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Thread: Save $

  1. #201
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Willem,

    You sound like a representative for the Clam folks. I think we can agree that there are two schools of thought about whether there is something unsavory going on here. You like the Clam. You think there's nothing improper about their copying other people's products. Fine. Can't we leave it at that?*

    Steve

    * He asked, knowing that the answer is likely "No."

  2. #202
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    Re: Save $

    Steve,
    I agree fully with you.
    The people at PhotoClam have been extremely helpful and polite.
    I'm happy with their product,being a copy or not.
    What I don't like is a bad copy.
    We live in a free world,especially some of you Americans should know that.

    And yes I have a real Rolex.

    I also agree with you,that this topic has run it's course.

    Best,

    Willem.

  3. #203
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    Re: Save $

    Steve,
    I forgot that you were a lawyer.
    In that case I can understand your dislike of copies.
    Maybe there is a case for you with AS and PhotoClam?
    Best,
    Willem.

  4. #204
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Actually, I'm a criminal lawyer. I doubt that they're committing a crime. Perhaps you could begin importing them into the U.S. or France and we'll see.

  5. #205
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    Re: Save $

    Yea I got Steve on retainer for the bank jobs I may have to do. Paid him advance already just in case. Ah **** I just could not resist
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  6. #206
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    Re: Save $

    I think I'll leave it at that!
    Post#206 that is.
    Happy shooting!

  7. #207
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    Multiflex gear head -

    I want to thank Lance Shad for telling me about the head in the first place and referring me here to the thread and another hearty thank you to Willem for telling me all about it. I got mine today. On first inspection it looks quite nicely built. I must say this about Photo Clam - they respond quickly and ship lightening-fast. It took about 4 days from Korea to Philadelphia. I'll post my experiences with it later.

  8. #208
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    Re: Save $

    Add me to the list of HAPPY CAMPERS with a new Photoclam Multiflex cube head, $985 plus $45 shipping to Arkansas. I placed the order on Thursday and had the head in my mailbox on Monday morning.

    I've done quite a bit of research these past few weeks about this type of head and asked a lot of questions - both to customers and to the manufacturers of the two major brands of cube heads (AS and Photoclam) - there are no dealers in my part of the country for either head so there were no dealers to speak to directly. It seemed to me that both heads were pretty much the same - function and quality-wise - so that was a wash. The AS head is more expensive, needs the clamp replaced, and their bubble levels are not accurate (according to customers on the web), so those issues had to be factored in. Many folks had noted the black hole that seems to be the AS company when it comes to customer relations and communications as well. While price was not an issue with me I really could find no reason to buy the AS head, even if I could have found it in stock when I was ready to order, which I could not.

    On the other hand the friendly folks at Photoclam in Korea were always happy to answer whatever questions I had, usually within an hour or two during business hours, and as I noted above - door to door to my cabin 60 miles deep in the woods was four days total, and that counted the weekend. Their head is everything I expected it to be, certainly no less quality than the AS cube and many would say a better head due to their clamp and level issues.

    My own bottom line is that I could care less what brand is on the tools that I use or how much they cost as long as they are the best tool for the job - I think the Multiflex cube head is the best there is for me, and I won't hesitate to buy another one when I need yet another head (I already have six or seven - a tripod and head whore I guess!).

    Thanks to everyone on this board who took the time to pass along their thoughts.

    And by the way, I don't wear a watch...

  9. #209
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    Re: Save $

    Thanks for the report, Tim.

    Can you comment on the knob "knurling"? In earlier photos of the Photoclam I noticed that there may be a slight difference b/n the two there. Can you confirm whether the Photoclam uses a friction band on the knobs rather than actually moulded or machined knurling? It's a minor point, but one which I'm curious about. I've experienced some issues with the type which are added bands in sub-freezing temps. and would like to know which each uses.

    Thanks.

  10. #210
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    Re: Save $

    Here is the price of a german Arca online shop:

    "Jetzt als Jubiläumsangebot! Zum 85jährigen Bestehen der Firma ARCA SWISS gibt es den Cube mit Ledertasche zum Spezialpreis von 1359 € zzgl. Mwst. "

    http://www.arca-shop.de/Stativkoepfe...sche::574.html

    A photographer should be sensitive with the idea of copyright.



