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Photographic British

Industry

news

DEC 2020 / JAN 2021 • £3

Putting the photo trade in the picture for over 35 years

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BPI S: NEW LY R ON

YOU DE A R T O PHOT ZINE! MAGA

PHOTO TRADE REVIEW OF THE YEAR We re-cap a tumultuous 12 months & quiz industry leaders on their hopes for 2021

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IN THIS ISSUE…

PHOTOKINA SHOCK

LATEST LENSES

BAGS OF PROFIT

BUSINESS ADVICE

End of an era as Europe’s biggest & longest running photo show is axed. BPI News examines the reasons behind the decision in our full report – inside

Sigma takes the wraps off its new ‘I’ series of compact, premium build lenses for users of E-mount and L-Mount mirrorless systems & re-caps 2020’s releases

Snapperstuff believes the answer to the prayers of photographers & retailers this winter is an open and shut case – from MindShift or Think Tank

With lockdowns having battered our trade and economy throughout 2020, we’ve expert advice on how to thaw any possible freeze in your customers’ spend


Merry Christmas & here’s to a Happy 2021 www.enjoy.photo @_samanthasophie by @JayMclaughlin: OM-D E-M1 Mark III & M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 25mm F1.2 PRO: F1.2 at 1/125sec, ISO400.


Editorial | Dec 20 / Jan 21

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Photographic British

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EDITOR Gavin Stoker Tel: 020 8274 0578 Tel: 07990 974 367 ART EDITOR Michael O’Connell EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES Please direct all editorial requests, news and press releases to info@bpinews.co.uk ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Please direct all advertising enquiries and sponsorship opportunities to gavin@bpinews.co.uk Publisher’s Office: 31 New Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 7HZ. Legacy Media Ltd accept no ultimate responsibility for accurate reproduction of digital artwork created by third parties. Insurance and carriage of products submitted for inclusion in reports rests with the owner. News, data, prices, interviews and opinion are printed in good faith E&OE. Content including advertising artwork created by Legacy Media Ltd or its agents is ©2020 Legacy Media Ltd. ISSN: BPI News (Print) ..................................ISSN 2634-1344 BPI News (Online) ..............................ISSN 2634-1352

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Gavin Stoker, Editor gavin@bpinews.co.uk @GavinStoker

t the time of writing we’re coming out of a second Coronavirus lockdown in England and returning to a localised Tier system. While the highest Tier 3 may appear to be lockdown in all but name, especially for those in the hospitality industry, at least non-essential shops are reopening in time to grab what they can from Christmas and New Year trading. As usual we’re offering advice on how to make the best of it in our Business Advice spread on page 20 – particularly essential reading this time, as it appears the challenges of the pandemic, coupled with the massive hit to the economy, will continue well into 2021 and beyond. With everything that’s occurred these past nine months, you’d be forgiven for having missed the odd industry launch or two, especially without the familiar posts of a Photography Show or Photokina to hang big announcements on. Receiving news via an email, a Zoom or Teams call hasn’t been quite as memorable – and the latest camera or printer hasn’t

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quite seemed as urgent – as protecting ourselves from Covid. So we’re as intrigued as you are in the re-cap provided by our Review of the Year, and a very odd year, beginning on page 14. In a world in which real life has at times been more dramatic than fiction, it’s understandable that we may be looking ahead at 2021 with some trepidation, although recent news of vaccines and a suggestion of returning to something like ‘normal’ are naturally encouraging. It however remains to be seen how far consumer habits have shifted during the pandemic, and we should be prepared for all eventualities, including the new normal not being quite the same as the old one. Lastly, I’d like to extend the magazine’s thanks to everyone who’s kept us afloat during the uncertainty of the 2020, either by placing an advert, booking an advertorial, taking out a subscription, or simply donating £3 to buy us a coffee. We literally would not be in publication without you – and it seems there are enough of you who see the value in the preservation of your only photo trade magazine. We’re grateful for that as we cast our eyes to 2021. As ever, if you’re reading this and have any further ideas on how the industry can best help gift each other some stability and a selfsufficient future, please do drop us a line. In the meantime have yourself a merry, socially distanced Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 3


News

AUF WIEDERSEHEN PHOTOKINA Having been postponed twice since Photokina 2018, Europe’s largest photo show has now been axed outright – although the official line is suspended until further notice. Organisers acknowledge that it’s not just Covid-19 that is to blame for the cancellation of the next proposed exhibition in May 2022 and any subsequent ones, but rather the acceleration of issues existing prior to the pandemic; namely the shrinkage of the industry as a whole. “Given the current developments in the imaging market, we have no choice,” runs the official statement. “This step is a very difficult one for us to take. What remains are the tremendous memories – and the images of many generations. Thank you for 70 years together.” Although 2018’s event was smaller in size and spread over a shorter timescale than previous Photokina exhibitions – while its directorship had changed hands three times in the past three years – the UK trade will be shocked if not surprised at this turn of events. The general consensus among those we spoke to was that if times got tougher it would continue as a local German show, in the vein of our own Photography Show – not killed off entirely. However recent decisions, including making the decades-old event annual rather than once every two years, and moving it around the calendar from September to May, had raised eyebrows. Budgets were already being tightened across the industry, even before the intervention of Coronavirus, and feedback from the trade was they’d find an annual show on Photokina’s previous scale hard to support. So could anything have saved it, including running virtual online events

under the Photokina branding, as other exhibitions have done, until the industry was ready to see it return, even in more modest form, and offer their support? Given its statement’s reference to the imaging industry suffering “annual declines in the double digits,” its organiser evidently didn’t feel it was worth stringing things out. President and CEO of Koelnmesse – the

MY 2020/21

cavernous venue in which Photokina was held – Gerald Böse adds: “the framework conditions in the industry do not provide a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photography, video and imaging. The trend in this industry is very painful for us to witness. But we are facing the situation with a clear, honest decision against continuing this event to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative.” Though the show’s standing may have diminished in recent years, many of the UK trade will have found it an invaluable place for not just launching and inspecting new products, but also networking – both at the show itself and after hours in the bars and restaurants of Cologne. Many a deal has been struck and project cooked up in the Irish pub and Papa Joe’s. Those opportunities are perhaps what most of us will miss more than Photokina itself. www.photokina.com

John Walshe, Vice President Nikon Europe & MD Nikon UK The last time I was asked by BPI News what my Christmas wishes and resolution for the year ahead were, I asked for “peace and goodwill to all”. A worthy request, but instead, we got: pandemic, lockdown, a factory fire and no stock to sell. So for 2021, I think it’s best to keep it simple and hope that we all just stay healthy. My new year’s resolution will be to relish and enjoy all the small things in life that we once took for granted. Like… pubs, shops, or meeting more than one person at a time.

Photographic British

Industry

The show that never was: successive postponed events, from 2019 onwards, didn’t augur well for Photokina’s longterm future

Supported by

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4 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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News

THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW MARCHES ON Love film? Call SJF Ealing-based film specialist SJF Photographic is offering the trade supply of Lomography film products and more. New from Lomography – for which it is exclusive UK distributor – are the Babylon and Fantôme, two very slow speed black and white 35mm films at ISO 13 and ISO 8 respectively. Each roll offers 36 exposures. The Fantôme Kino B&W is the one to recommend to photographers seeking striking pinhole-like monochromatic portraits and gritty street snaps. Given its slow speed of ISO 8, a camera with manual adjustment of shutter speed and aperture is advised. Alternatively there’s Babylon Kino B&W, which is described as providing ‘moony-eyed monochrome’ and nuanced nostalgia. Again, a camera with manual control is advised for this ISO 13 film.

MY 2020/21

Gray Levett, Grays Of Westminster

The year has been challenging but big strides have been made which have enhanced all aspects of the business. These include establishing our successful weekly Live Streams and widening our social media activities, which has resulted in us reaching a whole new audience. We have improved our online shopping experience too, while redesigning and updating the Nikon Owner magazine website and launching a series of popular webinars. I am looking forward to the expansion of the Nikon Z series lenses,

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Another key brand is Kono!Rama, from Germany. New here are special effects layers designed to ‘pep up’ instant prints that can easily be used (and re-used) with Fujifilm Instax Mini, Wide & Square products. Simple to install, the idea is you just stick and shoot. Layers are available in nine variants (Raindrops, Austin, Northern Lights, Shadow Play, Puzzled, Checkered, Umbrella, Candy Stripes, Sweets) and three sizes (Mini, Square & Wide). Three amazing effects are included in each pack. See the advert on page 7 for additional brands and product lines available via SJF Photographic. For stock, get in touch via sales@sjfphoto.co.uk or call direct on 020 8810 1997. www.sjfphoto.co.uk

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BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 5

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our forthcoming podcasts and some exciting new developments that I cannot discuss at the moment. 2020 has been a difficult time for everyone professionally and personally, but the Grays of Westminster team has stayed true to our core goal, which has always been the provision of the finest Nikon equipment and an unparalleled level of service. We wish everyone in the industry and elsewhere a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

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used in the Alpha 7S III plus the capability to record 4K video at up to 120fps or Full HD at up to 240fps. Price and availability was still to be announced as we went to press. www.sony.co.uk

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The electronics leviathan has introduced the pro-level, full frame Cinema Line FX6 camera, which it describes as combining the best of its digital cinema technology with advanced imaging features from its Alpha mirrorless cameras. A case in point, core specification includes a 4K shooting 10.2 megapixel back-illuminated sensor, a body design described as compact and lightweight, the same Bionz XR image processor first

