Fake Nikon gear

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by scott_ferris, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. More a public service announcement than a question. I saw this video yesterday about a fake MB-D11, the post has high res pictures comparing fake and genuine and the video covers a few differences. There is a big difference between $40 and $220!
    Hope this helps, Scott.
     
  2. Scott: I don't think it is 'fake' ... per se ... it is not labeled Nikon ... all the ads I have seen clearly label it for what it is ... I think some reviewers on Amazon have commented on the lack of quality switches (will they last?) and weak painted markings ... but all have said 'it works' ... My real question about this is patent rights ... how is it possible (or legal) to have a knock-off out less than a year after the release of the real thing ... a knockoff that clearly is a out-and-out copy ... and no legal action? Times change. Also, buyer beware ... quality remains LONG AFTER price is forgotten.
     
  3. Bruce,
    What is your definition of fake then?
    The subject of the video was sold as genuine Nikon article, in a Nikon branded box (fake) with Nikon documentation (fake) and was sold for $219.00. It had CE labels (fake) and Nikon was clearly stamped on the bottom (fake). It was a counterfeit product passed off as genuine. I am not talking about the Neewer copy that can be bought for $40, I am talking about re-badged Neewer products that are being passed off as genuine.
    If you read the comments one guy has already bought one off eBay for $190.
    My point was there are legitimate third party items, which if you only have $40 are a great buy, but somebody is re-branding them and re-boxing them in fake Nikon boxes and passing them off as genuine, many retailers and private buyers would be unaware of this if they don't know what to look for.
     
  4. Bruce.... I saw the video and it is fake. It's branded as Nikon, it comes in a Nikon box and it even
    has a Nikon warranty card and manual.
     
  5. Scott: I agree ... but why is this not legally actionable thru international trade agreements ... OR, being USA centric (too much) ... how is it allowed to continue ... HERE? In other threads here over the past few months this issue (and thanks for bringing it up!) really underscores the necessity to investigate, consider, mull-over, compare prices, ... and then, NO MATTER WHAT, buy from a reputable, TRUSTED SOURCE ... just spoke with a local 'trused source' dealer who says such things can always be a problem, but "we don't stock the store from EBAY, we stock from Nikon". He also added he's not sure every store everywhere stocks from Nikon, so the alert and warning is probably a good thing.
     
  6. Matt: I hear the reason the knock-off , and now fake, MB-D11, is doing so well with photojournalists is because they've heard the spare battery compartment will hold 2 shots of gin, or other material of similiar volumetrics.
     
  7. It's true, Bruce. A well-prepared Boy Scout could fit an entire week's provisions into a battery compartment that big. Or, a fair amount of whiskey, as you point out.
     
  8. Bruce,
    The short answer is it is illegal, but like so many laws, enforcing it is not easy, and yes, always buy from somewhere you can easily return stuff to. In the video the man was sent a return label straight away, the poor guy on eBay has lost his money.
    Another thing, that I think is more important here though and as you pointed out. Whilst I am certain B&H and Adorama etc all get their gear from trusted sources, either genuine USA distributors or grey market ones, many more otherwise good businesses or distributors are not so thorough, they could have excellent reputations but be selling stuff like this quite unaware that they are fakes, I don't believe this is limited to fraudulent eBay sellers.
    Matt,
    I am, for my sins, a Canon shooter, but I wanted to post the link anyway. But that flask has to be the coolest lens mug/flask/drinks holder I have seen, way better than the Canon ones.
     
  9. The US Customs Service should be getting the 'just-like-a-Nikon grip' in 'just-like-a-Nikon box' off the store shelves. If one tries to import 'look-alike' Rolex watches, the Customs hammer takes a swing on the 'look-alike' timepieces.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    There are all sorts of counterfeit Nikon camera batteries around, and some of them look very real. You need to know where to look carefully to tell the difference.
    I recall that when we discussed that topic a couple of years ago, quite to a member here's surprise, he discovered a battery that came with the new D200 body he bought was a counterfeit. While we (at least I) don't know for sure how that happened, it it possible that someone along the distribution chain made a switch, putting a counterfeit battery inside a new D200 box, and they could sell the genuine Nikon battery elsewhere. It could be some guy at a warehouse or inside a camera store, etc.
    In other words, even though we buy from what we think are reliable sources, we can still potentially end up with fake products. I don't think anybody can fake camera bodies and lenses; it is the small accessories that are more at risk.
     
  11. That was me, Shun! The body was purchased (at an almost-too-good-to-be-true price) from the soon to go out of business Circuit City, as part of a lens/body bundle. Not that that D200 ever gave me a moment's trouble (and it still works just as well as it ever did!), but in retrospect, a lot felt funny about that transaction, though the serial numbers (not including the battery!) were all legit US imports, says Nikon.

