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Asian knockoffs - what's your take?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by billg71, May 9, 2007.

  1. billg71


    May 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I don't want to start a ___storm, but frankly, I'm more than a little concerned about support(i.e. "I'll buy it if it's cheaper") for the flood of Asian copies of well-established brand-name products.

    For example, take tripods: Benro, Giottos, Feisol, et al.: just copies of the Gitzo. Some better executed than others, but all basically the same thing - copies. Another example - Markins ballheads. If that ain't an Arca-Swiss clone, I'll eat one(with mustard and ketchup, if you please :wink:) 

    Obviously, these knockoffs can be sold cheaper than the original, it costs a lot less to reverse-engineer a product than to invest in the R&D that made the product great in the first place. And labor's a lot cheaper in S Korea or China than in the US and France, last I heard. But should we buy them?

    I find this especially disconcerting in the photographic community, a group that depends on copyright protection for it's well-being. Even if you're not a pro, would you like to see your photo from Webshots being used in some company's ad campaign, on their brochures and website for their gain and you don't even get a credit? And if the company was Chinese, what recourse would you have? Could you sue them in a US court? What would it cost you? And what are your chances of collecting?

    So what's so different if you're an American company operating under our regulations, paying it's employees a decent wage and supposedly producing a superior product that's "protected" under our patent laws trying to compete with a company that's stealing your hard-earned design and operating with the support of it's government under no environmental or labor restrictions?

    Please don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "Buy American" diehards. I have 4 Toyotas in the family, Sony video, NAD audio gear, etc.. I won't put a hair dryer or a toaster oven back on the shelf because it says "Made in China" on the box. My Nikons were made in Japan or Thailand :) frown:)  And I'm OK with them.

    But I do have a basic respect for the inventor of a quality product, at least enough that I won't patronize a knockoff brand just to save a buck or two. But I'm amazed at the members of our community who will.....

    I'm not condemning anyone, we all have our priorities and our reasons. I'm just asking that we take a long look at our personal choices and extend the same respect to others that we'd expect for ourselves.......

    So, what say you?

  2. I suppose it is called free enterprise. If it wasn't then there would only be one Television maker, one car maker, one pants manufacturer... you get my point. Ideas spawn other ideas... I can make that better, cheaper, stronger, bigger what ever. Some things laws of physics dictates for example if you want an areo-dynamic car it will be more or less one basic shape doesnt matter who makes it physics will prevail.
    If you put a photo on the 'net you should be aware (as you are) that you run that risk of someone may take advantage of your efforts.
    But more or less thats why there are patent laws, copyright laws and so on.
    This is truly a global comunity now and as such global competition.


    Apr 30, 2005


    Feisol, Benro, Giottos
  4. Aren't Gitzo's made overseas?
  5. Absolutely right. What counts for me is quality and when this is o.k. I don't care for the brand name.
    BTW - Markins ballheads are very good, although I don't use one (I still believe that my Burczinski head is better :wink: ).

    I only have a problem when cheap, minor-quality fakes are labelled and sold with reputed brand names, like the Sandisc CF fakes for example.

  6. Phil Lee

    Phil Lee

    Jan 17, 2007
    Sale, UK
    A quick search on the net comes up with the following:

    Gitzo was founded in France in 1917 by Arsène Gitzhoven. Manfrotto was founded in Italy in 1974. In 1989 British Vitec Group plc bought Manfrotto and subsequently bought Gitzo in 1992 and Bogen in 1993.
  7. Kind of an interesting topic. Especially for someone who lives in a part of the world where piracy is rampant.

    Honestly - it's about dollars saved. If one can buy a product of high quality but that costs less money...who's going to say no?
  8. I feel sorry for company A that spends a lot of time and money creating a product only to find an Asian knockoff in weeks of their product introduction for pennies on the dollar and suck up hard earned company A profits :( 
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