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Canon has an epiphany...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by OzRay, May 4, 2014.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    ...and discovers that:

    •In 2013, 12 percent of the U.S. consumers surveyed knowingly bought fake consumer electronics, while 18 percent bought them unknowingly.
    •40 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed were unaware that counterfeit consumer electronics may harm them.
    •45 percent believed that counterfeit consumer electronics do the job just as well as genuine consumer electronics.
    •97 percent wanted more information so they can identify counterfeits.
    •Millennials surveyed were five times more likely than the Baby Boomers surveyed to purchase fake goods.
    •While the majority of millennials (72 percent) surveyed consider themselves very knowledgeable in identifying a counterfeit consumer electronics product, about one in four continues to unknowingly buy one.


    When an original battery costs anywhere from $58 to $180 and you can get the same off eBay for $10 or less; it's not that difficult to figure out that the latter is not genuine. Then again, maybe customers aren't fooled like Canon assumes; so stop gouging customers and maybe they'll happily buy genuine (I'm looking at you Olympus).

    But aren't statistics wonderful. :smile:
  2. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    ... and what exactly is "fake"... nothing fake about a high quality battery branded X that fits and works with Y. Isn't that what USB and lots of other standards are about, increasing choice and lowering prices for the consumer, while allowing manufacturers work on reducing costs through volume.
  3. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I think its fake when its branded and labeled "Canon" but made by someone else. You might not see that kind of thing in Ireland, but stuff like that is all over Asia.
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    While this is looking at batteries that are deliberately trying to appear genuine, I think the intent is to worry customers about copies that are not genuine products. The thing that annoys me, especially with batteries, is that they are predominantly made in China and other countries where labour is cheap. My Olympus BLN-1 battery says the cells are made in Japan, but further processed in Indonesia. My Olympus BLS-1 battery is wholly made in China. I wouldn't be so mindful if the batteries were reasonably priced, but a BLN-1 costs $80+/- in Australia; if it was half that price, I'd probably buy genuine.

    And what galls me is that Olympus suddenly goes from a BLS-1 to a BLN-1, so that I can't use my BLS-1 batteries in the E-M1. So I need not only new batteries, but new chargers as well. This is where I wish Europe would tackle camera manufacturers like they did mobile phone companies and forced them into standardising the charging system for all mobile phones, no more proprietary plugs. With batteries, they could do the same with different classes (sizes), as most differ only in the terminal placement, which is done deliberately so that you can't use one battery in another camera.
  5. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    Fair enough, but I think the OP was referring to what I would call "off-brand" or "non-OEM" products, not stuff being passed off as something it's not, which is clearly wrong on a few levels.

    Edit: fake or counterfeit being what you describe, I really can't see such a high penetration of these products in the USA where the survey was carried out
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    I would note that "Europe(an Union)" forcing said "standardization" isn't exactly a good thing either.* I'd bring up ROHS and how it was a boneheaded political move to remove lead from solder which shortened electronics life causing more electronics to get thrown away on failure which contain heavy metals that will actually leach into the soil unlike lead... Etc... Etc... Etc... All while lead acid batteries are exempt. The ones that aren't part of a mandatory recycling program. Whoops.

    Don't allow boneheaded politician-"environmentalists" make "decisions" "for you." Equally: Don't enable them showing any emotional reactions that they capitalize on to justify their actions that are done without thought.

    *Not that Apple cares. They can get away with introducing propitiatory connectors that are chipped so you can't even charge your phone by wiring up a dumb cable in some kind of worst case scenario. Oh and people will just call it "innovative and revolutionary." Love the marketing and PR utterly obliterating critical thought.

    Ignoring all of what I said: The E-M5 uses the BLN-1, which makes sense for the E-M1 to use the BLN-1 if they want the transitional users to hop over. The BLS-1 and BLS-5 are interchangable but I believe the BLS-1 came around due to Japanese standards requiring more advanced battery management circuitry to allow for the BMS (Battery monitoring system) to terminate the charge instead of the charger or something like that. Nikon users got hit by this when the D3/s -> D4 transition occured, because the D4's battery pack isn't interchangable with the D3/s packs. But the D2H/s pack (EN-EL4) is interchangable with the D3/s (EN-EL4a).

