December is soon approaching.. so far there are a few events and photoshoots to be completed which will keep us sufficiently busy during the holiday season.. Speaking of holiday seasons, I've been getting a lot of questions about this year's gift list.. As you see, the Malaysian currency has dropped from a peak around RM3.2 per USD1 to RM3.6 per USD1.. not much but sufficient to have an influx of grey / AP sets into Malaysia..
As a rough guide, the AP/Grey units are usually about 10-15% cheaper than the original Nikon units.. doesn't sound like much but when its 10% of 3k comes to RM300.. sufficient enough to have me write this article in the first place..
Let me start from the top for some of you new to the term Grey / AP units..
So what is Grey / AP units?
Basically any units that aren't imported by Nikon Malaysia (or the Nikon authorized importer of your country) .. by not going through Nikon Malaysia, some of these units could have bypassed taxes / import duties.. so if you bought it in a country in which the currency is stronger than Malaysia and brought it here.. you'll stand to gain quite a bit.. hence its lucrative for people to smuggle in units for sale..
So how do you know if its an Original Nikon from Nikon Malaysia?
Well, I can save you the trouble of emailing Nikon Malaysia directly and hassle that wonderful lady called Emily who has to entertain gazillion of similar emails of such nature. First of all, the Nikon Warranty will be of yellow in color with the words Nikon Malaysia Sdn Bhd clearly stamped..
Frankly, if there are people out there who can hack Microsoft Vista, I'm sure they can clone that warranty card.. simply because it doesn't have any hologram or any other easily identifiable security markings to prove to the average joe if its original or not.. Just take a look at a Microsoft Office box and you'll understand of such security markings..
So what's a better indicator of an original Nikon product?
Its quite simple.. Firstly, buy it from one of the authorized distributor as listed on their website here. Secondly, the sale value. If Nikon Malaysia sells to the dealers RM X, other than they are trying to do a firesale (to clean up old stock) would you think they'll sell those units at a loss? especially when there are still market demand? There's a reason why these are called business and not called charity.
Of course there should also have Grey / AP going for the original prices but that's slim since its in their intention to sell it immediately at low prices..
Is the Original Nikon worth the 10-15% extra that you pay for?
Of course silly! firstly, Nikon Malaysia won't fix your unit at all even if you want to pay for it.. and they can easily check the SN of the camera with their database.. and I'm pretty sure that the shop you bought it from doesn't have even the slightest clue how to fix a camera.. let alone a dSLR.
So if you save RM 300 or so, you'll risk throwing the entire camera away (100% loss) in an event of a failure as nobody will want to help you repair it.. I can't imagine a 3rd party repair job would be like.. So I'm sure saving RM 300 makes more sense..
And by the way, Nikon Malaysia provides free sensor cleaning tho they hinted they'll discontinue such services soon.. they do jot down the serial number of each unit sent in..
Well read this article by Thom Hogan here. Judge for yourself if its worth saving RM 300 and risk the entire camera in the years that you'll be using it. This isn't like AP handphones, this is real serious cutting edge technology.. and besides, where would they get specialized parts from? such as mechanical or even the PLCs which are specialized units?
I hope that this helps clarify issues.