A non-USA resident should consider the cost of returning a product to B&H in New York for servicing as opposed to the cost of taking the product to a local warranty service center.Why offer "Direct Import"?
Direct Import, or grey market items often cost less than comparable US imports. There are also items sold at B&H that are not otherwise available in the USA through normal distribution channels.
PAL (Phase Alternate Line) Video Equipment
Video equipment sold in the US , Canada , Mexico , and Japan is designed to record and playback video images at 525 lines-per-frame @ 60 frames-per-second. This is commonly known as an NTSC format (National Television Standards Committee).
B&H also sells video equipment that is set to record and playback video using the European broadcast standard (PAL) of 625 lines-per-frame @ 50 frames-per-second.
PAL and NTSC are not interchangeable recording formats.
Video equipment sold by B&H Photo-Video designed to record video in the European (PAL) format is only available in the US as grey market and as such does not include a factory authorized warranty.
* For PAL-format video products, B&H includes a 90-day warranty.
Film is also sold at B&H from both US and grey market channels. There is no difference between the imaging qualities of similar film stocks. Price-wise, the grey market products cost less than their US counterparts.
* IMPORTED - Film made outside the USA and imported for us. This may also be referred to as "GREY".
* USA - Film manufactured in the USA or overseas and imported for domestic distribution.