    Not to mention the BLN-1 uses some kind of relatively obscure lithium ion chemistry which has a higher per-cell voltage than the average 4.2V peak to cram in a little more capacity for the format. That's good enough reason from an engineering perspective to spec a new cell type already.

    I mean, I love Canon's printers. I actually love them so much that I refill the ink. If Canon offered me an economy grade version of their ink I'd happily buy it. Unfortunately they don't and they have reasons beyond just price gouging to not offer a lower priced ink (At least for their own internal reasoning) so I choose to take a few more minutes to refill a cartridge instead of throwing another piece of plastic with a tiny little circuitboard with a LED in it into the garbage. Times a few dozen of them. Then I keep printing for months at will.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Some decisions can be poorly thought out, but the standardised charging system I thought was a good idea. I simply couldn't see the reason for so many different charging systems, when a mini-USB connector was so ubiquitous. I think the same should apply to all chargers as well, so that with the likes of laptops etc, where the input voltage is 19V, then every plug should be the same and it should be illegal to then change to some obscure voltage to overcome the law. There is simply no reason for so many different battery/laptop/tablet chargers to be about, when they pretty much all work on the same output voltage. It's in these sorts of areas where I believe standardisation should be mandatory.

    I understand that the Japanese laws created a need for a more intelligent battery charging system, but that didn't really preclude Olympus from making the battery compartment compatible with the BLS-1, afterall, there are thousands of these cameras and chargers about, so it's not as if they could be outlawed. It hasn't stopped the sale of genuine BLS-1 batteries and chargers, but it is annoying that perfectly serviceable batteries cannot be used in a battery compartment that is only marginally different in size to earlier cameras.

    Printer inks are a licence to print money. I have a Canon IPF5000, you should see how much it costs to replace all the cartridges; however, I do buy aftermarket inks for my Brother colour laser and MFC inkjet and save a packet.
  8. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    Lead can and does leach into soil and groundwater
  9. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    Mini USB is not Micro USB. Micro USB promised to solve the issue of cable retention and the retention system's lifetime by moving the retention clips/springs onto the cable. From personal experience Micro USB does not deliver on its promise of 10k insertion-removal cycles. But those stupid coaxial plugs they had for old phones? Those things worked fine. You typically didn't have to wiggle the cable. They had a superior setup but you couldn't deliver data over them. Oh those stupid coaxial plugs were also COMMON. Nokia used to use one standardized format across all their phones: 3.5mm. It worked wonderfully, unlike some of the bizzare combined power-and-data connectors I found on some later Motorola phones. All those ancient Nokias are still reliable. I can't say that about my Lumia 900 and the Micro USB port, I either end up wiggling one older cable on it that has less than 1k insertions on it (And I know this because that cable is less than 6 months old and I only charge every 1-3 days.) or I get a newer cable that I also have to wiggle because the wear on the port itself has shifted the tolerances on the mating surface for the clips.

    Laptop chargers are not universal voltage dependent on the platform. If I were to compare the older generation of Thinkpads with their 16V chargers, all the power supplies are compatible with all the older ones. That was design intent by IBM in the era to commonize the inputs. However with the platform update later on, Lenovo (Which I don't approve of their current actions, they were doing fine until recently. Then they decided to go full stupid and self sabotage the Thinkpad line in some vain attempt to try to copy Apple's Reality Distortion Field. That trick only works for Apple...) had to bump up the supply voltage on the power supplies to 20V. Now it'd be pretty bad to run 20V power into something that expects 16V so that necessitated a connector change.

    Does that mean I would ever want to deal with an ASUS OEMed powerbrick of questionable quality in some future-forcibly-standardized world of powersupplies into my business laptops? Never. I don't trust most of the industry to ever get anything right except for a few select players. Most of the industry caters to the lowest common denominator and thus you will get the minimally mandated product that will pass. Oh and that ignores how some of those powersupplies are able to actually communicate with the laptop...

    But it seems like the enterprise laptops didn't suffer from the "whatever the lowest cost parts we have available for the ODM laptop" problem. Enterprise customers typically DO have a standardized powersupply for the brand.

    Leave politics and emotional reactions out of engineering. Engineering problems are solved by engineering and stupidity-free industry standardizations. Unfortunately the "stupidity free" component doesn't happen often enough.

