Clones, rebadges and rebrands

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To be able to appeal to broader, different or even more specific segments of markets, photographic equipment manufacturers may copy, clone, rebadge or rebrand equipment.

A copy is a copy. Copied equipment may have been made without the cooperation of the original manufacturer. Copied equipment may be nearly-exact duplicates or may be less developed than the originals or even developed further from the originals. Examples of copies include the FSU Kiev copies of Zeiss Ikon Contax equipment, or the myriad of post-war Japanese near and not-so-near TLR copies of Franke & Heidecke equipment.

Cloned equipment is produced and sold by a secondary maker under license from the original manufacturer. Cloned equipment may be copies of the originals, or may be developed further than the originals. An example of cloning is the Shanghai Seagull DF SLR series, based on Minolta's SR to X-series cameras and made under license from Minolta.

Rebadged equipment is produced by the original manufacturer, but the product or model names are changed by the maker to be sold by other distributors. Rebadged equipment may be duplicates of the original, or may have cosmetic or specification changes made to meet the distributors' requirements. An example of rebadging is the rangefinder made by Cosina to be sold as the Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII, Konica Auto S3, Vivitar 35ES, Revue 400SE and so on. The term name variant is sometimes used for such cameras; McKeown uses the term frequently.

Rebranded equipment is sometimes produced (that is, identical cameras are made to be sold with different model names) to be sold by the manufacturer themselves in different markets. An instance is Nikon's Nikomat SLRs for the Japanese Domestic Market, rebranded as Nikkormats elsewhere. Minolta's Sr-T SLR series fully illustrated rebranding, where model names were different for the Asian market, American Market and European Market. The term name variant is also used for these.