Fake Gary Fong Lightspheres are being sold on Amazon – Watch Gary call them out on video

Feb 11, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Fake Gary Fong Lightspheres are being sold on Amazon – Watch Gary call them out on video

Feb 11, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The Gary Fong Lightsphere has been a staple of wedding and event photography for years. And no matter how much some photographers wish they would just disappear, they insist on persevering. It seems demand for them is pretty high, too, as counterfeit Lightspheres, along with full Gary Fong branding are not only being made but even sold on Amazon.

Gary Fong himself bought one of the fakes from Amazon in order to make a video calling out these counterfeit products and showing the differences between the originals and the fakes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3cOY0CCGic

The immediate sign that you’ve received the fake is the packaging – which is simply produced from a bad scan of the original of the artwork on the original box. You can see that the two example portraits differ dramatically in contrast and brightness compared to the originals.

But when you open the box, the differences become immediately apparent. For a start, the dome itself that goes onto the end of the unit doesn’t even fit and just falls out, and while it is still using a translucent white material, it’s much more opaque than the genuine article, which eats up a lot of light. This is something that Gary specifically avoided and says he carefully formulated the material used in his products to avoid this opacity and make them as clear as possible.

And if the box didn’t give it away already, these aren’t just clones, these are pretending to be the real thing, right down to having Gary’s website printed on the velcro strap which holds the Lightsphere onto your speedlight.

“Fulfilled by Amazon” doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get the real thing – as evidenced by the number of fake memory cards still often sold on sites like Amazon – just that the 3rd party seller you’re buying from is using Amazon’s order-fulfilment services. According to Consumerist

Part of the problem is with Amazon’s inventory system, critics say. Third-party sellers sign up to shill stuff through Amazon’s order-fulfillment services. All those products often get pooled together by bar code, regardless of whether they come from the brands themselves or other distributors. That way, Amazon can grab whichever product that’s ordered at the nearest warehouse to the customer.

This means that if the fake packaging shows a duplicate of a genuine barcode, it’s just thrown into Amazon’s inventory, regardless of the source of the product. And this is something that is completely out of the hands of those manufacturing the products – which is extremely frustrating to folks like Gary.

It’s also something that the 3rd party sellers (except the one putting fakes in Amazon’s inventory) will have little or no control over, either, because when they’re all lumped together in the warehouse and Amazon just ships from the nearest one to the customer, those stores really have no idea whose inventory the item that ships to their customer will come from.

If you believe you have received a fake product from Amazon, regardless of whether it’s a Gary Fong Lightsphere or not, Amazon will take them back. Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee covers this. So, contact them.

[via PetaPixel]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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31 responses to “Fake Gary Fong Lightspheres are being sold on Amazon – Watch Gary call them out on video”

  1. Tudor Pantelimonescu Avatar
    Tudor Pantelimonescu

    The original is aslo a cheap “Made in China” product, made from a material that got a very pronounced yellowish tint while the dome remained white… Bought it 4-5 years a go, used just a couple of times and since then just sist in a camera bag i dont use, so is not the UV that aged the material…

  2. Marco Peixoto Avatar
    Marco Peixoto

    Had a fake one bought 10 or so years ago. I knew it was fake since it was priced accordingly.

    A friend had the real one. It was basically same crap. Diference was mines cost 1/3rd.

    Put in the trash last year after being inside a case and never used again for the past 5-6 years.

  3. Lars Oeschey Avatar
    Lars Oeschey

    thats what happens when you have your product produced in China

  4. Howardo Mansfieldio Avatar
    Howardo Mansfieldio

    “The Gary Fong Lightsphere has been a staple among wedding and events photographers for years”

    In my 12 years as a “serious” photographer, I’ve only met one person with one that didn’t think it was overpriced and unspectacular.

    1. John Aldred Avatar
      John Aldred

      I’ve met plenty. Needless to say, I didn’t continue talking to any of them for very long. ;)

  5. Nicholas Kau Avatar
    Nicholas Kau

    “Fong dongs”

  6. Vicky S. Mittal Avatar
    Vicky S. Mittal

    Shut the F up Gary… No one wants your overpriced shit to make shitty pictures

  7. Michael Beckerman Avatar
    Michael Beckerman

    Wow, after seeing this and now knowing the difference, every one I have ever come across in person so far has actually been a fake. Not one of them was real. I’ve seen so many other photographers out there shoot with these over the years…ever one of them was a counterfeit.

  8. Eman Be Avatar
    Eman Be

    Use tupperwear for same effect.
    One of the most overpriced things on the market for what you get.

  9. Torge Lohse Avatar
    Torge Lohse

    Fongs lightsphere is a totally new and different product. Oh my foul it is cheapy chinatrash.

  10. Charlie Muller Avatar
    Charlie Muller

    Many times at conferences I’ve seen $2500-4000 rigs hooked up to the $2.78 Gary Fong milk jug bought at a corner store or grocery store

  11. Ron Dee Avatar
    Ron Dee

    That chinese made lightsphere is infected with corona virus!

    1. Kryn Sporry Avatar
      Kryn Sporry

      Ron Dee goes well with limes disease?

  12. Matthew Nehrling Avatar
    Matthew Nehrling

    The cheap off brands (like Top One) work really well. For the original, you are mostly paying for the name.

  13. Kryn Sporry Avatar
    Kryn Sporry

    You over charge, you get what’s coming to you…

    The best of this article is the comments though. Absolutely no one seems to support Gary F???

  14. Chung Dha Lam Avatar
    Chung Dha Lam

    Better buy a flashdisc than those aweful cups that not even give that great looking image as its not even enlarge the light source that much anyways.

  15. Kacper Marczukiewicz Avatar
    Kacper Marczukiewicz

    Don’t buy this garbage anyway. Worst modifier ever. Pure waste.

  16. Glenn Giese Avatar
    Glenn Giese

    If it’s too good to be true…?

  17. Roman Bira Avatar
    Roman Bira

    I use a real GF for real estate photography. It does what I need it to do. And was free because it came with a used SB910 off Ebay.

  18. Peter Foote Avatar
    Peter Foote

    Even the original is fake ?

  19. Safidy Andrian Avatar
    Safidy Andrian

    Same useless crap.

  20. Z von Dienes-Oehm Avatar
    Z von Dienes-Oehm

    I use a modified onion holder stuffed with tissue with density based on need. $1.25 FTW

  21. Henry Lennox Avatar
    Henry Lennox

    That’s what you get for selling an overpriced tuppaware

  22. Rohit Naik Avatar
    Rohit Naik

    Both suck so buy the fake one

  23. Juan Sanchez Avatar
    Juan Sanchez

    I would like to get my money back.

  24. John G Schickler Avatar
    John G Schickler

    Amazon is a corrupt company that promotes piracy.

  25. Jeff Sellenrick Avatar
    Jeff Sellenrick

    I’ve got one of these that’s sat in a closet for 10 years

  26. Robert Brian Avatar
    Robert Brian

    My photographer friend use to rave about her Gary Fong

  27. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    Another reason to go the DIY route.

    1. FrogLuvR Avatar
      FrogLuvR

      LOL….. True, some of the DIY ones look a bit funky, but I’m sure they work as well.

  28. FrogLuvR Avatar
    FrogLuvR

    So what is it?….Everyone talks about Chinese junk, but both packages say “Made in the USA”. So is the AUTHENTIC Gary Fong made in the USA?.