    The Japanese laws did nothing for a "more intelligent battery charging system." It was partially an "environmental" decision, partially it was also out of some bizzare safety requirement that demanded batteries to not exceed certain energy densities in some sizes. (This is why the D4/s has the EN-EL18) A proper CC/CV lithium ion charger will terminate charge at the end of cycle. Why they decided the battery needs to be able to tell the charger to do this outside of safety is beyond me.

    Take note that the E-M10 does use the BLS-1. Not the BLN-1. The engineers have their intents, incompetence or not. They decided to use the BLN-1 for the E-M5 out of some design decision, inclusive of having it use a higher voltage lithium ion chemistry for some reason.

    As for printer ink: I genuinely understand why Canon DOES charge exorbitant prices for their regular ink. The archival quality ("With the little * that requires said paper, etc, etc, etc) they claim isn't a lie. Then they rightfully tack on a profit margin to recovery the R&D and actual production of the ink. Except what I am printing does not require ink like that. So I buy ink that doesn't have the stability, UV fade resistance, etc and refill. Simple as that.

    A small item of note: None of what I said justifies Olympus' choice in selling potentially a $20-total-cost-to-make-and-distribute BLN-1 for close to $100*. What "justifies" that is the market. If the consumers were totally OK with that, then we wouldn't be seeing those BLN-1 compatible batteries that use regular 4.2V lithium ion cells in them, would we?

    *Back when the BLN-1 was in much higher demand and when Olympus for some reason underestimated how many people actually wanted a second battery.

    Because lets ignore all the other interesting and significantly more threatening things you find in electronics: Like Gallium Arsenide, where the arsenic component DOES leach out into the ground water.

    There's a difference between actually caring about the environment and the crummy "feel good" legislature that ends up harming the environment.
  10. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    IMHO, it's wholly dependent upon the function of the product: I will admit to buying and wearing fake high-end watches - things like Patek Philippes, Jaeger LeCoultre, Breguet, etc. But that's because the genuine of these cost $10K plus, but their functionality is exactly the same as a $10 no-name watch - the "value" is ENTIRELY in the appearance of the item and the fancy brand image it conveys. If an item's only real value is to convey a snobby brand image, of course that value will be imitated at pennies (or less) on the dollar, and the brand equity will be co-opted by counterfeits. BTW, I have a high grade $60 counterfeit Patek Phillippe Calatrava all-mechanical watch I bought in Vietnam that fooled a snobby jeweler in a snooty shop on El Paseo in Palm Desert, and routinely fools folks who ought to know the difference - and the watch it knocks off is a $17,000 item.

    A battery, on the other hand, is an internal item, who's function is hidden. It's only value is how effective and safe it is as a battery. If the item is being gouged by a brand name, LEGITIMATE imitators will come, and put their own brand name out there that says - we do the same function exactly as well, for 1/4th the price, and we are proud enough in our ability to do so that we will establish our own brand equity. Companies like Wasabi, Power2000, and Halcyon make perfectly good batteries that cost a fraction of what the brand names do - and they have no need to hide their brands because they are functionally equal or better, and their value proposition as a branded item is superior to a Nikon or Canon or Olympus battery.

    The aforementioned printer analogy is flawed, however in that it describes a product which has skewed (too low to be sustainable) margins on the base printer, which is propped up by exorbitant margins on the consumable ink. If both the printer and the ink were fairly priced, people would not knowingly buy counterfeit ink. But they know a gamed system against them when they see one, and look for ways to un-game it to their benefit.
  11. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    - so total 40% of USA consumers has bought fake electronics in 2013?
    I really doubt this number... May be they should say 40% of Canon USA consumers? Because even on Canon site, 10 most common fakes are Canon batteries and chargers (http://usa.canon.com/cusa/about_canon/standard_display/commonfakes?WT.mc_id=C201981) - and it make total sense that 40% of Canon consumers has bought a battery in 2013.

    PS: OK, I got it - they are "forgetting" to say that "consumers surveyed" are actually Canon consumers. This leaves quite a little for such survey reliability...
  12. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    You can always say the same with our North American medical system -- stop gouging Americans you American doctors and maybe they'll happily shop genuine rather than going to no name doctors or third world countries for their medical needs!

