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Photographic British

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FEB / MARCH 2021 • £3

Putting the photo trade in the picture for over 35 years

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A SHOT IN THE ARM FOR THE PHOTO TRADE How the industry is getting through the pandemic, plus hot new products promising hope for the future

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IN THIS ISSUE…

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

LARGE FORMAT PRINT

VISIONARY GEAR

BUSINESS ADVICE

How one specialist photo retailer has managed to expand his decades-old family business during lockdown – with Fujifilm & local customer support

Hurry to grab an extended three-year warranty on Epson printers via official re-seller the DPS Group, with an ingenious plan to spread the cost

Two new cameras from premium brand Leica to suit differing customer bases, plus a heavy hitting lens that resurrects a classic for 2021

With once successful bricks & mortar brands facing an onlineonly trading future, we look at how to avoid becoming a high street zombie or Internet ghost


#WhyILoveOlympus www.enjoy.photo Crocuses by @MarcusClackson: OM-D E-M1 Mark III & M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 30mm F3.5 MACRO: F4 at 1/4000sec, ISO400.


Logo based around Anders font. 3 possible logo uses.

Photographic British

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ART EDITOR Michael O’Connell

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Editorial | February / March 2021

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

hen the load gets heavy, we all need to pull together. Not my words, but those of antique salvage dealers Mike and Frank, from cable TV show ‘American Pickers’. If you’ve not seen it, two guys travel the highways of the USA discovering gems amongst junk. Paul McCartney – Macca himself – is a fan. The show’s just one of the distractions keeping me sane during the third national lockdown… partly because it also works as a travelogue… and this issue we’ve introduced some levity by asking the trade what’s likewise getting them through. With the pandemic revealing the cracks in an already disrupted industry, I mention it because that opening quote struck a chord. I’ve long felt there is more – much more – we could collectively be doing as the photo trade to assist those who may be falling through the fissures at this time. How many currently shuttered specialist retailers will reopen this year, when allowed to? Taking a positive view, if consumer confidence does return (as hoped) when government restrictions are relaxed, there’s the possibility that pent-up household spending could be unleashed, helping the economy to ‘bounce back’ once again, as it did briefly between lockdowns last year. As we went to

press, the Bank of England was talking optimistically of the UK economy getting back to pre-pandemic levels by March 2022, thanks in part to the early success of the vaccine roll out. That optimism must however be tempered with the fact that there’ll eventually be a day of financial reckoning for us all, due to eye-wateringly high UK government borrowing and spending during this period. As has been the case this past year, and, well, for what seems like forever, the news from the photo industry itself is also mixed. Fujifilm UK is the latest to ‘consolidate’ its operation and, sadly, shed staff in the process. Olympus’ imaging division has new owners and a new name, and the future of the high street is looking grim, with online retailers picking up long-established brands yet discarding physical stores. The good news is that retailers operating a click and collect model tell us sales of video and audio equipment, telescopes and binoculars, have been flying out during lockdown, when we can’t, um, fly out ourselves. Demand for printing and scanning of old negatives and slides, as we’ve had more time to rummage in attics, has also increased, so there are silver linings to the proverbial cloud. We hope this issue provides the shot in the arm it’s intended to.

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BPI News | February / March 2021 3


News

OLYMPUS IMAGING NOW ‘OM DIGITAL SOLUTIONS CORPORATION’ As the trade will be aware, last year Olympus sold off its imaging division to a Japanese conglomerate, Japan Industrial Partners Inc. With the deal now done and dusted, the imaging division has been given a new name as of January 1st 2021 that references the old one’s heritage: OM Digital Solutions Corporation. The eagle eyed will spot that while the first two letters name-check the Olympus OM system developed for SLRs back in the 1970s, the latter part can be abbreviated to the digital camera referencing ‘DSC’. However we’re told that, new name aside, cameras and related accessories will continue to bear the Olympus brand. Providing further continuity, former Imaging Head for Olympus, Shigemi Sugimoto, has been appointed Representative Head and President of

OM Digital Solutions Corporation, with management, R&D, manufacturing and sales departments now operating as one. Mr Sugimoto promises: “We will continue to launch cameras, audio recorders and binoculars, while providing new solutions that stretch beyond the boundaries of existing products on the market. “The launch of this new company brings together a more focused and flexible organisational structure. Moving forward, this will allow the freedom to explore new business opportunities,

MITSUBISHI EXITS PHOTO PRINTER MARKET News reaches us that production of Mitsubishi printers is ceasing for both its photo and medical devices – though the manufacturer has promised to continue to offer support to ‘our loyal customer base’ for years to come. Asked for an official comment, Mitsubishi tells BPI News: “Several factors, such as market growth potential, business synergy and product competitiveness brought us to this conclusion. We have explained the situation to our trade partners and outlined the ongoing supply options. “Regarding printers: we will continue to produce hardware to satisfy existing orders. We are planning the final shipments to be latest 31st March 2022. “Regarding media: in order to support new and existing customers we will maintain supply of media up to 31st March

Photographic British

Industry

2030 for the current range of existing printers. Warranty will remain as per the agreed terms and spare parts will remain available for service companies. Mitsubishi Electric has produced printers since 1983.” In dye sub related news, Citizen is alerting customers to the fact that unauthorized hardware modifications are being offered to owners and operators of its Citizen CY-02 photo printer – and warning that any updates not communicated through its official Citizen channels are ‘not authentic’. It further cautions that unofficial modifications risk potential loss of overall performance, as well as invalidating the user’s official Citizen warranty conditions. Genuine Citizen CY media is not being upgraded or discontinued, it adds. Any queries should be directed at the manufacturer’s official photo reseller partner, PhotoXport via sales@photoxport.com.

enabling us to contribute to society with more passion than ever.” In terms of how the above affects things over here, the UK team has embraced the benefits of remote working and gone totally virtual. This will not affect the running of the business in any way, BPI News has been told, as logistics had been centralised in Europe some time ago. The business continues to maintain a physical European HQ in Hamburg. As we went to press, the new company in Japan was reporting that the Micro Four Thirds system, utilised by all Olympus branded interchangeable lens cameras, had for 2020 achieved the best selling lens mount type in the Japanese interchangeable lens digital camera market, with a 21.7% share. om-digitalsolutions.com

e What’s Getting M emic: Through The Pand

Julian Harvie, Head of Marketing, Nikon UK Though fewer daylight hours and near constant rainfall have made my longstanding passion for running more challenging during lockdown, I have been blessed with the perfect distraction in my now nine-monthold daughter, Lyra. Becoming a father is the greatest privilege of my life and I feel incredibly fortunate to have a front row seat to watch this ‘coronial’ grow up. She’s an excellent photography subject as well!

