I am writing this short review of my own experience, something handy for those who have never bought online and overseas before and to quash any doubts or assumptions.
I bought a Canon 35mm f1.4L and a Sigma 85mm f1.4, to get ready for upcoming weddings and videography overseas later on.
1) completed my order of both lenses together on the website at 4PM local time here - totalling $2384.05AUD - including an extra $30 or so for insurance on the shipping.
2) received a call from Phil at the next morning to confirm my order of the right lenses and correct pricing, and informing me that it will arrive by Thursday from Hong Kong. I also have the FedEx tracking number and link to see where it is.
3) Two days later, lenses arrived by FedEx delivery man. Testing of both lenses reveal no problems or faults ie. no back or front focusing or misaligned elements or AF problems. They are 100% perfect out of the boxes.
4) These are grey-import lenses from Hong Kong's online store - I have saved a combined total of over $700AUD from not purchasing in Australian retail prices.
POINTS OF INTEREST
1) a few people who have doubts about importing lenses and camera gear into Aus with the 10% customs and duty tax on all goods over $1000AUD - can rest assured that I DID NOT receive any extra taxes or charges from the total order of $2384.05AUD
2) Canon L lenses and Sigma have international warranty so I am able to get it fixed or serviced locally here within 12 months of purchase.
3) grey-import lenses come from the same factories that lenses retailing in Australia comes from. They are not bad apples that consumers have returned and being re-sold again to online buyers - contrary to what some ppl on AP have thought.
4) Be advised - NOT ALL grey importer stores can get away with not having you pay the customs fee/tax upon your goods entering Australia. I have heard people and colleagues buying from in the US or and not having to pay, whilst others have to pay etc.
5) This is my 3rd big purchase from and I have never had a problem with them, albeit I only buy lenses and not camera bodies. Nor have I have had delays or processing problems which would delay my purchases.
6) This is NOT a suggestion to avoid buying locally, by all means DO! Especially camera bodies as international warranty is either voided or you need to send the camera back to the seller overseas to carry out the repair thus costing more time and money. Another point of interest is that CR Kennedy in Australia will be able to price match grey-import Sigma lenses with their stock in Melbourne as long as you can provide them with a valid link or proof.
7) Use common sense when deciding where to buy your gear and work out the pros and cons of grey-import vs. local retail.
Thanks for reading