    That counterfeit battery did fail long before other apparently genuine EN-EL3e's did, by the way. Of course, I've had a genuine Nikon battery just plain die on me, only a month or two into its life after only moderate use, so you never know. And there's no warranty on batteries - something that it surprised me to discover.

    On the OP's topic, I don't think I'd buy a knock-off grip. Those things need to be tough. A fraudulently marked/sold one, sold as Nikon by a shady vendor ... that would make me say very bad words.
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Matt, I know that was you, but I wasn't sure you would appreciate it if I mentioned your name.
    Your experience was a surprise to me, but if you think about it, it shouldn't be a surprise at all. Plenty of people along the distriubtion chain have opportunities to swap out genuine components.
     
  13. Shun: Thanks for that additional information ... it raises the question ... is this fakery a result of INDIVIDUALS ... let's repack a $50 grip into a $220 box and sell it ... this is generally referred to as fraud at the 'retail' level, a one-off perp, OR, is someone(s) printing up boxes and warranty cards and operating as a going fraud on the 'wholesale' level (lots of 'em)? I would think, and hope, if it is the latter, that Nikon USA, or Nikon Inc., would swoop down with the legal equivilent of a Blackhawk helio and lay general waste (in legal terms) to those who would destroy the brand reputation of the Nikon name.
     
  14. Everyone knows that was Matt :)
     
  15. I think you only have to look at the country of origin of both the fake and real grips for the answer to Bruce's question. This must be done on a fairly industrial scale to manufacture gold inked boxes to the standard seen on the fstoppers website. That's not the sort of thing you could quickly knock off on an inkjet printer, along with anodised-printed nameplates and impressed rubber grips.
    I suspect that these units possibly even come out of the same factory that manufactures the genuine Nikon article, or that the stamping moulds are duplicated somewhere along the way and sold on to another factory.
    This also raises the question: "If Neewer can sell this for $40, why does Nikon charge nearly 6 times as much for the same thing?" Development costs? That doesn't really wash for what's basically a plastic box with a couple of batteries and a switch in it, does it? The fact that the battery inserts weren't interchangeable between fake and real is hardly a major difference. And if the guy had bought a second fake, by his own admission he'd be none the wiser. Makes you think, no?
     
  16. Rodeo,
    That is another interesting point, I remember a few years ago reading an article on fake golf clubs, they were special titanium and something composites. Several major brands had a similar club with high price tags, then fakes started appearing that were remarkably similar to the name brands. Well upon investigation it turned out that there was one factory in the world that made these clubs, not just the fakes, but all the different brands clubs! So, if they are made in the same factory, to the same tolerances in the same machines using the same materials, how bad could they be?
    Not the issue in this thread because as mentioned the copies don't have the build quality of the original and they were deliberately packaged to be dishonest. But also as he pointed out in the video, for $40 the Neewer ones are very good value.
     
  17. Trying to stay in good humor about this and not go completely paranoid ... one of the bad things about getting older is that you start thinking you're ALWAYS getting sxxxxxd. Shun mentioned he didn't think this affected lenses and bodies (I hope he's right)... now this golf club thing ... if this fraud had spread to lenses is this a possible new reason for a "bad COPY" of that particular lens?!! I think I'm going to check my gear now ....
     
  18. Bruce,
    Don't get paranoid about cameras and lenses, well good ones anyway. I believe both Canon and Nikon manufacture all their own cameras and lenses, maybe not all in Japan, but they are all Nikon or Canon factories. To make a believable fake when you are not the actual factory making the original is a huge task for something like a camera or lens.
     
  19. I have a fake D7000 vertical grip. But it was sold under the other brand name. It's noticeably not as well made as the Nikon model and anybody who knows Nikon gear would spot it as a 3rd party product right away, but for $40-something, it's quite functional and I'm not going to complain.
     
  20. Rodeo, development costs are (mostly) paid by the inventor/creator. Take Scott's golf club anology.
    Taylor Made (or whomever) spends years developing new materials for a golf club shaft. To do this, they need to actually make the shafts - and machining any prototype is very expensive, since they probably can't automate the entire process until after they figure out the density and hardness of the material. So they make a bunch of shafts, and then spend a couple months testing them. In the process, they will break a lot of them. When all is said and done, they probably have a couple million dollars into R&D, and all they have to show for it is a design for a new shaft. They need to spend even more to retool their machines to build it. When they go to sell that shaft, or the club, the cost of the R&D is built right into it. Once they've sold that club or shaft for a few years, the cost will go down. Golf clubs designed three years ago will always be MUCH less than "new" clubs, even if they're both right off the shelf.
    If Tailore Made wants to copy the club, all they need to do is contact the factory and have a new name put on them. Worst case scenario they buy a bunch to dissect, do some tests to figure out chemical composition, and then contact some companies to buy the same materials. How many different forges could possibly be supplying the exact same titatium alloy recipie to golf club companies?
    This is assuming that the "real" company is on the up-and-up, and really is charging based on development and not name recognition. This is not usually the case, but it shows why the inventor of a product will almost always be more expensive than the copies.
     