    Having said that. Here is an interesting fact..

    I have been working in this industry for years; spanning more than 2 decades and things I see never ceases to amaze me. It usually begins with an individual who has no problem paying $3000 or $8000 for a camera and another $3000 for a set of pro zoom f/2.8 lenses or primes and YET, yes YET they buy no-name SD cards, CF cards and batteries from eBay. And guess how I know this? It's because, when these cameras got damaged by a defective off-brand battery (totally melted inside the chamber thus melting the camera in the process to SD cards too fat or too thick beyond specs and jammed the slot or CF cards pin slot offset wrong and thus bending the pins and they get returned to us and send in for repairs.

    So why someone who can afford a Panasonic Lumix 7-14 buy a Wasabi battery? Why someone who can afford an Olympus 12-40 Pro f/2.8 lens buy an off-brand $10 remote release rather than the real Olympus RM-UC1 which is like $60?!? Why? There seemed to be some sort of mis-matched priorities here don't you think.

    There are Olympus fan boys and fan girls who will defend Olympus to death against anyone who bad mouth Olympus. And yet, they hardly do Olympus any justice if you buy off-brand products like batteries and remote releases, because if you don't pay these obscene prices, how then do you think Olympus is going to make money?!? And how does Panasonic make money?!? Most companies make most of that money from consumables and the rest is either lost-leader to get you in or break-even to get you to buy more -- hence the often body lens bundle savings you see from many makers.

    It's so easy to be selfish, because this is what it is. Just being selfish ourselves and looking out only for our own personal interests. Many of these people surveyed probably had some point in their lives bought a fake or non-OEM battery, got burned and now demand someone else to help them filter out these fakes. But why when you can go to getolympus or Olympuscanada and shop online and get the real thing rather than point fingers at someone else to do their deeds rather than asking themselves why am I being so selfish?

    But you know, it's all about status. A battery is always in the camera, so it doesn't get seen. A camera and a lens get seen, and having that brand name recognition can bring a certain status recognition. Some people, with some insecurities, NEED that very BADLY. So they put a low priority on things that they can get away with. And that is always something like a battery or remote release.

    Having said that, I have an off-brand netbook battery which I bought from a reputable dealer. The cells were made in Japan and assembled in China and the battery last a very long time with an impressive rated cycle rate of 800 which something my original battery can not do! Sometimes, an off-brand battery can perform better than the real thing; but you always and will get what you paid for. I paid $70 for this netbook battery; the same can be bought off eBay for $15 from a Chinese seller in China with questionable quality.
  13. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I think a lot of folks are lumping in fakes with aftermarket brands.

    Wasabi is not fake, it is a replacement brand that has a reputation that is growing because of good value.

    A battery made by someone other than Olympus, with a label that says Olympus is a fake.

    Fakes are despicable, they should be crushed out of business. They ride on the coat tails and prey on the ignorant. Aftermarket brands should be encouraged as a means of competition.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    There are actually some excellent aftermarket batteries - Sterlingtech is a brand I used for my previous EOS bodies (400D, 50D, and 7D), and they actually held about 10-30% more charge than the original Canon batteries, and stayed that way for the time I had them. They were also well priced, at about $20 a pop for a 7D. I just wish they did the same for the Oly BLN1...

  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    With regards to actual counterfeits (not aftermarket parts, but knock-offs being sold as the real thing), one of the things that's biting a lot of people is buying through third party sellers on places like Amazon.

    Rightly or wrongly, a lot of people assume buying through a big name company like Amazon offers some sort of protection. And it's not always immediately obvious you're buying through a third party, unless you're very careful. Many of the retailers I've found with reviews indicating people received knock-off goods have a warehouse office in the US, but are really shipping in large amounts of goods from Asia. So you're buying through Amazon but effectively it's not any different than finding a random international website on the Internet and ordering a "Genuine OEM battery" etc.

    Another thing that's sometimes truly amazing is how detailed the knock-offs are. Not always, but sometimes they can put an inordinate effort into making it look like the real thing - it's the insides where they often cut the corners and you only find out the hard way much later. Lee Morris' experience with a fake MB-D11 is a great example.

