Focus on Imaging
This is an update on my earlier blog, I’ve updated it because I can now tell you about the new products that have now arrived in stock…
Focus on Imaging, at the NEC Birmingham, 4th – 7th March this year, is always a big event for us as well as for many of our customers.
It’s big for us because it’s the biggest UK photographic event of the year, and the best opportunity we have of meeting our customers face to face and showing off our products, which means that our customers can see them ‘in the flesh’ and actually handle them, instead of just seeing them on a webpage…
And it’s big for our customers too, because this is the one opportunity to see new products and grab a discount!
So what’s new this year?
Well, quite a lot.
The really big news is that we’re introducing a brand new product, the UltraPro flash head (actually two versions, in both 300 & 600Ws). You’ll see this poster on the wall (click on any pictures to see a larger version) and, more to the point, you’ll see and can try out the flash heads for yourself.
Basically, these new flash heads are the result of customer feedback and suggestions – you’ve asked us for
1. Metal bodies
2. Digital control
3. Fast flash duration
4. LCD display
5. Built in radio receiver
6. Remote control
7. Fast recycling
and we’ve done all of these, and more.
The new double insulated extruded alluminium body not only is and looks tough, there’s a much better accessory release catch too. And it doesn’t stop there, because the tilt adjustment (it’s the same one as on our award-winning ElitePro flash heads) can now be moved forwards or backwards on the body, this is especially useful if you’re using a really heavy light shaper such as our 70cm beauty dish, and want it to be in perfect balance.
And if that isn’t enough, it has exactly the same arrangement on the top, so you can remove the mounting assembly and stick it on the top, which you’ll want to do if you’re using an overhead track system instead of lighting stands.
Digital control is a very good way of setting the power (and everything else) quickly, easily and very precisely.
The various buttons are used to set the flash power (either in whole stops or in 1/10th stop increments, to identify the flash head (you can have up to 10 flash heads in a group, and up to 10 groups), turn the modelling lamp on or off, or set it to proportional, or to set it to a different power to the flash power – and of course you can also set it to dim while the flash recycles)
You can also switch the slave cell on or off and turn the beep on or off. In fact, you can set anything you like on the digital display…
We’re pretty proud of our new remote control, the UltraPro Commander. Basically it lets you set the controls on the UltraPro without wearing out your shoes, and by allocating different identities to each flash head you can adjust them all individually and very easily. That’s especially important if you’ve got a flash head perched on the top of a high stand or boom arm, or if you’re using an overhead track system.
The built in radio trigger operates on the industry standard 2.4 MHz frequency, we’ll be introducing a brand new radio trigger for it, and of course you can plug any radio receiver of any make into the industry-standard jack socket, so you won’t need to buy our new radio trigger if you don’t want to. The big advantage of the new built in radio receiver is that our new radio trigger will control each flash head independently, as well as together – so you won’t need to rely on the built in slave ‘seeing’ another flash to make it fire.
The flash durations are even shorter now too, and although that doesn’t matter to most people, most of the time, it can be useful if you’re doing action shots in the studio. And we’ve even made it recycle even faster than our ElitePro flash heads, not that recycling speed has ever been a problem with Lencarta flash heads.
And the prices of these brand new all singing all dancing new flash heads? Just a few quid more than the equivalent models in our ElitePro range!
Please click here to see the video
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 in a top magazine, 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.
What else is new at Focus?
Quite a lot. For a start we’ve moved to a new, much larger stand, F20. It’s very near to our main competitors, so most of the lighting manufacturers will be close neighbours, which will make it easy for you to compare our our products with theirs.
And the bigger stand means that we will be able to display more of our products, and we will also be running lighting demos several times each day. Don’t miss them. Speaking of lighting demos, the pretty girl on our stand is Jade Hespin, who is our lighting model.
Apart from Jade, Michael Sewell will be working on our stand this year for the first time. Michael is a successful portrait and wedding photographer ( although of course he does other things too, and a very helpful guy. Then there’s Jonathan Ryan too, who needs no introduction, Jeremy Nako, one of the leading event photographers in the UK, Harry (our MD) and myself. 50% more staff should mean that we have enough people to go round this year…
And, for the first time, we have a catalogue of our products. Please be sure to pick one up. It’s already on the website as a pdf file, but there’s nothing quite like a printed version.
The Safari Li-on portable flash system isn’t completely new, but it’s been improved since introducing it last year. You may already know this, but the Li-on came best in test in ‘Advanced Photographer’ last month, so we’re shouting about that too – and I think we’re entitled to shout, it’s a cracking bit of kit and beat kits costing 5 times as much.
The new Lencarta Safari Li-on (£800 with free armoured carry bag) scored 95% on test* and easily beat all other makes and models in the most thorough and comprehensive test ever carried out on portable flash systems! all comers. The best of the rest was the
Profoto Acute B2 AIRs, £2,150, scored 88% on test*
Elinchrom Ranger Quadra, £1,115, sc0red 87% on test*
Elinhrom Ranger RX, £1,725, scored 76% on test*
Quantum QPAQ-X £1,630, scored 73% on test*
Bowens Gemini GM250R, £1,250, scored 71% on test*
Broncolor Mobil A2L £4,080, scored 71% on test*
*Prices and test results from Advanced Photographer
And it beat them all on performance, and battery life as well as on value for money!
The second best performance in the test was from the Profoto Acute, although unlike the Safari Li-on it can only power 1 flash head, and costs nearly 3 times as much but most people actually compare us to the Elinchrom Quadra, which costs £315 more for the same 1-head option but which has slower recycling, only 1/13th of the flashes produced to a battery charge and and it only produced less than half of the power of the Safari Li-on in the test. The Li-on has enough power to overwhelm the sun! Even the much more expensive Elinchrom Ranger RX, rated at 1100Ws, only actually produced 0.6 of a stop more than the Lencarta Safari Li-on.
Personally I’m delighted with this review. It’s an enormous help when an independent, high quality magazine backs up what we say about our products, and a glowing review like this one means that people can now see the real life benefits of the Safari Li-n and compare it directly to the competition! The Safari Li-on has now pushed the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra off of the portable lighting pedestal and is now recognised as the best performance, as well as the best value portable flash system.
The only critical point made about the Safari Li-on in the test is that the flash durations aren’t as quick as the tester would like. Personally I don’t see the point of really short flash durations on lights designed for outdoor use because the limiting factor is always the shutter synch speed, but he’s entitled to his opinion. Actually we could easily produce a unit with shorter flash durations, but shorter flash durations place a lot of extra stress on the system, so we haven’t gone down that route.
Any discounts or special offers this year?
Yes, whether you order at Focus or whether you order from home while Focus is on, you can claim a 5% discount – when ordering, just use the coupon code focus – of course, some sellers offer larger discounts but then their prices are much higher than ours to start with.
All of the demo stock on our stand will be available for you to buy from 3 p.m. on Wednesday – sorry, nothing can be sold until then.
The discount will be 20% if we have a box for it, 25% if there is no box. (we may not have room for all the boxes on our stand). Please note that the Safari Li-on kits are supplied with a free bag instead of a box, so the discount will be 20%. All items will have our full 18month warranty. Sorry, these can’t be reserved in advance.
There are also a small number of ElitePro 300, ElitePro 600 and SmartFlash flash heads that have been photographed for our website or used for display at various exhibitions. They are new and boxed, but have small marks on the bodies, so they are being sold at silly prices. These heads will not be used for the Focus display and you can buy them at any time, and you need to act quickly because they’re bound to sell quickly.