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tutorials, masterclasses, product demos and interactive advice clinics – with these ‘content offerings’ well received last time – plus the chance for photographers to purchase all the kit and accessories they need from a range of outlets. Exhibitors will be pleased to know a more obvious shopping platform element is planned this time to make it much easier for direct sales. Further info is promised soon. www.photographyshow.com

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With the traditional ‘live’ TPS at the time of writing still scheduled to reappear at the NEC on September 18th to 21st 2021, organiser Future has announced another stop-gap virtual event for this spring coming. This follows on from its initial onlineonly attempt in September 2020, which we’re told brought in 18,436 ‘attendees’ over two days – with 65% classifying themselves as consumers. Interestingly, the show organiser claims that 40% of the total audience hadn’t previously attended the live show, with 15% international visitors. Unsurprisingly then, more virtual shows may be planned alongside the live event as they bring in a different audience. For now, the next web-only show has the dates of March 6th and 7th, with the promise of a ‘refreshed’ format over the Saturday and Sunday. Online visitors are once again being lured by the ‘carrot’ of exclusive show deals,


News

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE SHOPPING WITH SWAINS

The proactive distributor is encouraging the trade to feel festive this month and hurry to order in Christmas photo gifts direct – while stocks last! Naturally Swains is offering up something for everyone, from Christmas tree ornaments to Christmas Eve boxes. Make the most of the seasonal opportunities for sales by visiting the recently overhauled

Swains website to see the full range. Speaking of which, the distributor tells us it was recently pleased to be able to present Mark from London Camera Exchange (pictured) in Bath with an indemand Polaroid Mandalorian camera and limited edition film – naturally distributed by Swains – as a thank you for being the first account to place an order via the newly refreshed B2B website in October. Danny Williams, MD of Swains adds: “We’re delighted to present this as a token of our appreciation and to celebrate the launch of the new website. We have received lots of positive reviews about its new look and features, especially that it’s mobile friendly, allowing easier navigation on mobile phones and tablets.” Contact the Swains Sales Office for more details: sales@swains.co.uk or 01485 536200. www.swains.co.uk

THE 400 MILLION PIXEL CAM Alert your pro customers to the fact that Fujifilm’s released Version 3.00 firmware for its flagship GFX100 mirrorless camera that enables photographers to create images with a whopping 400-megapixel resolution. It’s thanks to the addition of a Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function, which shoots 16 Raw images that can be combined using new Fujifilm Pixel Shift Combiner software. The company describes this as a great solution for fine art and still life photographers wanting images both high in detail and rich in tonality. The new firmware is available for download now, so head to the below URL for further info. www.fujifilm-x.com

PermaJet & Canon online competition Direct your photo enthusiast customers to the fact that two industry stalwarts have teamed up, Avengers style, for a print competition boasting prizes described as ‘highly desirable’. For example, first prize is a new Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 printer plus an A3 PermaJet Art Pack bundle collectively worth £750+. A voucher and a training course make up the second and third prizes, respectively. With a closing date of January 10th 2021, entry is free and has a theme of ‘Light in the Dark’. PermaJet is suggesting entrants might like to showcase who or what has got you through the dark times this year, or simply get creative with shadows and light. Head to the below URL for more info. www.permajet.com/competition

MY 2020/21

David Parkinson, MD Wilkinson Cameras

I don’t believe in Christmas wishes or New Year resolutions, but here are some reflections on the year. Although 2020 has to be the single most difficult year we’ve ever had in business, due to the uncertainty and difficulties obtaining stock, our swift and decisive moves have built on our strengths and we enter 2021 as a stronger business with major plans to expand further and gain a greater share of the industry we love. A huge thank you to all the major hardware brands (Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Hasselblad) who have given us some outstanding products throughout this difficult time, allowing us to generate new business and new customers. Let the mirrorless revolution continue in 2021 and generate more great part exchange opportunities, allowing those who cannot afford the very latest gear an opening into photography too. Let’s hope the much-anticipated vaccines can bring back normal life and the opportunities to see family and friends once again. Have the best Christmas you can and let’s hope 2021 is one to remember for all the right reasons.

BPI News is your mouthpiece to the photo trade, so use it! Send your press releases and news items direct to: info@bpinews.co.uk 6 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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CONTACT SJF PHOTOGRAPHIC TODAY:

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Call us: 020 8810 1997 or Email: sales@sjfphoto.co.uk

SJF Photographic, 1 Ascott Avenue, Ealing, London, W5 3XL

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Babylon Kino B&W is described as providing ‘moony-eyed monochrome’ and imbuing frames with nuanced nostalgia. Again, a camera with manual control is advised for this ISO 13 film.

Layers available in nine variants (Raindrops, Austin, Northern Lights, Shadow Play, Puzzled, Checkered, Umbrella, Candy Stripes, Sweets) and three sizes (Mini, Square & Wide). Three amazing effects are included in each pack.

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Fantôme Kino B&W is perfect for striking pinhole-like monochromatic portraits and gritty street snaps. Given its slow speed of ISO 8, a camera with manual adjustment of shutter speed and aperture is advised.

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Part of the glue that binds together our industry, British Photographic Industry News has been with you through the thick and thin of the past 40 years, covering seismic shifts for the trade; including the transferal from film to digital and the changing face of retail, as the high street presence has expanded to involve a more multi-platform sales push. With a lot of misinformation out there, a curated approach to the developments of the day and exclusive input from industry leaders is what continues to ensure the relevance of a trade-focused magazine. As we seek to guide you through choppy waters, you in turn can lend your support from just £30 per year. Simply click through to www.paypal.me/bpinews to send your £30 subscription direct, or get in touch via gavin@bpinews.co.uk or info@bpinews.co.uk if you’d prefer to pay via bank transfer.

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BPI News Product Focus

MORE SHADES OF GREY WITH LEICA’S NEW Q2 MONOCHROM BPI News finds Leica in an upbeat mood, its positivity amplified by the release of a covetable new product in the monochromatic Q2 Monochrom

T

he premium brand has whipped the covers off a version of its Q2 digital compact that shoots only in black and white. Fittingly called the Leica Q2 Monochrom – without the ‘e’ – it’s claimed to be great for landscapes, street shooting or just casual photography. The thinking is that the full frame camera will suit photographers looking to omit potentially distracting colour backgrounds, because, instead, everything is rendered in shades of monochrome. The camera arrives off the back of what UK MD Jason Heward paints as “quite a positive picture for us,” despite a challenging year for many. “Spring was quite a difficult time, but we had quite a bright summer with people returning to our stores, which continued into autumn. Sales are still strong and are holding up. Yes, Leica are 15% down on the previous year, but given everything, that is a privileged position to be in. “Plus, by the end of this year we believe our Leica Akademie will have had four or five times more participants than it normally would.” As regards the new camera, Jason outlines: “I saw a quote which said, ‘black and white photography is truth’. Sometimes you just need those two shades to tell a story. The Q2 Monochrom allows people to take their creativity to another level, and enables the artist photographer to paint with light and nothing else.” Reminding us of the history of black and white-only Leica digital cameras that began with the Leica M Monochrom in 2012, succeeded by the Typ 246 version in 2015 and the M10 Monochrom at the start of the year, the brand’s Akademie

This is very much a purists’ camera for photographers who want the best black and white option.” Leica Akademie Ambassador Robin Sinha Ambassador Robin Sinha elaborates further: “the Q2 Monochrom is the only compact camera offering true black and white images, and 4K video at that.”

THE ANSWERS TO LEICA’S Q

All B&W luv? Street photographer Mo Barzegar, who took this sample Q2 Monochrom image, believes that if you remove colour then you remove a layer of potential distraction from a photograph

Key features of the Q2 Monochrom include a new 47.3-megapixel full frame sensor, high resolution OLED EVF viewfinder, weather–sealed dust and spray proof build, plus the same 28mm lens as the ‘regular’ Q2. Light sensitivity however has been increased to a whopping ISO100,000. As this is a monochrome model, its RGB filters have been removed internally and Leica says it’s re-designed the micro lens surface. A further difference between this model and the ‘standard’ Q2 is

that colour saturation options have been replaced by a toning menu. It should go without saying that its fixed focal length f/1.7 wide aperture lens, comprised of three aspherical elements, suggests this camera as a great option for low light photography. Robin promises that it delivers “less distortion and better contrast,” along with “amazing” dynamic range the equivalent of 13 stops. He concludes: “This is very much a purists’ camera for photographers who want the best black and white option.” Available in matt black, the German made Q2 Monochrom features a newlydesigned leatherette finish and omits the famous Leica faceplate badge for a more discrete look overall. Although the camera’s prime lens is fixed, a digital zoom facility provides extra potential; especially as the high resolution here ensures that even cropped images will retain an impressive level of detail. There are a few new accessories to go with the new camera too, including a grip and colour filters. The Q2 Monochrom additionally works with all currently available accessories, adds Leica, including the SF40 flash and the SF60 flash – the latter being the only flash giving the option of remote release. Already on sale, the Leica Q2 Monochrom retails for a suggested £4,995. www.leica-camera.com

Leica Q2 Monochrom key spec: new 47.3 MP full frame sensor, fixed 28mm f/1.7 lens, 4K video, ISO100,000, OLED EVF @bpi_news

