Red Light Camera Photo Blocker
Photo Blocker Spray
| Owner Comments (Below)
You may believe that
red light cameras and photo radar are part of the
conspiracy to turn the proletariat into tools
of the military-industrial-banking complex.
may think that drivers who are caught by red light
cameras deserve what they get. But everyone's reaction
is the same when the Postman knocks with a hundred-buck ticket.
Red light cameras are big
business. It's not uncommon for the systems to be installed
and managed by large corporations, who by the way
process the tickets and send them to the offender while
taking a slice of the
proceeds and passing the rest back to the local city or
Matt Labash's excellent
the District's Red Lights" from the Weekly Standard
(April 2002) details the use of red light cameras in
Washington, D.C. In the first couple of years of
use, red light cameras in Washington, D.C. generated
over $15.5 million in revenue for the District.
one seems bothered that "A private company is given
police power to ticket citizens, has a monetary interest
in generating as many tickets as possible, and, despite
its low success rate, is often allowed to do so with
minimal or no police supervision."
Governments like to find
alternate sources of revenue and they like to spend
the allure of free cash in the form of red light camera
revenue is irresistible, and the devices are becoming
And they see no problem with a
private company being given police powers to ticket
citizens, has a monetary interest in generating as many
tickets as possible, and, despite its low success rate,
is often allowed to do so with minimal or no police
Have they decreased
accidents? Who cares when all that money is
flowing into the coffers!
A rather convincing study
about the efficacy of red light cameras was conducted in
1995 by David Andreassen for the Australian Road
Research Board. "A long term study of Red Light
Cameras and Accidents", (ARR 261) concluded that accident
rates at intersections can increase when
red light cameras are used.
The study covered
a 10-year period and concluded that the use of cameras
for enforcement "did not provide any reduction in
accidents, rather there have been increases in rear end
and cross-street accidents".
Some studies indicate
that increasing the length of the yellow light
actually decreases the accident rate at intersections
"Red Lights, Loot and the Law" by Csaba Csere, Car
and Driver, September 2001).
But longer yellows don't raise any revenue; in fact,
it's been postulated that the length of time that the
traffic lights show yellow has actually been
decreased in some cities, and the conspiracy
theorists say this is to help increase the revenue
generated by the red light cameras and to hell with
brings us to Photo Blocker. This product is a
clear coating that is sprayed on a clean license plate.
It's claimed to "reflect photo radar flash" and that it
will "make your license plate invisible to cameras".
It's probably illegal to mess with your license plate,
but it would probably be almost impossible to tell that
the plate was treated with the clear Photo Blocker
spray. The idea is that the spray will cause the
license plate to reflect light back to the camera,
over-exposing the photo and making the plate
impossible to read by the photo camera.
Phantom Plate, the
company that markets Photo Blocker, also sells a product
called the "PhotoShield". This device is
made from various shapes of translucent plastic that
have what appears to be some sort of magnifying
A PhotoShield is supposed to
be placed over the license plate to help obscure the
characters on the plate by distorting the way the
plate's letters or numbers appear in the camera.
Do these products work as
advertised? We did a very unscientific study to
see if we could tell. Since photo radar cameras
are set at different heights and distances from traffic,
and can either be on the right or left sides of the road
(depending upon which country you're in), we
standardized on our own distance and height just for comparison
We don't know what
exposure values are used by the various roadside radar
cameras, and apparently some of the cameras
don't use a flash. Since the Photo Blocker spray
is supposed to work by reflecting back the camera's
flash, if no flash is used, we would assume that the
Photo Blocker would be ineffective. Keep that in
mind next time your riding in red light camera
The printed and online
marketing literature for the Photo Blocker and
PhotoShield products show various before and after
photos. Some of the photos appear to be taken from
directly behind the license plate.
We don't think
there are many red light cameras that are configured to take
their photos from directly behind a license plate, so
we're not sure if before/after photographs taken from
directly behind the license plate is a valid method to
demonstrate the effectiveness of the product.
Most of the radar cameras
we've seen in Montgomery County, Maryland and in
downtown Washington, D.C. are set high up on traffic
poles off to one side of an intersection.
Something to consider is that the angle of the flash
will probably bounce the light off the plate in an
opposite but equal angle. Remember high school
geometry? It took me 3 semesters to pass it, but I
do remember something about the
angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.
So it would seem logical that if the camera and flash
are above and to the side of the license plate that the
light from the flash will reflect off at an equal but
opposite angle. If this is true, then even if the
license numbers were painted on a mirror, they'd still
be visible to the camera, no? You scientific
brains can tell me if we're wrong or not.
