Last month Photonicz, a California-based company, unveiled the prototype model of their PHOTONICZ ONE; “the world’s first weather-sealed LED strobe light”. Alongside several other “world’s-first” features, the remotely controlled device is said to “overpower the sun” and offer “zero recycle time”, with a flash duration of 1/50,000, at up to 30 frames per second. The PHOTONICZ ONE is promised to be not only powerful, but portable and petite, claimed to be “the smallest full feature strobe on the market”. Many of these claims have been deemed dubious or, at best, ambitious.
Meanwhile, the campaign has offered relatively little concrete evidence that demonstrates these alleged capabilities in action. Yet the flash exists still only in fledgling form. Commercial photographer and company founder, Alex Munoz, hoped to raise $84,900 by 9th October through Kickstarter so that the PHOTONICZ ONE may reach final production and assembly. Prospective and already invested backers are asked to have faith in the conviction that Photonicz will deliver on these promises as soon as the necessary funding is achieved. Against skepticism, Munoz maintains that the company will turn out a flash that is “radically different”;
“…from the bottom up, we’ve built an entirely new platform from which we’ve already stepped beyond the capabilities of any other camera light”.
Nonetheless, if the barrage of allegations made against Munoz with respect to a previous campaign are taken seriously, the expectation that we put our faith in this one proves to be a very tall order indeed. This concerns the PRIOLITE ULTRA MBX500-HS launch of August last year; a project similarly led by Munoz and in relation to which he is described as being “less than truthful”.
The Priolite campaign initially appeared a success, raising over $100k in crowd funding — well over the designated target. However, many customers complained that their products were very late in being delivered, while others protested that theirs didn’t arrive at all. Sources say that in some cases backers pledged thousands of dollars, with nothing to show for it in return. A number of those involved have written in to Lighting Rumours to express their outrage over the operation and evince why, in their opinion, Munoz cannot be trusted.
Ricky Perrone, who backed Munoz’s initial Kickstarter and has since replaced him as America’s Priolite distributor, described the previous campaign as having been “misleading and wrong”. Munoz “intentionally gave the impression that his Kickstarter campaign was run by Priolite manufacturing, that the funding would provide money for research and development, it was not and did not.”
Perrone said: “There is no circumstance under which I would feel confident backing a campaign run by Alex Munoz, I’m actually incredibly surprised he feels comfortable showing his face in the photography and Kickstarter communities again in this way”.
The manager of Priolite in Germany, Joachim Renschke, has offered comments that cast Munoz in a similar light.
“Although we at Priolite asked Alex to give us the complete information what orders to which customers in which countries are available to prepare shipments, Alex refused to do so which caused problems during the shipment stage”.
“From a certain time on, Alex did not respond to any of our emails, he simply disappeared”.
Priolite describe being “very disappointed” by Munoz’s actions and terminating their relationship accordingly.
Meanwhile, Munoz has denied having any such kind of responsibility for the events that transpired. Munoz told Lighting Rumours:
“The Priolite management was driving and involved in the campaign from the beginning and they set all the important benchmarks, with me working only as a facilitator and consultant.
“I solely relied on their representations and assurances for anything from availability and production timelines to functionality and features. I am not the manufacturer, designer or even involved in management, so any delay or misrepresentation about the campaign is solely Priolite’s fault.”
Munoz insists that he wants to “do right by photographers” and, in light of his run-in with Priolite, he has learned that “if you want to get something done right, do it yourself!” Munoz adds to this by outlining how, as a sign of his commitment to the Photonicz project, he has “invested his own money well beyond what [the] Kickstarter campaign is looking to collect”.
“I am confident that we will deliver on time, because production for several parts has already started, and we know that PHOTONICZ ONE is everything we claim it to be and then some.”
In fact, in a recent update, Photonicz reported that they are ahead of their original schedule, setting February 2018 as the estimated date for distribution. However, it seems that Munoz’s newly-adopted ‘do-it-yourself’ policy may be materialised, for pledge figures tell a different story. The campaign has just finished and the PHOTONICZ ONE was nearly $70,000 short of its funding target.