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 9


News

THE FLASH CENTRE ACQUIRED BY LUMESCA GROUP Last month we reported on TypeMaker Ltd being given a new corporate identity and its brands, including XP Distribution, Color Confidence and grafipress, being united under a new name of Lumesca Group Ltd. At the time MD Geoffrey Clements told BPI News: “We have exciting plans to invest further in the photographic marketplace and are continually looking for new opportunities, especially additional brands that would complement our current portfolio.” True to his word, news reaches us that Lumesca Group has acquired lighting specialist The Flash Centre from Chris Whittle and other family shareholders. As the photo trade will already be aware, TFC exclusively distributes the Elinchrom and Phottix brands in the UK, which will now join Lumesca Group’s existing brands. “With established trade outlets, a successful ecommerce business and leading distribution brands, together with an experienced team and customer relationships spanning more than thirty years, The Flash Centre is a great addition to our business,” Geoffrey believes. “As we continue to grow in the photographic sector, there are many synergies with our other businesses. The addition of the Elinchrom studio and location lighting range, along with the Phottix brand of innovative lighting accessories, speedlights, triggers and video LED panels, fully complements our overall offering.“

Jonny Sullens, The Photography Show

Formed in 1980 primarily to import Elinchrom studio flash equipment to the burgeoning UK photographic industry, The Flash Centre’s offerings grew to include new and second hand equipment and product rental – with three retail outlets located in London, Leeds and Birmingham. The Flash Centre will continue to trade under its own name. Nigel Fielden, who regular readers will recognise from his prior long term involvement with MAC Group, has been appointed as General Manager, with a brief to integrate the business, working together with existing Flash Centre staff alongside new Lumesca team members. www.lumesca.com www.theflashcentre.com

MY 2020/21

Jason Mitchell, Owner, CameraWorld

MY 2020/21

It feels odd to do a review of this year, as it has been so strange for us all. If someone said a year ago the government would be closing my shops and we’d all have to wear masks, they would have been laughed out of the pub. You’d have to be hammered to even think something like that! However it did happen and we did close our shops – twice in fact! Survival was the key and we’ve done pretty well. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the some of the suppliers completely getting it wrong with product supply, then business would not have been bad at all. It’s always ‘great’ when a supplier promotes products they cannot supply with double cash back over

A bright future: Lumesca Group MD Geoffrey Clements (left) has acquired The Flash Centre from Chris Whittle (right), who will now step back from the business

Black Friday and also offer customer freebies that again they can’t supply and expect customers to wait months. The positive news is that despite all the troubles, we have never sold so many macro lenses, extension tubes and binoculars since we started. It’s been incredible; all those people shooting insects and plants in the garden and I guess, looking at their neighbours through binoculars. OK, some of them were looking at blue tits; it has been cold. My wish for next year? Peace and goodwill to all men and bring back live camera shows as we really miss them. And, oh yes, tourists please do come back to London.

I am sure my Christmas wish is pretty similar to everyone else’s in relation to Covid as it was heartbreaking to have to cancel The Photography Show at such short notice. Roll on next September – at least we shouldn’t get any snow! My New Year’s resolution is to take the 40% of attendees to the virtual TPS that hadn’t been to the live show and convert them to a real world show visitor in September.

Canon’s MegaTanks roll into town Have customers seeking an entry-level printer for their small office or home based business in this age of Coronavirus? Point them in the direction of the photo stalwart’s five new PIXMA G-Series ‘MegaTank’ devices. The range includes: the G3560, described as a high-speed, WiFi equipped three-in-one multifunction printer that can print, copy and scan; the G3520, likewise multi functional and with Wi-Fi; the G2560, described as ‘high speed’; the multi-functional G2520 and the single function G1520 printer. The manufacturer describes its offerings as ‘cost efficient’, in being able to produce 6,000 pages from a single black ink bottle, it claims, and print 26% more in economy mode than previous models. They also all feature a two-line LCD display. www.canon.co.uk

BPI News is your mouthpiece to the photo trade, so use it! Send your press releases and news items direct to: info@bpinews.co.uk 10 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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BPI News Product Focus

SIGMA INVITES YOU TO SEE EYE TO ‘I’

The manufacturer has unveiled an exciting new sub-series of its Contemporary lens strand, dubbed the I series. BPI News looks into the three new compact and premium lenses Sigma has announced

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romising ‘performance meets portability’, Sigma has taken the wraps off its compact new I series lenses aimed at owners of Sony E-mount and L-Mount cameras. “The new I series is all about exceptional image and build quality, with a compactness that feels balanced on a mirrorless camera,” explains UK Marketing Manager Tim Berry. “Photographers are wanting smaller and lighter lenses – but when you look at what’s available they tend to be less premium options, with average image and build quality. So our new I series fills a gap in the market. Just because you’re not buying a big f/1.4 aperture lens doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice superb optics and outstanding user experience.” There are four lenses currently being offered in all, with a previously announced 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens joined by a 24mm f/3.5, 35mm f/2 and a 65mm f/2. Shared features include manual aperture rings, all-metal barrels and metal lens hoods. Included in the box is a standard plastic lens cap, as well as a new all-metal magnetic lens cap that clips onto

the front of the lens without the need for a clasp. So that this doesn’t get misplaced when the cap’s removed, Sigma is offering a magnetic lens cap holder as an optional accessory. Put simply, corners have not been cut and the brand has delivered an elegant and carefully crafted line-up.

PERFORMANCE MEETS PORTABILITY

The all seeing ‘I’: Sigma’s promise for its new 24mm, 35mm and 65mm compact lenses for L-Mount and Sony E-mount users is they deliver superb optics and an outstanding user experience

With a high precision, high quality feel and operability to all the lenses, the following I series lenses are available in both L-Mount and Sony E-mount fits. The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens is comprised of 10 elements in 9 groups, with a minimum 27cm focusing distance. Described as a ‘kit bag essential’, like the others it’s been designed from the ground up for mirrorless camera owners interested in street photography, astro photography, environmental portraits, weddings and video. Release date is January 1st 2021 at £549.99 SRP. The Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens is constructed from

12 elements in 9 groups, while minimum focusing distance is 55cm. A compact short telephoto prime, it offers a midpoint between standard primes and classic portrait lenses, delivering a large and round ‘bokeh’ effect. Release date is also January 1st, at £649.99 SRP. Comprised of 10 elements in 8 groups, the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN Contemporary lens is a further prime option, with a close focusing distance of a very useful 10.8cm and a promise that it’s capable of resolving the finest details when shooting on high resolution full frame cameras. Photographers can expect edgeto-edge sharpness at all apertures when shooting wide-angle scenes. It’s available from January 22nd at £479.99 SRP. The magnetic metal lens cap holder CH-11 (left) at £20 SRP, which comes with a carabiner to clip to clothing or a bag strap, is compatible with all three new lenses detailed above, but not the existing 45mm. To order stock of all the above lenses, make sure you speak with your local Sigma rep. www.sigma-imaging-uk.com

SIGMA’S 2020 PRODUCT RE-CAP The brand has been busy these past 12 months, so it’s worth revisiting what you may have missed. First up in our additional trio of recommendations – all three of which are suitable for E-mount and L-Mount mirrorless cameras – is the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens (£999), a classic telephoto for wedding, portrait and events photographers, providing sharp results across the frame and beautiful bokeh effects when required. A second lens worth reminding your customers of is the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art lens (£699.99 SRP). It’s notable for being the first

‘Art’ optic designed specifically for L-Mount and E-mount mirrorless cameras. Our November field test concluded that this versatile telephoto lens delivered beautiful bokeh effects, or, alternatively, crispness maintained right into the corners of the frame. Thirdly, there’s the recently released Contemporary series lens in the Sigma 100400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS. At £899.99 SRP again it’s an ideal fit for mirrorless E-mount and L-Mount camera owners wanting that zoom power at their fingertips.

All of Sigma’s lenses come with the benefit of a three-year limited warranty. Visit www.sigma-imaging-uk.com NEVER MISS AN ISSUE! Read BPI News online at issuu.com/bpinewsonline

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 11


BPI News Product Focus

EPSON & THE DPS GROUP INVITE YOU TO UPGRADE FOR 2021 Official Epson re-seller the DPS Group returns to help the trade spread the cost of upgrading to new wide format SC-P7500 and SC-P9500 printers – ideal replacements for older 24-inch and 44-inch models like the 7800/7890, 9800/9890 – via its attractive Photolease scheme

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f you’re wondering how you can plan accurately for 2021 amidst such uncertainty still, the DPS Group can help. It’s providing a low risk/low investment opportunity to upgrade your old 24-inch and 44-inch printers to Epson’s new and critically acclaimed workhorses the SC-P7500 and SC-P9500. These two ‘big beasts’ of the printing world are shipping direct from the official Epson re-seller – an added lure being that both are available to photo lab and retail owners without needing to invest a chunk of change up front. “Epson’s new wide format SC-P7500 and SC-P9500 printers provide businesses with a perfect reason to upgrade their older 24-inch and 44-inch units – such as the 7800/7890 or 9800/9890 – especially as we can now offer them via the Photolease scheme,” DPS Group MD Maneesh Patel sensibly suggests.

