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The Photogenic Promise

Photogenic knows how important it is to have reliable equipment. When you’re with a client on a shoot is no time to find a weak link with your gear. Time is too valuable, and shoots are too short as it is. We believe we manufacture the best lighting equipment and we stand behind our products, our service, and you—our customer.

  • PowerLights (Solair & PL2 Series) – Two years from date of purchase
  • StudioMax III – One year from date of purchase
  • PhotoMaster & FlashMaster – Two years from date of purchase
  • Matrix – Limited 2-Year Warranty
  • ION – Two years from the date of purchase
  • Flashtubes, light stands, light accessories, light cases, posing tables & posing stools – One year from date of purchase
  • Modeling lamps – Covered for initial use failures only
  • Umbrellas, soft boxes & reflectors – 30 days from date of purchase
  • Master Rail – Two years from date of purchase
  • Special-engineered products and service parts – 90 days from date of manufacture/repair


Photogenic warrantees that products are free from defects in materials and workmanship and will repair or replace, at our choice, any defective products. This warranty does not cover damages caused by shipping, product abuse or use other than the intended photographic applications. Any product modifications will render this warranty void.

The exclusive remedy under any and all warrants and guarantees expressed or implied is limited to repair and/or replacement as provided herein. Photogenic shall not be liable for damages from loss of equipment use, consequential or incidental.

Service and repair

Repair Estimate/Request Form

Please read the following information. It will help us provide you with quality service and the best possible turn-around times. If you have questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our Repair Department at (800) 682-7668. You may also e-mail us at

Our Repair Department hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday through Friday, Central Standard Time.

Talon Light stands, Photogenic and Photogenic Eclipse umbrellas, flash tubes, modeling lamps, Chameleon reflectors, parabolic reflectors and most accessory items cannot be economically repaired. Products under warranty that cannot be repaired will be replaced. The customer should replace products out of warranty that cannot be repaired.

Certain discontinued or obsolete power supplies and light units cannot be repaired by Photogenic. For independent technicians who repair discontinued products, please go to the list of authorized service agents.

If you are not sure that a product can be repaired, please contact our Repair Department for verification.

Warranty repairs must be accompanied by the proof of purchase or a copy of the sales receipt and the completed The Repair Estimate/Request Form. The products will be examined by our technicians, replaced or repaired and shipped back to you at no charge. The repaired product will be warranted for a period of 90 days from the date of purchase or the remainder of the new product warranty whichever is longer.

All items for repair must be sent to Photogenic Professional Lighting prepaid. All products repaired under warranty will be returned at Photogenic’s expense by normal ground transportation.

All out-of-warranty items sent for repair must be sent to Photogenic Professional Lighting prepaid. Products repaired out of warranty will be returned at the customer’s expense.

The Repair Estimate/Request Form must be completed and returned with all warranty and out of warranty repairs

Send repairs to:

Photogenic Professional Lighting
Repair Department
1268 Humbracht Circle
Bartlett, Illinois 60103-1631

Please do send monolights, power supplies, light units or other items that are repairable. Complete the Repair Estimate/Request Form for both in and out of warranty repairs. Make certain to complete the “Description of problem(s)” section.

Please do not send discontinued or obsolete items that cannot be repaired. Please do not send flash tubes, modeling lamps, reflectors, power cords or sync cords, unless you think these items are part of the problem and you cannot test them.

Return the item to be repaired in its original packaging. If you do not have the original packaging, ship the unit in a strong carton with 3″ or more packing material surrounding the item. Please do not use packing “peanuts”. Peanuts and similar materials can break up and go through the vents on a monolight or power supply possibly causing additional problems. Remember to include the Repair Estimate/Request Form.

