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Old February 18th, 2011, 11:25 AM   #1
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Anyone have exp. with Chinese Arri knockoffs?

Whenever I search ebay for Arri lights I get a million of these Chinese knockoffs called "As Arri". Has anyone purchased these lights? If so, what's the build quality like? Are they safe? They look like Arris, but they're a lot cheaper.

As ARRI 650W Fresnel Tungsten Light Continuous Video on eBay.ca (item 320657646095 end time 17-Feb-11 20:32:41 EST)
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Old February 18th, 2011, 12:05 PM   #2
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The studio I worked at had a ton of Film Gear Arri clones. Never had an issue.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 01:12 PM   #3
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Perevious thread on them here: JieTu...ARRI knockoff...good?

and more here although most of the web site doesn't seem to work : http://www.jietu.com/en/index.asp
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Old February 18th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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I don't have the one that's in your link, but I actually bought a few of the Jietu lights last year (They're another Chinese brand).

To keep it brief, they work as advertised but it's nothing fancy. The lights feel pretty solid, but I haven't dropped them or anything so I can't tell you exactly how much of a beating it can take. The longest I've had them run at a time was less than two hours. I usually keep them off until I'm shooting anyways because they get really hot (as all fresnels do). They haven't blown up on me yet so I'd say they are safe.

The one thing that feels cheap are the barndoors, both the material they are made of and the way they feel when you move the leaves around. They don't feel as solid as the Arris, but it also doesn't feel like they're fall apart.

I'm currently a film student, so I've had some experience with Arri lights, and I'm basing my comparison with my limited experience and knowledge. If I can be of any more help, let me know!
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Old February 19th, 2011, 08:07 AM   #5
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Not to be political, but at at some point, as professional equipment consumers, do we need to be more diligent about patronizing our local companies that create original, high quality products for us, rather than constantly rushing to Chinese knock-offs for everything from ARRIs to fishing poles?

It would be one thing if the Chinese manufacturers (and government, for that matter) had a better track record for original R&D and a better appreciation for copyrights and intellectual property rights.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 08:56 AM   #6
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Bill I agree to a certain extent but most things are made in china and the far east these days and in the case of Dyson cleaners they made all their UK people redundant so that they could get them made cheaper in china.

So whilst brand loyalty means certain things it is a world wide economy and it is all down to consumer choice at the end of the day.

As for R&D and design most things are copied these days and you can hardly call these a direct copy of the arri as they are no where near as well made.

There is also the distributor add on's for local back-up and support but in the case of all my USA made PRS guitars I bought them from the USA as they were far cheaper to import with tax paid than pay distributor handling fee's and retail overheads.

Here in the UK a company called indie kit import and distribute these arri knockoff's but I might as well get them direct from china as they are far cheaper.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ward View Post
Not to be political, but at at some point, as professional equipment consumers, do we need to be more diligent about patronizing our local companies that create original, high quality products for us, rather than constantly rushing to Chinese knock-offs for everything from ARRIs to fishing poles?
All lights are basically two wires that feed a socket in which you plug a bulb. The $5 lamps at Target have a lot in common with an Arri, except the Arri has that fresnel lens, more steel surrounding it, and a mechanism to move the bulb back and forth. I understand that with those added features it can't cost $5 anymore, but B&H has the Arri 650 listed for $380. That's outrageous. Bare bulb solutions (omni ($158), tota ($173)) are even more outrageous because of the complete lack of engineering that goes into them.

I provide my clients a good value at a good price. I expect the same from my suppliers. If the Arri fresnel was $125 and the Chinese knockoff was $110, I'd buy the Arri every day of the week. Sadly, that is not the case, and Arri can kiss my ass. Thank god for coollights.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #8
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Interesting take on that Mike and I totally agree but I suspect coolights are also made in china but at least Richard has taken the time to make sure they are up there for quality and consistency in colour balance.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 02:47 PM   #9
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having great exprerience for cheap indian and chinese product, i can tell you that "you got what you pay".
As said , if you need just a wire, a socket an a bulb, this could be a choice.
unfortunately, these products often offer lower quality in small details.
screws and thread are weak, plastic is low quality and often crack, metal also.
Strangely, electronic products that seems a more sensitive domain, are less prone to deception.
So if you are just fixing one of these lamp to the ceiling of your studio, this could make no difference with the more expensive model, but if you need the bullet proof product you can rely on, you better to purchase a pair instead one. (and often it is still cheaper then the original one).
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Old February 19th, 2011, 05:12 PM   #10
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I wasn't expecting politics to come up, and the thread Gary points to is very political. But, I only care about the performance of the light. From Kin's post it sounds like a compromise between cost and performance which isn't a bad thing. It's good for the bigger companies to have some competition. I'd rather buy a used Arri, but it's good to know the Chinese can provide something cost effective.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 12:47 PM   #11
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Re: Anyone have exp. with Chinese Arri knockoffs?