“Epson’s wide format SC-P7500 and SC-P9500 printers provide businesses with a perfect reason to upgrade their older 24-inch and 44-inch units – especially as we can now offer them via the Photolease scheme!” DPS Group MD Maneesh Patel

TAX EFFICIENT FUTUREPROOFING VIA PHOTOLEASE As the Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit have made it tricky to plan ahead with 100% confidence, the tax efficient Epson Photolease scheme, facilitated by the DPS Group, is a timely one to take advantage of. The deal here is that the cost of the printer is spread across three years. This avoids tying up large bundles of your business’ cash; an absolute godsend if you need to remain flexible about how and where you invest such money. “Many clients have told us they’ve been considering adding a wide format printer

Shipping news: Both Epson’s ‘big beasts’ in the SC-P9500 (left) and SC-P7500 (right) are available to ship now via official re-seller the DPS Group

Offering exceptional dynamic range, UltraChrome Pro inks can be individually replaced if they run low. Talk to the DPS Group team to find out more!

to their business for a while, to either meet demand or expand their customer base – so not only the versatility of Epson’s offerings in the 24-inch SC-P7500 and the 44-inch SC-P9500, but also the ability to spread the cost and ease any impact on your cash flow, should have them taking serious notice. Stock is ready to ship and install – so just get in touch!” As previously outlined, both of the new printers are very much workhorse devices. They boast a solid, proven build and the flexibility of printing on fine art paper, canvases, photo paper and more. The media the printers deploy – also available direct from the DPS Group – is likewise worth singling out for praise. The 12 colour Ultrachrome Pro ink set with K3 technology both printers utilise offers exceptional dynamic range and can be individually replaced if the inks run low, meaning that there’s no more choosing between ink sets. Speed and accuracy is also guaranteed. The machines’ print heads use up to 800 nozzles for each colour, to produce accurate dot placement and eliminate misprints, while printing up to 4.3x faster. Interested parties are strongly advised to get in touch now with Maneesh Patel

and his team via sales@dpsb.co.uk or call 020 8466 7230. www.thedpsgroup.co.uk www.dpsb.co.uk

Epson SC-P7500 & SC-P9500 at a glance: Both wide format printers offer identical class-leading features, including: „„ Epson’s first ever 12-colour ink set, claiming to deliver its widest ever colour gamut with 99% Pantone coverage for increased accuracy „„ Advanced print heads use up to 800 nozzles for each colour „„ High speed & quality are combined, thanks to a TFP12 print head with 300dpi resolution and 12 channels „„ 4.3-inch touch panel LCD with a range of configuration options „„ Deeper blacks achieved through black enhancement over-coating technology which results in even more striking and dramatic prints „„ Support is given for fine art papers, canvases, photo paper and more

Circumnavigate uncertainty in 2021 and contact the DPS Group about the Photolease scheme on 020 8460 3690 or email sales@dpsb.co.uk

12 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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BPI News Product Focus

SNAPPERSTUFF YOUR STOCKING THIS CHRISTMAS Snapperstuff’s Think Tank and MindShift bags are gifting sales to its retailers – seeing it and them through a challenging year…

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napperstuff is working hard to overcome the challenges faced by small businesses this past year, including processing orders that come in at 10 or 11 at night for the very next day. “Time is precious and everyone is juggling things, so we’re prioritising orders; if someone wants something then we’ve got to get it to them as quick as we can,” believes MD Helen Atkinson, whose background encompasses pro photography and video; very useful expertise given the growth of video and live streaming during lockdown. “We’ve also been looking at other ways to communicate information,” she adds. “It’s hard with the current situation, because with our products you need to be hands on. But we’ve noticed our retailer customers are doing more live streams and we’re also going to be putting out more videos. “We’re trying to work even closer with the retailer – for example them telling us which cameras are working well, and us telling the retailer which of our gear works well with those cameras. At the end of the day it’s about both of us making a sale.” Fortunately Helen’s company has high quality new product to offer. As we touched on last issue, a Think Tank Essentials Convertible rolling backpack (£259 SRP) meets most airline carryon requirements and accommodates two DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, a mounted 70-200mm lens, plus additional lenses and a 16-inch laptop. Going where other rollers can’t, the pack will roll smoothly through an airport, while, if rough terrain’s encountered, carry straps can be deployed. A second new product is Think Tank’s BackStory backpack (below), which comes in two sizes at £175 or £205 SRP. The ‘13’ model can fit a 13-inch laptop

alongside one or two un-gripped DSLRs or mirrorless cameras with up to 70200mm lenses attached, plus one to three other lenses, a strobe and personal gear. The larger ‘15’ model can fit a 15-inch laptop alongside the likes of a Canon 5D Mark IV with 24-70mm lens attached, strobes and accessories.

HARD WORKING & HARD WEARING Simply put, the Snapperstuff advantage is that it has something for every photographer and videographer, from consumers to pro-sumers and professionals. “With mirrorless cameras you don’t want a bulky bag, but you still want to be able to put enough in it,” Helen Atkinson believes. “We also want to reduce size and weight but still want something that will last. Our bags may not be the cheapest out there, but they’re high quality; for example the YKK zips used are long lasting and while they may look similar to others from the outside, the interiors are where you’ll find our extras.” A case in point is Think Tank’s snappily named ‘Mirrorless Mover’ bag range (bottom right), designed for those selfsame interchangeable lens compacts. There are five available sizes at £33 to £65 SRP. The smallest houses a compact camera, while the largest accommodates the likes of Panasonic’s GH5 with a 55-200mm zoom lens or similar and iPad. High quality yet great value is the appeal here, with Dark Blue, Deep Red and Pewter options available.

Bags of potential profit. From L to R: Think Tank Essentials Convertible rolling backpack, Digital Holster and MindShift PhotoCross backpack

Similarly versatile yet compact is Think Tank’s form fitting Digital Holster line up, ranging in price from £34 to £110. These are suited to everything from a small bridge camera to a pro camera body with 150-600mm lens attached – order its largest ‘150’ offering if that’s what your customers require. MindShift bags are also proving popular, reveals Helen, as they’re suitable for the great outdoors in which we’ve all been spending more time of late. Its BackLight range (left, SRP £199 to £399) features a handy rain cover and back opening for easy access, with space for laptops as well as camera gear. Another versatile option is the Rotation 180, which combines various bag sizes with a rotating belt pack set up to provide speedy access (with SRP’s up to £429). Providing a third option is MindShift’s roomy PhotoCross backpack series (£141 to £169 SRP). These tough bags are designed to withstand the elements while being comfortable enough to wear for long days in the field. To order in stock of any or all the above products, contact info@snapperstuff.com or call 0207 193 6769. www.snapperstuff.com

To order in the Think Tank or MindShift products featured here, contact info@snapperstuff.com or call 0207 193 6769 @bpi_news

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 13


BPI News Review of the Year

THE YEAR IN REVIEW, 2020 If we thought 2019 had been a challenging year for the photo trade, then 2020 has delivered a shocker. Yet despite shop closures, furloughed staff, supply issues and the rest, there have been opportunities and innovations too. BPI News surveys an unprecedented 12 months…

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o 2020, then – where does one start? At the beginning we guess; the UK photo trade calendar kicking off with The Societies Show in London in January and, after the otherwise traditional yet perfectly predictable slow-ish start to the year, our eyes were set on The Photography Show in March. After that everything got a whole lot less predictable. With only a week to go to that exhibition, world events overtook the organisers, leading to its 11th hour postponement – and train tickets and hotels and staffing requirements being quickly cancelled. This has been the year of uncertainty writ large when even the spectre of Brexit has been pushed back in the news running order – making forward planning and the day-to-day running of a business extremely tricky. At times

it has been more about crisis management, pivoting to other possible means of income, and making difficult decisions in order to keep afloat in choppy waters. With us all spending more time at home, we’ve heard of increased sales of telescopes – along with an expected boom in video and audio products to aid the production of podcasts, video blogs and online sales videos. With most high street stores shuttered from spring into summer 2020, many retailers used this time to refresh their websites (or finally build a site in the first place) to ensure optimal e-commerce performance and claw back some of the trade lost through lack of footfall. When shops did re-open it was a different world again – one of mandatory masks, hand sanitizer stations, staff-shielding screens and the rest.

DECEMBER 2019 – JANUARY 2020 Bidding goodbye, as January 2020 loomed large, to what was already being described as the most challenging year for the photo trade for the past two decades, none of us could have foreseen just how testing things were yet to become. Looking back at our words, we noted even then that we lived in unpredictable times – having already seen Photokina postponed until May 2020 and its third director in three years taking up the reins (the show’s now been axed outright – see News this issue). Our annual combined last issue of the year and first of the new year was taking a positive view however, introducing a new distributor to the photo trade with some very familiar faces in Transcontinenta UK, and Canon teasing further developments in its mirrorless EOS R range for 2021, outlining its long term commitment to this still relatively new camera series. Elsewhere Which? magazine was declaring Wex Photo Video ‘top of the e-shops’ – something that certainly put it in a good position for the forthcoming trials of 2020 – and Leica was launching another one of its high end mirrorless cameras in the whopping 47 megapixel resolution full frame SL2. We also paid a visit to Fujifilm’s vast paper manufacturing plant in Tilburg, Holland to find silver halide technology still alive and well, while one of the biggest news stories of the month was the recent opening of the brand’s central London House Of Photography (left) ‘experience’ come retail venture. Further print industry news included the introduction of Epson’s first ever 24-inch dye sub printer in the SF-500, aimed at a means of offering personalised photo products, which had been an area of retail growth for a while.

Retail experts had long advised shop owners to give their customers an in-store ‘experience’ – but this wasn’t quite what anyone had in mind. With many manufacturers’ marketing departments and suppliers freezing spend or putting activity on hold, it would have been all too easy for BPI News to simply suspend publication throughout this period. However the feedback we got was that, as the UK photo trade’s only journal of record, we were needed more than ever. We also felt duty bound to document this period. So, once again, thank you to those who have partnered with us these past tumultuous 12 months on mutually beneficial advertisements and promotions. Have a merry, socially distanced Christmas, a happy New Year – and let’s hope 2021 is a little kinder on us all.