    Michael

  11. #211
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    Re: Save $

    Hey Dale most of the knobs use a rubber band around the outside (the two pan knobs are metal). I found the regular knobs on both cube species too small and I LOVE the large knobs on the Multiflex cube! While I never use thick gloves even below zero, these large knobs could easily be used with them.

  12. #212
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    Re: Save $

    This is certainly not a copyright issue....

  13. #213
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ernst View Post
    Hey Dale most of the knobs use a rubber band around the outside (the two pan knobs are metal). I found the regular knobs on both cube species too small and I LOVE the large knobs on the Multiflex cube! While I never use thick gloves even below zero, these large knobs could easily be used with them.
    Thanks for the info, Tim. I also don't use thick gloves ever, but I have found that sub-freezing temps can cause the rubber band things to slip. Just trying to learn of all the little differences.

    Thanks.

  14. #214
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    Re: Save $

    You can buy those big knobs as spare parts.
    Mine I got for free,as I directed a lot of business to PhotoClam.
    Cheers,
    Willem.

  15. #215
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    Re: Save $

    Copies...
    it depends a lot on the lifetime of the patent or design patent in the appropriate jurisdiction.
    I have no idea when the IPR on the cube expires, as all IPR does eventually, but I assume that if there is infringement, then Arca ought to be vigorously defending it.
    I have heard nothing, but that is not unusual.
    -bob

  16. #216
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Copies...
    it depends a lot on the lifetime of the patent or design patent in the appropriate jurisdiction.
    I have no idea when the IPR on the cube expires, as all IPR does eventually, but I assume that if there is infringement, then Arca ought to be vigorously defending it.
    I have heard nothing, but that is not unusual.
    -bob

    It might very well be because a double goniometer isn't Arca-France's own idea. The patents for that are held by an american company.

    As could be seen here and in the other MF forum Arca preferred to threaten Multiflex buyers directly.
    Last edited by smei_ch; 29th July 2009 at 20:06. Reason: Addendum

  17. #217
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    Re: Save $

    I just thought I would resurrect this thread, as I recently noticed that the Multiflex head is selling for $1270 on eBay, direct from the manufacturer. The original Cube is selling for $1600 now at B&H. The price gap has been minimized, for sure.

  18. #218
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    Re: Save $

    Wow
    a while back when I was looking at the Multiflex it was selling for High $600.00
    now it's almost double, that's crazy, I think one of the things it had going for it was the price, as it sits I'd spend the extra and get the Cube anyways if I was in the market for it.
    Just my 2C
    am

  19. #219
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    Re: Save $

    I guess this is a dead horse, but I found the whole ethics of the consumer a very interesting question.

    It seems that a large proportion of writers on the thread see no ethical responsibility on the part of consumers. Or perhaps it is just in this particular situation?

    I would be very interested to know if people think there is ever an ethical responsibility for consumers? Is there no ethical responsibility beyond what is legal?

    For instance, is it OK to pirate images from the web even if it is legal?
    Do people have an ethical responsibility to not buy products because of unfair labor practices, or environmental concerns, etc., or are product price, quality, and legality the only concerns?

    I know this is totally off topic, but I'm fascinated.

    Best,

    Mitchell

  20. #220
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    Re: Save $

    I think yes, we do have an ethical responsibility to do the right thing, even when the law is too lax about it. There clearly isn't always a legal responsibility though. I could not get myself to buy the Multiclam until I knew that there was no patent or other issue, even if I do believe that the head is probably as well made as the Arca.
    Carsten - Website

  21. #221
    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I think yes, we do have an ethical responsibility to do the right thing, even when the law is too lax about it.
    Who decides what is "the right thing", what is ethical? As long as we stay within the legal framework that's a purely personal decision.

    Given two equal products most consumers will buy the cheaper one. If the products are not equal then some kind of judgment call has to be made - is the price difference motivated or not. For some consumers ethics in the design and manufacturing process affect the decision process.

    Manufacturers and distributors are very good at shielding consumers from information re questionable ethics in manufacturing or design. The list is too long to post here, but reast assured that all of us here unknowingly buy products witth what many of us would view as a far more unethical background than an Asian copy of a Swiss tripod head.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

  22. #222
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    Re: Save $

    Yes, it is a personal decision, since it isn't a legal one. That doesn't mean that morality doesn't enter the picture. Some people don't care much about morality in grey areas like whether you buy the Multiclam, which is a copy of the real thing. I like to think that the extra money paid for the real Cube goes into designing more neat products. I don't see much innovation on the copyist's website, just a slew of copies.
    Carsten - Website

  23. #223
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Who decides what is "the right thing", what is ethical? As long as we stay within the legal framework that's a purely personal decision.