All out-of-warranty repairs will receive an estimate before the repair is started. There is a $35.00 evaluation charge. If you approve the estimate, the $35.00 evaluation charge is waived. If you want the item to be repaired without an estimate, write the following statement in the special instructions section of the Repair Estimate/Request Form. “This repair is preapproved up to $____________ including shipping charges and taxes”. Sign the statement and include your credit card number, expiration and three digit (four digits AMEX) security number on the back of the card.

An estimate is the approximate cost to repair the product. Occasionally, our technicians may find unforeseen problems that can cause the repair cost to exceed the estimate. We will notify you as soon as possible if the repair cost exceeds the estimate.

For an additional charge of $35.00, Photogenic can repair your unit and return it to you within two business days from the date of receipt. Please notify us that you need rush service before you ship the product. Mark the carton and Repair Estimate/Request Form “RUSH REPAIR”.

All repairs are payable by check or credit card, and are subject to shipping charges and applicable sales taxes.

All out-of-warranty repairs made by Photogenic Professional Lighting have a 90 day warranty from the date of the repair. Repairs made under warranty have the same 90 day warranty or the remainder of the new product warranty whichever is longer.

We have a select inventory of refurbished monolights and power supplies that have been returned to us, put throught the production process, and then again retested to ensure they meet all original factory specifications.
Contact our Repair Department for more information on available units for sale.

For more information or questions about service and repair, please contact us at:
Photogenic Professional Lighting
Repair Department
1268 Humbracht Circle
Bartlett, IL 60103-1631

Phone: (630) 830-2500
Fax: (630) 830-2525

General FAQ’s

Yes. Solair PowerLights , PL2 PowerLights and StudioMax lights all have built in optical slaves. When you trigger your main light with a sync cord or wireless triggering device, the flash from the main light will trigger your secondary lights. Many photographers are using Photogenic Solair PL500’s or PowerLight PL1250’s as main and fill lights, and StudioMax lights as background, hair and accent lights.

Many of our dealers rent Photogenic lights. You may also have studios in your area that rent space and also rent lights. Renting is an excellent way to try Photogenic lights to find out which are best suited to your work and style.

The beam candle power seconds (BCPS) measurement of a flash unit is the most accurate way to determine light output. The higher the BCPS, the greater the light output. However, BCPS will change depending on which reflector is used. The reflector’s angle of illumination and finish will increase or decrease the BCPS. Generally, the narrower the angle, the higher the BCPS, and the shinier the finish the higher the BCPS. If you are comparing flash units made by different manufacturers, the most accurate method is to make a bare bulb BCPS comparison rather than a reflector comparison. Photogenic lists the BCPS measurements for our lights with bare bulb, seven reflectors and three Eclipse umbrellas. Unfortunately, not all flash manufacturers will give you BCPS measurements.

The next best method to determine output is guide number. However, guide numbers are not nearly as precise as BCPS. The standard for establishing a guide number is to point an incident flash meter at the center of a light source’s beam from a distance of 10 feet. Set the ISO on the meter to 100. Trigger the light and record the exposure as an f number. Add a zero to the f number to obtain the guide number. For example, if the exposure is f /16 the guide number is 160. If the exposure is f /16.5, move the decimal point one place to the right and the guide number becomes 165 Using the guide number to set the aperture with the light 10 feet from the subject, should provide a properly exposed image. The problem is that there is no definition of “properly exposed image”. If a manufacturer thinks that proper exposure is one f stop under exposed, the guide number will be one f stop higher than it should be. Consequently, two flash units with the same light output can have two completely different guide numbers. In our example the guide number for an accurate exposure is 160 (f /16), and the guide number for the inaccurate exposure is 220 or f /22). Which flash unit would you buy? The best answer is to take a flash meter to your dealer and determine the accuracy of the guide number. In addition to BCPS output, the Photogenic instruction manuals will also give you accurate guide numbers for our lights with bare bulb and all of the reflectors.

