A Cautionary Tale of Ebay Filters

Here's a interruption of program on our lens journey. I wanted to write about modern lenses I discovered to be great or more so on a list of the entire lens collection I used and wrote notes about but then I had to do an assessment of my filters near the end of the summer season and discovered some bad surprises. Here's the story.

Which one is real? Which one is counterfeit?

I like anybody enjoy saving money when it comes to buy filters to protect my always ready lenses. Lately, I’ve been buying a lot of lenses through eBay and figured I’d trust that site enough to buy filters to protect such lenses.

The new generation of filters

Permanent Ink applied on real filter

Modern filters have many layers of coating that help with cleaning. Water and oil should slide off very easily. Permanent ink doesn’t stick to the coating as well. Once applied, it can be cleaned off by water and cloth. I find such filters to be quite interesting, so I went to purchase some new ones to replace my old but trustworthy b+w filters. I bought the Hoya HD Protector from a camera store and the results were day and night. I then decided to move on and protect my entire lens collection.

Permanent ink applied on counterfeit filter.

My story with Zomei HD MC-UV filters

My first attempt was to buy Zomei HD MC UV filters. The main seller was 2014bingozomei. My first experience was a 77mm filter to replace my uncleanable B+W MRC for my Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f2.8G. The filter I got came with big threads like shown in the picture below. The results were satisfying and the claims of the filter were true. I then decided to order more from them, but I was in for a surprise: the filters came with two kinds of threads, one flush, one threaded.

Top: Real (big threads, chamfered edges). Bottom: Counterfeit (Matte, no threads, no chamfers)

At first I didn’t mind, but then the non-threaded one started scratching quicker than the threaded one, letting me think that the Zomei glass wasn’t as good as the Hoya HD’s. After a few permanent ink, water and cleaning tests, I came to the conclusion that the non-treaded ones were counterfeits.


Hoya HD filters

I bought my first Hoya HD Protector directly from a camera store. While it was a little pricy, the filter performed against amazing odds. I was then compelled to buy more Hoya HDs to protect my voigtlander and zeiss lens. I decided to buy 2 of them from hkdirect. When they arrived they looked even shadier than the unthreaded Zomei filters. 

Real Hoya HD. Glossy finish, chamfered edge.

Counterfeit Hoya HD. Matte finish, no chamfered edge.

My camera store bought Hoya HD Protector had a glossy finish vs. the matte one I received. I then proceeded to ink and water drop test. Only to discover that I’ve been fooled once again by eBay sellers from Asia.

Lessons learned. Buy from trusted sources

Top: Real Hoya HD. Bottom: HKdirect Counterfeit Hoya HD

While many find protective filters useless, I simply cannot live without them as my work tools are constantly moving in my bag. Thanks to them, my lenses are lenscap-less and always ready to shoot. While they might cost much more when buying from a trusted source, at least you know you are getting the real thing. 

Yannick Khong9 Comments