    Given two equal products most consumers will buy the cheaper one. If the products are not equal then some kind of judgment call has to be made - is the price difference motivated or not. For some consumers ethics in the design and manufacturing process affect the decision process.

    Manufacturers and distributors are very good at shielding consumers from information re questionable ethics in manufacturing or design. The list is too long to post here, but reast assured that all of us here unknowingly buy products witth what many of us would view as a far more unethical background than an Asian copy of a Swiss tripod head.
    With all due respect, I don't agree that its a personal decision. there is an over-arching ethical issue - having to do with reverse engineering and intellectual property. All of us as photographers know the difference between original work based on years of work, and a mere copy. I'd be shocked if we didn't.

    Defining this legally, across international boundaries (and even when in one country) is a rat's nest and ultimately is only a guideline,not the full extent of our responsibilities. Buying a copy should be compared to someone selling a scan of one of your photographs. Yes, its cheaper, faster and almost as good. How would you feel about it?

    We all cheat, sometimes small and sometimes big. I'm not trying to suggest we should only do the ethical thing all the time - if that were the case, well, it would be a different world to be sure. Sometimes we buy copies, and shrug about the implication. Fine - but lets be clear what that is, and not disguise it for some self-serving reason. Its just a copy.

  24. #224
    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Biggs View Post
    I just thought I would resurrect this thread, as I recently noticed that the Multiflex head is selling for $1270 on eBay, direct from the manufacturer. The original Cube is selling for $1600 now at B&H. The price gap has been minimized, for sure.
    My AS Cube just shipped from Capture Integration, paid a little more than B&H. I don't think anyone is selling them for the $2400 anymore.

  25. #225
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    My AS Cube just shipped from Capture Integration, paid a little more than B&H. I don't think anyone is selling them for the $2400 anymore.
    Congrats Wayne. I know you'll love it.

    As a bonus: you're halfway to the infamous cube-squared:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12056

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  26. #226
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    My AS Cube just shipped from Capture Integration, paid a little more than B&H. I don't think anyone is selling them for the $2400 anymore.


    Nope - we're the same price as B&H, though we should be higher (what is the world coming to?).

    http://tinyurl.com/yb2gppz


    You did well Wayne.


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  27. #227
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    Re: Save $

    very interesting thread !

    1359 without VAT for AS and 900 for the same or even better head ?

    Do you know if they have resellers in Europe ? because if you buy from Korea you have to pay additional taxes

    I shall maybe sell my RSS 55 and RSS 40 :-)

    thanks
    Last edited by erick.boileau; 20th December 2009 at 01:41.

  28. #228
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    Re: Save $

    Check with Multiclam if they will even ship to France. I don't think they will sell to Germany, probably due to intellectual property rights on the part of Arca. Once you add in VAT and customs fees, I am not sure that the difference in cost is even worth buying the Multiclam.
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  29. #229
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    Re: Save $

    yes it is also what I think , is it really interesting for us ?

  30. #230
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    Re: Save $

    Personally, I won't be buying a Cube for a while (just bought a Manfrotto 405, which works well), but I will possibly be buying one day. I certainly love the design and think it could do well for what I use it for. At the current prices, I would not hesitate to buy the real Cube, in spite of the premium. To me it is important to support the original designer, not a company which merely copies. It only adds to it that I like to support original European camera manufacturers, for fear that they disappear due to price pressure, like the American camera manufacturers did.
    Carsten - Website

  31. #231
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    Re: Save $

    I agree and specially when the difference of price is not that big

  32. #232
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    Re: Save $

    actually I am hearing real differences; the lever/knob on Clam seems easier to use, and at least one Cube had 'play'

    Was that exchanged?

    What do people think of these two, INDEPENDENT the legal issues?

    Victor

    PS I felt badly about ordering a Jobo, wondering about IP (I personnally hold 5 patents!) But I have a 300mm f2 SK that was too wide for Wemberley (over 7") , so I got the Jobo and the monster fits fine. actuallyfor Big lenses, I like a gimbal mount.

