There has been some controversy over British studio lighting company Lencarta‘s products and their similarity to those from Jinbei, a Shanghai photographic equipment manufacturer. For example, the Lencarta Safari has a remarkable resemblance to the Jinbei RD-600 (pictured above), while the ElitePro and Digital Pioneer monolights look almost identical to each other.
Lighting Rumours got the opportunity to talk to Lencarta’s technical advisor Garry Edwards to discuss the differences between Jinbei and Lencarta studio lights.
Some people claim that Lencarta lights are merely rebadged Jinbei ones. Is this true?
This is a silly rumour, started by someone who sells rebadged lighting gear and who is trying to ‘prove’ that Lencarta is no better than his own offerings, and now taken up by various other people on flikr etc and quoted as ‘fact’. Basically, this person turned up at the Shanghai Photo Fair, decided that he wanted to buy their DP model and got a bit ****ed off when they turned him down because he couldn’t make their minimum order AND thought that he should get credit…
The fact of the matter is that Jinbei produces for a number of established brands. They do not allow rebadging, they insist that anything that is straight off the production line is sold under their own name because they want to promote their own name – apparently this is working for them, as they pretty much doubled their turnover last year. Feel free to check that yourself with their M.D., Mr. Ye.
Do Jinbei supply anything more than the cases for Lencarta products?
Lencarta uses Cases, including the rear control panel and the rear pcb (attached to the rear control panel) and also uses the fan from Jinbei. The German PerkinElmer flash tubes and the Japanese Rubicon capacitors are supplied by Lencarta to Jinbei for exclusive use in our products, so are various other technical components that frankly I don’t understand, but which are required to work with the larger number of capacitors and higher rated, 85 degree capacitors that Lencarta uses.
But aren’t the specifications of Lencarta’s lights similar to those of Jinbei’s?
I agree that the specs published by Jinbei are basically similar to the Lencarta ones, but are not the same, which is not surprising. For example, I believe that their QQ model has 4 capacitors totalling 150 joules, our SmartFlash has 9 capacitors totally 200 joules.
When it comes to the Safari, the Jinbei version has less capacitors, slower recycling and less flashes even though it uses the same battery. There is some empty space in their case, unfortunately the same case is full with the Safari, which is stopping further development at the moment.
You can buy Lencarta products within the EU direct from the company. Jinbei products can be bought from the following distributors (not a complete list):
- China, HK & Taiwan local distributor map
- Aperture Trading, Philippines
- Camera Light, Rep. South Africa
- Dynaphos, Bulgaria
- Foto Konijnenberg, Benelux
- Gadget Infinity, Hong Kong
- Photo Shop Studio, NSW Australia
- StudioGear, QLD Australia
- The Studio Outfitters, Singapore
- New York Sound, USA