We set the camera 10 feet
to the right of a parked motorcycle, at a distance of 25
feet at an angle of 22.5 degrees from the rear of the
bike. The camera's lens was 6 feet high.
used a Nikon D70 digital camera with a Nikon 80-200 f2.8
AF-D ED lens set at its 200mm focal length, and a Nikon Speedlight 800 flash (Nikon's most powerful), set to use
fill-flash. The flash fired on each photo.
The motorcycle shown in these photos faces north; it was
mid-morning, and the sun was up in the east on a sunny
and clear day with low humidity.
We tried various exposure settings and compared the
photos, but there didn't seem to be any noticeable
difference in the quality of the photo or in the visibility of the license
plate, so we settled on f8 at 1/125 second exposure,
which is a "classic" sunny day camera setting.
We used two expired
Maryland license plates to compare the application of
the Photo Blocker spray. Both plates were cleaned with
soap and water and dried prior to the study, and they
were in almost new condition. One
plate was sprayed with the Photo Blocker following the
directions, which indicate that several coats should be
applied until a gloss coat appears on the plate.
We used the two plates so that we could leave the motorcycle
and camera in exactly the same position between photos
and so that we'd have a treated and untreated plate for
more study if warranted.
The photos below show the
results. These photos are un-retouched with the
exception of a 10% sharpening in Microsoft PhotoDraw. Photo 1 is the untreated license plate.
Photo 2 shows the license plate treated with Photo
Blocker. Photo 3 shows the untreated license plate
with the PhotoShield lens attached.
Photo 4 shows
the license plate treated with Photo Blocker and the PhotoShield lens attached. The PhotoShield lens
had a slight bow on the right side, causing the slight
distortion of the numbers on the plate in photos 3 and
4. We assume that if this distortion could be
amplified over the plate that it might cause the numbers
to be unreadable.
Not treated with Photo Blocker;
no PhotoShield lens.
Treated with Photo Blocker coating;
no PhotoShield lens.
Not treated with Photo Blocker; PhotoShield installed.
Treated with Photo Blocker coating; PhotoShield installed.
We didn't have the capability of mounting the camera
at more than 6 feet high or at various distances from
the motorcycle, so results may vary.
We have no comment on the efficacy of these products
and will leave it up to the reader to interpret the
results. If you have any comments on this product
or how this study was conducted, please see the comments
More Information: UK
Gatso information |
Burnt and destroyed Gatsos
Blocker License Plate Spray
Retail Price: Spray $29.99; Motorcycle
Photo Shield $22.99; S/H $10.30
Product Comments: Clear spray for license plates,
claimed to block photographs taken by red light cameras, aka
"Gatso". The PhotoShield is a translucent
plastic lens for license plates claimed to "defeat both
photo radar and the red light overhead cameras".
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►Your Comments and
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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
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NOTE: No further comments
on this product, thanks.
From "S.L." (7/09): "I tried it. It
doesn't work. Use the money that you would spend on this
spray to help pay for the ticket you're bound to get soon or
later. I used it on all three of my cars but recently got
a photo ticket while driving one of those cars. I got a copy of
the picture along with the ticket and there was no trouble at
all seeing the plate perfectly. In my opinion, based on the
picture it does not work."
From "M.K." (2/09): "I bought several cans of Photo
Blocker for myself and as gifts for friends & relatives. I
applied 5 coats to my plates, letting it dry between coats. I've
had to pay 2 tickets so far at $100 a pop."
From Photo Blocker:
"Dear Rick, While gratified by the large volume of attention
we receive, we treat every review of our products as an
opportunity to explore the public’s concern and thus thank you
for your review of PhotoBlocker Spray on your web site.
At Photoblocker.com, we owe our success to our customers and deem
concerns reflected in the media reviews of utmost importance.
We also appreciate your aspiration to fairness shown by giving
us a chance to comment on the review and explain the results you
achieved based on the equipment and method used.
We have no doubt your intentions were
good. However, using a personal digital camera as an
alternative to a Traffic Camera could only lead to a
wrong conclusion. Since the purpose of our products has
never been to defeat personal digital cameras, we would
like to draw your attention to the flawed test parameter
behind the conclusion you reached.
correct way to test the effectiveness of PhotoBlocker Spray, as
attested by many independent investigators, is to use actual
photo-radar equipment. That is what Fox News investigative
reporters, Denver City Police Department, Dutch Police, South
African Police, Swedish TV, Australian TV and Norwegian
newspapers did. Ideally, the test vehicle has to be in motion
since in reality motorist would be driving past a fixed traffic
camera any where from 35-60 miles per hour. We believe the
vehicle was not in motion during your test and the pictures were
taken from just a few feet away.