  33. #233
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    Re: Save $

    Victor, in the case of the Jobo, if one fits and one doesn't, they aren't the same design, so I don't have a problem with it. The play on the Cube could probably happen to either company, and I presume Arca will fix it, although I will be watching. The knob isn't enough of an issue for me to swing, although if they had made a whole series of improvements, I might be swayed.
    Carsten - Website

  34. #234
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    Re: Save $

    Carsten,
    Don't get me wrong, for many reasons, but starting with a strong belief in supporting the 'inventing company' I will likely buy a cube, when I need such a device. (I work in the Pharmaceutical industry; don't get me started on generics!)
    I am assuming, if ARCA doesn't have IP protection (either trade secret or . patent) they will win on features or quality. If not, then the whole discussion is a red herring. If you create a product that is so obvious in its design or you do nothing to protect the IP or the quality, then it is "may the best product win".
    I do NOT believe in brand for its own sake. However, I have rarelybeen disappointed in the long run by sticking to top quality and name brands. In the end quality is usually the cheapest, AND you get to use the best in the meantime. How many people have gone through three versions of canon lenses, as they try to get better, and here, we have Thomas saying the new S2 lenses are not quite up to his Contax. I believe it.
    The big issue is really this; at the time of buying, do you have the cash to get the best - or - are you willing to wait till you do. The american culture seems not to appreciate that. Buy, use, toss; get another, use, toss...
    In the meantime I have 30 year old tube amps that people have offered me thousands for Sorry, I still use them.

    At the time, I bought the best and had to wait two years to get a second speaker. We all have our trade-offs. (and NO, I am NOT in a position to buy anything I want - I just wait.)

    Victor

  35. #235
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    Re: Save $

    The camera industry was built on stolen designs and may have been better for it. Minolta copied Leica so well that Leica used them as a supplier. I'm almost certain that the use of 35mm as still film was not started by Leica. I don't think consumers should have to forgo having equipment just because they cannot afford the most expensive brand. If Arca-Swiss does have a patent that is still in force then they can get an injunction, otherwise Arca has no right to complain. I could never afford an Arca-Swiss cube, I believe it costs more than my camera body. I will probably buy a cheaper version of a ball head which will still be expensive for me. Some might say that it is unethical to buy something from a cheaper source when it was introduced by another company, but so were SLRs and numerous lenses. So what?

  36. #236
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    Re: Save $

    Well, that is your opinion, and you are perfectly entitled to it. I have a different opinion.
    Carsten - Website

  37. #237
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa View Post
    The camera industry was built on stolen designs ........ Some might say that it is unethical to buy something from a cheaper source when it was introduced by another company, but so were SLRs and numerous lenses. So what?

    Making a company go the injunction route? Well after spending a lot on R&D to develop, it seems patently unfair to then force a company to spend possibly millipons defending their intellectual property.

    If Arca does NOT have a patent or trade secret involved, then, of course, the situation is different. Does anyone know which it is before this gets carried too much further? I think it is also unfair to Clam people to be painted as 'stealers' if in fact it is just simple reverse engineering. It is a little unsavory, but certainly not illegal, and is also a bit unfair to those who find, buy and enjoy a less expensive version of a product.

    BTW, isn't RRS built on 'copies'?

    Mostly, brands succeed on reputation, quality edge and service as much as innovation. If it is only advertising and financial muscle, well unfortunately that is for the free market governments to decide about. Maybe it just comes with the territory.

  38. #238
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    Re: Save $

    I find it interesting that many of us have certain areas about which we are passionate regarding intellectual property, but likely have other areas in our lives where our "standards" are relaxed for our convenience. And perhaps those "relaxed standards" in areas of lesser interest to us are not even noticed by us because we're not that passionate about what kind of jeans we wear, who made our MP3 player, or our barbecue tongs.

    My daughter was raised during the time that music sharing was hitting a peak with peer-to-peer sharing sites, but was never allowed to even share a song with her best friends (pre-MP3 players, so it was easier to enforce at my home). The rule was that if she wanted a song that her friend had, she must buy the tape or CD. She's 26 now and still follows that, but iTunes makes it easier. It's likely that my passion for this IP protection was absent from other areas of consumption however.

    Just a thought.

