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PhotoFlex Closing Their Doors After 30 Years

By Kishore Sawh on April 1st 2015

We’re big on names in photography. We associate them with history, with character, with degrees of reliability, quality, esteem, and all the rest. Nikon F, Leica M, Hasselblad 1600F, Profoto B1, SB-800, were all tied to brands that had our loyalty, and the names of those brands, were mascots of adventures had, and ones yet to come.

We associate them with the creation of the images we once dreamed of taking, and for many in the last 30 years, the creation of so many wonderful images, and the foundation equipment for many small businesses came from Photoflex, a company I’m sad to report is shuttering its doors, and closing up shop.

photoflex-closing-lighting-photography-slrlounge-news-1

Photoflex has been a leader in lighting gear manufacturing for near-as-makes-no-difference, 30 years. An American company, those in the US always had good reason, and a good feeling to side with them. Whilst in more recent years, they have been viewed by some as a discount brand incomparable to the bigger flashier names like Westcott and Profoto, many will recall the discount mostly applied to their prices, and not their products’ performance. Photoflex also was a prominent staple in the education of photographers, providing useful and free content on their site from situated and rising photographers alike, including our own Miguel Quiles.

The news was broken not so subtlety, but rather quietly, with a simple message on the front page of their website, stating their gratitude to all their supporters over the years. They will be missed.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

19 Comments

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  1. Arnold Barr

    Just received an email stating the Photoflex is now pert of the Promark Family (Promark International) and now back in business!

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  2. Scott Kretschmann

    They made the best backdrop stand I’ve ever owned. I miss them already.

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  3. Arnold Barr

    Unfortunate but not surprising, most shops BH, Adorama etc. couldn’t keep Photoflex products in stock. most items always on back order. I’ve used these products for the last 10 yrs, good quality.

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  4. Lotus Buccola

    Tell me this was a bad joke….

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  5. satnam singh

    thanks for the info.

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  6. J. Dennis Thomas

    Bad news. This is why I try to buy local and US made if at all possible. Some people think it’s snobby or whatever to avoid Chinese products, I know they make good gear, but I’d rather keep some fellow countrymen working even if it costs me extra. When I shop local I know that my money is putting someone’s kid through college and helping someone pay their rent. When I buy US I know that in a small way I’m helping our pitiful economy, which WE Americans let get this way.

    Every softbox I have ever owned was a Photoflex, because it’s what we used in college and I knew they were quality. It’s unfortunate that the gear will no longer be available, but more unfortunate that a few more Americans are out of a job.

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    • Stan Rogers

      I don’t know. Photoflex lost me completely with the Yongnuo YN460II rebranded as the “StarFire” and sold for $150 (versus the $50 you’d pay without the Photoflex logo). I don’t know how much American was left in the company beyond the brand and the prices they could attach to it.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I’ve owned all of my Photoflex stuff for over a decade. It was all light modifiers and sandbags.

      I never got into the electronics because I prefer to buy OEM flashes (with the exception of the old Japanese Vivitar 283 I use on my Leica sometimes.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Also, I’d like to apologize for the discourse we had the other day.

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    • Stan Rogers

      Hey, no sweat. My apologies as well, if it seemed my hackles were up. If the world ended or war flared up every time somebody worded something awkwardly or read things differently from the way they were intended on the internet, we’d have been through a few million apocalypses by now. (I’ve been on this thing since long-distance dialup with a 300 baud modem was a thing. You’d think I’d have learned to use smileys by now, wouldn’t you?)

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      yeah, smileys are good, right? :)
      And ” ” should be a thing in HTML for those that don’t get sarcasm.

      Did you know that people have been proposing some form of “irony or sarcasm point” since the 1580’s? No joke. Apparently it’s not just a 20th/21st century problem. People have been misunderstanding written sarcasm for centuries.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      It seems my attempt at showing a fake HTML code was HTML’d out…

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  7. Michael Tavel

    I’m sure it’s become very difficult to compete with the Chinese competition. Initially, the quality was night and day different – but now, many Chinese companies show equal or better quality (often times with more features for lower cost). Also, the owners may have been ready to hang their hats after 30 years in the game. Always sad to see a trusted brand go, I have plenty of their gear.

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    • robert s

      I have a photoflex light panels and softbox from the film days but when I do location portraits, I use my $30 60×90 brolly softbox I bought from ebay and it works very well.

      but this goes with other gear as well. grips/batteries/lenses/flashes/triggers.

      years back it was either shell out for the OEM brand or buy asian and compromise on build/features/reliability/compatibility -not today.

      the asians offer excellent products. in fact I buy first asian and if it doesnt fit my needs then I go OEM. but very satisfied till now.

      metz already filed for insolvency and I think will be gone soon like pocket wizard. I just sold my 58 AF-2 flash. that is a horrible flash. who ever authorized production for that should be fired. Im so mad I bought it. now I have 7 flashes in my bag, all yongnuo and shanny flashes.

      OEM companies are slow to react. they feel too comfortable and dont make the changes to compete. prices are way too high. so people will find what they need with the asian product. bottom line ,competition is good for my pocket.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      @Robert S:

      OEM prices are higher than cheap Chinese knock-offs because they pay fair wages to skilled workers. Chinese manufacturers take advantage of the millions of indigent people there by paying them pennies a day and working them to death. They don’t have to follow EPA standards and are destroying the environment at an alarming rate.

      But that’s OK, it’s good for your pocket…

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  8. Rafael Steffen

    Said to see a photography company closing it’s business. I

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  9. robert s

    I had contacted them about my rods in two of my 42″ reversible umbrellas which bent when shooting family formals from the wind. “we cant help you” was their reply.
    now its clear.

    I see pocket wizard as being next. after closing their european division, its inevitable with yongnuo dominating the trigger market.

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  10. David Arthur

    So this isn’t an April Fools joke?

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  11. Brandon Dewey

    thanks for the info.

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