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Thread: Disturbing copies

  1. #1
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Disturbing copies

    I understand it might be my old man's view; it disturbs me to find Asian copies
    of products I own and have admired. Is my view obsolete? What happened?

    See 'Bay item 112447093172.

    My sympathies to Ries.

  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Disturbing copies

    I have mixed feelings. One the one hand, I admire people who come with a great product and make them in the U.S. They take a lot of risk and put in the hours. OTOH, if someone can make a good product and charge a lot less, why not buy it? My ballhead is an AcraTech, a truly outstanding head. The L-bracket on my Nikon DSLR came from China and works fine.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  3. #3

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    Re: Disturbing copies

    Depends on the commitment of the maker...

    Some are just trying to knock-off/copy an item to cash in on, but some (often Japanese) will try to finesse/exceed an existing design that many are familiar with...

    The problem nowadays is that most buyers tend to shop online, and read the ad copy, reviews etc, but don't actually handle the gear before buying, so they are playing buyers roulette, instead of the old days going to a camera shop and testing the gear right on the spot before plunking down the wad of cash... You can feel when things are made well, and often the store pre-selected the item after checking them out themselves, knowing what the buyer would want...

    There are some imported items well made/great value, but on a slim case by case basis... Buyer beware!!!

    Internet stuff today reminds me of video stores long ago... If you picked-up a VHS tape, the review on the back of the tape made everything into a 5 star movie... :-0

    Steve K

  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Disturbing copies

    The new Ries heads are built a little differently than this design (new camera platforms are not cast with downward attachment points). The knock-off has a panning feature. Oh, well, flattery and all that.

    In 1980, I bought new an exact copy of a Deardorff Special, made in India (Rajah). I had never seen (or heard of) a Deardorff Special, so I did not know it was a knock-off. A camera store in San Diego advertised it with a 210/6.3 Computar (Copal 1) for $525. If I had been more experienced in LF I would have found the major light leak in the back before I hitch-hiked thru New Zealand for three months with it. When I got back, the owner of the camera store fixed the camera for free, gave me a deal on a Gitzo Studex set of legs ($100). He felt bad. Inexperienced, I took a real sketchy tripod with me to NZ -- if not for the light leak, most of my images probably would have been ruined by camera-shake! (see image...summer before I took off for NZ).

    I eventually got a Gowland PocketView 4x5 and a 150/5.6 for traveling, and a 5x7 Deardorff back that was a perfect fit for the Rajah (w/210mm). The workmanship, metal and wood, of the Rajah was not high. Fortunately the lens was not a knock-off and a very fine lens in a modern shutter.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1981Camera.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Disturbing copies

    Asian copies aren't the only disappointment: even the major camera makers sometimes try to compete in prices rather than excel in quality. Just this week I retired a 55-300mm Nikon lens after a few years of hard use because the four tiny screws that secured the metal lens mount had stripped out the plastic into which they were threaded. I replaced the lens with a 55-200 at about a third of the cost, but it has a plastic lens mount, even more worrisome cost-cutting. In comparison, the Leica kit I started to assemble in 1953 has never failed except after abuse. Nor did the Japanese made Nikon equipment that complemented the Leica after 1967. Once many Americans appreciated quality equipment, although my Stanley wood plane is ready for retirement after 100+ years. (It was well used even before my time) Americans may pay a steep price for our risky economizing if we ever go to war with the countries that have undermined our own industry with their junk while learning from us how to do it right for themselves.

  6. #6

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    Re: Disturbing copies

    That's capitalism for you!

  7. #7

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    Re: Disturbing copies

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    I understand it might be my old man's view; it disturbs me to find Asian copies
    of products I own and have admired. Is my view obsolete? What happened?

    See 'Bay item 112447093172.

    My sympathies to Ries.
    Great products will always be copied, not just in Asia but everywhere else in the world. At times patents will protect you, at times they are not worth the time and effort as they are not economically enforceable.

    As for this particular entrepreneur in Asia, all his products are high quality, engineered from aluminum alloy (not cast aluminum ... ) to high standards and his customer service is excellent from my perspective. I've bought numerous times product from this source and they have provided me with high quality custom modifications of product they've developed on their own dime. His products are not necessarily inexpensive ...

    The head you linked to is geared towards heavy digital medium frame cameras and light weight 4x5 field cameras. That's where his market is. This is not an equivalent of the larger Ries 8x10 and 11x14.

    As an innovator and inventor with numerous patents, I share your feelings of frustration with copies regardless of their origin. As an entrepreneur, I do appreciated that some so-called copies are actually improvements on the original. It's a fine line and in general (not applicable to this particular example) the lesson is, never stop innovating or someone else will do it for you.

    Peace,

    Rudi A

  8. #8

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    Re: Disturbing copies

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Americans may pay a steep price for our risky economizing if we ever go to war with the countries that have undermined our own industry with their junk while learning from us how to do it right for themselves.
    Good grief! Those tripod copies are really disturbing you, aren't they?

  9. #9

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    Re: Disturbing copies

    yeah, saw those and was surprised it wasn't priced a bit lower to cannibalize Ries sales. At their price point, presuming quality is similar, the only different feature they have is the pan. Otherwise just buy Ries. Very happy with my A and J heads but the pan lock is a feature I would love to see in Ries heads. I know it's not much to reach underneath and loosen the head bolt but still
    notch codes ? where we're going, we don't need notch codes.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disturbing copies

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    I understand it might be my old man's view; it disturbs me to find Asian copies
    of products I own and have admired. Is my view obsolete? What happened?

    See 'Bay item 112447093172.

    My sympathies to Ries.
    2 words: product support (pre and post)
    I have 3 Ries tripods and 2 of their large heads. Before purchasing these items, spent a little time on the phone with Ries making sure my needs were to be met. Then after purchasing and using the equipment was on the phone again with Ries. They were more than helpful every time I spoke with them.

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