The least accurate way of determining flash light output is watt seconds. The watt second rating of a flash unit simply indicates the amount of electrical energy the power supply can store over a temporary period of time. There is no direct correlation between watt seconds and light output. Light output is affected by the electronic design of the flash unit, cable length, flash tube and reflector efficiency. Watt second ratings will put you in the power level ballpark, but will not tell you much about light output or light quality.

True watt seconds measure the actual number of watt seconds a flash unit is capable of storing. Effective watt seconds is a term that is used in an attempt to make you believe a flash unit is more powerful than it actually is. The seller of a flash unit advertises that the light is rated at 800 effective watt seconds and 300 true watt seconds. The implication is that the light is three times more powerful than other 300 ws flash units. In fact, the unit is only 300 watt seconds, but by using a highly polished reflector the light output can be increased by about one f stop which would be equivalent to a 600 watt second unit. By inflating the guide number by 1/3 f stop, the output is claimed to be 800 ws. Since there is no direct relationship between watt seconds and light output, effective watt seconds is not an accurate method of defining actual light output or a flash units ability to store electrical energy.

Constant color temperature is particularly important if you are shooting digital. Digital cameras are extremely sensitive to minute shifts in the color temperature of your lights. It is important to understand that every time you change the flash power level on a flash unit, you also change the color temperature of the light. The current standard allows for a maximum deviation of 200 degrees Kelvin before you begin to see significant shifts in color. Conventional electronic flash units, without constant color temp., can have color temperature deviations of more than 650 degrees Kelvin from full power to 1/32 power.

For all practical purposes, if you have a one f stop difference between your main and fill light, the color shift probably will not be noticeable or can be easily cleaned up in your digital darkroom. However, if the main light is at full power, the fill light at 1/2 power, the background light is at 1/16 power and the hair or accent light is at 1/32 power, you may experience extreme variations in color. This will be apparent as a series of color crossovers that either cannot be neutralized, or will take a tremendous amount of time to clean up in the digital darkroom.

Constant color temperature lights are specifically designed to minimize shift in color temperature caused by changes in power levels. The Photogenic Solair and StudioMax III Constant Color lights will have a color temperature change of 50 degrees Kelvin over a six f stop range, and for the Solair lights a change of 150 degrees Kelvin over an eight f stop range. This is well below the maximum deviation standard of 200 degrees Kelvin.

They are both the same. The concept was developed by William Thompson, Lord Kelvin. When you heat a “black body” (a piece of carbon or black iron), the color of the object becomes cooler as the temperature increases. A one degree change in Kelvin is the same as a one degree change in Celsius. The Kelvin scale starts at 0 which is the same as -273° C. The light from a candle is about 1500K, tungsten photo floods and quartz lamps about 3200 to 3400K, sunlight or white light and electronic flash are about 5500K and blue sky is about 9000 to 12000K.

Daylight film is balanced to about 5500K which is the same for the light from most electronic flash units with color-corrected flash tubes. If you are shooting film you can compensate for differences in color temperature by using color correction filters over the lens or over the light source. Digital cameras will allow you, in most instances, to make color corrections by changing your white balance. However, you cannot mix light sources without filtering one of the sources to prevent color crossovers. If you use flash as the main light and a 3200° incandescent light as the fill, the highlights will be neutral and the shadows will be yellow orange.

To lock the unit: 1. Set the Power Level and modeling light level, turn the unit off. 2. Press and hold the “Track Set” button, and turn the unit on. When the “Adjust” and “Full On/Off” LED’s are illuminated, release the “Track Set” button. 3. Quickly press the “1/10 Up”, then “1/10 Down” and then “1/10 Up” buttons.

To unlock the unit: Repeat instructions 1 and 2 above, and 3. Quickly press the “1/2 Up”, then “1/2 Down” and then “1/2 Up” buttons.

You can order any of our Solair and PowerLight models with a top mount by adding T to the end of the part number. For example, the PL1250DR becomes PL1250DRT. Monolights in general should not be mounted upside down. Doing so puts additional stress on the capacitor vents that can cause premature failure.

