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Jac@stafford.net
3-Nov-2017, 20:45
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.

Two23
3-Nov-2017, 21:51
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

LabRat
3-Nov-2017, 22:16
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

Vaughn
3-Nov-2017, 22:30
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.

Jim Jones
4-Nov-2017, 06:08
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.

MAubrey
4-Nov-2017, 07:19
That's capitalism for you!

Amedeus
4-Nov-2017, 07:31
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

Pfsor
4-Nov-2017, 07:33
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?

Fred L
4-Nov-2017, 07:40
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 ;)

Greg
4-Nov-2017, 07:52
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.

David Lindquist
4-Nov-2017, 08:06
At $368 this isn't that much less than the Ries J250 ($390.60 with black knobs, $411.60 with bronze knobs). It does have some additional features, as was mentioned a panning base, also the camera platform has two levels built-in and both tilt axes have graduated (but un-numbered) scales. It looks like these are made by the same company as the Sinar Pan Tilt head copies also on eBay. These look nicely made and may very well be. I think China is fully capable of making things with as much quality as the market demands. It's just that much of the market doing the demanding is that of Walmart and Harbor Freight.
David

karl french
4-Nov-2017, 08:07
One of their heads has the 6" platform with the 4" mounting base. Thus I can get the 6" square platform with my Ries J100-2. That and the fact that I always found the pan technique of the Ries head to be bad. Those two features alone make the head interesting. I have a lens board adapter from the same company. Very nice machining.

ic-racer
4-Nov-2017, 08:52
Is my view obsolete? .
No concern over Antonio Stradivari copying Amati?

Tin Can
4-Nov-2017, 10:05
I'd feel better to see how it performs on a MTS 100K Load Frame (https://www.mts.com/en/products/producttype/test-systems/load-frames-uniaxial/servohydraulic/index.htm). I used to run load to failure tests. Like bolts, castings, shims, anything we could fit in it. We could verify it's 66kg load rating. One time I used a MTS Million Lb Load Frame, aka 'Rock Crusher' at Northwestern University. A monster machine cleverly hidden in an ivy covered school building.

Bolt quality is a big deal. The weakest link...

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
4-Nov-2017, 10:13
Take a look through eBay for "as Kino Flo" or "as Arri" lighting. Its pretty amazing that there are direct copies of these lights including the names. Evidently Kino and Arri have not pursued (or have not be successful in their pursuit) getting eBay to cancel these. Oddly, they aren't much cheaper. Then again, I can't imagine that there are too many professional grips who would show up to a shoot with knock off products.

Ted R
4-Nov-2017, 10:20
I have two concerns: quality of fabrication and availability of after-sales-service. Depending on the item in question I sometimes chose an original and sometimes chose a knock-off, I don't concern myself with moral issues in this matter.

Jac@stafford.net
4-Nov-2017, 12:47
[...] I don't concern myself with moral issues in this matter.

If there is a lapsed patent, I still prefer to put my money into the inventor's hand, if he's living. I'm rather sensitive to this because a relative was a hard working inventor. I've seen the struggles.

...and I do not concern myself with others' morals in this regard. We are good. :)

Corran
5-Nov-2017, 22:25
1:1 copies usually mean that the item in question is being made in China already, and some production capacity is getting made and sold with a different name stamped on it.

This is a pretty well-known thing and is symptomatic of manufacturing being sent to China. The Chinese have different patent laws and different cultural beliefs in this area. If a manufacturer doesn't want an item knocked-off like that, they simply shouldn't have manufacturing done in China. If they can't afford to make it elsewhere and hit an appropriate price-point or profit margin...well too bad, such is life in that space.

Items with very similar form/function may be modified or inspired from the original product, but still be its own thing. Every tripod/head is basically the same core principle anyway - how much of a design is patentable and proprietary? What patents are actually held? Before being overly critical I think this is important to consider. Also I have no experience with Ries so I have no idea about similarities here.

Our patent and copyright laws in the USA are pretty messy IMO and could do with some careful retooling, especially copyright of intellectual property.

