Legendary electronic flash lighting manufacturer, Dynalite announced on its website that it had filed for liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Dynalite closes its doors website announcement 1/18/2020
The closing announcement on Dynalite’s website home page.

50 years of Dynalite

Dynalite began in 1971 when Paul Schwartz, an electronics engineer, teamed up with photographer Ed Lambert and silent investor John Poremba to create a rugged, dependable and, most importantly, portable electronic flash power pack and heads.

Shwartz designed the original electronics including the non-arching connectors that allow heads to be added or removed from a powered-up pack safely. That circuit was so robust that, while it has been updated with modern technology, it remains the basis for every pack Dynalite has made.

Over the life of the company, the insides of Dynalite packs and heads have evolved while the control layout has been mostly the same for the last three decades. A photographer who bought a new pack recently knows it will work the same way one that has been in the studio for 20 years or more.

Small and powerful

Dynalite was instantly popular with location photographers. Whether the subject was a celebrity or a politician destined to grace a magazine cover or an ocean side beach resort showcasing its architectural interior elegance, Dynalite was likely on the scene.

Photographers across the country adopted the super light packs that easily handled the rigors of going on location. Whether piled in the back of a van or checked as luggage on airlines, Dynalite gear stood up to the abuse travel wreaks on equipment that, before the introduction of their system, was considered to be quite delicate.

The cover of the 2014 Dynalite product catalog. Photographs by Kevin Ames
2014 Dynalite catalog cover with photos by Kevin Ames

Workhorse still today

While Dynalite the company is gone, the legacy lives on with dependable power packs and heads that have been in use for years if not decades. Photographers that own Dynalite gear (I’m one of them) can depend on the quality and durability for lighting scenes either in the studio or on location.

A personal note

I have used Dynalite lighting gear for a good portion of my career. It has never failed me no matter where I have been or how many photos — tens of thousands if not more — I have called upon the packs to light. I still use my Dynalites and will continue to do so.

One of the trends that seem to be growing in photography today is to avoid the work of using electronic flash in the form of power packs and heads while opting for much more expensive (per watt/second) speedlights and other battery-powered flashes. Thanks to cameras that handle low light with high ISO, low noise capability, the need for lots of flash power is waning. While this makes me sad, I understand that the times have moved on to the use of small flashes and continuous LED lights for stills and video. One of my secret joys is the Dynalite heads I have can use 650-watt modeling lights that work very well for video.

I have also had the fun of working with Peter Poremba, who ran Dynalite for the last few decades in trade shows and writing instruction manuals for the Baja B series flash systems.

For me at least, Dynalite will be missed even as it lives on in my studio and countless others.

The Baja B-5 Dynalite's last flash
Dynalite’s Baja B5 was the company’s last product introduced.