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Thread: Grey Imports - Who knows the truth?

  1. #1
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    Question Grey Imports - Who knows the truth?

    Just purchased my high end laptop so I can get serious about video production. As part of that, I am trying to buy the TM900 Panasonic camera. In my search for said camera online I came across 3 versions of the camera. Feeling confused I went to Panasonic support and asked what the difference was between them, and got this reply...

    The list cameras are not the same products, the HDC-HS900 records to a HDD and the HDC-SD900 records to an SD CARD only. the listed HDC-TM900 was not released in Australia.

    Oh bugger! So then I ask...

    Although the storage mediums are different, are they essentially the same camera with exact same functions and specifications?

    The TD900 is available to purchase online to Australia and states a Panasonic warranty for Australia is included. I assume these are 'grey imports'. Maybe you could confirm for me that this warranty offer is valid?

    Essentially, I wanted the TM model, but kept running into these other model numbers, hence I got confused. I would be happy to buy one of the other two models if it was essentially the same camera but with different recording mediums.


    To which they reply...

    Can you please supply a contact number that is able to be used during business hours? We will need to speak to your direct in regards your email.


    Which I did, to be called by the Panasonic rep who in no uncertain terms told me (obviously off the record), that grey imports would have invalid warranties despite the statement from the online companies that they would have Australian warranty. He was also pretty stroppy and almost angry when I asked further questions about the other 2 cameras, because I wanted to know the difference between them. It seems the TM900 is the kick-ass cam, they were unavailable in Australia and I was vilified for daring to purchase a grey import. He would not answer my technical questions because I assume he didn't want to tell me that the other cams didn't come close to the TM900!

    Anyone know the truth here?

    Are Panasonic stroppy because they are losing sales to grey imports? Or is what they say about warranty the truth - somehow I doubt it.


  2. #2

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    I can't tell you the spec. of the cameras BUT I do know if you buy a grey import camera you can not get a Panasonic warranty, some retailers offer there own limited warrenty but that may be very limited. One of my cameras turned out to be a grey import so I know first hand. I thought I'd found an on-line bargain from a UK seller but then when it was delivered and I registered the camera with Panasonic, the serial numbers showed it was from Eastern Europe. I got no support or warranty. As it turned out I didn't need any as the camera has been fully and perfectly functioning for years.

    This is the gamble when you buy a grey import. Should anything go wrong with the camera within a short period you should still have your statutory rights (what ever they are in Australia). BUT after that you will have to find a reliable camera repair man should anything go wrong with it. I would give it a really good shakedown, testing all the functions etc. If it's all ok, then cross your fingers.

    Being more optimistic, these days cameras seem to be very reliable, until the planned obsolescence kicks in.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    It seems the TM900 is the kick-ass cam, they were unavailable in Australia and I was vilified for daring to purchase a grey import. He would not answer my technical questions because I assume he didn't want to tell me that the other cams didn't come close to the TM900!
    I'm pretty certain they are the same. the only difference is the media.
    I seem to recall in some earlier models (300s or possibly the 700s) there were some other limitations on the SD model but I'm sure that's no longer the case.
    I was looking only yesterday and it seems that here in the UK the model which has replaced the TM900 - the X900M - is currently available at a lower price. Personally I'd forgo the built in flash memory and put the saving towards more SDHC cards.
    Tim

  4. #4
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    Thanks chaps, the online company swear it's a genuine warranty, but then I suppose it is until you ask questions lol. The Panasonic rep did say that the cam would be sent back to China or wherever if it went wrong and would take an age to come back. Oh and fed me endless bull about it being NTSC, despite the fact it's straight out PAL.

    He was at his stroppiest when I asked why such a good cam wasn't available here, he said they couldn't justify the turnover - it's all crazy to me. I continualy asked if all the cams were the same spec, but he just got even more angry and wouldn't answer me.

    And now it's superseeded (again), so it's back to the drawing board (again) - all this 'doing your homework' stuff can be real frustrating

  5. #5
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    A certain amount of caginess may be undesrtandable as regards their marketing decisions, but refusing to answer and getting stroppy about matters of technical fact seems out of order. Presonally, I'd bang off a letter of complaint. It probably wouldn't do any good, but it might just get the technical answers and it would give another opportunity to vent.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    And now it's superseeded (again), so it's back to the drawing board (again) - all this 'doing your homework' stuff can be real frustrating
    I hear you brother.

    When I was choosing my last camera it took me months of research to help me make up my mind which one to get. Now I'm looking for another one, I've come to the conclusion that the camera I really want doesn't exist yet within a sensible price rang, so I'll bide my time until the world catches up with me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I hear you brother.

    When I was choosing my last camera it took me months of research to help me make up my mind which one to get. Now I'm looking for another one, I've come to the conclusion that the camera I really want doesn't exist yet within a sensible price rang, so I'll bide my time until the world catches up with me.
    You don't know it yet, Midnight, but what you want is a Canon XF100.
    Tim

  8. #8

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    It is a nice camera but I don't think it's enough of a step up from the HVX201.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    It is a nice camera but I don't think it's enough of a step up from the HVX201.
    4:2:2 colour space 50Mbps. Meets the BBC requirements. Very compact.
    I'd buy one if Mrs Tim allowed me.
    Tim

  10. #10

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    Same as the HVX but it can shoot at 100Mbps. When I do find my dream camera I give you fist choice on mine.

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