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will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?
  
 
jzucker
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


I'm seeing more and more cheap, offshore stuff advertised in the photo mags with built in radio slaves, remote power adjustment, some with built-in batteries, etc.

Will buff, elinchrom, profoto, etc., survive?

I suspect with strobist pushing cheap speedlights and the professional side of the industry changing that the big studio flash manufacturers may be struggling.

Any thoughts? I'd like to think Buff will be around forever since I've got so much invested in the einstein system and since his support is so fantastic.



Sep 29, 2013 at 01:18 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


I'd not worry too much about Buff going away anytime soon, nor the other big boys.

You get what you pay for, and that usually holds true and shakes out in the end. Just because the wind blows east or west ... you can still head north just fine.

GM, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes didn't fold up shop just because Kia and Hyundai came on the scene.



Sep 29, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


The cheap stuff usually has big compromises in build quality, support, t1 time and probably longevity. For a pro you need to be able to depend on your gear.


Sep 29, 2013 at 04:40 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


Yes, that's obvious but that's not the point. No manufacturer, no matter how good quality can survive in a vacuum and the auto industry is a perfect example. Most of the US auto manufacturers would have gone belly-up if not for the bailout.

I know for a fact that some of the big names in studio flash are struggling to survive. It doesn't matter what pros need because unfortunately, the pro industry is in decline and the strobist folks buying the cheap offshore stuff are driving the industry to a large extent.

I've seen the same thing happen with music gear. The vast majority of gear you see in most music stores now is cheap offshore junk.



Sep 29, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


jzucker wrote:
I know for a fact that some of the big names in studio flash are struggling to survive. It doesn't matter what pros need because unfortunately, the pro industry is in decline


Source?



Sep 29, 2013 at 06:56 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


for which point? The decline of the pro industry is pretty obvious. The former point I can't disclose.


Sep 29, 2013 at 07:24 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


jzucker wrote:
...The former point I can't disclose.


I smell a troll.



Sep 29, 2013 at 08:28 PM
316shooter
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


While it may not be a booming time for the industry overall, I see little evidence that any of the manufacturers of pro lighting gear are in danger of going under. Actually I am seeing strides in quality and features of lighting gear, such as the Profoto B4 battery. Strobist gear has it's place, and certainly I use it on occasion. But it simply is not sufficient for 90% of my work. Seems like the companies are fairly responsive to the changing needs of most pros. The gear is becoming smaller, lighter, and more convenient. Personally I will continue to invest in the higher-end lighting.


Sep 29, 2013 at 09:52 PM
basehorhonda
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


Big time flashes are not going anywhere. Cameras didnt go away when the disposable was invented. The cheap stuff has its place and market, but so do the studio strobes.


Sep 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


basehorhonda wrote:
Big time flashes are not going anywhere. Cameras didnt go away when the disposable was invented. The cheap stuff has its place and market, but so do the studio strobes.


I'm not defending the cheap offshore stuff. I'd be in really bad shape if buff went under. I'm just wondering if the market is there to support the continued R&D of serious studio flash.

I think we're kidding ourselves if we just put our head in the sand. The industry seems to be changing with a huge focus on amateurs using strobist techniques and the magazines being driven by advertisers who are pushing continuous LED, flash benders and other such technologies.




Sep 30, 2013 at 12:32 AM
 

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mrbill98
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


jzucker wrote:
I'm not defending the cheap offshore stuff. I'd be in really bad shape if buff went under. I'm just wondering if the market is there to support the continued R&D of serious studio flash.

I think we're kidding ourselves if we just put our head in the sand. The industry seems to be changing with a huge focus on amateurs using strobist techniques and the magazines being driven by advertisers who are pushing continuous LED, flash benders and other such technologies.


I think the BIG BOYS are intimately aware of Who their clientele is. And MARKET accordingly.



Sep 30, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


mrbill98 wrote:
I think the BIG BOYS are intimately aware of Who their clientele is. And MARKET accordingly.


Yup, readers of photo mags and users of internet forums are largely not the customers for profoto, elinchrom etc. Even the guys who have made their name from using small flashes (Zack Arias, David Hobby, Joe Mcnally etc.) use strobes.



Sep 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


mrbill98 wrote:
I think the BIG BOYS are intimately aware of Who their clientele is. And MARKET accordingly.


Yup, readers of photo mags and users of internet forums are largely not the customers for profoto, elinchrom etc. Even the guys who have made their name from using small flashes (Zack Arias, David Hobby, Joe Mcnally etc.) use strobes.



Sep 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


Mark_L wrote:
Yup, readers of photo mags and users of internet forums are largely not the customers for profoto, elinchrom etc. Even the guys who have made their name from using small flashes (Zack Arias, David Hobby, Joe Mcnally etc.) use strobes.


Right but like the music business, as the professional gigs get fewer and fewer, it's the amateurs who drive the market and the amateurs are the ones reading about lighting in magazines and on the internet. The way the big musical instrument manufacturers survived was to introduce offshore cheaper versions of their "professional" line.

I guess that's what Buff is doing with alien bees and what elinchrom is doing with their lower end models so we can only hope that their strategy succeeds. I'm still hoping buff will release an updated and simpler version of their cyber commander without the LCD panel ala the elinchrom skyport but it will only happen if they have $$$ for R&D.

