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What Is a White Box Lens?

When shopping for broadcast lenses, you've probably come across listings that describe the item as a "white box lens." What exactly does this mean?
A white box lens is a lens that was originally part of a camera kit that the retailer bought and subsequently split out into separate products. Instead of having retail packaging, these lenses come in a plain white box. They have the same quality as retail lenses, as well as the same warranty, but they are usually less expensive. Sometimes they are considerably less expensive.
White Box LensThis means that white box lenses are a suitable alternative when buying broadcast lenses. You just need to make sure that the lens came from a kit that was intended for your country. For example, if you live in the US, you need to ask the retailer or seller if the lens came from a kit intended for the US market. If it didn't, then the lens would be considered a "grey market" item.White box lenses are often confused with grey market lenses, but this is a mistake. A grey market lens is one that is being sold in a market different than what the manufacturer intended. This lens would not have a warranty from the manufacturer. It could have other problems as well, such as missing or incorrect documentation, and inferior quality.A grey market lens could be sold as a white box lens. So. how can you identify when this happens?Grey market lenses will often have one of following terms in its description:

  • Import Model
  • Warranty via Seller
  • USA Seller Warranty
  • Off Market
  • USA Coverage by Seller
  • Seller Warranty


You can also avoid grey market lenses by buying from a reputable retailer.

White box lenses should also not be confused with refurbished lenses. A refurbished lens is one that has been returned to the manufacturer, who then corrects any faults in the lens before reselling the item. The quality of a refurbished lens is usually the same or close to the same of a new lens, but it often comes with a shorter warranty period.

Like with a grey market lens, a refurbished lens could be sold as a white box lens, but it should explicitly state
that it is refurbished. A white box lens does not imply that the lens is refurbished.

So, should you buy a white box lens?

Yes. You will get the same quality and warranty as a retail lens, and you'll save money. You just need to look out for grey market and refurbished lenses being sold as white box, and the best way to avoid these is to buy from a reputable retailer.

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