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News

THIS IS THE ONE, SAYS SONY There’s a new pro-targeted full frame camera coming in March from the electronics stalwart, which boasts of a high resolution and high performance ‘at a level that has never been accomplished in the world of digital cameras’. At £6,500 SRP, the Alpha 1 features a new 50-megapixel sensor and upgraded Bionz XR processor, claiming an 8x greater power than the previous Bionz X generation. The need for this is transparent given the camera’s spec also includes 8K video capture at 30fps, or 4K at up to 120fps. Other top-of-the-line features include a 9.44 million dot electronic viewfinder with a claimed ‘world’s first’ 240fps refresh rate, five-axis optical in-body stabilisation, what’s claimed to be the industry’s fastest built-in Wi-Fi, plus wide

dynamic range equivalent to 15 stops. “We are always listening to our customers, challenging the industry to bring new innovation to the market that goes far beyond their expectations,” enthuses Yann Salmon Legagneur, Sony Europe’s Director of Product Marketing for Digital Imaging. “Alpha 1 breaks through all existing boundaries, setting a new bar for what creators can accomplish with a single camera.“ www.sony.co.uk

TPS ‘SPRINGS BACK’ VIRTUALLY THIS MARCH With the tagline of ‘Spring Shoots’, The Photography Show (aka ‘TPS’) organiser Future is inviting attendees to its two-day online-only weekend event this March 6th and 7th to ‘find their photography and filmmaking mojo’. Over 100 tutorials, workshops, clinics and demos are promised to those clicking onto its site – while, as we mentioned last issue, exhibitors may be pleased to know the layout is being spruced up to include a more obvious shopping platform element. As per last September, registration for the online event is free. That said ‘nominal’ paid bookings of £6.99 are now required to view individual talks from its bigger name ‘Super Stage’ photographer speakers (including Rankin, Joel Meyerowitz, Brooke Shaden and Tim Flach), just like with the live

show, while the promised Canonsponsored Pro Conference on the Sunday is asking visitors for £9.99 to access all ten sessions plus networking event. In our December/January edition, Future told us that 40% of attendees to its previous virtual event had never been to its NEC exhibition – so, it now views such virtual events as a way to bring in a different audience for ‘TPS’ going forward. Head to the below URL now to register. www.photographyshow.com

Canon EOS lens milestone The manufacturer has issued another one of his semi-regular production updates – this time to tell us that it’s reached the milestone of producing its 150 millionth lens for its EOS camera range – the lens in question being the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM for its full frame mirrorless cameras. Its current lens lineup includes 118 options spread across its RF and EF series. The market leader reminds us that it has held the number one position for market share for the past 17 years, and in September 2019 produced its 100 millionth EOS series interchangeable lens camera. www.canon.co.uk

e What’s Getting M emic: Through The Pand

Mark Thackara, Content & Community Senior Manager OM Digital Solutions (formerly Olympus) I have replaced high % proof liquid and other uppers and downers with six key things. I’m finally using a basic exercise bike I got a while ago and, who knew, it does help first thing in the morning. I’m also taking an enforced half hour walk at lunchtime, even if a video meeting intervenes. I’m finding breathing exercises help with stress, especially if you sit a lot and breathe badly; yes, even an old cynic like me has cracked! Number four is two episodes each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings of pure escapism, like Call My Agent on Netflix, which is French with subtitles and very funny and sexy, along with Schitt’s Creek, obviously and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel; outrageous antidotes. I’m also phoning people more and make a point of one-to-one video calls with a mix of people off topic. Just free time to talk around frustrations. It’s good therapy and every now and again a gem of an idea emerges.

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BPI News | February / March 2021 5


News

FUJI UK RESTRUCTURES, LAUNCHES NEW PRODUCTS Even before Covid-19 threw a significant spanner in the industry’s works, contraction in the camera market saw Canon UK relocate staff to its European HQ, Nikon vacate its long-held Kingston base and Olympus sell off its imaging division. Now Fuji is the latest to streamline operations, by placing its different divisions – Photo Imaging, Electronic Imaging and Optical Devices – under a new collective umbrella: Fujifilm Imaging Solutions UK. The move takes effect from April 1st and sees current General Manager for Imaging Solutions Theo Georghiades become overall General Manager for the merged divisions. This means current General Manager for Photo Imaging Neill Harris leaves the business on March 31st after 23 years – and there are a number of redundancies being made across the company. Current Fuji UK MD Yoshi Nakamura (pictured) comments: “Despite our UK teams producing great results in the circumstances, the last 12 months has been difficult for everybody involved in the photography business. We have had to carefully consider our future direction, as well as the need greater for operational efficiency, agility and alignment. With this in mind, I strongly believe that consumers’ needs are best met by one single Imaging Solutions team. Across our photography business, I want to firmly connect our photography capabilities, from taking a photo to creating something magical with it. This is what gives us the edge over our competitors and is a completely unique feature of our business – this is where I intend to focus.” Fuji notes the UK market for mirrorless cameras declined for the first time this past year following years of growth, while CIPA claims global demand for digital

cameras has dropped by 40% since the start of April 2020. In the optical market, pressure has been put on the sales of cinema and broadcast lenses, as the pandemic has cancelled or postponed many shows, events and films. At the same time, the unprecedented shift to online across the consumer photography business during lockdown has, the company believes, created a greater opportunity to directly engage customers, via a ‘ joinedup approach’ to sales and marketing. Moving forward, Fuji has a raft of new product for spring 2021. First up is a 26 megapixel X-E4 mirrorless compact in silver or black for £799 SRP body only, or £949 with black-only 27mm WR kit lens, which is also new. “People buy into the X-E series because of the size and styling,” reasons Marketing Manager Andreas Georghiades, adding that the camera is lightweight and cheaper than the X100V, while offering identical quality stills and video. It features the same sensor and processor as its X-T3 on launch while its 180° tilting LCD makes it suitable for bloggers as well as photo enthusiasts. A dedicated thumb rest and handgrip are

Fresh structure, new products, including the X-E4 mirrorless (top) and GFX100S (above). New XF 27mm & XF 70-300mm lenses shown bottom left and below

available as an optional extra; and usefully so, as there’s no image stabilisation built into the body. Two new X series lenses also arrive this month in the XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR, which has had an aperture ring added and retails for £419, and the XF 70-300mm f/45.6 R LM OIS WR, which is compatible with both a 1.4x and 2x teleconverter and retails standalone for £729. Firmware upgrades are further available for the X100V and X-T30, adding webcam support, as well as the X-Pro3. With an already announced GFX 100 IR arriving March and primarily aimed at museums and art galleries wanting high resolution archival pictures, there is more movement on the high end GFX series front with the introduction of the new 105 megapixel GFX100S. Described as ‘more than full frame’, the new camera arrives in black at £5499 SRP body only and with the brief of making a larger sensor camera more affordable, and also smaller than a DSLR. Key features include 5fps shooting, three-way tilting 2.36 million dot touch screen, 3.6 million dot fixed viewfinder, new in-body image stabilisation, offering the equivalent of up to 10 stops, new ‘Nostalgic Neg’ film simulation mode, plus its size has been reduced and its design simplified when compared to the 50 S, which is now discontinued. The original GFX 100 is continuing, however. Finally for now, there is a newly GFX compatible lens in the GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR, arriving end of February for £2,099 SRP. www.fujifilm.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 6 February / March 2021 | BPI News

