Two days ago The Hong Kong based gear company Yongnuo announced their next product, the YN360, an LED lit bar of light. While different in form from the Westcott Icelight, some found the comparison unavoidable.
This was not the first time that Yongnuo has products that resemble other products in the market. The YN600EX-RT looks amazingly similar to Canon’s 600EX-RT Speedlite. Yongnuo’s nifty fifty looks very similar to Canon’s at about half the price. This is all not new.
But it does pose a question which I think is best illustrated by quoting two of the comments we got on the YN360 light wand. Is Yongnuo’s story one of enabling photography to the frugal photographer or bluntly copycatting other market innovations cutting down on costs.
I am going to quote the two major comments so we can start a discussion:
Yongnuo’s products put me in such an ethical quandary, on one hand it’s great to have products which are accessibly priced, especially as a photography student. However on the other hand it also kills innovation in the photography business. One of the main reasons why innovative products are expensive is because of the research and development to make them. There is a strong relationship between companies going bankrupt or refusing to innovate and speed at which knock-offs of their products appear. l’m going to stick with DIYing my own take commercial products or I’ll buy the real deal however refuse to support a company which which makes most of their income from stealing designs off others
Yongnuo is a great disruptor in the photographic world… Bringing good products at a realistic price. Thankfully I resisted buying that ridiculously priced ICE Light. Now I can get 10 YN360 wands !!! ??
I would love to hear your thoughts.