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If all you do is copying the result from someone else's hard work, of course it is very easy and very cheap. Take an extreme example: a blank DVD maybe 25 cents at retail and the cost to copy a movie DVD maybe well less than $1. However, whoever produces a movie will have to pay the big name actors and actresses plus many many other costs, including post-production promotion, etc. Part of that cost is eventually divided among the $20 movie DVDs they sell and of course the box office intake.
    But if all you do is (illegally) copying DVDs someone else produces, of course your cost is extremely low.
    In any case, all of this is an interesting topic that is outside of photography per se.
     
  22. Scott: I am in good humor about this ... sorry this am I was mobile thru several service areas and could not see the vid ... falsely assumed you were talking about the Neewer. But this whole issue echos the need for all of us to BEWARE ... BTW, in the phone call to my trusted local dealer this am he pretty much emphasized what both you and Shun have said ... complex, difficult things, not so much ... but (now)battery packs, BATTERYS, and MEMORY CARDS ... BE CAREFUL! His point ... it is very false economy and poor judgement to outfit a first class camera body with cheap batteries and possibly bogus memory cards to save a few $$ when so much has been spent on the equipment.
     
  23. "If Neewer can sell this for $40, why does Nikon charge nearly 6 times as much for the same thing?" Development costs? That doesn't really wash for what's basically a plastic box with a couple of batteries and a switch in it, does it?"
    The real MB-D11 is not plastic but magnesium. The top of the grip that mates against the camera bottom is a plastic cover. The battery cage is all plastic but the grip body itself is all metal and in turn has the same speckled black imron finish the camera body has. Not textured molded plastic.
    It does bug me that the real grip does not tighten SOLIDLY against the body regardless of how tight the knurled screw is. There's always some sponginess between the body and the grip. For $300 for the grip and battery one would think that one could place a RRS camera plate on it and have a SOLID connection to the tripod head. I dunno... your mileage may vary. Anybody else notice this? If so what's the fix? I've tried shimming, gaffers tape, tape on the pin etc. To no avail.
    Cheers-toby nyc
     
  24. Magnesium isn't that expensive. The Nikon grip is made in China. And when was the last time any substantial time and money was required to come up with a battery grip? I'm guessing 40 years ago with the MD-1 - development costs aren't even a factor. At least the things used to have a motor - now they're a battery compartment with a few buttons and knobs. And apparently it doesn't fit snug enough for solid tripod use.
    There is no reason for the Nikon grip to cost $220. I'd probably pay $80 but when one that's nearly as good is $40 why pay $220, unless the weather sealing is very important to you?
     
  25. unless the weather sealing is very important to you?​
    Ding!
     
  26. Wow! The only thing that's real seems to be the unbranded third party grips. Guess I'll stick with those. I'm also happy to learn that the Nikon grip does not tighten solidly against the body, just like my third party (Jenis or something) one; it always bothered me if I should have splurged for the real thing...
     
  27. My MB-D10 attaches solidly to a D700 and a D300. Nary a wobble.
     
  28. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I too only have the MB-D10 which works great on both of my D300 and D700. The MB-D11 for the D7000 seems to be similarly built and definitely similarly priced, but at least to me, part of the D7000's advantage is its small size so that I am not interested in adding a grip to it. When I want to use a larger camera, I have the D700 and D300 around.

    There shouldn't be any concerns about counterfeit lenses or camera bodies. It is a lot more involved to produce a counterfeit Nikon lens that is good enough to fool at least some people. It requires so much investment and effort that just does not make sense; especially one can lose it all if they are caught by law enforcement. Counterfeit memory cards, for example, are far easier to produce; one can get cheap no name SD cards and put a 32G Lexar or Sandisk lable on them. At least you can fool people for a little while.
     
  29. I've occasionally thought that these Chinese designer knockoffs that you can get for cheap like Armani, Coco Chanel, Rolex etc. might be made in the same factories as the 'real' ones except they're not distributed through the normal channels, but instead the factory owner overproduces for his own benefit and then distributes them into the black market. Could be the same with Nikon items. And it gives an indication of the real value of these products. You have to wonder how shoes that the Chinese factory sells to it's client for $20-30 wind up costing $100-200 once they reach North American stores.
     