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SHOOT, TRANSMIT & PRINT WITH CANON A compact 4K camcorder with pro recording capabilities has been launched in the Canon XA45 (right), which follows on from 2019’s XA40. Key features to share with your customers include a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, the ability to additionally record Full HD footage, a 3G-SDI output terminal that allows users to connect to broadcast standard equipment such as live streaming encoders, plus 20x optical zoom that offers a 35mm equivalent focal range of 29.3mm at its widest setting, and up to 601mm at the telephoto end. In support, the XA45 offers up no fewer than three image stabilisation modes and the ability to add external microphones. SRP is £1,819.99. Also updated for 2021 is the Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter, which is now reborn as the ST-E3-RT (Ver.2) at £289.99 SRP (right). Promised to give professionals greater creative freedom whether in a studio or a natural environment, it enables wireless flash synchronisation and multiple control of Speedlites positioned up to 30m away, supporting key features of the recently introduced Speedlite EL-1 while also enabling new capabilities on previously launched RT Speedlites, including wireless (radio) second curtain synchronisation. Finally, announced after our previous edition went to press was the entry level

Pixma TS3450 printer series (below), described as a three-in-one multifunction inkjet printer including four colour ink cartridges and one-touch wireless connectivity. This is an entrylevel model with 1.5-inch mono LCD screen, available in a choice of black, white, or black and white, designed for everyday printing needs and, suggests Canon, will be suitable for those newly working from home, as well as students. SRP is just £44.99. www.canon.co.uk

LEXAR SWELLS 1066X SILVER SERIES The memory card specialist has announced the Lexar Professional 1066x SDXC UHS-1 Card Silver series. The high speed, high performance media promises photographer and videographer customers UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30), leveraging UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds of up to 160 MB/s (1066x) and up to 120MB/s write speed. High capacity options for this card are also available – up to 512GB – while a further bonus is that they are claimed to be water, shock, vibration and X-ray proof. SRP’s for the Silver SDXC cards range from £26.99 for 64GB capacity up to £155.99 for 512GB, with the trade already aware there is a microSDHC and microSDXC Silver series option too, as covered in our November issue last year. As readers will now know, Transcontinenta has announced it’s now handling the Lexar brand for the UK. www.lexar.com

Online-only Nikon School re-launches With Covid-19 having hastened the permanent closure of its Central London space last year, the Nikon School lives on in the virtual world, with a ‘new and improved website’ just launched. With the majority of its courses now available online and accessible to all, the site promises that it will be easier to browse what’s on offer, subscribe and book. Exciting ‘on location’ courses are being teased as forthcoming, if, that is, government restrictions allow. Further features of the site include a ‘hints and tips’ section as well as a ‘reviews’ tab where interested parties can see how other school participants fared. https://nikonschool.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 8 February / March 2021 | BPI News

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News

LEICA LAUNCHES YEAR-LONG CAMPAIGN With the tagline of ‘the world deserves witnesses’, the premium brand has launched a new international advertising campaign that it tells us is set to last the next 12 months. The aim, Leica says, is to ‘celebrate those who capture pivotal moments in history or the fragility of our human condition through their own sensitivity and unique view’. The manufacturer claims none of the featured images was created, retouched or staged

to specifically suit the concept – and only existing photographs were used. It hopes this ‘pure’ approach highlights the uniqueness of the Leica brand. With imagery from over 30 photographers showcased, the promotion includes print and online activity in more than 15 countries, while a ‘video manifesto’ is airing online worldwide. “I’m extremely happy with the result of our new campaign,” claims

Samyang cine lens has ‘wide’ appeal Distributor Intro2020 has a new cine lens to offer the trade, with the wide angle Samyang 14mm focal length added to its recently introduced VDSLR MK2 series. The MK2 line up, which follows on from the original VDSLR range launched back in 2014, now comprises five commonly used focal lengths, in the 14mm (T3.1), 24mm (T1.5), 35mm (T1.5), 50mm (T1.5) and 85mm (T1.5). Offering full frame coverage, these are available in seven different camera mounts. The new lightweight yet sturdy VDSLR MK2 series includes a weathersealing feature to protect the vulnerable gap between lens and camera mount, thereby allowing images to be captured in less than perfect conditions. The 14mm lens (right) is available now, at £499.99 SRP. In related news, alert your photographer customers to the fact that four firmware updates for Samyang’s Sony E mount auto focus lenses are available – all reflecting changes in

Leica’s Chairman of the Supervisory Board and majority shareholder Dr Andreas Kaufmann. “I think that the new campaign – and we at Leica do this only every ten years or so – reflects beautifully our photographic, artistic, and humanistic approach.” Head to page 17 of this issue for latest Leica product news. www.leica-camera.com

e What’s Getting M emic: Through The Pand

Gary Sutton, MD MAC Group Europe

the market toward videography. For example, included in the update are improved face detection and persistent tracking of a moving subject, in order that ‘seamless’ footage can be created. Just prior, firmware updates were also made available for its Canon RF mount lenses in the AF 14mm f/2.8 RF and AF 85mm f/1.4 RF. Firmware can be updated using the separate Samyang Lens Station. www.intro2020.co.uk/samyang

When Gavin asked me ‘What’s Getting Me Through The Pandemic’, according to a notification from my Google Maps Timeline telling me No Activity, it seems that I haven’t been anywhere or done anything! I am envious of people who are able to find the time to binge on Netflix or take up new hobbies, as when I have finished working for the day the only thing I am good for is a G&T. I did get to watch Wycombe Wanderers once in their first season in the Championship and have my flu jab. Doesn’t get better than that!