As a side note, after so many years with columns by Monte Zucker on lighting and studio work, it's so disappointing to see the crap that shutterbug is publishing these days on lighting...



Sep 30, 2013 at 12:28 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


I think jzucker is on to something. To dismiss it is the same as people always seem to do...then they are in shock when the once powerful is no longer.

The industry's pros are dwindling because people are not looking for professionally educated photographers like they used to (and had to). Digital has given access to those who didn't have a clue (they still don't if you ask me). Quality products are down. Quality photography is down too. What we call creative is often made via computer. You don't always need big lights and a trained photographer for that....at least that is the growing perception.

On top of the above, the offshore quality has increased over the years. An easy example of this is the flash triggers from just 3-4 years ago are much better now. Pocket Wizard was the top game in town. Now you have several others who are less expensive. Same with lights. There are some really nice less expensive lights coming on board. The big names may be surviving at this moment, but as this current generation of pro users dwindle so will the understanding and appreciation of what the big boy lights can do at the same time as cheaper alternatives grow.



Sep 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


RustyBug wrote:
I'd not worry too much about Buff going away anytime soon, nor the other big boys.

You get what you pay for, and that usually holds true and shakes out in the end. Just because the wind blows east or west ... you can still head north just fine.

GM, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes didn't fold up shop just because Kia and Hyundai came on the scene.


At one time "Toyota" and even Mercedes would not have been mentioned in this conversation. THIS right here is an example of what has happened. You made no mention of Chrysler; why, because Toyota is the top seller (in the U.S.) and Mercedes at one time had a chunk of Chrysler...now it's who, Fiat?!



Sep 30, 2013 at 01:01 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


mrbill98 wrote:
I think the BIG BOYS are intimately aware of Who their clientele is. And MARKET accordingly.


+1

There will always be a market for opposing ends of any given market, as no one product line will ever serve an entire market.

Is there an influx of offerings on the lower end ... sure, it happens all the time. But GM didn't choke off their Cadillac line, it was Oldsmobile that went away (the middle stuff) when it came time to trim some things. I doubt Profoto is too worried (aware yes, worried no) about cheap stuff coming onto the market. Those who are in it for the long haul have a different temperament about the reliability and serviceability of their equipment. Hmmm, at offshore service for a working pro.


Edited on Sep 30, 2013 at 04:00 PM · View previous versions



Sep 30, 2013 at 02:35 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


cordellwillis wrote:
You made no mention of Chrysler; why, because Toyota is the top seller (in the U.S.) and Mercedes at one time had a chunk of Chrysler...now it's who, Fiat?!



You know that I didn't mention Chrysler because Toyota is the top seller ... That's rather amazing, since I didn't even know that's why I didn't mention Chrysler.

I simply chose two companies from U.S., one from Japan, one from Europe as examples of existing companies prior to recent history entrants from Hyunadia/Kia, and went with the "Big Two" instead of the "Big Three".

As to the conversation, I appreciate the Detroit/U.S. bias. But Detroit/U.S. management were the one's who shut out Demming and sent him packing to Japan ... just sayin'. Tack on decades of other stuff done by management, and it isn't going to be the encroachment to the lower end market that would fold a present Big Boy company ... it is how they respond to the influx of competition that will determine their fate. Just because (then) Detroit was too big for their britches to properly notice/care what was going on, doesn't mean that Profoto (et al) will make the same mistake(s).

Given that Buff essentially marched to his own drum at his marketing approach for direct/service, I don't see him following the ways of Detroit anytime soon. Raging debates occur around Buff vs. Profoto, etc. I doubt either company is in peril of going away anytime soon as they co-exist because they serve the opposite ends of the spectrum, with some overlap in the middle, but both have their approach to taking care of their customer (one @ build, the other @ service response). Cheap, offshore gear ... not so sure how they'll pull that one off.



Sep 30, 2013 at 02:47 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


RustyBug wrote:
You know that I didn't mention Chrysler because Toyota is the top seller ... That's rather amazing, since I didn't even know that's why I didn't mention Chrysler.

I simply chose two companies from U.S., one from Japan, one from Europe as examples of existing companies prior to recent history entrants from Hyunadia/Kia, and went with the "Big Two" instead of the "Big Three".

As to the conversation, I appreciate the Detroit/U.S. bias. But Detroit/U.S. management were the one's who shut out Demming and sent him packing to Japan ... just sayin'. Tack on decades of other stuff done
...Show more


Chill...you're a bit too literal. Of course I don't know what YOU specifically meant. It's nothing more than generalization that many leave Chrysler out or way down on the list when they were always at least 3rd when a list such as yours is made.

There is no 1 or 2 absolute answers to any of this. Some blame management while others blame unions. Then you have to add in the trade agreements. It's a combination of it all.

All of the bigs might survive but it will indeed be tough because we live in a much different world when it comes to trade.



Sep 30, 2013 at 04:15 PM
tedwca
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · will the big studio flash manufacturers survive?


Personally, I think that once motion capture hits its stride that will be the end of flash in general. I suspect the big companies are looking at continuos lighting pretty strongly right now.


Sep 30, 2013 at 05:00 PM
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