(Editor's Note: For reference,
and as mentioned in the article above, the camera was
offset 10 feet to the right of a parked motorcycle, at a
distance of 25 feet back at an angle of 22.5 degrees
from the rear of the bike. The camera's lens was 6
feet high. The camera was set at f/8 and 1/125, a
typical outdoor daylight setting).
use of a personal digital camera for the test is unjustifiable
for the following reasons. A personal digital camera in use will
take a few seconds to measure the light, adjust exposure,
shutter speed, focus and flash level before taking a picture.
Under those circumstances, the pictures tend to be legible as
the camera was given enough time to calculate the best setting
for a perfect picture.
On the contrary, a traffic camera works
in a totally different way and does not have the luxury of a few
seconds to establish the correct exposure, focus, shutter speed
and flash level before taking a picture. Traffic cameras are
programmed to take pictures on set parameters such as distance
and ambient light. Cars zooming past are photographed in a split
This is where PhotoBlocker spray comes
in to play. By changing the amount of light reflected
back to the camera, it is possible to render the picture
illegible and blind the traffic camera. Additionally,
the flash technology used will not be comparable.
Traffic cameras use a high intensity flash that is much
stronger than a personal digital camera.
We assert, backed by results from
independent investigators, there in only one correct way
to test the effectiveness of PhotoBlocker spray. One
must use actual photo- radar cameras. PhotoBlocker has
become the best selling anti-photo radar spray in the
world because it is effective. Additionally, our
complaint or product failure rate is less than ½ % of
total sales in the past few years.
Our goal at PhantomPlate is to help law
abiding motorist avoid unjust traffic tickets. We are
proud to say we have sold over 500,000+ cans sold
worldwide and helped protect over 2,000,000 license
plates in 23 countries. We estimate that we have saved
motorist from several hundred million dollars in fines.
We have repeat customers and 99% customer satisfaction
Our customers list includes law enforcement
people and the same guys who install and operate the
red-light/speed cameras. It is common knowledge that
these red light and speed cameras are installed for
revenue purposes in the name of safety. It is private
companies and the insurance industry that benefit from
overzealous photo-radar programs by entrapping the
average driver and finding him/her guilty until proven
In summary, we would like to clarify our
message so that your readers are not misled. We are not
claiming our products to be effective 100% of the time.
All we are saying is, based on several independent test
results the products have been proven to work. For less
than $30.00 a can even if PhotoBlocker Spray saves a
customer one ticket it has paid for itself. All we
ask is to be judged on the merits and conclusive
independent test shown (on
I thank you for allowing us to share our
concerns and inform the driving public. To show our gratitude,
we would like to extend a special offer to your readers. We will
provide FREE of charge our complete e-Book “Fight Back: How to
fight red light and speed camera tickets” www.FightBackUSA.com.
Simply send an email to FightBack@PhantomPlate.com and your
e-Book will be delivered to your inbox in less than a day. The
tips found in the e-Book have helped several thousand motorists
beat their tickets in the court of law
VP of Marketing
From "M.C.": "I made a rare evening trip
into DC over the weekend and was going along MacArthur Blvd. at
about 40mph and was hit with a sudden "FLASH" of light. I
strongly suspect that I'll be getting something
in the mail from the DC government soon along with a request to
send them some money.
Sadly, I already had a can of PhotoBlocker
sitting on the counter in the garage, so today I (finally) got
off my dead arse and treated several of my license plates with
PhotoBlocker according to the can's instructions.
Enclosed are several photos showing a treated
license plate with obviously no results..."
From "G.G.": "I recently
purchased Photo Blocker from Phantomplate on the internet.
In order to get an idea of it's effectiveness, I took three
before, and three after pictures. Each picture was taken
from within an inch or two of the same places, before and after.
( placed a mark on the ground, and kept the plate in the same
location) I took close up pictures from directly behind, 45
degrees left, and 45 degrees right. Each picture was taken
in darkness using flash. When I compared my pictures, I
saw no difference. Every picture of the plate was clear
I wondered if I got a defective can,
since there was no rattle in the can to agitate the
paint mixture. I also wondered if this were just
nothing more than Krylon Crystal Clear with a new label
My opinion is that Photo Blocker is just another
in a series of rip offs that are so common these days.
Sort of like the gadgets that promise higher fuel mileage in
your vehicle, with a very fine print disclaimer that "results
may vary." When this disclaimer is attached, it basically
says that when you get no favorable results, that your case is
unique. I believe in fact that the lack of favorable
results is the rule."
From "M.R.": "Just
wanted you to know - I used Photo Blocker on my plates and
received a ticket anyway. It was dark so a flash was used,
but the plate was clearly visible. Camera mounted up high
and to the right of the vehicle. You're right, it's (photo
radar) all a
money-making scam . I didn't go through the light, rather,
made a right on red. But it interpreted what I did as
going through the light." Thanks for your comments,