WARNING: DO NOT buy the ITL200 on Ebay

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Macro_Cosmos
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WARNING: DO NOT buy the ITL200 on Ebay

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

The ITL-200 listed on ebay is FAKE.

Here is the listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ITL200-Tube-Le ... SwgoNecgLk

Here is the item ID: 114192952940

This seller claims they are located in Singapore, where Thorlabs' warehouse it located.

I originally wanted to buy a few copies for the lab, I wanted to ask the seller about the item's details and shipping. The item requires immediate payment. The seller relisted it at $225 each which is $180+$45, defeating the purpose of combined shipping. They then told me they have 50 or so copies which are all brand new, this got me worried. I asked if thorlabs is discontinuing the model, their response was incoherent. I asked for a photo and they simply said the quality is guaranteed or whatever bluff, so I wiggled my way out of the purchase.

My instinct was, it's either fake, rejected rubbish that survived the dumpster, or stolen. 5 new copies or used is fine, but 50 is way too much. Point 1 didn't make sense since the seller is "in Singapore", point 3 doesn't seem right... Singapore has some very harsh punishments, so I decided it was a batch of rejected copies that somehow made it out of a dumpster. Extending on this thought, the ITL-200 is made in Japan by Nikon, surely the Singapore warehouse won't stock rejected copies, right? Maybe the virus is making stuff weird? So all 3 points made no sense to me.

Turned out it's all wrong. It's a different lens totally. So maybe it can be called a fake? The listing is definitely fake!

So here's the "ITL-200" listed on ebay that's "shipped from Singapore", which arrived from "Singapore" to China, arrived in one day, shipped using SFexpress. (If you didn't get it, the lens was not shipped from Singapore but rather China, to China).

Image
Image
Image

The ITL-200 uses M30x0.5 threads, so it's definitely smaller than the quoted diameter of 32mm. The ITL-200 is coated for VIS-IR, whereas this one quotes 350-750nm. It's fair to say that this is a completely different lens. Whether the performance is there or not would be unknown however. Maybe, just maybe it performs very well, not that I'll bet on it.

The lens is shipped from Suzhou industrial park, this company's manufacturing facility and HQ is in the same location, down to the road and nearby SFExpress distribution centre. SFExpress does not show the exact address however. The distribution centre is a mere 3km away from the company's HQ. The buyer is in China too of course, he sent me this information.

When people do receive the lens, we'd be able to see the exact address, unless the scammer is smart enough to use a proxy.

For those who have already purchased the lens, wait for it to arrive and contact ebay for a refund. Nothing to worry about IMO, but none of us wants to get screwed out of $200+ food money during a pandemic, so I suggest against placing any further orders.
Last edited by Macro_Cosmos on Mon May 18, 2020 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

jurkovicovic
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Post by jurkovicovic »

Can you test it? Maybe is it good tube lens :)
canon EOS *

Macro_Cosmos
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Post by Macro_Cosmos »

jurkovicovic wrote:Can you test it? Maybe is it good tube lens :)
I don't have it. That said, I hope it turns out to be good.
I have seen a sample photo, pretty bad. It's because of flawed lighting however, someone else I'm in contact with will be getting a copy soon as well, he will be able to create some good test photos.

physicsmajor
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Post by physicsmajor »

Can you share or point us in the direction of the sample photo(s)?

Edit: So I got taken in by this. Just got into the hobby and picked one up to build an infinity corrected objective setup, as the word was ITL200s listed in Singapore are generally the real deal, and they have been available for at or under this price in the past. I was a bit nervous then to see it shipped from mainland China (origin point was Suzhou). Shipping was fast, nearly unbelievably so - under 72 hours to my door in the US, FedEx international air.

It's now arrived. I disinfected the package. The lens is shipped in a box with the Carmenhaas label exactly as shown above. Inside the box is a fairly precisely machined Delrin or similar holder, with the lens inside along with silica gel.

The lens is nearly a dead ringer for a real ITL-200 from the exterior. Per my digital caliper, the label print re:diameter is wrong, it is 38mm in diameter at the threads, does match M38 threading, and every dimension precisely matches those specified in Thorlabs' official PDF here: https://www.thorlabs.com/drawings/8a437 ... CADPDF.pdf

In fact, the exterior only really differs in that the silver UC sticker on the smaller diameter portion of the barrel is not present.
Last edited by physicsmajor on Sat May 16, 2020 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

physicsmajor
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Plot thickens

Post by physicsmajor »

So despite being dimensionally correct, there are subtle differences in manufacturing.

Reference Robert's excellent images of a real ITL-200 at the top of this article for comparison: https://www.closeuphotography.com/thorlabs-itl200/

Apologies for the quick camera photos, I don't want to bother disconnecting my DSLR from its rig for this. Also I have both natural light and a 2700k high-CRI LED lamp lighting this shot, the lenses themselves are clear and do not have a yellow cast - that's just the warm LED lamp.

Image

Image

On the top: there is no small chamfer on the inside lip of the outer tube. The inner retaining ring is flush with the outer tube lip, instead of slightly recessed, and of a different design - the ITL-200 ring slopes toward the lens almost immediately, whereas this ring has a large flat.