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BPI News | February / March 2021 9


Minilab News

‘STAIT’ OF INDEPENDENCE

Awarded ‘Business of the Year’ for 2020 by Fujifilm, Stait Photo owner Ken Stait tells BPI News how and why he has expanded his empire and opened a third store during the pandemic…

“T

here’s me and Mike Ashley single-handedly saving the UK high street,” jokes Ken Stait, Fujifilm award-winning owner of Northumberland-based Stait Photo, when asked what possessed him to expand on his two bricks and mortar stores in Hexham and Morpeth and open a third in Alnwick during a pandemic. “The opportunity came up as the previous owners were retiring, while our Hexham and Morpeth stores were ticking along quite nicely,” Ken notes of what may seem like a brave move in the current climate, but which he views as a winning combination. “Alnwick is a market town with a loyal community of shoppers. In the situation we’re in, I think people feel safer shopping locally, whereas metropolitan areas are struggling. “Some of the online names buying up high street brands don’t see the positives of maintaining a face-to-face transaction, but I’m a firm believer in the ‘bricks and clicks’ approach. You’ve got to have an Internet presence, yes, but I think having the high street store as well is a good thing. It may appear we’re bucking the trend, but I also feel it’s a good time to go to a landlord and work out a deal. That gives you opportunities to get the business on the right cost footing, because there are not queues of people wanting to take on retail space.” With the new store having joined the Stait Photo (www.staitphoto.co.uk) fold last

Winning combo: Owner Ken Stait (centre) has discovered by partnering with Fujifilm he has a well of business advice on tap, from the likes of Inspires Consultancy’s Wendy Gray (right) and Fujifilm’s Paul Henry (left). New Alnwick store shown

October, obviously most of its trading has so far happened in lockdown. Currently Ken’s week sees him alternate his store visits in order to maintain a click and collect service between bouts of home schooling. While noting this third period of enforced isolation is the hardest yet, he is grateful it’s happened during the relatively quiet months of January and February – and that his business managed to make the most of Christmas 2020, thanks to customers shopping early.

CONTINUING THE JOURNEY WITH FUJIFILM Naturally Wendy Gray of Inspires Consultancy, who is Fujifilm’s Independent Retail Account Manager, was on hand to offer advice on Ken’s newest venture. “Wendy came up and had a look at the Alnwick store. Again, I was keen to give it our stamp and a comprehensive refresh. Having Fujifilm with you on that journey is always a good thing, not least because they

were able to help us achieve a seamless switch over from the kiosk software the previous business was using to our own. We’ve now got identical Fujifilm kiosks and printers in the three stores, allowing us to have a ‘floating’ member of staff who is able to step into each environment and be immediately comfortable with the equipment. “Plus the Fujifilm website’s functionality allows you to tailor everything to match your own offerings and, although we haven’t been able to make up for all the trade that would have come through the door, it has been invaluable.” In addition, Fujifilm’s Virtual Workshops have proved invaluable to Ken during lockdown. “They’ve been fantastic in getting you to look again at what you’re doing and it’s been great to share ideas across the network of retailers. Everybody pitches in with what they’re doing in their own local area, which boils down to honing your promotional activity and maximising promotional spend. It’s amazing how many enquiries

To discover how Fujifilm can inspire ideas and help boost the profile and bottom line of your own store or minilab, 10 February / March 2021 | BPI News

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Fujifilm Advertorial Match fit: Ken has an identical Fujifilm kiosk and printer set up for each of his shops, meaning that staff can move between them and instantly know what everything is and how it all works

we’re getting via Facebook now, so it’s about using all the channels available.” Some of the more effective ideas arising from workshop discussions have involved the creation of a community calendar, which gets local people excited about taking and submitting images – with the end product sold in store and proceeds donated to charity. “And there’s a couple of dealers in the network who have been hooking up with camera clubs and doing some combined activity with them,” Ken adds. “People are looking for something to do in lockdown and a lot of people have been taking a lot of photographs. So it’s about working out how to get them to engage with you, come into the store and do something with the photographs, because it ‘s a historical event we’re all living though. It’s been traumatic, but there’s also a lot of memories being created, so it’s good if we can get people to realise that they should be chronicling times like these.” As a result of being proactive throughout challenging times Ken has managed to keep 80% of his business print based, with second hand sales now making up a large

has crowned Stait Photo its Business of the Year, which Ken describes as a real honour and something he’s looking to maximise the promotional potential of, both in and out of lockdown. “The award is down to the great service of my staff and the fact that we’re still here and still coming up with new ideas and always trying to change the business and keep eyes open for the next opportunity. I was keen to give the new store our stamp and What we’ve got to a comprehensive refresh. Having Fujifilm with do next is translate you on that journey is always a good thing…” that award into Ken Stait, owner, Stait Photo extra business and extra customers through the door.” Unsurprisingly, of their old slides and negatives, cine the award is already being shared on films and video tapes – the kind of jobs the website, in the shop window and they’d normally put off. So the amount on social media. “Hopefully it won’t be of archiving we’ve been doing onto USB sticks for them has been really, really good too out of date when we come out of lockdown! There’s a lot of goodwill for – one customer brought in 3,000 slides to small independent retailers now and I get scanned. That element of the business think people are really valuing us.” has done really well during lockdown – Wendy Gray concludes: “Ken has so I’d advise any retailers out there to stayed positive throughout the past year keep eyes open for new opportunities.” Given the proactive nature of the above, and has worked incredibly hard on his business. He’s attended Fujifilm’s virtual it’s perhaps unsurprising that Fujifilm workshops and used the knowledge he gained to improve his kiosk, online and mobile services, while his website has been updated, making it fresh, informative and easy to use. A customer database has also been created and he now communicates to his customers through regular newsletters and activity on social media platforms. “Stait Photo goes from strength to strength and I’m sure Ken’s fourth store is on the horizon.” To learn more about how Fujifilm Photo Print Services can directly advise, inspire, improve and support your business and turnover in a challenging climate, get in touch with UK Marketing Manager Gloria McCann now on via photoimaging_uk@fujifilm.com and visit www.fujifilmphotoservices.co.uk part of the remaining 20%. “Selling new equipment is really tough,” he notes. Thanks to encouraging his customers to dip into their archives over the past few months, demand for having old photos scanned and digitised has also gone “absolutely stratospheric” during lockdown. “People have been in their attics and garages and digging out all

Eighty percent proof: With Fujifilm’s support, print makes up the vast majority of Stait Photo’s business. During lockdown, Ken has been offering a ‘click and collect’ service across his three store locations, each with an open and inviting layout

get in touch with Fujifilm Photo Print Services at photoimaging_uk@fujifilm.com or visit www.FujifilmPhotoServices.co.uk NEVER MISS AN ISSUE! Read BPI News online at issuu.com/bpinewsonline

BPI News | February / March 2021 11


News

TWO SIDES TO PERMAJET’S STORY Alert your customers to the fact that the inkjet paper specialist has added a fourth paper to its double-sided range. With more professionals seeking creative avenues for income, PermaJet Double-Sided Lustre 295 is aimed at those who ‘want to create more than just prints’ – namely calendars, zines, photo books and key ring inserts. The paper is further described as having a fine stippled surface and a bright white finish, enabling, it is claimed, vibrant results and an excellent density of blacks. Sizes from A4 to A2 are available now. The launch will be followed by the introduction of a Double-Sided Test

e What’s Getting M emic: Through The Pand

Paul Reynolds, General Manager Sigma UK

Pack, enabling users to trial all of PermaJet’s Double-Sided options and find their own best fit. The whole range will also be available to purchase as a bundle with the SnapShut Folio, a reusable album said to partner perfectly with this paper. www.permajet.com

I’ve never been a big drinker but I have noticed my consumption of gin has increased since lockdown. I would imagine I’m not alone with that. Running a company is fine, but I find it helps with my role as IT Manager for three homeschooling children. Don’t get me wrong, during the day I always stick to water, it’s just that it’s frozen in cubes and surrounded by gin.

