Cameras and the Grey Market

Okay. Last weeks post was on the Canon EOS Rebel Sl3 but I was replacing the camera because the one that I had received had a broken screen. I replaced it with another camera that came in a bundle with lots of stuff for less money. Sounds great right? Well, the camera is very different to the Sl3 that I received last week and here is why.

Canon is a camera company that is based in the USA and makes cameras in the US too. All Canon cameras also have an “International model” (in this case the 250d). In a quick Google search you will see that they are supposed to be the same camera, so why are they hundreds of dollars cheaper? This is because these cameras are actually made with different materials. The first thing I noticed with the “international model” was that it had a completely different plastic shell than the USA model and it also came with a different kind of EF lens that was much cheaper and was the 2011 canon lens rather than the newer EFS lens that should have come with the camera. The cameras shell is made with a very low quality plastic that brings the cameras price down. Next, the lens had no optical stabilization, a limited range of manual focus, and again had a lighter weight, cheaper, plastic.

After all of this, I knew that something was up so I began doing some more research. It took some digging to find that these “International Models” were actually outsourced to 3rd party manufacturers and were labeled with the Canon name. These manufacturers are part of the Grey Market. What is the Grey Market? According to kenrockwell.com, it is a market that lies in between the illegal black market and the regular, legit, market known as the white market. Most camera companies, no matter what size, use this market to outsource to the 3rd party manufacturers. Canon labels these cameras as “International Models”. Believe it or not, this market is used for many other consumer electronics as well!

Why am I keeping the camera that I received? I have decided to keep the camera that I got because the actual internal components are the same. The sensor is the same excellent Canon sensor just in a different shell. The image quality will be the same, granted you use nicer lenses with it. Also, the Canon USA 18-55mm lens can be found on sale right now so that would be a big improvement from the current 2011 EF lens which is much lower quality. All of this has lead me to want to keep the camera because it does allow me to have more money for lenses. The main concern for me was that this would compromise picture quality but since it doesn’t and the shell and lens are what is bad about the camera, I will just get a better lens and if the cheap feel of the body bothers me too much, I can get a casing for the camera.

Despite me keeping this model I cannot recommend that you buy this “International model”. I am only keeping it since I have it now and if you were interested in getting this camera you would have to know before purchasing this camera that it is a different camera on the outside with a very cheap canon lens that comes with it but if you don’t mind this, the insides are great and you can get it with accessories in the box as I will explain more below. The problem with buying these models also is in the fact that the “International Model” varies so so much that you may receive a camera that doesn’t function and doesn’t even have canon internals. If you want to play it safe and buy this camera, be sure to order the Canon USA version. This goes for any Canon camera as well.

What did I get with the camera? My package came with a cleaning kit, a car charger and a USA to Europe charging adapter, two batteries and two chargers, a manual flash, a filter kit, tripod (which is pretty bad), a pretty nice backpack, and sd card with adapter for computer usb ports.

Photos below are raw from the Canon EOS Rebel 250d (International Model) and its kit lens.

None of these things are very high quality at all but having okay gear is better than not having any of this at all. FYI, the backpack and tripod didn’t fit inside my lightbox so I don’t have any photos.

Overall, If you are interested in buying the Canon EOS Rebel Sl3 I would reccomend it very much, but if you are interested in saving money with the international model (or 250d), It probably is not worth it by the time you buy a nicer lens and the USA model is a better option.

I hope that this helped warn you about the Grey Market and buying cameras using it. I only know that Canon uses the term “International Model” to refer to cameras made through the Grey Market and I really don’t know what terms other companies use. I recommend checking out this interview with B&H about this on Forbes.

Just be careful when buying cameras and don’t be tempted by the cheaper price on the International Models of Canon cameras like I was without taking into consideration that the model you receive will be made with cheaper materials and won’t be the exact same camera and lens.

Thank you for reading!

-Digital Wonders & Smiles

Also, FYI, some comments went to my spam box on WordPress this week so if I take a few days to respond that is probably why. Otherwise I will definitely get back to you within a day or a few hours depending on our countries time difference! Thanks! 😁

Sources:

https://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/gray-market.htm

https://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/get-consumer-help/articles/gray-market-goods/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2014/10/29/buying-gray-market-cameras-what-you-need-to-know/?sh=5909e73e56b9

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/gray-market-deals-the-truth-about-shadowy-savings/

https://fstoppers.com/business/why-you-shouldnt-buy-your-next-camera-gray-market-and-why-those-nikons-arent-77953

Published by Digital Wonders and Smiles

I am a photographer, writing a photography blog here on WordPress. I am based in the USA and take photos in my hometown. I also occasionally travel both domestically and internationally and write photoblog posts and make videos about these trips! On my blog, I cover everything from mobile photography to dslr photography to photography techniques for anyone!

4 thoughts on “Cameras and the Grey Market

  1. That is really interesting you were able to compare them, thanks for writing this up. I had thought “international” version referred mainly to the power adaptor/voltage difference. Some companies do manufacture in different countries, particularly for their budget gear and the quality can vary, I guess comes down to each companies level of quality control.

    Liked by 1 person

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