Purchasing Overseas Camera Models From Asia

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Biro, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I've purchased lenses and photo accessories from Asian retailers via eBay a number of times in recent years and I've never had a problem. The item has always arrived safely, been exactly what I thought I was ordering and worked perfectly. But I've never ordered an actual camera this way.

    I am considering the purchase of something along the lines of a Canon G7X, G9X or Sony RX100 in this way. I'm looking for a very pocketable camera to replace my Fuji XF1 for special occasions when I might want to carry the camera in a suit or sportcoat jacket (maybe even a tuxedo) to a special event. I can find a brand-new G9X or RX100 from Hong Kong or Japan for well under $400 with free expedited shipping.

    I realize there would be no U.S. warranty with such a purchase, just as there isn't for any of my lenses that I bought this way. But I am more interested in whether the camera is functionally different from a model intended for the U.S. For example, does the camera record video only in PAL versus NTSC? Anything that might limit the camera's function and usefulness to me.

    So I'm asking anyone who has purchased cameras in this way (Ray, I'm looking at you among others). Any information or advice that you could offer?
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Steve, there is no universal answer for this question. It will vary from camera to camera (or at least manufacturer to manufacturer). I don't recall which cameras I bought from Korea or Japan, but the couple I did, worked the same as a US version. The only exception was one that I knew going in was a Japanese-only white Panasonic gf1 where the menus were Japanese-only.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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  3. Never a camera, but other stuff.

    Make sure the dealer is reputable and has a good return policy.

    Sent from my SM-N920P using Photographers Lounge mobile app
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  4. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    I bought lenses with no problem as I never need to return. I ordered only one camera, Canon g7x from HK, when it was not available in US. It was badly decentered even at f4. I e-mailed them the images and initially they claimed it was due to dof per their Canon rep. After couple e-mails back and forth they sent me a paid fedex shipment notice. So they were good, but it is a hassle. You can order a used ones from B&H/keh with some store warranty or a refurbished Canon g7x that comes with one year warranty from Canon:
    Canon PowerShot G7X Refurbished

    Japan uses NTSC also. However Sony cameras from Jp are locked in Japanese only. It might be better to order from HK. Based on the camera, it might come with PAL. Some cameras have the video selection but I don't use video so didn't care much to check.... I know bunch of people in dpr ordered their Canon g3x's from Japanese Amazon using a third party broker so Canon might be OK from Jp.
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  5. listers_nz

    listers_nz New Member

    Jan 27, 2016
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    If purchasing from Japan, make sure it is not a Japan only model. Some manufacturers (Sony, Panasonic, probably others) sell cameras in Japan that have Japanese language only, and you cannot change it. Unless of course you speak Japanese, in which case there may be a bargain to be had :)

    Re PAL vs NTSC, be careful not to confuse camera output (i.e. if you want to connect your camera directly to a TV) with video frame rate. Most cameras I've come across allow you to change the video output to TV between PAL/NTSC, and most TVs these days support both anyway. The real difference is the video recording frame rate, where cameras sold in a PAL market record at 25/50 fps, and those sold in an NTSC market record at 30/60 fps. Hong Kong is PAL, so a camera from there which is intended for the local market will be 25/50 fps. Is this an issue - for most people, no. Your computer doesn't care and will play either. The only issues really are if you want to combine video clips from two different frame rate cameras, or if you shoot a lot under flurescent lighting where you may experience some flicker - 60Hz mains frequency vs 50fps filming.

    The only other thing is the battery charger, but that is unlikely to be an issue other than the plug on the end. Most chargers I've come across are multi-voltage, and most non-US ones come with a charger that has a separate mains lead (rather than fold down pins on US ones) which means all you need to do is substitute the correct lead (usually mains plug to figure 8 style plug). If the seller ships it to you combined with one of those international travel adapters, please throw the adapter in the bin and go and buy the correct lead. Such adapters have their uses when travelling, but some are poorly made, and may result in a shocking experience :eek-54:
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  6. Seriously, I just would not. There are a bazillion camera dealers out of HK, Korea, Japan, China etc and very few have excellent reputations. Local forums here in Oz are full of people who have spent on cameras and then found them to be lacking in some way, or simply not being delivered. I only buy camera gear locally (ie in B&M shops, or reputable dealers who sell Aussie stock) or from the US from Adorama or B&H. I'd also buy from KEH if there was something I really wanted.
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