Getty & Twigs team up for photographic initiative Renowned picture library Getty Images has collaborated with innovative pop performer FKA Twigs (a turntable favourite at BPI Towers) on an initiative that sees thousands of photographs of black history made available for noncommercial use. Getty claims it will donate visual content (like the b&w image shown) from its Hulton Archive – the world’s largest privately held commercial archive – plus Editorial Collections, for use in support of learning about, and reflecting on, black history for black storytellers and not-for-profits. It will also provide research support for educational and mentoring initiatives at its Hulton Archive. FKA Twigs (pictured) says: “The artist Kandis Williams told me how much of our history was in the Getty

Images Archive. We were discussing how powerful it would be to make this content available to black creators and educators, enabling us to put these pieces together and make our history accessible for generations to come.” Getty Images Senior Vice President and Head of Content Ken Mainardis adds: “Knowing the past opens the door to the future [so] we are pleased to partner with FKA Twigs on this ambitious project to preserve and celebrate black history. We hope to empower black content creators to tell their story of their own history, and to support storytelling as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift.” www.gettyimages.com

PANASONIC CAMERA ‘NETS’ APPROVAL With Netflix having been at the forefront of the move to the subscription TV service model – and successfully so – the electronic giant is pleased to announce that its recently released Lumix BGH1 (see BPI News November 2020) has been approved as a Netflix ‘primary camera’. This follows on from Panasonic’s Lumix S1H, which was approved by the same service last year. Netflix’s requirements state that 90% of the total runtime of a final programme should be captured on approved cameras, and that they must have a true 4K UHD sensor among other specified capture attributes. www.panasonic.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 12 February/March 2021 | BPI News

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BPI News Product Focus

DON’T MISS THIS GREAT DEAL FROM DPS GROUP & EPSON Until the end of March a free three-year warranty is offered on Epson’s large format ‘P’ series printer range, while its poster and graphics printing SC-T3200, T5200 and T7200 models come with lots of free media for the same period

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pringtime is a period of regeneration and renewal. Photo studios, retailers and mini labs across the country will be looking at how they can shore up and strengthen their businesses and offerings in the weeks and months ahead. In recent editions of BPI News we’ve plugged the versatility and quality of Epson’s latest wide format workhorse printers in the 24-inch SC-P7500 and 44-inch SC-P9500. But in fact these are just two of the available options covered by the manufacturer’s current incentive deal, which gives new Epson printer purchasers the peace of mind of three years’ free warranty. The deal extends in both directions to include everything in the ‘P’ series, from the 17-inch P5000 desktop device to the whopping 64-inch P20000, also including the likes of the 24-inch 8-colour P6000, the 24-inch 12-colour P7500 and the 44-inch P8000. But hurry, you just have until the end of March to take advantage of the three-year free warranty promotion. “This is a continuation of the very successful offer from the last quarter, and is even more enticing when coupled with the cost-spreading Photolease scheme, which we can happily facilitate for the trade,” enthuses Maneesh Patel, MD of official Epson re-seller the DPS Group. “Stock is ready to ship and install – so just get in touch!” If you need an extra push to invest in a new printer, the tax efficient Photolease scheme, which we’ve highlighted on previous occasions, allows the cost of your new printer to be spread across three years if you don’t want to pay for it all at the point of order. This also avoids tying up large bundles of your business’ cash; an absolute godsend if you need to maintain cash flow and remain flexible about how and where you invest such money in these continuing times of Covid-19 uncertainty.

drawings, the second enticement to buy Epson this month comes via a free promotional media bundle package worth between £188.75 and £359.90 and available to those buying Epson SC-T3200, SC-T5200 and SCT7200 printers. Again you can order in these direct and take advantage of the offer via the DPS Group.

Three into one will go: Hurry to grab a time-limited three-year warranty deal on Epson’s P series printers, from the P-5000 to the P20000 (both shown)

the same model adds an integrated 36inch scanner, should that be required. Thirdly the four-colour SureColour SC-T7200 is also aimed at the graphics and copy shop market, and likewise covered by the free media bundle offer. The 44-inch workhorse is said to deliver the highest level of performance, value and versatile media support.

“Three years free warranty is a continuation of the very successful offer from the last quarter, and is even more enticing when coupled with the Photolease scheme.” DPS Group MD Maneesh Patel The SureColor series SC-T3200 printer combines the capacity to produce poster sized prints up to 24-inches in size with a compact and robust design. Key features include Epson’s PrecisionCore TFP print heads and UltraChrome XD ink. The alternative in the 36-inch SC-T5200 printer offers large capacity ink cartridges and fast print speeds, while a variant of

Paper pals: Get a free, time-limited media bundle with the Epson SC-T3200, SCT5200 and SC-T7200, shown left to right

Interested parties are strongly advised to get in touch urgently about all of the above time-limited offers via sales@dpsb.co.uk or calling 020 3675 2880. www.thedpsgroup.co.uk www.dpsb.co.uk

SAVE A ‘BUNDLE’ WITH THIS FREEBIE For those regularly printing out retail banners, graphics, posters and CAD

Circumnavigate uncertainty & contact DPS Group about the above time-limited offers on 020 3675 2880 or email sales@dpsb.co.uk @bpi_news

BPI News | February/March 2021 13


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Get ws e N I P B ed to r e v i l e d or & your do r just fo in-box £3y0 r! per ea 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

LEICA’S REPORTER IS HEADLINE GRABBER

The manufacturer is much in the news this month with a new campaign, a limited edition camera, a full frame offering aimed at stills shooters and videographers, plus the re-appearance of a legendary lens with which to tempt your customers…

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aving previously told us it had weathered the challenges of 2020 in better shape than expected, Leica is kicking off 2021 in style. In addition to its new 12-month long campaign featured in our news section, the premium brand has unveiled the latest of its desirable limited edition cameras for professional and enthusiast photographers in the Leica M10-P ‘Reporter’. As the name suggests, the device celebrates the brand’s renowned history of creating cameras used by legendary press and reportage photographers. In terms of technical specification, inwardly the new model is identical to the existing M10-P. Outwardly however it’s a different story, due to it offering a unique dark green finish and high strength Kevlar camera trim, with a diamond weave texture providing additional grip and comfort. Leica tells us that the camera’s body armour will gradually turn the same colour as its top and base plates over time through exposure to sunlight, giving the camera its own completely unique patina. Available now, suggested retail price is £7100. In related news, Leica has also announced the return of one of its iconic lenses in the Noctilux-M 50 f/1.2 ASPH which joins its existing Classics Range. First launched in 1966, the Noctilux 50 f/1.2 was originally the world’s first lens to feature aspherical elements, while its light sensitivity, enormous by even today’s standards, became legendary. The manufacturer tells us the new version adheres so closely to the original that imaging results are almost identical, while it continues to be the most compact and lightweight Noctilux in Leica’s range. A choice of two colour variants are available to customers: black anodised with aluminium lens barrel or silver

Making the news: the body armour of Leica’s new M10-P Reporter camera will take on its own unique patina over time, making an already limited edition unit truly one of a kind

chrome with brass lens barrel; at SRP’s of £6,500 and £13,500 respectively.