FEBRUARY – MARCH 2020 As the trade geared up for another expected Photography Show in March and we printed extra copies of our show preview issue, we ran a report on the future of photo retail, asking bricks or clicks? The answer, of course, was both. Inevitably news of big releases for spring and summer 2020 from the major manufacturers was beginning to surface, including the flagship D6 DSLR from Nikon, along with a slightly more affordable full frame D780 and a Coolpix 950 super zoom. It was also the end of an era in some ways, as the manufacturer itself moved its long-term headquarters from the Richmond Road in Kingston to an office by Surbiton Station. It was the end of an era at Fujifilm UK too, as long serving Senior Vice President Adrian Clarke began his retirement, to be replaced by Shusuke Kozaki (both seen below), and the brand launched no fewer than three new ‘X’ series mirrorless models in the well received X100V, X-T200 and X-T4, enabling us to print a triple ‘XXX’ headline.

For more detail any of the developments and stories featured here, you can refer back to our original 14 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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BPI News Review of the Year APRIL – MAY 2020 As we were putting this edition of the magazine to press, The Photography Show was cancelled and Fuji’s House Of Photography was shuttered. Both happened days before the first Coronavirus related lockdown was imposed on the UK. I’m sure most of us will have been following the news from abroad in the weeks prior as cases grew globally, but there was still a distinct sense of it couldn’t happen here – or if it did there would be

Business Advice

Business Advice: Lockdown Special Maintaining a positive attitude and good mental health is essential. It’s always been said that working from home is not for everyone – but now it literally is for everyone, some self-discipline is required…” But don’t beat yourself up about it. In the present scenario, it’s all about getting as much done as we can in the time available – and, with health a priority, while we’re still safe and well.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS 24 HOURS

HOW TO GET AHEAD IN SELF-ISOLATION

There will be many retailers and suppliers reading this who have been forced to shut up shop, send staff home and will be wondering if they have a business to return to in the weeks and months ahead. While at the time of writing the government is attempting to prevent businesses firing staff and shuttering for good by offering to pay up to 80% of wages (up to a £2,500 per month limit) to prevent mass unemployment down the line, and deferring VAT payments for three months, along with further compensatory measures, retailers who have been forward-thinking enough to establish an e-commerce site at least have some means of keeping the business ticking over. While nobody is going to pretend that you won’t still see a sharp dive in sales and revenue (unless, that is, you’re selling home entertainment equipment and tech; with Dixons Carphone claiming strong online trading since its physical stores shut on March 24th) your website is now, more than ever your shop window. So today is the time to populate it, revamp it, and – by way of promotion – dig out or reactivate that mailing list you’ve hopefully built up from prior customer interactions. Though reports suggest printer and laptop sales are booming as people set up home offices across the land, this is conceivably a wise time to offer an extra incentive to buy. That usually means a sale, and even better if it’s a time limited one, thus encouraging your customers to act now, not tomorrow. We’ve had many emails and notifications through from retailers over the past couple of weeks hosting a ‘flash sale’ across their sites – and while, yes, many consumers will be watching their pennies in these unprecedented times, there will be others who will find the thought of grabbing a bargain within a narrow sales window impossible to resist. Also, there’s a school of thought that suggests in stressful times (normally recessions) people continue to spend money on what makes them happy – so it’s not so odd to suggest a photo hobbyist

Section

UK transforms Not words we ever thought we’d be writing in BPI News. But as the the spread of from a nation of shopkeepers into a nation of home workers to combat remotely – Covid-19, we offer essential tips and tricks on how to run a business and seek to make a success of it!

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s someone who has been ‘self isolating’ for the past 16 years – what we more commonly used to refer to as ‘working from home’ – I find myself in the unusual position of perhaps being better placed than most to offer advice on how to build and maintain your own little empire from the back room. With shops and places of work shuttered across the land because of the invisible threat, and the majority of retail shifted to online-only sales, we’re all making a major lifestyle adjustment in an alarmingly swift period of time. Particularly those of us now home schooling as well as trying to hold our working lives together – a tricky task indeed. When we began to put this issue together the photo trade was hastily cancelling hotel rooms and re-routing product in light of The Photography Show’s abrupt postponement, only to be followed a week

later by sending staff home and shutting the doors on their businesses entirely. It’s fair to say many of those in the trade we’ve spoken to over the past couple of weeks have expressed bewilderment – and while some have simply chosen to sit it out the present difficulties, pressing the pause button on product launches and further promotional and sales activity until May or June – there are those, like us, who have chosen to keep calm and carry on. Or at least make the best of it. With bills to pay, many of us simply don’t have any other choice. Firstly, any home worker will tell you that setting up and maintaining a routine is essential. To-do lists, although it sounds terribly grown up and boring, also prove invaluable. Otherwise you can find it’s 4pm and you’ve spent most of the day on Twitter. And, by having a list of essential tasks, and crossing them off as you complete them,

Got an idea for a photo trade-related business issue you’d like us 20 April / May 2020 | BPI News

there is at least some sense of pride in achievement, rather than crippling ennui. Maintaining a positive attitude and good mental health is likewise essential. It’s always been said that working from home is not for everyone – but now it literally is, some selfdiscipline is required – especially when you feel it is a situation, like this one, you’ve been forced into, rather than chosen by choice, so there is extra stress involved. The division between home life and working life has been ripped asunder, so work quickly to establish your sense of order amid the chaos. Establish your working hours within the day and try and stick to them as closely as possible; even if working a straight eight hours when you’ve got kids at home may prove challenging, aim to establish some boundaries. As mentioned earlier, it’s all about establishing a routine, and from that will naturally come a degree of self-discipline.

to cover? Let us know direct via info@bpinews.co.uk www.bpinews.co.uk

will be eyeing up the latest online camera deals, even as he attempts to grab the last Tesco delivery slot. Flash sales aside, you could even encourage local customers to continue to support their local business by delivering orders to their door locally for free – while maintaining the two metre distancing advice. They’ll hopefully remember the extra effort made when times are better. A major benefit of engaging in online retail is also the ability to earn money in your sleep – literally, as you’re not restricted to regular high street trading hours. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of firing up the computer on

E-commerce accelerates as Covid-19 effects felt far and wide The latest from industry watchers Futuresource states that, unsurprisingly, the effects of the Covid-19 virus are being felt far and wide, across all industries – while, on a more positive note, it echoes BPI News’ own sentiments and belief that, in such unprecedented circumstances, we are stronger together. Understandably, as many consumer electronics are produced in and shipped from the Far East and in particular China, where the virus originated, even before our own lock-downs in the West, there was significant disruption to global supply chains, while domestic demand was dampened. Futuresource notes that, given the Chinese consumer electronics market accounted for 22% of a $1 trillion dollar industry in 2019, such ‘side shocks’ may considerably hurt vendor’s revenues. Constrained supply will affect the global market too, with global distribution inhibited and the ability of vendors to compensate for lost revenue in other markets affected. While there remains a range of unknown and unknowable variables around the virus, the short and long terms effects on consumer electronics will be ‘significant’, Futuresource believes. It’s looking like a poor performance in Q1 as a result, will easily extend into Q2 – making for a full year of decline – though, to look for a silver

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a morning to be met with a list of sales notifications. Fulfilling these – if your access to stock or warehouse remains open – in turn provides much needed structure to your day and a continued sense of purpose. Chilling on the sofa with a glass of wine and the latest Netflix box set if you’re working from home may sound extremely attractive in principle, but the novelty soon wears off. Especially when there are money worries and bills to be paid, as there continue to be during this pandemic. Maintain the mindset that you are still running a business, even if the physical premises are on lockdown. Who knows, you may even look back on this period, eventually, as a turning point; one that, while it may have forced you to fix a problem that hitherto hadn’t existed, nevertheless proves to be a personal change for the good. We certainly hope so.

lining, it’s just possible that pent up demand when all this blows over may somewhat (if not quite completely) compensate for the difficulties. As one would also expect, it’s the digital media platforms that are really benefitting from the crisis, with the populace confined to their homes. The report notes that digital video, music and gaming are all seeing spikes in engagement and retail trends towards e-commerce are also accelerating. Besides being a short-term effect, this could have implications in the long run as consumers are likely to continue engaging with these platforms after the virus is detailed. It also suggests that Covid-19 has further highlighted the risks associated with overreliance on Chinese manufacturing. All the above has to also be set against a global economy already in recovery mode after the range of headwinds it experienced in 2019, including the Sino-American trade war, Britain’s exit from the European Union, and a wide-ranging slowdown in developed economies. Global stock markets have experienced significant volatility as a result of the spread of Covid-19 into Europe too. In a very short space of time, it’s fair to say the virus has had a disruptive impact on individuals, countries and major companies alike. How we recover and rebuild after this blight, time will tell.

your press releases and news items direct to: info@bpinews.co.uk BPI News | April / May 2020 21

absolute chaos – so the situation felt very surreal and dystopian, reflected in a hastily re-written editorial, plus a ‘protect and survive’ coverline and image that nodded to that infamous pamphlet from the 1980s about what to do in the event of nuclear Armageddon. Since we like to also focus on positivity, however, we pressed ahead with announcing the winners of our annual BPI News Awards – which would have taken place at TPS, had it not been postponed by the pandemic – which meant couriering framed awards certificates to the winners and a quick roundrobin photo session of those retailers based closer to us in London, before the shutters literally came down. At that stage we were already doing the elbow bumps rather than handshakes, which felt odd at the time, but now seems the height of passion compared with the two metre rules that were to follow. One of those retailers we visited with an award was Grays of Westminster, which also

happened to be celebrating its 35th anniversary of being a uniquely ‘Nikon only’ independent trader. Also celebrating in this edition of the magazine was Canon, claiming top spot globally for both DSLR and mirrorless sales. We also heard of a whopping 14 Sony E-mount compatible lenses from Sigma and, in further accessory news, four new bag series from the Hama brand. Reflecting the worrisome times, our business feature advised ‘how to get ahead in self isolation’ – not altogether without our tongue in cheek, though.

