Beware Fake Camera Gear, Even When Buying from

Photographer Lee Morris recently purchased a Nikon MB-D11 battery grip from for $216. It worked perfectly fine, but after Morris purchased a second grip for a wedding, he noticed something was different about the first one. After some investigation, he came to realize that he had purchased a Nikon-branded version (i.e. counterfeit) of a grip that ordinarily sells for $40 on Amazon.

Even if you’re buying directly from, verifying that the product is being fulfilled by a reputable dealer can reduce the chances of you unwittingly buying something fake.

  • Anonymous

    Purchased from a third party seller on amazon’s site. 

  • Ragler

    So you’re saying there might be something fishy with the Nikun & Canom cameras that I bought on Amazon? 

  • Raphael

    ouch….. hard to hear that… I’ve just bought a Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II with amazon… hope I am lucky in this respect

  • Willis

    You should be fine Raphael.

    It’s hard to fake a lens like that.  But stuff like SD cards can be faked pretty easily.  
    Not that you’ll be getting a piece of worthless plastic, but they can sell you a cheap, low class SD card, with a name brand “Class 10″ sticker on it.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t you do this one already? Or am I confusing my photoblogs….?

  • Michael Zhang

    When you’re buying on, make sure the product is fulfilled by Amazon and try to make sure the store that’s supplying the product is reputable. I’m guessing if the product is fulfilled by Amazon itself (e.g. ships from Amazon warehouses) then you should be fine. Other times Amazon isn’t the one that handles the fulfillment, and the product is simply purchased through the Amazon website. In those cases, you’re more at risk.

    Each product listing on Amazon will name the store that’s selling it and the party that’s fulfilling the order.

  • Michael Zhang

    Nope, we’re just a tad bit late on this one. haha.

  • Richard

    This is partly a consumer problem of not paying close attention during the buying process on Amazon.

    When you click “buy” on Amazon on products offered by both Amazon and third parties, Amazon sometimes rotates a third party into the displayed position which means that if they offer fulfillment by Amazon and one click you may not notice that you’re buying from someone other than Amazon unless you look carefully.

    As others have said here, it’s unlikely that this seller could somehow get Amazon to carry this product directly because they already have a ASIN number for the real thing.

    I wish Amazon would do some house cleaning and disallow (mostly Chinese) illegal knockoffs. It’s one thing to offer a third party alternative to a battery grip, a battery, a cable release, etc. but quite another to use a vendor’s branding and box and no doubt photocopied instruction manual. This is totally illegal and fraud and Amazon needs to clean it up.

    By the way, eBay is much worse about this stuff and buyers really need to beware there.

    As others have said, the safest way to deal with this is to buy from B&H although even there there are two versions of Canon brand or Nikon brand lenses, one packaged for US retail and one packaged as an import which is cheaper but doesn’t have the same warranty (although many have bought these and have no problems with warranty repairs in the US).

  • Anonymous

    Canon has North American warranties, Nikon has separate USA and Canadian. Nikon will not work on a body or lens in the US, not made for the US, even if you pay for the work. I’ve seen many talk about this. 

  • Richard

    Thanks for the clarification tango. I only buy Canon gear with a US warranty but I know some folks who see both listings for both Canon and Nikon gear at B&H buy the lower priced gear from Canon or Nikon with non-US warranty.

    Given what you’ve said, best to just buy US warranty gear and be done with it, unless you’re from another country coming over to New York to buy gear from B&H for the cheaper price and then attempting to get it back home without paying the import duty. This is done quite a bit and is maybe one reason B&H sells gear with non-US warranties in their New York store (as does Adorama and other pro camera shops).

  • ptsuk

    I had a similar experience except that it was a external audio card for dj’n for $400 and when i got it the box was sealed and everything then when I opened it someone had replaced the expensive audio card with a $40 used square dlink wifi router from 4 years ago.  I wasn’t happy and returned it ASAP and got a full refund.  So yah make sure you’re buying from a rep dealer or in my case (shipped directly by amazon) make sure they have a good return policy as it was clear who ever “checked” the box (as it had to have been a return at somepoint) didn’t verify the contents.

  • Richard Ford

    Who cares?  It works right?  Does the job?  It’s a friggin nikon and he’s going on like he has purchased a fake pedigree dog or something serious like a house with structural problems.  Who says that the vendor is wrong?  Maybe the wholesaler or importer was.  Storm meet tea cup.

  • Dirk

    Who cares? The guy paid $216 for a Nikon product but got a $40 fake version. Big difference.

  • Cody

    I would be pissed! However I paid $40 for the neweer grip and love it. :-)

  • The_photographer_Tom

    Last month I saw a Canon battery grip for my new EOS 5d mkII. It was definately a Canon model but mistakenly priced at 22 Euros on the Amazon France website. .
    I immediately ordered two ( one for my colleague ) and they both arrived in a couple of days.
    There’s a law here that says that a product must be sold at he price which is shown. The price is now back to the RRP of 226 Euros.

  • Graham Hearn

    This is what happens when you deal with Amazon Partners rather than Amazon. I’ve been caught out with fake headphones in the past.
    On the other hand, the “Meike” branded battery grip that I bought for my D90 is indistinguishable from the Nikon one, both in form and function. Even the recess for the part number label is the same. And it was a fraction of the price!