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Buying Canon Lenses in America

srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2004 7:27PM
Am going to the US with work for a couple of days next week. Am hoping to get to a camera shop with a view to saving myself some money on a canon L series lens (either the 300mm f4 IS or 100-400 f4.5/5.6 IS). Don't want to carry my 10D body over with me (will have no time for pictures I'm afraid).

Does anyone know of any compatibility problems with US sourced canon L lenses when used on a UK purchased 10D body?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.



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zippie 15 1.3k England
28 Jun 2004 8:20PM
Shouldn't be any problems, all canon ef lenses fit all canons as far as i know. Would be better to take your camera, then you won't get stung by customs ! (Say you brought the lens with you !)
Big Bri 18 16.5k United Kingdom
28 Jun 2004 8:53PM
No problem. I have a US sourced 28-135 IS and I am considering buying a 100-400 L IS when I am back over there in 2 weeks time (although the wife will string me up).

Beware that if you were trying to sneak a 100-400 lens through customs without paying the VAT and duty on it, it's not easy to conceal. I mean, like, it's HUGE.
User_Removed 17 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2004 7:46AM
The 100-400 is not that big Bri when in the 100mm position (I mean when it is fully retracted you naughty boy - not what you're thinking).

One obersvation, if the C&E are suspicious and do pull you in for a check, they now have the means to check on serial numbers so they will know where the lens was bought and roughly when. I am just about to import a 500mm lens from the States and even going through 'normal' channels and paying the duty and VAT, I am going to save over 1000 on the UK price.

As regards compatability, there will be absolutely no problems whatsoever. However, I do understand that buying a lens in the US is likely to cause you to start wearing totally uncordinated clothes, eat to excess, elect ex-bodybuilders as politician and you will start to foster ideas of world domination (and before anybody has a go - I am only joking...... I think!)

Barrie Smile
srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2004 7:44PM
Thanks for the feedback and advice about C+E.

Big Bri - my wife has already threatened to cut up all my credit cards!

and Barrie, how did you know about my dress sense?


Photo4x4 15 470 United Kingdom
30 Jun 2004 5:59AM

When you get the lens post the doccumentation home. If customs found it in your lugage it would be a bit of a giveaway! And definiteley take your camera with you.

Keith Hart
User_Removed 17 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
30 Jun 2004 6:40AM
One more thing to consider, (I'm not making any judgements whatsoever here - just being devil's advocate).

In attempting to avoid paying duty and VAT you are guilty of tax evasion (a very serious offence) and probably lots of other offences as well. If you do happen to get caught (and it does happen more frequently than people suspect) then you technically can be prosecuted and go to prison. At the least, the goods can be seized and/or you can be levied with a punitive fine and I believe they automatically double the rate of duty you have to pay. Just because other people do it doesn't make it right and it doesn't mean you won't be caught!

One last thing - C&E do not have to prove there is an issue, they only need to suspect it. It is up to you to prove that the items are legit. They can seize the goods and hold them until such time you can prove legitimate UK purchase or that tax and duty has been paid.

You do need to weight these things up

Barrie Smile
Just Jas 17 26.3k 1 England
30 Jun 2004 6:55AM
You also may have trouble in the future when coming in through Customs with the kit.

How do you prove you bought the item in England to Custom's satisfaction if required to do so?

Produce a receipt with no VAT paid?

mikeyc71 15 1.2k
30 Jun 2004 7:59AM
If I decided to take my EOS 3 abroad would I have to take my receipt with me in case I am challenged by the C + E ?
michaeldt 15 1.2k
30 Jun 2004 8:09AM
not if there's a nice BIG scrath on it Wink
i've never been stopped by C+E and i usually travel internationaly at least once a year. people are allowed to take camera equipment with them and to expect them to carry all the receipts is a bit silly.
if they did ask to check your stuff though they'd most likely want to know where you'd come from and if it was a country known for being cheaper than britain for camera goods they might want to check up on it.
User_Removed 17 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
30 Jun 2004 8:29AM
The chances of being stopped when travelling just once a year are of course very low. The chance of being stopped when you are obviously carrying camera equipment is much higher.

With regard to carrying a recipt with you is not as bad idea and one to be recommended if you are carrying a lot of high value gear with you (take a copy not the original though) and is hardly going to cause much distress in terms of something extra to carry! It's useful for insurance purposes in the event you have to report stolen items to local police authorities (i.e. you can quote serial numbers etc to them which will then appear on any police report you have to present to your insurance company).

I think you will find that C&E are going to start clamping down on this sort of 'behaviour' (for want of a better word) in the Governments never end search for more revenue and the ability for them to do this is now even greater with the more advanced and thorough security checks that have been employed particualrly between the EU and the Americas/Far East/Middle East
Just Jas 17 26.3k 1 England
30 Jun 2004 8:29AM
I took a list detailing all the gear, with serial numbers, when I did a tour of Holland with a young peoples orchestra.

This was the advice I received at the time.

I took a bag with two Contax 139Q bodies, various prime lenses, and a Vivitar 365 hammer gun. Plus oodles of C41 film.

In the event, we passed straight through. If I had been challenged the list would have eased the situation.

If I were going now, yes - I would take copies of the receipts.

michaeldt 15 1.2k
30 Jun 2004 8:33AM
"With regard to carrying a recipt with you is not as bad idea and one to be recommended if you are carrying a lot of high value gear with you (take a copy not the original though) and is hardly going to cause much distress in terms of something extra to carry!"

I know, but having to dig them out (since they would not be high on my list of essential paperwork i would have them packed away) would be a pain. I never said don't take 'em, i just said it's silly to expect people to Smile
Just Jas 17 26.3k 1 England
30 Jun 2004 8:39AM
The idea is to make life easier for ones-self. There is nothing worse than getting into a dispute with C&E after a tiring journey and you just want to get home!

User_Removed 17 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
30 Jun 2004 8:43AM
Slightly off topic but this is one of the suprising and unexpected benefits of having a UK Press Card. A subtle display of the card to people in authority who are being a bit of a pain or a bit 'jobsworthy' tends to loosen blockages ("musn't upset the Press")


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