Jim Jones
6-Nov-2017, 06:57
I've used American made Tiltall tripods labeled as three different brands for the past 57 years, and found no significant difference in performance. The fairly recent attempt to import similar tripods under the Tiltall brand seems less successful to those who have tried them. We shouldn't blame the countries of origin for such unfortunate products. It is the American corporate buyer and distributor of such things that creates the market for them, and the American bargain shopper who supports that market.

HMG
6-Nov-2017, 08:13
I've used American made Tiltall tripods labeled as three different brands for the past 57 years, and found no significant difference in performance. The fairly recent attempt to import similar tripods under the Tiltall brand seems less successful to those who have tried them. We shouldn't blame the countries of origin for such unfortunate products. It is the American corporate buyer and distributor of such things that creates the market for them, and the American bargain shopper who supports that market.

It seems to be a race to the bottom.

Consumers buy almost exclusively on price, so manufacturers must make items as cheap as possible
---or---
Manufacturers make items as cheap as possible, so consumers might as well buy based on price

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

I have no sympathy for "brand name" manufacturers who commoditize their product:

no pre or post sale support, online or otherwise
no parts or repair availabiity
crappy warranty


Their mantra is outsource, outsource, outsource.

stawastawa
6-Nov-2017, 08:30
the manufacturer has a lovely collection of lens boards. Nice to see new versions at slightly more than the used market.

Also, Many of the original manufacturers don't have a presence on ebay, so these new sources have smart marketing =)

Drew Wiley
6-Nov-2017, 16:46
Before I retired, I sold quite a few US fiberglass-clad wooden survey tripods. Then Chinese copies hit the market hard. They did look almost identical, but the legs start to slip in a few minutes - in other words, functionally useless. Most distributors didn't even care; they never test the stuff they sell. But to me, a Ries is a Ries, is a Ries. There just ain't no substitute.

John Kasaian
6-Nov-2017, 18:28
One Kodak product I often use, the Projection Print Calculator Scale, has been discontinued by Kodak but a copy is available from Delta 1. That's a good thing.
OTOH I've got a few US Milwaukee power tools over 40 years old (yeah I bought 'em new)and the switches have finally started going soft. The replacement parts come from overseas and they are cr@p.
I had a long lived US Porter Cable sabre saw that had the same issue, now Porter Cables are made overseas and they don't even bother to sell the part I need. The finely cast metal saw finally went into the trash, replaced with a cheap Black and Decker from the PRC via Walmart. It works but I seriously doubt it will make it 40 more years (in fairness though, neither will I!)

Jim Andrada
6-Nov-2017, 21:58
Festool makes a couple of great power saws - if you don't ming paying the (significant) price. My old Milwaukee stuff is also great. My Hole Hawg is still going strong after 40 years or so.

Drew Wiley
7-Nov-2017, 16:08
Bingo. Until my retirement last yr, I ran the largest Festool dealership in the West, or frankly, anywhere in the US west of New England. Milwaukee has been not only Chinese made but Chinese owned for several years now, and lots of those big right angle drills literally don't last even twenty minutes now. Porter Cable is basically just overpriced gray DeWalt, with both brands being made in China and owned by Stanley, which is a Cayman Islands company with zero employees there. Festool is privately owned by a big German industrial robotics , company, and was sold in over 40 countries prior to the US. I have no problems with Chinese cottage industries like those making view cameras, and they're doing a good job of it. It's not the kind of product that Walmart or Home Cheapo is going to take interest in and demand bottom-feeder price and non-aligned. Some Chinese lensboards etc I've found to be decent, and some worthless. Metallurgy is not their strong point; that's for sure.

Fred L
7-Nov-2017, 18:47
Started off with Ryobi homeowner cordless tools and they were fine. Got a second set of cordless but went Milwaukee. The Ryobis stay at the cabin and the Milwaukee do the brunt of work at home. Not sure if they're manufactured in the U.S. or overseas (Milwaukee still manufactures some tools in N.A from what I can find) but regardless, they're extremely durable tools. I don't baby them like my cameras and they're holding up like champs. The cordless sliding mitre was my last buy and I'm glad I waited for that vs the ac powered 12" mitre. Did yeoman's work on my deck rebuild this summer.

