Peak Design is playing into a scene of photographers who aren’t doing their research.
Some of the big news in the photo industry is how Peak Design is trying to rally the world. Specifically, they’re doing this about Amazon. They made a video about how Amazon is ripping off their Every Day Sling camera bag. Is it messed up? Totally. But there’s a lot that’s not being said here. And I’d like to give everyone a different point of view.
Before you read this, you should know that The Phoblographer is by and large the camera bag reviews’ undisputed hub. The manufacturers know it. Camera brands even come to us to research their collaborations. So, please know this article is coming from a very informed place.
Fact: Peak Design Actually Does Have Patents on the Sling, and This Is Messed Up
I wonder how many folks actually looked up the Peak Design patent. Indeed, Peter Dering has it. The Peak Design sling is a popular bag. I liked the variant that’s basically a fanny pack. And what Amazon is doing is wrong. The big thing here is the massive scale that Amazon is vs. other manufacturers. And, yes, this happens often.
Is it possible that Amazon might’ve created this by accident? I doubt it. They probably took it to a factory in China and told them to make the same bag. There’s another retailer that does this too.
Fact: B&H Photo Basically Does the Same Thing
I say this as someone who used to work at B&H Photo. They’ve got a house brands group called Gradus. This group more or less takes other brands’ designs and puts another label on them. The Ruggard brand, for example, is pretty much another brand. It’s common, yet loads of folks support B&H Photo despite this and a ton of lawsuits about discrimination.
Fact: Peak Design Has Run Into Issues with Gura Gear and Others for Patent Infringement
Peak Design has also run into issues with Gura Gear/Tamrac and others before with their patent infringements. So Peak isn’t exactly innocent here. I remember, after reviewing their CaptureLens a while back, they ran into a big patent issue, and the new product became the Lens Flipper. Still, the product is an idea that baffles me. Peak might have created something accidentally without knowing it was patented. But they’re often huge on marketing their patents in their videos.
Fact: Peak Design Isn’t Exactly the Most Ethical Company Either
I’d like to remind folks that Peak Design also tried to screw photographers over. Remember Unsplash? You know that company that convinces photographers to give away their images completely free for commercial use? Peak Design was a supporter of their first awards program. We talked to them about this, and they said they were going to stop supporting Unsplash. Their PR rep even tried emailing us, saying that we need to put it behind us. We asked them to offer an apology to the community and they declined.
Personally speaking, I don’t feel bad for Peak Design. They’ve mustered up an army of bros using the Kickstarter model. Their messenger bag isn’t great for folks who want to wear it on the other shoulder. And their designs are odd. The MagLock is one of the coolest things around, but they’ve created a cult-like mentality. There are other great camera bag brands around like WANDRD, Billingham, Tenba, Gura Gear (who’s gotten it together finally), Think Tank, and others.
A lawyer has told me before that it’s just the cost of doing business. I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve often accused other sites of ripping off or copying our ideas. It’s been such a problem that we majorly pivoted the site’s coverage and style.
Does that make it right? No. But this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.