  30. The Chinese are masters at copying.
    My company sold a polypropylene extruder to China and went over to install it.
    They found a whole factory floor full of counterfeit machines of a slightly different brand of extruder.. but one we also owned back in the USA. They copy even to the point of actually tearing a machie down and copying it part for part....even to the point when the company logo nameplate on the machines was copied. That's how bad it is. It almost looked identical to the genuine but our people spotted them quickly.
    This finding was reported by our company to the US authorities... don't know if they did anything about it.
     
  31. John, keep in mind that being made in the same factory doesn't always mean it is the same product. Wade makes a good point, but many companies will approach a factory and say, "Can you make me the same product, but build it more cheaply?" This is very common with third-party camera brands.
     
  32. I wouldn't be too sure that lenses are safe from counterfeiting. What's the current price of Nikon's 85mm f/1.4 G lens compared to Samyang's? I have the Samyang and can tell you that its optical quality is almost faultless, and if I'd bought it as a Nikon branded lens I'd be more than happy with it. In fact many reviewers rate it as high as, or higher than any of the top-brand products.
    Thankfully, Samyang are honestly selling their products under their own name, but it wouldn't take much to wrap the same optics in a prestige brand barrel and parcel it up in a fancy box. And I suspect that only a fraction of buyers would notice any difference after parting with 3 or 4 times the price. Of course Samyang are trying to put South Korea on the map as a producer of high-value optical equipment, and as such they're currently underselling themselves, but I'm sure they're not operating at a loss either.
    I think what's far more damaging than fakery to consumer confidence in big brands is the way that quality control has been let slip. For example, I had a Canon L series lens that was badly decentred and had to be exchanged. There have also been numerous (suppressed) reports of a lack of or faulty lubrication in the zoom mechanism of Nikon's 24-70 f/2.8 flagship lens. The list goes on. And when you come down to 3rd party lens providers it's even more of a lottery whether you get a lens that's up to spec or not.
    I've personally been a victim of being sold an obviously inferior returned or graded lens as brand new prime stock by an internet dealer. I won't name them, I'll SIMPLY say that their ELECTRONICS are likely to be faulty. These scammers are getting their substandard stock from somewhere, and the finger has to point back to the OEMs whose reject products they're selling. The whole consumer sales system is rotten and getting more rotten by the month IMHO!
     
  33. That's how bad it is.​
    You mean "That's how GOOD it is."?
     
  34. Considering the response on another pnet thread, I think the counterfiters are working WAY TOO HARD with battery packs, boxes, and such ... they should convert all operations immediately to third party camera straps ... that's where the real money is.
     
  35. Another item on this subject ... CNET news reporting tonight on FAKE iphone 4s hitting the market ... these are way more complex and 'difficult to counterfeit' than a battery pack ... yet there they are. Can lenses and cameras ... and everything else ... be far off? Buyer beware ... buyer beware.
     
  36. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

  37. Shun: I think your link goes to the article ... I read an earlier version and it looks to be updated a little ... yes, the counterfeiters were in such a hurry to get to market they overshot the product name ... THEY thought it was iphone5, and went with it ... Apple went with 4S. I have a friend who is SURE that counterfeiting is the world's SECOND oldest profession (possibly derived from the first), and that the level of sophistication is improving dramatically, sometimes with a wink and nod from certain givernments around the Pacific rim ...
    What is particularly difficult about these issues is NOT EVERYONE KNOWS ... buy a piece of gear ... bogus .... doesn't work out, and you have a angry buyer telling all his friends about how ALL (insert brand name here), is crap and would never buy anything from that maker again.
    So we try to stay informed, and smile fondly on our trusted sellers.
    FWIW, if it were my brand, I would not rest until I SAW smoke rising from the ruins of the perps ... well, a good wide angle shot, in full color, showing all the smoke and debris would be OK too.
     
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Bruce, my point is that something like an iPhone is so complex that involves so many parts that it is very difficult to counterfeit one that actually works, likewise for Nikon DSLRs and lenses.
    For something like an iPhone, what they can do is to get older models such as an iPhone 2 or some other similarly looking smart phone and change the model number. That can probably fool someone who cannot recognize how an iPhone 4S should exactly look like.
    Therefore, I have little concern about fake Nikon lenses, unless you buy one unseen via eBay or some mail order (especially from another country) and are stuck with something that you cannot return. If I have it in my hands, it should not be difficult to tell whether it is real or not.
    Items that you need to be careful about are batteries, memory cards, etc. Anybody can get some dirt cheap memory card, print a fake SanDisk or Lexar 32G label and glue it on. The card can be of much lower quality and/or even less capabity. Unfortunately, a 4G SD card looks exactly like a 32G one until you plug it into a computer or camera.
    I just bought a third-party back LCD cover for the D7000. I haven't tried it on yet but it looks good. I paid $6 for this piece of clear plastic instead of $16 for the Nikon version, and I am sure it won't affect my image quality. :)
     

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