I've had bad experiences with Made in China but also don't subscribe to the belief that everything manufactured there is garbage. ymmv ;)

Now Festool...Lee Valley Tools carries the line and they do look very fine but not for my pocketbook. If I had the need and coin, the Sawstop would be my achilles heel.

Drew Wiley
8-Nov-2017, 10:34
There's a lot of gear out there technically mislabeled : partially assembled here, but using imported parts. Milwaukee and Ryobi are owned by the same Chinese company. About all that's still made in the US are Sawzall blades per se. I threw out the line after fully 50 percent of their batteries proved defective brand new. My tolerance rate was 2 percent. Of course, I was supplying pros who lose money fast if tools are unreliable. Homeowner business is quite different. If you factor in battery life and the number a pro needs to replace over a five year period, a $700 Festool drill actually costs about one fifth to operate than a DeWalt or Milwaukee, not to mention far better ergonomics and long-term performance of the tool itself. The very best drills are made in Makita's aerospace division and cost up to $8000 apiece. No lithium batteries are allowed in combat or aerospace work due to flammability. Companies like Makita (which is privately held) makes stuff all over the world, with the best tools being made in Japan, Germany, and the US. They use China for both contractor-grade tools and junky home center items. Bosch also has a large mfg facility in the US and is privately owned. But no traditional US brand name is either US owned or made anymore. They're basically all cynical stock market and tax evasion schemes with golden parachute CEOs. Getting good products from China requires a lot of work (over forty visits, typically), and involves a tiered bribe structure. Thank goodness view cameras do not fall in this category. And for the record, Chamonix did not plagiarize Phillips. He was retiring anyway, and they asked his permission to make something similar - or at least that's the version of the story I heard.

EdWorkman
8-Nov-2017, 11:52
Anyone remember the days when Pentax cameras could not be brought into the US except by Honeywell?
IIRC the bootleg price was $125 and the risk that the customs person would obliterate the Pentax logo by gouging the metal

Jac@stafford.net
8-Nov-2017, 12:39
Anyone remember the days when Pentax cameras could not be brought into the US except by Honeywell?
IIRC the bootleg price was $125 and the risk that the customs person would obliterate the Pentax logo by gouging the metal

I do remember. What year was that?

HMG
8-Nov-2017, 12:54
Anyone remember the days when Pentax cameras could not be brought into the US except by Honeywell?
IIRC the bootleg price was $125 and the risk that the customs person would obliterate the Pentax logo by gouging the metal

Honeywell owned the US rights to the Pentax brand at least until the mid to late 80s. About the time I went to work for (corporate) Honeywell. Talk about timing.

As I recall, many bodies with the "Asahi Pentax" logo (especially those brought back by service members) had the logo covered with some sort of black tape that was heated when applied and very difficult to remove.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Nov-2017, 13:08
As I recall, many bodies with the "Asahi Pentax" logo (especially those brought back by service members) had the logo covered with some sort of black tape that was heated when applied and very difficult to remove.

Thank you. I had no idea. I got under the wire bringing two Asahi Pentax Spotmatics to the US during a short military leave in 1965. (At the time I thought it was such a cool camera.)
.

Drew Wiley
8-Nov-2017, 16:35
Purchasing something overseas for personal use has no relation to unauthorized import for the sake of distribution. But if the brand name was blacked out, somebody was obviously up to grey market shenanigans. Anyway, those Spotmatics were wonderfully reliable.

Luis-F-S
9-Nov-2017, 07:44
.... But to me, a Ries is a Ries, is a Ries. There just ain't no substitute.

++1 why I have 4! Plus Debbie will work with you on special needs-they're just Great!!

Greg Davis
9-Nov-2017, 08:31
Iíve bought several accessories from Chinese makers on eBay for my Profoto strobes. They make no attempt to hide their own brand names. $50 for a honeycomb grid is much better than Profotoís $135. 10/10, would purchase again.