Posts Tagged ‘counterfeit’
Canon recently launched a new safety initiative aimed at keeping dangerous knock-off gear out of your camera. The tag line for the initiative is “Play it Safe, Power your Canon with Canon Power,” and the company is hoping that a mix of warnings and education will do the trick and keep you from buying counterfeit “Canon” batteries and chargers. Read more…
Check out the two memory cards above. One of them is a counterfeit card while the other is a genuine one. Can you tell which is which? If you can’t, we don’t blame you. Japan-based photography enthusiast Damien Douxchamps couldn’t either until he popped the fake card into his camera and began shooting. The card felt a bit sluggish, so he ran some tests on his computer. Turned out the 60MB/s card was actually slower than his old 45MB/s card.
While it’s not unusual to come across counterfeit memory cards — it’s estimated that 1/3 of “SanDisk”-labeled cards are — what’s a bit concerning is how Douxchamps purchased his: he ordered the cards off Amazon — cards that were “fulfilled by Amazon.”
Joby sent out a press release today warning consumers that there are counterfeit versions of its popular GorillaPod flexible tripod floating around in the wild. While that isn’t too newsworthy in itself — what gear isn’t being counterfeited these days? — it’s the juicy details surrounding the release that are quite interesting. Apparently the company directly confronted companies involved in making imitations during Photokina 2012 in Cologne, Germany last month.
If you ever turn to eBay to purchase film, you should purchase from sellers that have both a high feedback rating and a country of origin that you trust. Reader Dallas Houghton recently purchased what he thought was 10 rolls of Fujicolor Superia 200 for $28 from a seller based in ShenZhen, China. After the film arrived, he noticed a tiny bit of yellow on the roll. When he gave it a closer look, he discovered that the “Superia” branding on the outside was actually a sticker. Once the sticker was removed the film turned out to be a roll of Kodak 400. He peeled the sticker off another roll and that one turned out to be an older Kodak Kodacolor 100 roll. Caveat emptor.
Photographer Lee Morris recently purchased a Nikon MB-D11 battery grip from Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com, verifying that the product is being fulfilled by a reputable dealer can reduce the chances of you unwittingly buying something fake.
One sad truth about the photo industry is that there’s a ton of counterfeit products floating around, and unless you buy directly from a reputable source, it can be difficult to know for sure whether you’re getting the real thing. Last month we posted on how up to 1/3 of memory cards labeled “SanDisk” are actually counterfeit. Over on Nikon’s website, there’s a support page that shows photographs of counterfeit Nikon accessories next to genuine ones, with many of them almost indistinguishable from each other. Some of the counterfeit products are so real-looking that the only difference is a slightly different screw, or a slightly brighter logo.
Did you know that a third of the SanDisk memory cards being used on Earth are actually fake? A SanDisk engineer recently shared this startling fact with a reader over at The Online Photographer:
[...] at any given time, approximately a third of the SanDisk memory cards (made by Toshiba) being used out there in the world are counterfeit. As in, not SanDisk memory cards at all—some other kind of cards dressed up as lookalikes.
Thirty percent, was the number quoted. A third, more or less.
To make sure you’re getting the real thing, always purchase your memory cards from reputable dealers.
Messenger Newspapers reports that the cases were branded as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax and Kodak. A 40-year-old man at the residence was also taken into custody.
His downfall came when Canon discovered the counterfeit bags being sold online and conducted a number of “sting” purchases, passing on the information they discovered to authorities.
Something else that caught our eye about this story was that the police also discovered counterfeit camera lenses at the residence. All of us have obviously heard of fake bags before, but counterfeit lenses? I’d like to see one of those.
(via Imaging Insider)
My dad is an avid stamp collector. While he does have some US stamps in his collection, he mainly focuses on older stamps from China.
He used to purchase stamps exclusively from reputable stamp companies, but recently he’s been looking for good deals on rare stamps through eBay.
In the world of stamps, errors often cause the stamp to be worth much more than its face value since they’re highly sought after by collectors.
One such stamp is a 1962 stamp showing Tsai Lun, the inventor of paper. Right before the stamps were to begin the printing process, they discovered that the birth date had an extra character that erroneously listed the birth date as BC rather than AD. They had to correct the printing plates manually, but omitted one of them, causing a single error stamp to be printed with each batch.
Here’s a photograph of an actual error stamp compared to a “photoshopped” version showing the difference:
That single erroneous character causes this stamp to be listed among the rarest of Chinese stamps, and causes its value to be upwards of $5,000 rather than tens of dollars for the normal stamp.
Earlier this week my dad bid in an auction for one of these stamps. While he knows eBay is filled with counterfeit goods, everything seemed to point towards this stamp being legitimate. The user who had it up for auction was a top-rated eBay seller with over 1,000+ feedback ratings and a 100% positive feedback history. He also had a number of other listings for much more expensive stamps. After bidding $1,000 for this $5,000 stamp, my dad ended up winning for $400.
While he was happy about his “steal”, we both felt unease regarding whether or not the stamp was genuine. Luckily for us, the listing had a photograph of the stamp. Here’s the photo of the stamp side-by-side with a photo of a genuine error stamp:
At this point, my background in Photoshop came into play. I realized I could examine the stamps extremely closely and compare them using Photoshop. In fact, Photoshop has a feature that is perfect for this type of comparison. It’s called Auto-Align Layers. What it does is magically align multiple layers based on similar features. Here’s what I did:
- Have each stamp as a separate layer
- Select the two layers
- Click Edit and then Auto-Align Layers
- Set Projection to “Auto” and click Ok
Voila! The two stamps became magically aligned, allowing me to turn the top layer on and off for easy comparison. Here’s the exact same comparison after Photoshop’s auto alignment (hover your mouse over it to compare):
Minor variations in the appearance of a stamp are acceptable, since there are slight variations in the printing plates. Also, though we were initially suspicious of the difference in color, we discovered that it was probably introduced in the imaging process after finding the exact same color variation in an official stamp book.
However, what caught my eye was the single error character in the upper left hand corner. If you examine it during the comparison, you’ll see that it looks different and is shifted upwards in the eBay auction version. We suddenly realized that the same was in fact a legitimate stamp… A legitimate non-error stamp with the error character added in.
With this evidence my dad gave the seller a phone call (yeah, they responded with a number when we asked for it), and confronted them about the forgery. They feigned ignorance and stated that they didn’t know much about stamps, which was hardly believable considering they had other listings for $80,000 stamps. However, they were willing to cancel the transaction and did so immediately.
What I realized through this whole experience was how useful Photoshop can be for fields seemingly unrelated to photography or graphics. I’m sure there are still many stamp experts out there who use magnifying glasses to try and detect counterfeit or altered stamps, while Photoshop can do the same thing much more accurately and efficiently.