Focus on Imaging that is, at the NEC Birmingham, 4th – 7th March. And the clock is ticking.
It seems to me that we’ve been exhibiting at Focus for ever, but we’ve only actually been there for the last two years.
The year before last we just dipped a very cautious toe into the water and had a tiny space, which was…cosy. Last year we had a much bigger stand that still wasn’t big enough and this year we’ve gone a bit mad and booked a 40 sq metre stand. That’s pretty big, but we’re doing things this year that we haven’t tried before and we need the space.
And, to go with the bigger space, we’ll have more people. Jonathan Ryan and Jeremy Nako will be working on our stand again, and this year Michael Sewell will be working there too. We sort of make a habit of having successful, well known photographers on our stand because if you have questions about lighting they’re going to know the answers, and as none of them are actually employed by Lencarta you can be pretty sure that you’ll get honest answers – we feel that working photographers are better all round than salespeople.
Then there’s Harry, our MD, and me. If you have any complaints about Lencarta or me, tell Harry.
So what’s new this year?
Well, quite a lot. For a start we’re using part of the stand for lighting demos, they will run 4 times a day every day, please click here for the details. Demos can often be bland and boring, and if I was the cynical type I might wonder whether some of them were just aimed at selling stuff – you know the sort of thing “So I put 2 softboxes here and here, a beauty dish here, a fresnel spot here, a hairlight here and used another 4 lights to get the background evenly lit” but we’re not like that, our lighting demos will be about how easy it is and how cheap it can be.
My own demos will be on using a ringflash and on using a beauty dish, both single-light setups that anyone can do in a small space and with a minimum of gear. Jonathan Ryan spends a lot of his time shooting weddings and he’s pretty good at quick, simple but very effective setups too; and Jeremy Nako is one of the most successful event photographers there is, his lighting arrangements are simple and quick, and have to work perfectly every time.
And then there’s Jade, our model. When she isn’t being a model she’ll be helping on the stand. You’ll know her when you see her, she’s much better looking than the rest of us…
The catalogue is a another joint venture, the cover photo and a couple of others are from Michael, and Jonathan and I took the rest of the photos.
The Safari Li-on portable flash system isn’t completely new, but it’s been improved since we introduced it last year. You may already know this, but the Li-on came best in test in ‘Advanced Photographer’, so we’re shouting about that too – and I think we’re entitled to shout, it’s a cracking bit of kit and beat all the other kits, even the ones costing 5 times as much.
Quadlite continuous lighting
It’s new, sort of… We actually showed it at Focus last year to gauge public reaction, everyone who saw it loved it and it’s now a stock item. This is another product that we’ve managed to get reviewed, and again it got the best in test award, beating all other makes of continuous lighting by a country mile – not surprising really, it costs half as much as its nearest competitor, has twice the power and produces true daylight colour, at 5500K.
There are going to be other new products too, you need to visit our stand to see them but basically Lencarta has moved up another gear during the last year and is now recognised as one of the leading manufacturers rather than as a cheap alternative.
Sales have really shot up recently because of this, unfortunately this means that several of our products are now out of stock and we will run out of some of our other fast selling products (including the SmartFlash and ElitePro flash heads) before our next delivery arrives at the end of February. Obviously we’re very sorry that this is happening, but when sales are higher than expected it can be difficult to make accurate stock predictions.