Video review of these that was featured on CheesyCam today:


I don't know if this guy has ever seen an Arri before, but it is nice to see the lights in video.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:05 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone have exp. with Chinese Arri knockoffs?

The kit in that video looks almost identical to the kit that I have, except I ordered 2x300s and 1x650. He mentions the lightstands being flimsy, which I find to be the opposite with mine. I remember when I first got them I was actually quite impressed with how solid they feel. They definitely feel sturdier (or at least the same as) than some of the Lowel stands I've used at my school. They're also air cushioned so that when you want to collapse the stand, it doesn't just fall abruptly. The inline switch is also lit, I don't think the Arris are.

The barn doors are the only thing I have to complain about. They feel lighter and weaker than the Arri's.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 10:43 PM   #13
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Re: Anyone have exp. with Chinese Arri knockoffs?

That's funny - in the video I thought his light stands looked pretty flimsy, and I thought the barndoors looked pretty solid! :-)
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Old April 5th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone have exp. with Chinese Arri knockoffs?

Just got a new Arri 650W from B & H and a Pro As Arri 650W from Steven Studios in China off Ebay. Was wondering if the extra $264 was worth it so I put them side by side to see what I could see.

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Old April 6th, 2012, 04:01 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone have exp. with Chinese Arri knockoffs?

I have three of the Steven Studio lights. So far, three sets of globes have gone through them. I experienced one cracked glass very early which the vendor replaced.

The lamphouses and fittings have been trouble free so far. As a precaution, I have been checking screws and fittings for tightness. I found that the screws holding the end cap on took a bit more tightening, which I expected, given the thermal cycles the casework experiences.

The spring leaves which retain the globe are very stiff and awkward when new. They lose some tension after being heated but seem to remain adequate for retaining the globe and easier to remove the globe from.

I have not played with ARRI lights so have no reference to compare to.

The stands are another matter. Owner-operators are likely to take some care but borrowers or renters seem to be thrice-inbred second-cousins to Tarzan or the Hulk. The columns do not tolerate overtightening for long.

The tubes deform but remain functional. The small steel friction inserts beneath the thumbscrews are fully floating in a rectangular receiver. If the columns are over-extended and someone wrestles a section for that last inch of extension, the rubber sleeve inside the section comes out and allows ther tube to over-extend free of the outer column.

With no inner column surface to retain it, the friction piece drops free inside the outer column and then the Tarzans punch deep holes in the columns when they overtighten the thumbscrews next time round. There are ways and means of preventing this. The simplest method of a capped pin would require five more machining operations plus assembly for each friction screw.

Then the friction piece would likely bind the section from being re-inserted. The Tarzans would probably go for the nearest piece of 3x2 wooden dunnage from the dolly track to bash it back in.

Overtightening of the leg extention slide friction screw crushes the column and the diecast friction piece then deforms, cracks in two and drops out. Then the same bare end of thumbscrew and hole punching happens when the Tarzans get to work again.

How the ARRI lightweight stands compare I do not know.

Given care, the Chinese stands should last a long time but if abused, they will become disposable very soon.


There is a point of view which paints the buyers of non-genuine knockoffs as traitors who will see the manufacturers of the genuine item into bankruptcy. A partial counter-argument is that there are some filmies in worn-out jeans showing bare knees and backsides hanging out who will never be moneyed enough to be in the ARRI market until if or when they make into the professional ranks. From that point, reliability becomes key and they too may then decide not to frig around with non-genuine articles.

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 6th, 2012 at 04:25 AM. Reason: added text
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