JUNE 2020 Not to be outdone, Canon also whipped open the curtain to reveal its own new product on the way for 2020, including a flagship EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR, alongside the ‘game changing’ EOS R5 mirrorless model – which actually ended up being joined, unexpectedly by an R6 – as well as a more affordable all-rounder of a DSLR in the EOS 850D. Not letting the grass grow under its feet either was Olympus, which would go on to become the subject of larger headlines in summer of 2020, but for now was launching its third generation OM-D E-M1 and 12-45mmm f/4 Pro lens by inviting the press to a chilly Kew Gardens for the announcement (left). Unsurprisingly most of our test shots were taken in the warm of the hothouses. Elsewhere there was yet another covetable Leica camera in the M10 Monochrom, new Think Tank Photo and MindShift gear via Snapperstuff, and a wealth of new kit from MAC Group distributed brands Benro, Shimoda, Jupio and Saramonic – all in time for the proposed, but inevitably cancelled ‘TPS’ event.

With the shutters having gone down across the UK for all non-essential businesses, the drawbridges began to be pulled up. Staff were sent home – either to work from the dining room table, or be placed on ‘furlough’ – with product launch plans revised and marketing budgets slashed or frozen entirely. As a magazine whose business model relies on advertising, in turn allowing us to be distributed for free to the majority of the photo trade, this wasn’t a great turn of events for us, as it wasn’t for the survival of most small traders. Rather than halting or postponing publication in reduced circumstances, we pressed on, however, by necessity making our ‘Lockdown Special’ June cover edition ‘digital only’. With the world turned topsy-turvy it seemed like a good time to take the (non medical) temperature of the photo trade, and interviews with 18 of its leading lights in positions of authority at various retailers, suppliers and manufacturers is perhaps the one article we’re proudest of in this pandemic year. So much so that we reproduced it with an update when BPI News subsequently went back into print – again, with the help and grateful support of the trade. If you missed it at the time, you can read all the fascinating comment here: http://bpinews.co.uk/project/bpi-news-june-2020 Some non virus related big news did manage to emerge in June, however, including the fact that Boots was to partner with CEWE (jigsaw left) for its print fulfillment in-store and online, while, with great timing now that everyone was getting their social interaction via the Internet only, Sony launched a dedicated blogging camera in the £700 ZV-1. Elsewhere the Technical Image Press Association – or TIPA – revealed its annual award winners (which this year leant heavily on the usual suspects) and Sigma offered up a trio of Canon EF-M mount lenses.

published articles by simply heading over to bpinews.co.uk and clicking on the relevant issue’s front cover NEVER MISS AN ISSUE! Read BPI News online at issuu.com/bpinewsonline

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 15


BPI News Review of the Year JULY – AUGUST 2020 With the government deciding that the Coronavirus ‘curve’ had been flattened sufficiently, all the talk at the time was of the ‘bounce back’ – reflected in our cover line – whereby re-opened businesses could attempt to make up for lost time and lost trade during the original spring / summer lockdown, hopefully replenishing the coffers. Fuji made much of the fact that its House Of Photography was finally re-opening to the public – with the full safety first array of hand sanitizers, face masks, cashless transactions and protective screens for staff. Unfortunately there were inevitably some ‘casualties’, if that’s the right word, with The Photography Show returning as an online-only event in its rescheduled September slot, and the Central London based Nikon School closing down its physical space entirely to also carry on as virtual entity. Both of these were overshadowed somewhat by more dramatic news out of Japan stating that Olympus was selling off its imaging division having not made a profit the past three years, blaming the rise of smartphones and the shrinkage of the dedicated camera market. As regarded the UK division it was however, business as usual – at least for now. More positively Panasonic was also joining in the online video blogging ‘fun’ with the launch of a new online influencer-friendly G100 compact – and the revelation that fitness guru Joe Wicks used its GH5 camera. For dedicated photographers meanwhile, Leica was offering up the £7K M10-R, while Canon bucked the trend for quiet reflection during lockdown by launching the much-teased EOS R5 and slightly less expected R6 alongside various compatible lenses, accessories and high-end desktop printer in the ImagePROGRAF PRO300. Taking of print, we also heard from Fuji’s Photo Print Services on how its ‘Shop Local’ promotion was set up to aid its retailer partners (right). Finally our ‘Talk of the Trade’ feature posed the question as to whether business really was bouncing back post lockdown. The verdict? The jury was most definitely still out on that one.

SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2020 ‘Reaching customers in an age of social distancing’ read our cover line, with how to do so in a safe yet financially viable and sustainable way being something we all wanted to explore. In truth it’s something we’re all still seeking answers to, as the year draws to a close. Among the big news for September/ October was Nikon’s entry-level Z 5 full frame camera, which little did we know at the time was very shortly to be joined by the Z 6II and Z 7II updates to the original mirrorless Z 6 and Z 7 launched two years previously. The brand also faired well in the annual EISA Awards, the winners of which were also revealed to coincide with the publication of this edition of BPI News. Again, familiar names were well represented, with a DJI Mavic Air 2 picking up the prize for best Camera Drone. In our Minilab news feature we were joined by a reliably upbeat Steven Lord of independent retailer Lords Photography who told us how promotions to encourage customers to order prints from home and of course to shop local

had been going – well, as it happens – Steven’s small market town and local community being very supportive during a tough period for traders. This month we also found out how Benro’s new accessories – including professional camera plate and smartphone adapter – made for smarter sales, while our business feature explored how to make your business Covid secure. And being our business feature we weren’t just talking about excessive use of hand sanitizer. We also found out about the staggering amount of photos stored by Brits on smartphones that are crying out to be printed – a whopping 7,500 on average, as you’re asking. Happily, Futuresource Consulting predicted in the same issue that value growth for photo printing will rise by 10% leading up to 2024, with this growth driven by younger millennial and ‘Gen Z’ age groups who haven’t grown up with traditional photo printing. A reason for cheer in an otherwise sour year.

NOVEMBER 2020 Our November issue was notable for reporting on Nikon taking the wraps off its latest Z series mirrorless pairing, which was also showcased on our cover. With reports of a second wave of Coronavirus cases – in reality a continuation of the first – resulting in a second month-long lockdown which put paid to in-store visits for Black Friday, our editorial concluded that this would be a largely digital Christmas, even if all shops were allowed to re-open on December 2nd as planned. Consumer habits had been shifted by the pandemic and those working from home were more likely than ever to order online instead of popping down the shops. The same month, there was more news of the Olympus imaging division sell off over in Japan, which had now been signed off on, and, back home, the departure of Olympus UK’s long serving Dave Ivins, to be replaced by Ian Tolley as Head of UK Imaging Business. As regards Fuji UK, it had yet another new mirrorless compact with which to drive custom in the accessible X-S10, while Panasonic unveiled its boxy 4K video shooting Lumix DC-BGH1 solution. As regards printing, unable to meet its customers face to face for a while, PermaJet launched a PDF guide entitled ‘The Knowledge’, which it transpired was nothing to do with London cabbies and everything

to do with directing photographers to the right kind of inkjet paper for the job. Elsewhere we got hands on with Sigma’s 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art telephoto lens for a crunch through the autumn leaves, and met Sony’s Alpha 7C, claimed to be the world’s lightest and smallest full frame camera. Even with shops shut, the innovations kept on coming. Innovation was also a central part of our ‘Big Interview’ discussion with Fuji’s newly installed European President and Managing Director Toshi Iida, who some of those in the UK may have previously met. While innovation was vitally important – and he disagreed with us that it had slowed in the digital camera market – the point was also made that consumers want more than just a product. And we didn’t argue with that. Re-capping the news in November brings us full circle back to the issue you’re reading now, as we head into an uncertain 2021. Stay safe everyone!

Head over to bpinews.co.uk and click on the relevant issue’s front cover for more detail on the stories re-capped here 16 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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BPI News Product Focus

NEW YEAR, NEW GEAR FROM MAC GROUP EUROPE The proactive distributor has exciting new stock available from three of its key brands: Tenba bags, Benro tripods and Saramonic audio products…

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e’re all seeking stability in uncertain times. So it’s perfect that MAC Group Europe is offering up a new Benro SupaDupa Monopod series, comprising of three portable, versatile and ‘game changing’ six-section carbon fibre monopods. These feature a combination of twist locks with a CNC machined fast action flip lock, ensuring that, once fully extended, users are able to fine-tune the monopod’s height quickly and easily with single handed operation. Targeted at sports, wildlife, portrait and wedding photographers, a five-year warranty is provided upon online registration. Of the three SupaDupa options, the MSD36C offers a folded length of 42cm, a maximum extended height of 1.64m, a detachable rubber pivot foot, plus a spiked foot for users wanting greater stability. We also get a dual thread ¼ to 3/8-inch mount to directly mount a camera or lens. This is also compatible with most standard photo heads. The second option in the MSD46C features a round rotating foot with a built-in v-shaped bearing allowing for smooth and precise panning, which can, alternatively, be swapped out for a spiked foot. Its twist leg locks are water and dust proofed, while maximum height is 1.83m and folded length is 45.5cm. Lastly, the MSDPL46C comes with the core features described above, adding a Levelling Pan Head providing +/- 20 degrees of adjustment and featuring an Arca style quick release plate for easy camera mounting and removal. An extra long shoulder strap is a further ‘extra’, which can be looped on the monopod for carrying, shooting and stabilising. Maximum height is 1.57m, with a 48.2cm length when folded.

