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Elinchrom Parts Ways With Manfrotto Distribution, To Become Own US Distributor

By Anthony Thurston on March 22nd 2015

Popular Swiss lighting company Elinchrom has announced that they have decided to part ways with their long standing US distributor, Manfrotto Distribution, in favor of taking charge of their own US sales and distribution.


Elinchrom President Chris Whittle noted in a recent PR email, “As the U.S. photography market continues to grow and evolve across the professional and prosumer markets, we felt now was an appropriate time to pursue some exciting new ideas. We would like to thank the team at Manfrotto Distribution USA for their years of support and dedication towards growing the Elinchrom brand in the U.S.

According to the email, Elinchrom will officially take over their own distribution on May 5th of this year. It is unknown how much effect, if any, this will have on the ability to get your hands on Elinchrom products at stores here in the US, but one would hope that if there are any interruptions, that it is quickly resolved.


If you are a fan of Elinchrom, or you own their lighting products, this is relevant because availability of their products at local stores and shops may be different going forward. The biggest outlets will no doubt still carry their lighting, but it’s the mom & pop stores (what little of them are left) that litter the country that may now have issue providing the lights they do now through Manfrotto Distribution.

It will be interesting to see how smoothly this transition goes, and what – if any – negative effects are felt by the Elinchrom faithful.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    This could improve the customer relationship.

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  2. Scott Wyden Kivowitz

    Such an interesting move. I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves.

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  3. Stan Rogers

    I can’t help reading this as “we’re thinking *very* seriously about invading Lastolite’s space”. And if you’ve ever had experience with Elinchrom’s modifiers (other than the throw-it-in-the-kit Portalite units, which are merely good enough for the kit), that sounds like good news. Provided, of course, they can get a grip on the logistics. Elinchrom have put some great work into their new-series lights, but the tone of their catalog for the past couple-three years has been “people love our softboxes for a reason, and we want you to be able to use them with anything”. I’ve been surprised that they haven’t made their own speedlight solution (although there are third-party adapter brackets available, based on the Godox Bowens-type bracket, complete with deflector-mounting hole). Perhaps it’s been the relationship with Manfrotto/Vitec Group (which owns Lastolite) that’s been keeping them out of the small-flash market? I’d love to see Rotalux-quality modifiers for small flash.

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  4. Anders Madsen

    I’m a bit curious – why the negative angle? If anything, I would expect an improved focus and availability from such an initiative, not the opposite – right?

    Or does real world experience go against this?

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    • Graham Curran

      Manfrotto and Elinchrom together make up a bigger market and I would assume that getting support from a larger established entity is more reassuring for the smaller dealers. That’s not to say that Elinchrom can’t provide a good service but establishing their own infrastructure might take a while to get right. I guess it’s just the uncertainty that imparts a negative slant.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Anders, I applaud Elinchrom for taking matters into their own hands and taking over their own distribution. But like Graham said, there is a lot of uncertainty about how this will effect the smaller camera stores out there (what little of them are left).

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    • Anders Madsen

      Ah – I see your point.

      I did not see it that way, but I’m probably used to a vastly different (read: much smaller) market than e.g. the U.S. market. Even the largest entities on the Danish market are probably no more than small or perhaps medium sized, compared to the U.S. market, which means that those and the smaller shops receives a more comparable treatment from the vendors.

      I thought that Elinchrom perhaps felt a bit neglected or as the ugly stepsister in the collaboration with Manfrotto (which I would definitely expect to be the bigger player) and wanted to do better with retailers, but you’re right – while establishing the support and sales infrastructure, there may be a period where things are a bit more rough around the edges than usually.

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