BEST OF PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY COMBINED Just prior to the end of last year, and after our previous edition had gone to press, Leica announced its all-metal, German designed and crafted SL2-S, claimed to be a versatile full frame camera offering the best of both photography and videography. Building on the ‘SL’ system first launched in 2015, core specification includes a 24 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, 4K video recording, and continuous shooting of up to 25fps at full resolution, with two separate recording modes provided for photo and video. A 4GB buffer memory enables users to shoot continuous bursts

of JPEGs, or video, limited only by the capacity of the memory card in use. Pros will be interested in the fact that the Leica SL2-S is the first SL model to allow direct tethered shooting via Capture One 21 software, with the user able to control the camera remotely via computer. Lens wise, the SL2-S is compatible not only with the SL system’s lens portfolio but also TL lenses via adapter as well as optics from the Leica M, R and S systems. Additionally the L-Mount Alliance provides the opportunity of accessing 40 auto focus lenses, while Leitz Cine Lenses beloved of filmmakers can be adapted for use with the SL2-S. Available now, the camera has an on-sale price tag of £3,975. For more info on all three of the above, direct your browser to the below URL. www.leica-camera.com

Re-birth of a legend: Leica re-introduces its Noctilux-M 50 f/1.2 ASPH lens (left), while its SL system camera gets a sequel in the SL2-S (right)

New for 2021: Leica M10-P ‘Reporter’ & SL2-S cameras, plus Noctilux-M 50 f/1.2 ASPH lens. www.leica-camera.com NEVER MISS AN ISSUE! Read BPI News online at issuu.com/bpinewsonline

BPI News | February / March 2021 15


News

SONY’S SCREEN DREAM NOW STREAMS The electronic specialist’s ZV-1 blogging camera, recipient of an EISA Award last year, has been granted a firmware update from its manufacturer. The latest tweak allows its high quality audio and video to be harnessed for live streaming footage, simply by connecting the camera directly to a PC via USB. With live streaming on the up in lockdown, there is also the ability to connect the camera to one of Sony’s Xperia smartphones, allowing users to live stream on the go and use the Xperia smartphone as a secondary display. The manufacturer says that the live streaming capability will be added to additional compatible cameras in future. The Mac and Windows compatible firmware is available and downloadable now. In other Sony news, alert your E-mount camera-owning customers to the fact the brand has unveiled a new full frame lens in the FE 35mm f/1.4 GM (below, with sample image), which promises a compact and lightweight design, yet ‘first class’ image quality with it. Suggested as suitable for a wide range of uses, including landscapes, portraits and street photography, it’s claimed to be just as capable at shooting stills and video. Available now, expect a street price around £1,500. www.sony.co.uk

Website promises a history of tech in pictures

NEW DISTRIBUTOR FOR BUSHNELL & LEXAR Fast growing distributor Transcontinenta UK has announced it is now exclusively handling the Lexar brand (media cards and solid state drives) for the UK and Ireland, while the distributor has also exclusively added the Bushnell brand (excluding golf and hunting products) to its burgeoning portfolio for the same territories. As BPI News readers will be aware, while Transcontinenta

is a relatively new addition to the UK, it has been active internationally since 1992 across the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. www.transcontinenta.co.uk

Veteran tech journalist Barry Fox has pulled together promotional images from across the many decades of his career and is publishing them on a new website – the aptly-named tekkiepix.com – which is fast looking like something of historical and cultural resource for those of us who find old advertising for once revolutionary innovations oddly fascinating. For example, 2021 heralds the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the consumer videocassette recorder (early ‘Fujix’ home video camera shown), which is just one of the industry breakthroughs the site documents. Visitors can type ‘U-matic’ into the search field to discover when the first video recorder went on sale and who manufactured it. The site, which Barry has been assisted in the construction of by Richard Dean and John Kentish, promises no subscriptions or fees are required to access what’s described as a ‘treasure trove’ of pictures and articles, covering the history of home gadgetry before the days of Apple, Google, YouTube, Spotify and Netflix. So far 100’s of rare pictures have been posted online, along with the intriguing stories behind them. Head to the below URL to discover more. www.tekkiepix.com

Value what you’re reading here? Then ‘Buy BPI a brew’ to help us continue publication. Donate via www.paypal.me/bpinews 16 February / March 2021 | BPI News

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BPI News Product Focus

‘BLINK’ & YOU’LL MISS SARAMONIC’S PRO AUDIO KIT With lockdown having seen a boom in video blogs and live streaming, it’s obvious great videos require great sound. Enter the Saramonic brand, available via MAC Group Europe

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ot customers asking for a high quality yet affordable external microphone set up for shooting videos with either a mirrorless camera, DSLR or even mobile phone? Point them in the direction of the Saramonic audio brand, available to the trade via MAC Group Europe. New for spring 2021 are ‘Pro’ versions of its popular Blink 500 B1 and B2 kits from 2019, in the Saramonic Blink500 Pro B1 and B2. “The Saramonic Blink500 Pro B1 and B2 are complete professional wireless microphone kits at affordable prices, ideal for broadcasters, podcasters, vloggers, live streamers YouTube creators and filmmakers,” explains MAC Group Europe Business Development Manager Jit Soni of the latest update. “Compared to the original Blink500, this ‘Pro’ version has the advantage of separate audio levels giving selectable mono/stereo output on the receiver when recording two people, allowing you to record each person’s audio level separately on the Blink500 Pro B2.” The Blink500 Pro TX Transmitter features a built-in omnidirectional microphone, with an impressive sensitivity of -39dB, plus the option to plug-in the supplied Saramonic SR-M1 Lavalier Mic. “The inclusion of both TRS to TRS and TRS to TRRS cables, really make the Saramonic Blink500 Pro B1 and B2 the ideal choice for wireless audio recording,” concludes

Jit, with such connectivity allowing for use with DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, recorders, mixers, computers and more.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF WIRELESS AUDIO As teased above, the latest generation ‘Pro’ system features a bunch of extras that the original does not. This includes an updated design, vivid OLED displays on both transmitter and receiver, real time headphone monitor, selectable stereo output mode, longer battery life – with up to 8 hours of run time from a single charge – plus a sound quality described as ‘elevated’, while operational range has also been extended to 328 feet (100m). With the transmitters featuring a built in