SupaDupa ‘lights’ are gonna find me: Lightweight yet firm monopod options are available now from Benro in the MSDPL46C, which comes with a levelling pan head (above), and the MSD46C (right) with its round rotating foot and twist leg locks

Compact and bijou: Tenba’s versatile Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) series is designed to fit within an existing bag, with either Camera Inserts or Backpack Inserts available to order

MORE BAGS? ‘BRING’ IT ON! Recently refreshed, the Tenba BYOB or ‘Bring Your Own Bag’ collection is another potential strong seller, with two options here in BYOB Camera Inserts or BYOB Backpack Inserts. The concept is that anyone who needs to store and protect camera kit can do so without investing in a dedicated camera bag; designed with mirrorless, DSLRs and lens combinations in mind, these soft shells simply sit inside and mould to the shape of any existing bag. The vertical orientation of BYOB Backpack Insert boasts a wide top access opening for easy use in backpacks, totes and other tall bags, while the BYOB Camera Insert can be used in any bag or handbag, and now features a much requested removable shoulder strap. There are four BYOB Camera Inserts available. The smallest in the ‘7’ can fit a compact mirrorless camera with 2-3 lenses plus accessories; the ‘9’ option houses either a mirrorless camera or smaller DSLR plus the same amount of lenses; the ‘10’ allows for either mirrorless or standard sized DSLR and 2-4 lenses up to an attached 2470mm f/2.8; while the final ‘13’ insert allows for up to a pro size mirrorless or pro size DSLR with

battery grip, 3-5 lenses, attached 70200mm f/2.8 lens and accessories. Backpack users have three options: the Tenba BYOB 9 Slim Backpack Insert with capacity for a mirrorless or compact DSLR, 2-4 lenses including attached 2470mm f/2.8 plus accessories; the Tenba BYOB 9 DSLR Backpack Insert with space for all of the above but a standard sized DSLR; and the Tenba BYOB 10 DSLR Backpack Insert, which adds the flexibility of housing a pro DSLR with an attached 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

A ‘SOUND’ CHOICE Lastly, the Saramonic Blink 500 wireless microphone system – specifically the Blink 500 B1W and B2W models (£180 and £240 SRP) – now comes in white. Thus the B1W joins the existing B1 in black, both being comprised of a receiver, transmitter and lavalier microphone to be worn by a presenter or interviewee. The B2W unit slots in alongside the flagship B2, both uniquely enabling use of two independent wireless microphones with a single receiver and automatic balance output, and an additional transmitter for dual use. The promise here is crystal clear sound in a small, portable and robust package. All models are compatible with DSLR, video and mirrorless cameras. To order stock of any or all of the above, get in touch with MAC Group Europe direct NOW on 01902 255500 or email orders@macgroupeu.com www.macgroupeu.com

New for 2021: Saramonic Blink 500 mics in white, Benro SupaDupa Monopods & Tenba BYOB Camera & Backpack Inserts @bpi_news

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 17


News

OLYMPUS IS FOR THE BIRDS Announcements from the brand this month include that there’s an E-M1X firmware Version 2.0 update available now adding bird detection to the camera’s Intelligent Subject Detection AF. When shooting, the camera focuses primarily on the bird’s eye and switches to detecting and then tracking the head or body if the eye is not detected. Along with the above tweak, there is also simultaneously new version 1.2 firmware ready for the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, version 3.4 for

MY 2020/21

Paul Wareham, Marketing Director, Wex Photo Video 2020 has been quite the year, and one we are not likely to forget in a hurry (but we can try!). It has been a memorable year for Wex Photo Video too. We have continued to grow our photography product portfolio, maintaining our position as having the largest range of any UK photo and video retailer, and we hit a notable milestone of exceeding one million customers served. This year also saw our expansion into the astronomy market in response to an increase in the number of people exploring astronomy as a new hobby. As social distancing rules have come into play, many have sought solace in the skies. Our existing customers have expressed an interest in browsing a broader selection of gear, while many new customers have approached us looking for advice on how to get started in the hobby. We’ve also launched a full range of astronomy events online, and our own weekend ‘Star Service’ (right) in early 2021, offering customers direct access to specialist astronomy experts throughout the night to help with all stargazing queries. What can we expect from 2021? Now there’s a question! I daren’t make any bold claims, but I can wish for a return to a vibrant and social office environment, and the buzzing retail stores we’re used to.

the OM-D E-M1 Mark II and version 1.3 for the OM-D E-M5 Mark III. Described as what wildlife, nature and sports photographers have been waiting for, also available now is Olympus’ super telephoto Zuiko Digital ED 150400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro lens (above and left). Equipped with a built-in 1.25x teleconverter it can cover an equivalent focal length of 300-1000mm. Should even this not be enough, it can be boosted to 2000mm with an optional M.Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter MC20. The premium performance lens is due to appear at the end of this January coming, for £6,499.99 SRP. A free six-month warranty extension is being offered when registered via the MyOlympus platform at http://my.olympus.eu

WEX EYES THE SKIES Successive national lockdowns have meant more time spent at home, as well as many of us looking for another means of escape – or at least a new hobby. With good timing then, retailer Wex Photo Video has announced an expansion into the astronomy market, claiming that it now offers the largest range of astronomy products and accessories ‘under one roof ’ in the UK. Brands include Celestron, Zeiss, Swarovski, Fujinon and Pentax. Noting that as social distancing has come in, many have sought solace in the skies, Wex Marketing Director Paul Wareham adds: “We’re thrilled to expand our range to include an even greater variety of astronomy products. Our existing customers have expressed an interest in browsing a broader selection of gear, while many new customers have approached us looking for advice on how to get started in the hobby. We’re only too happy to help in both cases.” Enterprisingly Wex has put together an astronomy starter bundle for the Christmas market, comprising an entrylevel telescope, smartphone adapter, a book on ‘moongazing’ and a hand

warming torch for those winter nights. It’s also newly launching a weekend ‘Star Service’, promising customers direct access to specialists in astronomy throughout the night. The service will be available throughout January and February, from 6pm to 6am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Wex says. www.wexphotovideo.com

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Product of the Month

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH: NIKON Z 6II

Second generation of Nikon’s full frame compact arrives almost exactly two years after the first. So what’s changed and should retailers encourage existing customers to upgrade? We heft it onto the BPI News test slab to find out…

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espite not being a DSLR, but, rather, a mirrorless camera, pick the Z 6II up and you literally feel Nikon’s DNA in your hands. That’s to say it still looks and handles like you’d expect a Nikon to – only with added operational bonuses that come with this class of camera. These include being able to direct the camera’s AF point by tapping a point on its tilting rear panel LCD screen with a fingertip, which both saves time and improves accuracy. Accessibility continues on this second generation model with the newly implemented offer of a standard SD card slot alongside a second one for XQD cards. Lack of support for common SD cards was a criticism of the first generation camera, so it’s good to see Nikon has listened to feedback. Having two slots also means

that users could record Raw files to one (XQD) and JPEGs to the other (SD), with how you want to use the available storage adjustable via the camera’s menu screens. Luckily these slots are both found beneath a flap at the side, so can be removed or inserted while the camera is attached to a tripod. Unlike a DSLR, the Z 6II’s rear LCD is always on – that is, unless, the photographer alternatively has their right eye pressed against the eye-level viewfinder, whereby the screen below automatically deactivates as your nose inevitably prods against it. A first on this particular model is both human and animal eye recognition AF tracking in stills and video modes – so, screwing our supplied 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens on the front, we popped out to try it out on the local wildfowl and horses.

COMPACT BUT CAPABLE

A digital thoroughbred: Nikon’s newest Z 6II full frame mirrorless arrives with an existing lineage behind it, plus the high expectations of its potential audience of photographers

Despite this full frame option being relatively compact compared with Nikon’s APS-C series DSLRs, the Z 6II is able to show its semi pro mettle by including details such as a second top plate status display window the size of a postage stamp – while there’s an additional window built into the top of the lens itself, displaying aperture and focus mode. Both are barely visible when using the camera in daylight, but become more apparent in the dim. Generally build quality is good, with rear and front command dials falling instinctively under forefinger and thumb respectively, and with a raised and chunky shooting

mode wheel provided top left of the camera. Again it’s a best of both worlds approach – yes you can dive into onscreen menus to dig out the settings required, but equally there are controls at your fingertips should you want them. In terms of picture quality, we’re getting bags of detail from the 24.5 megapixel resolution full frame sensor coupled with the high quality lens, with good contrast provided, even if a busy background does sometimes confuse the camera’s AF as to what it should be focusing on. No matter; quickly re-framing the image or a finger tap of the subject on screen sorts that out, when necessary. In short this is a capable, well thought out and implemented camera with a premium build quality and finish and a suggested price tag that while at £1,999 isn’t inexpensive, is nevertheless wearable in the current climate and in comparison with what else is out there. Plus, with the Z 6II retailers have a chance to piggyback a few equally new extras on a sale – not only the latest generation (and backwards compatible) EN-EL15c battery that comes with it, but also a compatible MB-N11 battery grip for literal power users. www.nikon.co.uk

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BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 19


Business Advice

THAWING THE ‘GREAT FROST’

With the Chancellor revealing that the hit to the UK economy of Covid-19 restrictions and two successive nationwide lockdowns is the worst for 300 years – and you have to go all the way back to the Great Frost of 1709 for anything comparable – what can businesses do to shore themselves up as we enter 2021?

