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Identifying USA/gray Nikkors by serial number? (Was: Purchase Used Lens From eBay)

Frankie Frank , Feb 27, 2009; 03:08 a.m.

How can I tell from serial number that it is USA model or foreign model?

Responses


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Tam Nguyen , Feb 27, 2009; 03:35 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

I'm not sure if you can, but maybe this'll help: http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

Tam Nguyen , Feb 27, 2009; 03:36 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

Or, you can just ask the seller where the lens was made. They cannot lie to you, for you can report this to ebay as a scam.

Shuo Zhao , Feb 27, 2009; 04:03 a.m.

Purchase Used Lens From eBay

Newer USA model lenses generally have a serial number that starts with "US". It goes like US_XXXXXX (some consumer lenses tend to have up to 8 digits, instead of the 6 found on pro-grade lenses. The grey market lenses seem to lack the "US" lettering. But older USA lenses also lack it.

Ray House , Feb 27, 2009; 04:06 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

Where the lens is made has nothing to do with whether it is a USA model. That is determined by if it is imported by an authorized importer.

Elliot Bernstein , Feb 27, 2009; 05:40 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

Contact Nikon and give them the serial number. They will let you know for sure.

Andrew Fedon , Feb 27, 2009; 07:35 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

I would concentrate on the quality and condition of the lens you are buying, rather than looking for irrelevent details. You are buying a second hand lens, what difference does it make if its USA on non-USA ?
"Contact Nikon and give them the serial number. They will let you know for sure" And while you're waiting for an answer, you'll lose the lens.

John Vanacore , Feb 27, 2009; 08:14 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

Or, you can just ask the seller where the lens was made

Last i checked, no Nikon lenses are or were made in USA

Michael R. Freeman , Feb 27, 2009; 10:25 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

"Or, you can just ask the seller where the lens was made. They cannot lie to you , for you can report this to ebay as a scam."

Have you spent much time on eBay? ;-) :-)
There are people there (fortunately in the minority) who do nothing but lie / distort / evade. And one would not be able to report this type of lie to eBay as a scam until AFTER one had possession of the lens ... and proof of import origin.


"Newer USA model lenses generally have a serial number that starts with 'US'."

Unfortunately, this is not a very good tool to determine if a lens is or isn't a Nikon USA model. Many new current Nikon USA imported lenses do not have a 'US' prefix in the serial number. Some do, some do not. The presence of the 'US' prefix certainly does confirm an official USA import, however the lack thereof does not necessarily mean the lens is a grey market import.


"Contact Nikon and give them the serial number. They will let you know for sure."

Unless they have recently changed their policy, Nikon USA will not give out this information unless you present the lens for repair. They will not (or at least did not) give out this information via phone or email contact. Others here have tried and failed.


So, in general there is no absolute way to confirm if a used lens was officially imported by Nikon USA unless ...

  • the serial number has a 'US' prefix
  • the lens is accompanied by the original warranty paperwork with matching serial number indicating Nikon USA warranty
  • the lens is accompanied by the original receipt with matching serial number from an authorized Nikon USA reseller indicating Nikon USA warranty

If none of the above are available, that does not necessarily mean that the lens is an unofficial / grey market import. It could be 'grey', but it could also be 'USA'. Honest people do lose paperwork and receipts. FWIW, any remaining warranty is not transferable anyway, and there are well known and well respected repair shops in the USA that will service a Nikon lens regardless of import origin.

Elliot Bernstein , Feb 27, 2009; 10:43 a.m.

Response to Purchase Used Lens From eBay

"what difference does it make if its USA on non-USA" I assume you mean gray market VS US. It makes a difference when it comes to getting the lens (or body) repaired - Nikon will not service gray market gear.


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