Buying 4x5 Lenses in Japan : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Can anyone say if it is better (less expensive) to buy lenses (specifically Nikon or Fuji) in Japan than it is here in the US?

Thanks, Robert

-- Robert Ruderman (, August 12, 1998


Yes it can be under the right circumstances. The Yen to dollar conversion at 143 to a dollar is very attractive. I recently had a brother bring me a Nikon lens on his trip from Japan and he carried the lens with him on the plane. I saved 26% over what I could have bought the lens for from B&H or a similar discount house. I got a warranty card good internationally and the savings was inclusive of the 5% tax in Japan I had to pay. My brother told me that carrying a lens on a trip is a whole different story from having one sent to you in the mail. I did not get into the details but I think the Feds get their piece of the action and that erodes the favorability.

With the Yex potentially weakening to 150 or even I have read possibly 155 yen to the dollar as Japan gets their economy on the right track, I feel that it is worth further investigation. It worked for me.

I also have a recent price list on Nikon lens if you are interested in a specific model.

-- Michael Kadillak (, August 12, 1998.

I agree with the previous answer, but here are a few more details. I bought the Nikkor W 135mm lens and the Fuji C 300mm lens in Tokyo. The street prices were 49,800 yen and 63,800 yen, respectively, and the 5% consumption tax was waived. At yesterday's rate of 145 yen to the dollar, this works out to $343 and $440, respectively. One minor drawback is that the warranty is good only in Japan, if I'm not mistaken. Import duty at US customs is 0% on the first $400, 10% on the next $1000, and a certain fixed percentage of everything over $1400. For 35mm SLR gear this percentage is 1.2%. There doesn't seem to be a category for large format gear, so ask to be charged at the rate for 35mm SLRs, which is the lowest of all camera categories. Even with the import duty, the potential savings are significant.

-- Stewart Ethier (, August 19, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