“I

look to the future, it makes me cry,” sang the Manic Street Preachers on 1996 track ‘Everything Must Go’. UK business owners – especially those directors of ltd companies frozen out of any financial aid since the start of the pandemic – may have been feeling the same after the Chancellor’s late November revelation that our economy had been more impacted by Covid-19 than any event for 300 years. The hit is worse than the financial crisis of a decade ago, World War II and the great depression of the 1920s. And barely a mention the effect of either an orderly or disorderly Brexit on January 1st 2021

could have on top of all this, except, pundits predict, a further 2% wiped off the UK’s output if it’s the latter, on top of the 4% shrinkage compared with staying in the EU. However you voted back in 2016, or your view on how the government has handled the present pandemic, we’re collectively faced with the consequences, including rumoured tax rises. So how can the photo trade combat the fall out, to ensure our own businesses don’t fall over? Something we do have in our favour is that in times of hardship and uncertainty, apart from the basic necessities, people tend to keep spending or even spend

more on their hobbies – yes, in our case that means photography – and whatever brings them comfort (and joy). In their role as ‘enablers’, both manufacturers and retailers have their part to play here. When we surveyed our photo trade contacts last month to find out how they’d coped since the summer, the more positive responses focused on the great new products and innovations they’d been supplied with by various manufacturers, stimulating interest and sales and helping keep the wolf from the door. Fortunately for the photo industry there will be always be those who want the latest and greatest

Got your own ideas about how the photo industry can counter the challenges arising from the pandemic, 20 December 2020 / January 2021 | BPI News

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Avoiding a financial freeze with customers when you can’t sell over the counter – since you’ve probably got most of the kit required at hand anyway, these options will all cost little more than your time. As the examples of suppliers featured in BPI News demonstrate, it’s also worth reaching out to manufacturers to partner on ways of both promoting your products, with many of the big names having hosted online demos and tutorials throughout lockdown to engage, entertain and hopefully engender customer goodwill. Finally, giving customers something for free – or at least the perception of that happening – is a no brainer when it comes to winning extra custom. Start with offering free delivery – preferably flagged up as time-limited to encourage swift consumer engagement and so as to not affect your bottom line too much. Surveys have consistently found this is a more effective lure than slashing costs on the products themselves, which then just promotes a competitive race to the bottom on price that, eventually, leaves no winners. Where physical stores are allowed to engage with consumers direct, don’t forget about customers on your doorstep in the rush to improve your website and start video streaming to negate further lockdowns and local restrictions.

Companies that have done well in the pandemic, have, the report suggests, been the ones who switched to home delivery services or implemented a click and collect offering on the fly. Physical stores may become more of a showroom in the near future...” tech, be looking for their next chance to upgrade, and don’t mind paying for it. Even if a gripe of many has been that demand for new goods has at times outstripped supply – especially with Covid-19 affecting the supply chain and imports from abroad. So, yes, we need great products but also a good supply of them in the first place. We also need to match the product/s to the customer, of course, so will want to be up to speed with changing consumer habits – as well as those staying the same or similar. See our panel on this page for more on the latest thinking.

REACHING CUSTOMERS WHEN YOU CAN’T ENGAGE IN PERSON As the pandemic has dragged on, live streaming, self-broadcasting and the YouTube favourite of unboxing videos have all proved effective ways to engage

Local trade is important trade – with word of mouth still one of the best sales tools of all. So keep up those seasonal window displays and promotions – customers will be actively looking for some normalcy in the chaos, after all. And with much talk of vaccines at the time of writing, could some normality – or at least a regulated/controlled version of it – return by spring 2021? Just as you consider how best to help yourselves through the inevitably challenging weeks and months ahead, do please also consider supporting your only photo trade magazine, so we can in turn continue supporting you. Just £3 to ‘buy us a coffee’ or £30 to take out an annual subscription really does make a difference. You’ll find the very simple details for how to contribute on page 3. So, with things that we can all do to collectively help, to perhaps quote The Streets’ number one hit of 2004, it’s time to: “Dry your eyes, mate.”

TRADE URGED TO ADAPT TO ‘IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE’ IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR No one reading this would argue that 2020 hasn’t been an exceptional year, with plenty of challenges for anyone running their own business. But there may have been some opportunities worth grasping, too. Against this backdrop retail technology expert Conversity has shared its predictions for 2021, re-affirming what BPI News has suggested for several months. Even before the worst of the pandemic struck, consumers were leaving their homes less and favouring the convenience of online transactions and delivery services – with Covid-19 merely accelerating this trend. Retailers should now view this ‘cocooning’ as a permanent shift, it believes – and while there will still be those who actively want to visit a bricks and mortar store, retailers will need to work harder on making such visits an ‘experience’, in order to truly differentiate from competitors. Another thing we’ve been saying to our retailer readers that the report agrees with is bolstering your ominichannel approach and unifying your online and in-store experiences. Companies that have done well in the pandemic, have, it suggests, been the ones who switched to home delivery services or implemented a click and collect offering on the fly. It adds that physical stores may become more of a showroom in the near future, carrying minimal stock and becoming somewhere that consumers can go and see products and have an experience, before then being given the choice to buy online. This in turn means websites have to be ‘exceptional’ to retain and draw in custom, rather than functional. Finally, Conversity believes that new technologies, including intelligent guided selling – a platform the company itself specialises in – and personalisation tech, will help drive success. It advises giving customers the inspiration they’re lacking, because there are fewer reasons to visit physical stores, plus suggests a silver lining to the bumpiness of the past 12 months could well be the fact that many consumers previously unfamiliar with using technology for shopping, entertainment or staying in touch with family, are now more comfortable with it. Therefore those who have invested in digital platforms are the ones who will benefit. www.conversity.com

or care to share what’s working for you (without giving away trade secrets)? Then do get in touch direct via info@bpinews.co.uk @bpi_news

BPI News | December 2020 / January 2021 21


News MY 2020/21 Alex H Falk, Owner, Mr Cad

XMAS FOOTFALL PREDICTED TO BE 50% DOWN, BUT HOPE ON HORIZON Despite plans at the time of writing for shops coming out of lockdown to be allowed to trade for longer in the run up to Christmas – with some perhaps open 24 hours – courier service ParcelHero is predicting high street footfall will be cut in half compared to the same period last year. Its theory is partly based on the fact that, according to the British Retail Consortium, footfall fell by almost 60% in the weeks after the first lockdown ended. Though it’s believed the latest ‘bounce back’ will be stronger than last time, given we’re entering peak gifting season, it’s suggested it will still fall some distance short of the traditional December boom. Latest ONS research released at the end of November indicates that

46% of Brits remain actively scared of contracting Coronavirus and will be doing their best to avoid busy shops over Christmas. One bit of positivity, perhaps, is retailers being given the go-ahead to accept deliveries outside of normal hours – though many businesses are reportedly planning on bringing forward their normal ‘final order’ dates, given the predicted strain on delivery services as we near December 25th the pandemic will place. BPI News has, however, got your back. With promised vaccinations on the way already making the view of 2021 from our current 2020 vantage point look more hopeful, see page 20 of this issue for more advice on effective trading practices in uncertain times. www.parcelhero.com

MY 2020/21

Paul Genge, MD PhotoTEQ

My Christmas wish is that all our colleagues, friends, suppliers, couriers, accountants and everyone we rely on to make our businesses work have a happy, safe and healthy Christmas. It’s been a tough year that we have all endured. We all deserve a break from these trials and tribulations, time to relax, unwind and be thankful for what we have. My New Year’s resolution is to ensure we are ready to bounce back harder, stronger, leaner and greener, in order to deliver the most innovative products in photo and video accessories. As an industry we collectively need to work together to ensure the public continue to feel photography and filmmaking is about cherishing precious moments with loved ones, or learning a creative hobby that rewards through self-improvement, gets us outdoors to beautiful locations, or brings us clients that need our skills. In turn we need the right products, and prices people can justify, and then we will all have a good 2021.

Our world has dramatically changed within the last nine months and not for the better. Our sector of the marketplace has been decimated by the reduction in the number of shops available to our customers, as well as the withdrawal of some suppliers, thus taking out several product ranges. 2020 has been an unusual year, fraught with manufacturing and delivery difficulties. However it has been a year when accessibility to customers has been the key during both lockdowns. Being able to talk, email and take orders from customers has been invaluable in order to maintain a presence in the photographic sector. Darkroom has seen a resurgence, as well as film sales continuing in all forms from 35mm to 10x8. 2020 has also continued to be the year of no profit, whether it is the fault of the supplier or retailer or both. This has led to more suppliers and manufacturers selling directly to the consumer, cutting out the retailer. We are all, it seems, still believing that we can support this retail business on such stupidly low profit margins, but we cannot. Our 2021 resolution should be that we actually talk to our suppliers, and they talk to us retailers, for the benefit of both parties. I wish everyone a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2021.

NIKON SPINS A WEB(CAM) Want to up the ante when it comes to quality of image for online Zoom meetings and remote social interactions, or have customers wishing to do so, and asking for advice? Good news comes in the shape of Nikon’s announcement of Webcam Utility software that enables its mirrorless and digital SLRs to be used as webcams. Available for Windows and Mac OS systems, the software, which the manufacturer says is in response to demand, is available now. Compatible cameras are as follows: the Z 7II, Z 7, Z 6II, Z 6, Z 5, Z 50, D6, D5, D850, D810, D780, D750, D500, D7500, D7200, D5600, D5500, D5300, D3500. All Nikon users need to do to be able to use their camera as a high quality webcam is install the software to a computer and connect the camera via a USB cable. Head to the below URL to get started. https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com

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Profile for BPI News

British Photographic Industry News December 2020 & January 2021  

We review and re-cap a tumultuous 12 months for the world and the photo industry, asking industry leaders to share their hopes for the new y...

British Photographic Industry News December 2020 & January 2021  

We review and re-cap a tumultuous 12 months for the world and the photo industry, asking industry leaders to share their hopes for the new y...