    Edit to add: Jewelry design is an area where many people justify copying work without consideration for the original designer's position. It's common for people to see an ad in a magazine or website and show the image of a ring design to a jeweler to make it for them. Some designers register copyrights, others do not. Either way, they are almost never enforced except for large-volume copies of watches, handbags and the like with obvious branding. My point (if I had one) was that people often filter their ethics to suit their personal interests or needs. I'm sure that I do, but hope to be mindful of it and endeavor not to knowingly support any kind of IP infringement.

    I don't know the status of the Clam vs. Cube, and I make no judgement of those buying either. I do find the topic interesting as one deals with the dilemma of such things.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 26th December 2009 at 10:55.

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    Re: Save $

    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, Dale, and also do not download music wholesale (I own over 500 CDs), nor movies (I own near 600 DVDs), I don't wear jewellery, and so on. I don't know that I do everything perfectly, but I strive to maintain a certain level of decency in my dealings.

    To me, this issue isn't only about legality (of which we currently know not enough). I would not buy a Photoclam even if I knew that they were 100% legal copies. I simply wish to send my money to the company which invested the R&D and which innovated, not the company which looked for interesting, but expensive products to copy, for profit, at the expense of the company which innovated. If I cannot afford the real thing, I will buy something else, not a copy. The Manfrotto 405 is functionally similar, although not nearly as elegant, so that is my compromise for now.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Save $

    I understand your point, Carsten, and accept it (not that my position matters). It's a bit tricky IMO, so one must simply satisfy his/her own preferences for whom they patronize and why.

    I used to read posts on the boards of FredMiranda ranting and railing against those who were considering buying a Benro tripod. The complaint was that it was a direct copy of Gitzo (to me it is not, but certainly inspired there). The funny thing to me is that you could find posts by the same people elsewhere on the board extolling the virtues of the Markins ball head (to me a similarly copied/inspired design based on an A-S head). How about Kirk? Change a panning knob and it's not a copy? As I said, it's tricky. So that's why I feel it's wise for all of us to be careful not to be too judgmental of others, lest we have our own shortcomings pointed out. I appreciate the tone on this board.

    As mentioned by others, there are legal IPR infringements, ethical IPR infringements, and perhaps there are examples of better execution of a concept which was inspired by an originator's design. I would say that a company has a certain responsibility to take steps to protect their IP as well, and that it should not be left solely up to the consumer to sort it out. Artistic design (music, photography, art, etc) pose a different issue IMO, as an artist shouldn't be held to the same responsibilities of a corporation in protecting IP. Interesting stuff, but the best approach is probably to try our best to do "the right thing". Now can someone define that?

    (I should add that I do feel the some of the Benro heads and certain products or finishes are direct, unabashed copies. Less so about certain tripods.)
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 26th December 2009 at 12:52.

  41. #241
    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Save $

    Carsten, if you believe in Arca Swiss as an innovative company then it's probably a better use of your money to invest in the company (though I don't know if it is a public company). As a shareholder you can demand that management does something about its IP protection. And perhaps demand that it outsources production for better efficiency and more competitive pricing.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

  42. #242
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    Re: Save $

    I also don't know if they are public, and anyway, I don't have that kind of money. I presume that buying enough shares to have an effective voice would be more expensive than a Cube, and I can't afford even that right now Anyway, Arca is just one of many small European and other traditional camera manufacturers which innovate and create and try to find their niche so that they can stay alive. I would support any company like that over one which merely copies.

    I do think that Arca should at least add a web presence. It would make them appear a lot more human and real.
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    Re: Save $

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I do think that Arca should at least add a web presence. It would make them appear a lot more human and real.
    Amen to that. I remember looking for their website back in 1997 when I got my B-1. Still no presence, that's just hard to understand.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Save $

    There is an adage "Buy Cheap, Buy Twice!" This works for everything in life in my experience so far. Another one from my days as a scientist: "Sometimes the best is only good enough".

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    Could this be the AS patent in question?


  46. #246
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    Re: Could this be the AS patent in question?

    Interesting. But this is the patent for their Orbix swings.
    Also interesting that they patented that in 1999, around 20 years after Sinar started building their P series which have very similar movements. The Arca-France way of invention?
    Last edited by smei_ch; 29th December 2009 at 20:45. Reason: Typo

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