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Photoplus Expo ( New York ) – CEO of Elinchrom Answers

with 8 comments

Photoplus Expo at NY took place from 28th to 30th of October 2010, got over yesterday. Have a video from that, though not the best of voice quality, background noise, one may have to listen on full volume.

I had a doubt and seeked clarification regarding Elinchrom’s manufacturing operations which was clarified by Malcom Whittle.
Elinchrom CEO Malcom Whittle Talking about upcoming products. from Boston Wedding Photographers on Vimeo.

Listen at 2:01 minutes, Question:
When are we expecting the new range of RX packs ?
 “Its in the pipeline but we have a major problem. The recent expansion in our business in last few years has been so great, that we are running very fast, just to supply what we’ve got.Unclear………….most flash we’ve ever sold anytime in our life. One of the things that limits us from changing products is being loyal to people who are liking our products…. its in pipeline, we want LED in it, very powerful LED in it… LED technology is un acceptable for Videos as of now…..Its not our problem, its about LED manufacturing technology to guarantee over 5000 Kelvin”

Listen at 7:10 minutes,
Qs: Using Grids was an afterthought by Elinchrom, people switched to Profoto in their absence, now that you have it is great.

“Maybe American photographers did not care about it becoming bulky to carry. Our sales have climbed every year, year on year, this year our sales are 42% higher than last year, so I don’t know who is running to Profoto.”


I understand why Peter Lynch recommends smartest players in no/low growth, overlooked industries, how even in a slow growing industry one can find aces. To repeat, top three players in studio lighting system are Broncolor, Elinchrom and Profoto and the middle guy is giving  others run for their money. There also are over fifteen to twenty second rung competitors that make similar and in some cases correlated products into accessories whose markets can be penetrated and conquered eventually. Eg: FJ Wescott, an 84 year old company, based in Ohio, US ( In last 20 seconds CEO mentions that Powerpack and battery isn’t one of Elinchrom’s forte or strongest part of business, they are aware and are going come out with Lithium batteries soon, at the moment airlines do not allow moren than few grams of Lithium on plane, so it will be useful for local shooting. Also the new powerpacks will match those of Profoto or Broncolors. If you search in shopping sites the high end battery used for professional flashes by Profoto and Broncolor costs circa 6 lacs INR, at the moment Elinchrom’s high end battery costs 2.5 lacs INR and falls slightly short in one or two aspects. “Its their (Broncolor (Also Swiss company like Elinchrom), Profoto(Swedish company)) particular speciality of short flash duration at full power and they sell it, its not difficult to do, we can do it, and our new power packs may match it”.

Written by amitdipsite

October 31, 2010 at 2:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. Thanks for posting this Amit. Could you elaborate a little on the clarifications you got on their manufacturing operations?


    October 31, 2010 at 3:17 am

  2. This is a new company that's come up –

    Incidently they use Elilchrom bought from photoquip which apparently gave them an “awesome deal”.
    With a number of such small companies coming up seems like wedding photography can really pick up in india.


    October 31, 2010 at 4:05 am

  3. Thanks a lot for the link Prabhakar (Kudva)


    I had been following photographers' blogs and forums, in one of the forums it was alleged that Elichrom equipment is not so good and they are also opening a factory in China.

    That made me a bit concerned coz Photoquip is exclusive manufacturer of part of gear, and remaining is manufacture in Switzerland. Having a third manufacturing unit in China will not bode well for Photoquip. It was later clarified that the person who alleged this was spreading misinformation, and was shareholder in a competing firm. No factory is planned in China. Malcolm Whittle, owner and CEO, replied to me directly by email.

    I've learnt lately that in this business, probably unlike TV, Music System, Phone, there is lot of disparaging, malignant remarks made by low end manufacturers against reputed ones. I have heard Paul Buff does that in US, I've learnt Alien Bees is low end, I've read comments by franchises of Korean company in Australia bad mouth Elinchrom (, there are half a dozen Chinese companies too that are into this business, you can find that from, search for Studio Lighting.

    This company has presence in India, competitor of Elinchrom, this company is 17 years old and now worlds biggest makes of tripods, 500,000 per year ! Manfrotto is #1 in tripods from quality perspective but sales are flat. I think cheap asian competitors have been kicking arse of Profoto, Broncolor, Hensel. Thats the ongoing competition.

    Good part is that there is lots of room to grow in tripods, stands, reflectors and other accessories as long as Photoquip/Elinchrom play cards well and do not diworsify into any print business, cameras etc. which Photoquip did. Infact that was the reason for Photoquip to go public, to make Klik disposable cameras. It would have been bankrupt after multiple product failures if it were not for Elinchrom brand and alliance.



    October 31, 2010 at 7:24 am

  4. Sorry I would like to correct above comment,

    Weifeng China sold 5,000,000 tripods per year in 2005 ! not 500,000. That's an insane amount, world's number one in volumes. I believe that market is more than twice as big in dollar terms as Elinchrom's current market. Currently Elinchrom does not sell more than a couple thousand tripods.


    October 31, 2010 at 7:32 pm

  5. Amit, Thank you for your continued analysis and sharing it with us. I think the comment from Malcom Whittle on having difficulty to meet the demand is a good sign.

    Cuspconcepts is a good example of increasing demand from within. People are getting more serious about wedding photographs, and wedding photography/video coverage in itself is a established market in India and photograpers are well aware of the difference a good piece of equipment can make.


    November 1, 2010 at 3:48 am

  6. hi amit,

    i am newcomer to ur blog. i bought photoquip @ 43,i want to invest in ur other recommendations too.please suggest me some other companies that i should buy at current levels


    November 1, 2010 at 9:17 am

  7. Dear Amit, Impressed by your depth of analysis and more sharing with us. definitely planning to donate some money in to NGO named by you.
    Keep posting dear!!!!!!!!

    Rahul Kumar Paliwal

    November 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm

  8. Dear Rahul,

    Thanks and may the good times roll…



    November 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm

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