Windows of opportunity: Vivid OLED displays feature on the new ‘Pro’ audio kits (Saramonic Blink500 Pro B1 kit shown)

omnidirectional microphone as described, this can be clipped to a shirt collar or pocket, or alternatively set on a table or podium to pick up the content of a speech. Of course the TX transmitters also operate as traditional body pack transmitters with the included SR-M1 pro grade omnidirectional lavalier microphones providing an even more discreet solution. These can be used handheld by themselves or with an optional, sold separately Blink500 Pro HM Handheld Mic Holder. Finally, as we noted in last issue’s news, the alternative of the entrylevel Saramonic Blink 500 wireless microphone system now also comes in white via MAC Group Europe – in the shape of the Blink500 B1W and B2W models (£180 and £240 SRP). 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. Again, the models are compatible with DSLR, video and mirrorless cameras. To order stock of any or all of the above Saramonic products, get in touch with MAC Group Europe direct NOW on 01902 255500 or email orders@macgroupeu.com www.macgroupeu.com

Blink500 Pro system advantages at a glance The Blink500 Pro has the following features, which the original Blink500 does not: „„ Portable charging case for transmitter & receiver „„ Vivid OLED display on both transmitter & receiver „„ Selectable mono/stereo output mode „„ Real time headphone monitor

Also worth mentioning to customers: „„ Dual-channel stereo receiver for cameras and mobile devices „„ Mic input and Line input „„ 8 hours battery life on one single charge „„ One button easy paring „„ Lavalier microphone, windscreen and ‘deadcat’ included in the package

Order the Saramonic Blink500 Pro B1 & B2 via MAC Group Europe direct NOW on 01902 255500 or orders@macgroupeu.com @bpi_news

BPI News | February / March 2021 17


BPI News Awards Nominees 2021

VOTE NOW IN OUR

AWARDS 2021

2021 BPI NEWS AWARDS Whose service or product from the past year deserves to be rewarded by fellow members of the UK photo trade? Get in touch to tell us… It’s been one of the weirdest years of our lifetimes. But BPI News has kept going through the pandemic and economic storms to report on the key releases, the manufacturers, the retailers and the people themselves who’ve been keeping the cogs of the UK photo industry turning. So, if there’s ever been a time to deservedly celebrate such efforts to keep all our livelihoods afloat, surely it’s now? We’ve taken note of previous feedback and broadened out the categories this year, while keeping them at a manageable 10 in number.

18 February / March 2021 | BPI News

You’re very welcome to email us your nominations in all 10 categories – or at very least the one that is most relevant/ important to your sector of the photo trade. Alternatively if you’re reading this online, you’re welcome to loop us into a Tweet. BPI News on Twitter is just @bpi_news If you need some inspiration, take a flick through the past year’s worth of the magazine, whether you have the paper magazine to hand or want to visit www.bpinews.co.uk for a page turning version online.

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BPI News Awards Nominees 2021

CATEGORIES FOR OUR 2021 AWARDS „„ Accessory of the Year „„ Distributor of the Year „„ Retailer/ Shop of the Year „„ Product of the Year „„ Pro Camera of the Year „„ Consumer Camera of the Year „„ Printer of the Year (dye sub, dry or wet lab) „„ Print media of the Year „„ Promotion/Campaign of the Year „„ Innovation of the Year So, put thinking caps on and let us know who you feel fits into the above category or categories and is most deserving of trade wide recognition for their efforts! We look forward to hearing from you.

@bpi_news

HOW … E T O inations V O T nd your notmhe above

o Se ny of s NOW t k a r o f .co.u gorie cate bpinews info@

BPI News | February / March 2021 19


Business Advice

HOW TO AVOID A ‘ZOMBIE’ UPRISING

…On the high street, or becoming a ‘ghost’ online. With the pandemic having accelerated a shift to online retail, and torn the heart out of many high streets, we examine current thinking on where we’re headed. Plus, how to help make sure you’re the last man/woman standing when that destination is reached…

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n George Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’, zombies converge mindlessly on an abandoned shopping mall where humanity’s last survivors have holed up. Conceived as a satire on blind consumerism, as well as an excuse for lashings of late 1970’s gore, the mall’s shuttered storefronts remind us of once popular brands whose time has passed, their abandoned stock providing desperate, short-term sustenance for the living, before they too eventually secede control. Back in the present real world, we often

hear concerns voiced about town and city centres becoming ghost towns; fears not quelled by latest Office of National Statistics figures revealing 2020 was the worst year for retail since records began. And, with recent buy-ups of high street brands including Debenhams, Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and more – the aim, in each case, of moving them to an online-only retail model and jettisoning physical stores – we’re being warned by the likes of delivery service Parcel Hero that such high street names

may not enjoy a golden second life, but instead could end up as ‘online ghosts’. Citing the failure of once prominent brands including Woolworths to establish a profitable existence online, it suggests that online retailers are going to have to work hard to replicate the ‘spirit’ of a once successful physical store. While inevitably suggesting they’ll need to invest time and money in ensuring deliveries are prompt, it makes the further suggestion that, as point of delivery is often the only time an online shopper will have human contact

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

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Zombie stores & online ghosts to come. Stores may briefly re-open after lockdown ends, but only to selloff and clear remaining stock before closing for good. In essence, they are the proverbial dead men walking. What’s more, these ‘zombies’ may feed off nearby high street rivals and cause injury by undercutting them to clear stock before their eventual closure.

the Federation of Small Businesses has suggested 100% relief for another 12 months until April 2022). Solutions will also need to be found to prevent vacant units lying empty for two, three, four years or more. Undoubtedly one business’ loss may be advantageous for another – either in moving to a more favourable location in town

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

with the brand, deliveries should be made by ‘uniformed drivers of spick and span vans’. While it of course has its own service to push, Parcel Hero concludes that ‘saving pennies on deliveries could end up costing them pounds in lost revenues, and lead to the final disappearance of many famous brands.’ Them becoming ghosts of their former selves, in other words.

CONQUER FEAR WITH ACTION Another result of high street brand buy-outs with a view to an online-only ‘afterlife’, is that re-animated ‘zombie stores’ – the physical spaces abandoned by the new brand owners – are expected to haunt our high streets for months

