Grey Market Cameras and Gear
Grey market cameras are those that have been stolen or obtained illegally. They may have been bought by the seller, but without permission, which is a crime in some countries. There are several websites that provide information on how to obtain a stolen camera online.
If you are a professional photographer, you need to register your equipment with the local police department. In addition to registering your camera and lens, you must apply for a license for each camera. You must keep a record of your camera and lenses and include the serial numbers in the application. This will be required when you move to a new location.
Some countries require the registration of all cameras. In other countries, the local police department may decide whether to require the registration. The camera registration should be done every year. If you are traveling and taking photos outside your country of residence, you may need to apply for a license in order to use your camera or to buy equipment.
Should you buy or not?
I’m sure you’ve heard of grey market cameras and gear. These are goods which are sold outside the normal trade channels (that is, shops). This means they are cheaper than the same product available through the normal trade channels, and you can sometimes buy them used. For example, you can buy a used camera or a new one on eBay, but you can also buy an old camera or an old lens on Ebay, and there are some really great deals to be had. There are also some amazing items available from overseas sellers (mostly, but not entirely, online) and some very desirable items available on Amazon.
As a photographer, there are lots of benefits to buying goods in this way. One benefit is that you can save a lot of money. You might find a brand new Canon T4i body for under $500 (and these are still very good cameras, especially the T4i), but the same model in the US can cost $1,000. So, if you buy it in the UK, you could save $1,000!
Another benefit of buying from grey markets is that you will get better products and they will often come with warranty. There is a risk that, while they are cheaper, the products you buy might be of lower quality. However, many people have bought gear like this in the past and it has been fine, so it’s not a problem that you have to worry about.
A final benefit is that you can find rare, oddball, obscure items. It’s really fun looking at items like this on Ebay. You can see exactly what you are buying and where it was made. I recently came across an item for sale in the US which was a Leica M Monoball 50mm f/2 lens, for the Leica M series of cameras. The listing said it was made in the 1980s and it was really cool to be able to look at the lens on the website. Of course, it was made in the 1990s, but it was in pristine condition and it was a real piece of history to have, even if you didn’t use it!
If you are keen on photography, you should check out grey market photography. It’s a fantastic way to save money and buy some interesting items.