On the bottom: there is no broad chamfer on the inside lip of the outer tube.

The general design of this lens appears optically similar to the ITL200 in that it consists of stacked doublets, and limited visual comparison reveals no gross differences in curvature.


They went to great lengths to copy the ITL200 here. It could be reverse engineered ± an engineer stealing trade secrets.


The seller has taken down all of the listings that mention ITL200 at this time. The listings showed an image of a real ITL200 with the UC sticker and the top retaining ring as per Robert's images, and mentioned ITL200 either in the title or description. For anyone else affected, it is probably thus possible to demand a refund because the item is not as advertised/pictured.


I am still waiting to receive an infinity corrected objective. If anyone has ideas on how to creatively test this optic without that, I would be happy to oblige. Even happier if you can do the same test with a real ITL-200 and we compare notes.

Macro_Cosmos
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Re: Plot thickens

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

physicsmajor wrote:Useful information
I can do it. I have a copy of the real ITL-200, it was purchased new.

What information do you need? If this tube lens has image quality that is at least identical to the real ITL-200, it would be worth it.

I have a calibrated sylvac calipers that will allow me to take very precise measurements. You can start by focusing the lens to infinity, just focus on a distant object. The ITL-200 performs kind of alright when doing so, it's fuzzy and what-not which is expected, but there will be no CA. I can do exactly the same thing on my end and we can compare results.

Also more insight on the testing. According to my source, the Carmannhaas tube lens, let's just call it CMH200 is... well......

Let's just say it's pretty darn good. It's able to outperform the raynox DCR-150. I'll post test results when I can.

May you provide more images, preferably not close-ups? Maybe I didn't understand what you're saying... the CMH200 does have any threads for mounting?

Moreover, please verify the shipping address. Is it the same as the company's included address on their home page? This will seal the deal when it comes to the listings. I still don't think it's in their interest to engage in such shady practices, but there's a chance that I'm being way too lenient -- likely due to having lived in Suzhou for half a decade.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Plot thickens

Post by rjlittlefield »

Macro_Cosmos wrote:You can start by focusing the lens to infinity, just focus on a distant object. The ITL-200 performs kind of alright when doing so, it's fuzzy and what-not which is expected, but there will be no CA. I can do exactly the same thing on my end and we can compare results..
As a more representative test, I suggest to place a piece of black opaque paper in front of the lens, with an 11mm hole cut in its center. That will mimic the stopping-down effect of a microscope objective, which should eliminate all that "fuzzy and what-not". If it does not, then for sure the lens will not perform well with an objective either.

--Rik

physicsmajor
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Re: Plot thickens

Post by physicsmajor »

Macro_Cosmos wrote:
physicsmajor wrote:Useful information
I can do it. I have a copy of the real ITL-200, it was purchased new.

What information do you need? If this tube lens has image quality that is at least identical to the real ITL-200, it would be worth it.

I have a calibrated sylvac calipers that will allow me to take very precise measurements. You can start by focusing the lens to infinity, just focus on a distant object. The ITL-200 performs kind of alright when doing so, it's fuzzy and what-not which is expected, but there will be no CA. I can do exactly the same thing on my end and we can compare results.

Also more insight on the testing. According to my source, the Carmannhaas tube lens, let's just call it CMH200 is... well......

Let's just say it's pretty darn good. It's able to outperform the raynox DCR-150. I'll post test results when I can.

May you provide more images, preferably not close-ups? Maybe I didn't understand what you're saying... the CMH200 does have any threads for mounting?

Moreover, please verify the shipping address. Is it the same as the company's included address on their home page? This will seal the deal when it comes to the listings. I still don't think it's in their interest to engage in such shady practices, but there's a chance that I'm being way too lenient -- likely due to having lived in Suzhou for half a decade.
I see absolutely no evidence of CA edge to edge with a sharp image at infinity wide open. Lets try the test Rik suggested with an 11mm hole cut in the center of an opaque paper taped on front, focus at infinity.

The lens is threaded, M38 as near as I can determine before my Thorlabs adapter arrives. I think you misunderstood the differences I am mentioning. The manufacturing differences are really subtle; compare very closely the inside lip on the lens side. The real ITL-200 has a bevel/chamfer there on the bottom whereas this lens does not. The top retaining ring is also subtly different. Beyond that it's a dead ringer (and dimensionally, I believe a drop-in replacement).

Checked the shipping material and the lens shipped directly from Carmenhaas - matches the address on their homepage exactly (http://www.carmanhaas.com/EN). No 155, West Road Suhong, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou City, Jiangsu , P.R. China is the return address as well as what is currently shown on that page.

The part number 702220 does not return results when searched for on their site, but the site doesn't seem to work quite right; search doesn't seem to work at all, and browsing all products returns 71 pages but I'm unable to proceed past page 6. Might be a site or translation/test issue of the English version HTML.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

I don't know anything about the business practices of this company, but I can easily imagine that the eBay ad is from somebody completely unrelated, accepting the order as expressed on eBay, turning it into an order for whatever the real product is, and having the big company dropship it to the eBay customer.

