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What exactly does refurbished mean?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Scott Sherman, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. I am taking the risk of asking a dumb question on the surface, but my question, to elaborate, is this:

    In the case of Nikon lenses, can lenses only be refurbished by Nikon at the manufacturing level or do they go to special refurbishing locations.

    Are refurbished lenses, defective lenses that are fixed or are they lenses that have been returned for any reason such as buyers remorse? In other words, will a buyers remorse lens be resold as is if no complaints are claimed or are they inspected and recertified? Do they have some sort of rating such as major refurb, minor refurb or class one refurb for example?

    If a defective or broken lens is refurbished does Nikon open the lens up and replace any parts in question or do they actually repair the part in question to make it as new?

    If a lens is certified as refurbished, is Nikon saying that it is as good as a new lens? In other words, if it is refurbished because the VR is not working does nikon also replace a focus ring that has minor wear or any nicked surfaces that are only cosmetic?

    Do lenses sold by third parties such as B&H or Cameta (assuming qualified to sell Nikon) get refurbished by the seller, ie: does B&H for example send the lens to their repair department and then have it examined by Nikon or is there some other process?

    I know that some here have actually been to the Nikon manufacturing plant as they allow tours. What was your experience?

    There is a perception, usually not based on anything but assumptions, that refurbished lenses are not as good as new because the warranty is shorter, but I have heard (not from necessarily credible sources) that refurbs are every bit as good as new when released for resale.

    Can anyone shed any first hand knowledge or experience on this subject. I know of a lot of anectodal stories of refurbs breaking and others that say thier refurb is still ticking after xx years, but I also hear of new lenses going back for different reasons such as back focusing or weird noises etc.
  2. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    The following is my understanding of refurbs.
    Refurbs are rebuilt/repaired items that are repaired by Nikon USA at either of their repair locations in the US. They could be items that were returned to Nikon thru dealers that didn't work in some way during the dealer's warranty period, ie, if I bought a lens and it didn't work, I'd return it right away to the dealer who would just send me a new one. The returned lens would be sent to Nikon, who would repair it just as they would do if I sent my lens to them under warranty, then Nikon would wholesale it as a refurb. (Illegal to sell as new)
    I don't think that items returned, for example to B&H, just because the buyer didn't want it qualify, but that would be up to the individual dealer as to their policy regarding re-stocking. I suspect most retailers would check the return for obvious issues and if ok, return to inventory. I doubt Nikon would accept an item like that as a return to them.
    From what I have seen, there is only one level of refurb, it is or it isn't.
  3. photoshooter

    photoshooter Guest

    Refurbished, completely rebuilt, but not new.
    In new working order, meaning it is supposed to work as if , you purchased it new.

    Usually has some type of warranty.
  4. slappomatt


    May 13, 2006
    San Diego CA
    different places have different Ideas on what refurbashed means. no idea about lens specificly but it could be any of the above. I have seen reputable stores, resell returned items as refurb's
  5. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    Scott, actually the term is reconditioned, not really refurbished. refurb has a conotation that it was definitely broke, and repaird. Reconditioned can mean there was NEVER any known defect, the lens was reviewed for any possible issues, checked, and sold as reconditioned without new warranty is all.

    That is very far from refurbished. Fact is, reconditioned does not necessarily mean there was ever anything wrong with the lens. At least I think this is accurate. (See Nikon Mall terminology of one of only a few items available or showing up there at all.) In some cases, these lenses are merely factory representative samples. In order to sell them though, they put them through testing to certify them as reconditioned, replacing any parts necessary to bring them to full spec. (if any) Sometimes, too, they can be dealer stock that is taken back I think. This is what I was told by a Nikon Mall rep. But they are not sold as new, Nikon either moves them through Cameta, another approved dealer, or sells them at Nikon Mall after a quick check over at Mellville, I think.

    Scott's many questions arise probably from our recent transaction, where I traded him a Nikon sold reconditioned 70-200VR. The rate of trade reflected the lens pedigree, not that it matters for my reply, and it was of course, fully declared by me as such prior to trade.

    I took the following with it, 1 week before we traded. Scott, to put your mind at ease, why don't you just call Nikon Mall and speak to a representative? Most definitely, the equipment is supposed to be as good as new, it's just not sold with new warranty. But ask them that. They don't have any 70-200VRs listed at present, but at least they can answer your questions in general terms applicable to all lenses. I did call again myself just to confirm, and they do represent them as being "as good as new" just not with new warranty. That's it.


    Scott, if there's a concern about it, PM me, and we will work it out. Maybe you are just curious, and I can certainly understand that... I was too, that's why I asked questions before I saved money on reconditioned initially.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2007
  6. I have purchased reconditioned bodies and lenses from Cameta Camera.

    I only once ever had a problem with a camera, a D2H before the Meter Recall was issued. They exchanged the body, no questions asked.

    As for any of the other equipment, I never had a problem, and when I recieved it, I could not tell it from new.
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