    I don't think I've run into any counterfeit camera gear or batteries so far, but I have run into counterfeit electronics. I bought my wife a Clarisonic Mia for Christmas year before last. The battery died several months later and wouldn't take a charge. Long story short, it turned out to be a fake. I bought it from Amazon through a third party retailer as it was the only place I could find one in her desired color at the time. It came in an absolutely authentic looking box & packaging, and looked/worked *exactly* like the real thing. The only way we found out it was a fake was when it died and we called Clarisonic and they checked the serial # to confirm it was a counterfeit. I also later found out when I took it apart that it was rusting and corroding, which is a common problem with the knock-offs and doesn't happen with the real device. We've since picked up an authentic Clarisonic (ordered direct this time) and I assure you, there's no way I'd have known the previous one was fake purely by visual inspection.

    Sometimes even when you think you're being careful, the quality of the counterfeit means you won't know it unless there's a problem. For that reason, I refuse to buy things like batteries through small unknown shops or third party sellers. They're too easy to fake and you have very little recourse in most cases even if you find out you've been duped.
  16. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    Agree with jloden, I don't buy batteries, cards, filters and things like that from third parties. Too easy to counterfeit, and if you're buying a B+W filter et al, better to pay a few dollars and deal with authorized dealers to get the real thing.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  17. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2014
    We photographers mark up our products a lot, so I won't fault Canon or Olympus for doing the same with genuine OEM batteries. It's the same business principal. The cost of OEM batteries makes up for some other products that don't have a huge markup, or that never recover their research and development costs. In the end, those $50 batteries are one more thing that help them stay in business. And the big price for genuine OEM batteries opens up a nice market for 3rd party battery makers, so everybody wins.

    Unlike 3rd party battery makers, counterfeiters suck. For example, they've screwed many photographers with their fake "Sandisk" cards that are slow and error-prone.
  18. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Because Wasabi doesn't yet make camera lenses???




    (with tongue firmly in cheek I g,d, & r verra verra fast...)

  19. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The reason I buy cheap batteries as a backup is because batteries have a limited life; my lenses, Sandisk SD cards etc last for what you could say is effectively forever, barring accidents. So when you look at each item, cameras, lenses, memory cards etc, they are capital expenditures (assets), while batteries and the like are more like operating expenses (consumables). While it's important to use appropriate consumables for production, you also need to weigh up the cost of the consumables vs the quality required for the final product.

    Then there is the matter of supply and demand; put too much cost into your product and there won't be the demand for it, demand will transfer elsewhere. This has been evident for years now with the explosion of goods from China. I have purchased many photographic items (keeping the photographic theme) such a Arca Swiss compatible clamps, rails etc, from Chinese suppliers at a fraction of the cost of mainstream manufacturers like RRS, Arca Swiss etc. The products look, handle and perform as well, if not better, than traditional manufacturers. I have compared my Novoflex clamps and rails to the cheap Chinese ones, and I'd swap every Novoflex item for a Chinese one any day. The same applies to many other products.

    And finally, there is consumer perception. If consumers perceive that they are being ripped off, then they will seek alternative products, regardless of any claims by the manufacturers. If the $10 battery performs relatively close to the $100 OEM battery, then there's $90 available for some other purchase. That $90 would buy me a number of Chinese Arca Swiss compatible clamps and rails, for example. And it's all well and good to say aftermarket batteries will burst into flames and destroy your camera, but when consumers hear regular stories about Apple and Samsung phones going up in flames with OEM batteries, they will naturally take such apocalyptic stories with large grains of salt.
    • Like Like x 5
  20. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    Just to confirm, lead can and does leach into the soil and groundwater. For example, here's the results of a survey relating lead concentrations in Florida aquifers to the decomposition of lead fishing weights (it was the first paper than appeared in Google, I didn't choose it for a reason beyond that). It was prepared with more scientific rigour than the opinion pieces you posted, and I trust that you will agree that it's best to make decisions on our environment based on rigorous, repeatable findings than opinion, no matter how well intentioned that opinion is. I could bore you with many more results of surveys like that.

    In case you don't know, the consequences of lead exposure are devastating, especially for younger people. I didn't (and can't) say what the impacts of lead-free solder are, I would just like to correct your assertion that lead doesn't enter the soil and groundwater, and suggest that we should all be happy to take every effort to minimise the amounts of lead floating around in the environment.
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