Several months ago I ordered a lens from a well known US retailer. In due course a box containing the lens I ordered arrived in fine condition -- dropshipped from a different well known US retailer with no obvious connection and several states away!

--Rik

Scarodactyl
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Post by Scarodactyl »

I have had a guy on eBay buy twice from me, both times sending an identical message saying it was a gift and should be sent without any included eBay documents.
Yeah, sure buddy.


It'd be really cool if this proved to be a reasonable stand-in or even equivalent in performance, though much cooler if it cost a bit less.

physicsmajor
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Post by physicsmajor »

Unfortunately I got busy with work and was unable to do the outside infinity test with a smaller aperture. As I work full time this week, that might not happen before I get the remaining pieces I need from Thorlabs to be able to test it properly.

In the meantime, after playing around with it I found this might be illustrative. Handheld lens (not perfectly aligned, either on axis or with the screen itself, apologies) with camera as far back as can be managed. I aimed at Rik's profile picture in this thread.

The relevant findings:
Absolutely no CA I can see
Basically a completely flat field
No color shift
Razor sharp, Camera is Moire fringing that isn't CA. The Moire fringing is even linear to the edges, especially reversed where I had the optic better on axis.

Forward:
Image

Reverse:
Image

Make of that what you will, but I'm fairly impressed. It's definitely more than a physical/dimensional knockoff.

Macro_Cosmos
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Re: Plot thickens

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

physicsmajor wrote: Checked the shipping material and the lens shipped directly from Carmenhaas - matches the address on their homepage exactly (http://www.carmanhaas.com/EN). No 155, West Road Suhong, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou City, Jiangsu , P.R. China is the return address as well as what is currently shown on that page.

The part number 702220 does not return results when searched for on their site, but the site doesn't seem to work quite right; search doesn't seem to work at all, and browsing all products returns 71 pages but I'm unable to proceed past page 6. Might be a site or translation/test issue of the English version HTML.
This is very weird. This would be in direct contradiction to the information I received from the manufacturer. I'll elaborate on that later in the week. Long story short, they made the thing but didn't know what they were making was essentially a knockoff, someone approached them to make these lenses, 50 copies in total, which matches up with what the seller is claiming.

I'll provide more information later, I had a chat over wechat with the company, they were pretty nice and approachable, also shocked at what happened.

rjlittlefield wrote:I don't know anything about the business practices of this company, but I can easily imagine that the eBay ad is from somebody completely unrelated, accepting the order as expressed on eBay, turning it into an order for whatever the real product is, and having the big company dropship it to the eBay customer.

Several months ago I ordered a lens from a well known US retailer. In due course a box containing the lens I ordered arrived in fine condition -- dropshipped from a different well known US retailer with no obvious connection and several states away!

--Rik
That could be case, but the information I have says it's not. Perhaps they {Carman Haas} are lying. I'll get in touch with them again.


As for the performance, the tests I saw indicate that this lens performs extremely well. It outright beats the DRC-150 in the centre and on crop format corners. I think the DCR-150 does outperform the ITL-200 when it comes to full frame corners, not sure.

physicsmajor
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Post by physicsmajor »

It still could be consistent.

Thorlabs or Nikon during course of normal business might have provided them specs and instructions to produce the ITL-200 or variant thereof to see if they wanted to pursue Carmen Haas as an alternative or lower cost primary supplier. If that deal then fell through due to COVID-19 or other reasons we could have this situation.

If it was a third party entirely, they might have taken the exterior dimensions from Thorlabs - I linked the PDF above, they aren't trying to hide the dimensions - plus either Nikon's or others' patents and/or the tube lens paper and contacted Carmen Haas to produce it.

I'm being charitable but these are plausible.

physicsmajor
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Post by physicsmajor »

Update: The M38 fine threads on this lens mated into the usual ITL-200 Thorlabs holder, so it's confirmed as a dimensional drop-in.

The Carmen Haas lens seems also to be optically a drop-in replacement for the ITL-200. I am using the recommended setup for the ITL-200 with the tube lens reversed per Robert, 245mm from tube lens 'front' to image plane and 75mm from tube lens 'back' to Mity 10x shoulder. I didn't experiment, just went straight to this config. My only sensor size available is APS-C (Nikon), and this fills the frame with completely sharp corners and no CA that I can determine. I also had to clean my DSLR sensor as some dust had managed to get in there.

Unfortunately my vertical rail is not yet completed. So while I do have a test wafer, I instead have to work horizontal and have not yet managed to get the whole plane in focus.

As I work toward getting better test images, here is a corner crop from some white print on an offbrand aluminum Arca Swiss rail (the white print has texture to it and portions are slightly out of plane):
Image

Appears very sharp to the corner and free of CA. I think I'm keeping this one.

Scarodactyl
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Post by Scarodactyl »

How exciting!

I wonder if carman haas could supply them less expensively directly, and/or if theyd be willing to make some with more standard mounting threads. Perhaps even variants at other focal lengths?

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