One potential source of solace for beleaguered high street stores still holding their heads above water – and a way of fighting back – is that, again reports are re-surfacing of an online sales tax being considered by the government. This may potentially help level the playing field for bricks and mortar stores who have to pay business rates. However, for now, the best of both worlds’ ‘bricks and clicks’ model of doing business for high street shops is more crucial than ever. With sales having shifted online during the pandemic with high street stores ordered to close, the pursuance of a multi channel approach to commerce – your real-world shop window complemented by a virtual one – is an important way to differentiate from the online-only giants (ogres?) who don’t enjoy face-to-face (mask to mask?) customer interaction. And, while it’s tempting to take life a day at a time in this period of continued uncertainty, bolstering your own e-commerce offering is a lot more positive and pro-active an approach than simply sitting on your hands and waiting for it all to blow over. As the late American philosopher Dale Carnegie put it: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” If you’re a shop owner reading this, some comfort may be had from the fact that the local high street has fared slightly better than shopping malls during the current health crisis. Recent figures indicate that 17.1% of stores in malls were vacant in the past quarter, compared with ‘ just’ 13.7% of all stores on the high street being empty. Nevertheless it is a stark reminder of the impact of the pandemic and inevitably such figures have resulted in calls for the government to extend business rates relief beyond this April (indeed

with better footfall, or at least sensing an opportunity for re-negotiating the deal with their own landlord. In the past decade we’ve endured the financial crisis, Brexit, and now a health crisis is impacting our lives and livelihoods. It’s particularly tough for those of us afforded no financial aid from the government beyond deferral of tax and VAT payments, or business loans that will need re-paying eventually. But, just as actively pursuing good ideas and pivoting towards whatever will help us make the best of it – photo specialists tell us sales of telescopes, binoculars, audio and video products have gone particularly well during lockdown – there is, if all else fails, hope on the horizon that science will set us free. And that goes for not just the local camera store, but also the multinational companies, who, as you’ll read in our news pages this issue, are not themselves exempt from challenges. The economic contagion has affected every link in the chain, and even if we do always present the trade with a positive take and a rallying cry, we’ve all had to think on our feet to survive. Like in most zombie movies and sequels, salvation from our present predicament appears to lie in a successful vaccination of the populace. With multiple variants of the virus now breathing down our necks, however, this feels like a ‘series’ that won’t stay dead long. However, with some thinking outside of the box, hopefully our high streets won’t stay dead for long either. Finally, as always you can do your own bit to help the wider trade and help yourself in return. The disappearance of the local camera shop or minilab leads to that little bit less of a recognition factor among the public of photography and photo printing in general. So, if there are methods working particularly well for your own business that you’re willing to share with fellow independents, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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 NEVER MISS AN ISSUE! Read BPI News online at issuu.com/bpinewsonline

BPI News | February / March 2021 21


News

FOR WHOM THE ATOLL TOILS Nikon factory closures, yet mirrorless on rise News reaches us from the Far East that the photo brand is closing two of its Japanese plants this March (which currently produce lenses for digital cameras) and moving more of its production to Thailand by the end of 2021 as it looks to reduce overheads in a shrinking market – a story which arrives at the same time as financial results showing revenue for its imaging products business fell 38% year on year. According to online reports, its leadership is seeking to make an ambitious 59% reduction in operating costs. More positively, however, Nikon states that sales of its mirrorless cameras and lenses have been brisk, particularly at the higher end of the market, recent launches of the likes of the Z 6II and Z 7II bolstering such trade for the brand. www.nikon.co.uk

e What’s Getting M emic: Through The Pand

Derek Fieldhouse, MD PhotoXport Lockdown has been a wonderful opportunity to spend more quality time with my closest family and our two dogs have been spoiled rotten with many, many long walks…

While old school analogue film fun may be the first thing we think of when it comes to the Lomography brand, it’s just announced a new Lomography Atoll Ultra-Wide f/2.8 17mm Art Lens designed for full frame mirrorless Canon FR, Nikon Z and Sony E-mount cameras, along with rangefinder style M mount analogue and digital cameras. Currently the subject of Lomo’s latest Kickstarter campaign, with delivery promised from August this year, eventual retail price is for the compact prime lens is expected to be around $549 (though Kickstarter backers get it considerably cheaper). Features include an impressively ultra wide 103° field of view with, it’s claimed, minimal distortion, vibrant colours and strong contrast. Optimised for both photos and video, closest focusing distance is 0.1m with Canon RF, Nikon Z and Sony E-mount cameras, or 0.25m with M mount cameras. As we went to press the lens campaign had already exceeded its Kickstarter goal two times over, so it appears we will indeed see this one become a reality soon. Lomography hasn’t forgotten

about its affordable instant film cameras, however, as witnessed by its recent unveiling of a collaboration with innovative photographer William Klein in the Lomo’Instant Wide William Klein Camera and Lenses Edition. The result of a partnership with Polka factory, Paris, the camera itself features a built-in 90mm lens, comes with close up and 21mm equivalent wide angle attachments, and is decorated with Klein’s original contact sheet prints in an attempt to ‘channel his energy’. It retails for £179 and is compatible with Fuji Instax Wide Film. www.lomography.com

TAMRON ZOOMS AHEAD FOR E-MOUNT USERS Distributed to the trade by Transcontinenta UK, direct your customers to the fact there’s a new high speed standard zoom available for everpopular Sony E-mount APS-C mirrorless cameras in the Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD, which it tells us is the brand’s very first of its kind. The lens maintains a maximum f/2.8 aperture across its entire 4.1x zoom ratio and features Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism to minimise camera shake. With a moisture resistant construction and fluorine coating, it’s compatible with many Sony features, including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF, while being compact and lightweight at 525g. With

a five-year warranty being offered, the lens is available now at £779.99 SRP. www.tamron.com

Value what you’re reading here? Then ‘Buy BPI a brew’ to help us continue publication. Donate via www.paypal.me/bpinews 22 February / March 2021 | BPI News

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When other voices go quiet … yours gets LOUDER! During the current Covid-19 crisis, you may have been tempted to put marketing plans on hold, adopting a ‘let’s see what happens’ mindset. However, with things not changing quickly, or any time soon, that closed manner of thinking may be holding you back more than you realise. People can’t buy from you if they don’t know what you’re offering. Fortunately, as the ONLY photo trade magazine, published both in print and digitally, BPI News is here to help AMPLIFY your message! Get in touch to find out how. Contact gavin@bpinews.co.uk to discuss advertising and advertorial requests. Get heard by turning up the volume this spring.


Sigma’s macro line-up delivers the ultimate in optical quality, functionality and versatility. The range has options for mirrorless and DSLR users, covering five different mounts. All Sigma lenses are made in Japan.

DG MACRO Protective Cover, Hood (LH708-01) supplied. Available for L-Mount, E-mount, Canon EF & SIGMA SA. L-Mount is a registered trademark of Leica Camera AG.

Protective Cover, Hood (LH653-01) supplied. Available for L-Mount & E-mount. L-Mount is a registered trademark of Leica Camera AG.

105mm F2.8 MACRO EX DG OS HSM Protective Cover, Hood (LH680-03) supplied. Available for Canon EF, Nikon F & SIGMA SA.

Sigma Imaging (UK) Ltd, 13 Little Mundells, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL7 1EW | 01707 329999 | sales@sigma-imaging-uk.com | sigma-imaging-uk.com

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British Photographic Industry News February & March 2021  

A shot in the arm for the UK photo trade. The longest running photographic industry magazine returns with an issue examining how the trade i...

British Photographic Industry News February & March 2021  

A shot in the arm for the UK photo trade. The longest running photographic industry magazine returns with an issue examining how the trade i...