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Brands, Marque; do they matter? (Part I)

An experience with a particular photography equipment brand recently has inspired me to talk about this. So, do products of a particular brand mean you will usually (or always) get better quality products even if most famous brands price their products at a premium?

Well.. that question may not be very clear to some, lemme try to make an analogue, “Does a Mercedes-Benz 2.0 priced at USD30k is usually better than a Honda 2.0 priced at USD20k?”. Yes, that is a loaded question, what is “better”? Who decides what “better” means? The answer is simple, “better” is defined by the person that is buying the particular product.

Alright… time to go back to the where I began this post, brands in photography equipment. And for the purpose of this post, since I am going to write about my personal experience, “better” for me means a product that is more reliable, performs better in terms of ease of use and/or performance; in that particular order.

First lets start about Lastolite (oops… you say? :P). I present you the famous (and hopefully soon infamous) Lastolite Umbrella Boxes.

Lastolite Umbrella Box

Lastolite Umbrella Box

A couple of years ago, I decided to upgrade my lighting capabilities as a photographer and after lots of searching in real life & Google, I came across the Lastolite Umbrella Box(es). Bought one to see if it was as good as all the hype, loved what I saw and bought 2 more.

Lastolite Umbrella Box

Lastolite Umbrella Box

They were good when they were new but all 3 Umbrella Boxes I bought are now in pieces, in tatters… saying that they had holes in them would insult the word “hole”, they are now torn, broken. Items that I spent at least 3x as much compared to no-brand Made-in-China umbrellas are now nearly completely unusable

To add insult to injury, the 4x no-brand Made-in-China umbrellas had NO tears nor holes in them.

So is a known brand or marque important for photographic equipment? NO and I will tell you more about another brand in Part II. *wink* *wink*

p.s. its fortunate the Lastolite is now bought over by Vistek and is under Manfrotto Lighting, the Umbrella Box has also been discontinued,

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