We do have some manuals available for discontinued lighting systems. Please see our Manual page for a listing and links to available manuals.

Service repair and parts faq’s

Repair times vary depending on the time of year and the number of units being sent in for service. It can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. Rush service is available for a nominal fee.

Warranty repairs must be accompanied by the proof of purchase or a copy of the sales receipt and the completed The Repair Estimate/Request Form. The products will be examined by our technicians, replaced or repaired and shipped back to you at no charge. The repaired product will be warranted for a period of 90 days from the date of purchase or the remainder of the new product warranty whichever is longer.

Photogenic repairs all products manufactured or distributed by us that can be economically serviced. In some cases it is less expensive to replace the product than to repair it. If the item is under warranty we will replace it at no charge. If the item is out of warranty and cannot be repaired, purchase a new product to replace it. Here is a partial list of items that cannot be repaired: umbrellas, Chameleon reflectors, soft boxes Talon light stands, cases. If you are not sure if the product can be repaired, call our Service and Repair department at 1-800-682-7668.

If you are looking for parts that are not in the catalog, you can contact our authorized service centers in your area or order directly from us by calling 1-800-682-7668.

Photogenic does repair some older model lights, but not all. Some of our authorized service centers across the country specialize in repairing older lights. Or try a photographic equipment repair center near you.

Dealer FAQ’s

Authorized Photogenic dealers will provide you with competitive pricing. Our dealers are also great resources for information about all Photogenic products.

Yes. Currently, we have dealers in Canada. However, some of our dealers in the U.S. will ship internationally.

It is best if you purchase Photogenic products from a dealer. Our dealers can provide you with information and equipment recommendations. Most importantly, many Photogenic dealers offer discounted pricing on our products. If a product or part is not in stock at our dealers, or the dealer can’t order it, you can place a credit card order by calling us at 1-800-682-7668. All direct sales will be at our suggested retail prices.

Master Rail

We recommend your ceilings be a minimum height of 10 feet.

Our MasterRail planners can help you design ways to adapt other accessories to your light lifts. However, the maximum weight a light lift can take is 18 pounds.

Light lifts will contract to about 2 feet, and expand to about 8 feet.

For more information, please visit the Master Rail More Information page.

StudioMax Battery Operated Monolights

Yes. The StudioMax III monolights have four battery operated models: the AKC320B, the AKC320BR and the AKC160B and the AKC160BR. These 320 ws and 160 ws lights feature constant color temperature, AC and DC (battery) operation, 100 watt modeling lamp and color-corrected flash tube. The BR models have the added benefit of built-in radio triggering that works with the RTT radio transmitter.

A fully charged battery in good operating condition will give you 150 full power flashes from the StudioMax III AKC320B and BR 320 Ws models, and 200 full power flashes from the StudioMax III AKC160B and BR 160 Ws models.

You can use other 12-volt batteries, however some battery manufacturers use non-standard connectors on their battery cables, so it may be necessary to purchase an adapter. Please contact your Photogenic dealer for information about batteries that will work with StudioMax lights.

Make sure the battery is charged and installed correctly. Turn off both the battery and the monolight. Connect the battery cable to the battery and light. Make sure your connections are firmly in place. Move the flash/charge switch on the battery to FLASH. Move the three-position power switch on the light to FLASH. Now, turn the battery power switch to ON. This should power up your light. For more information see the Battery Manual on our website.

Check with any dealer that sells the Photogenic AKB-1 battery packs for our StudioMax lights.

Triggering Photogenic Flash Units

Since July of 2008 all monolights manufactured by Photogenic will trigger at 5 volts. (Lights manufactured prior to that date are higher. Please see the last question in this section for more details.)

Yes. The optional built-in PocketWizard receivers are available for all of the new Solair Lights and PowerLights. The big advantages are no more sync cords, and the built-in receivers never need batteries. All of our lights that are not radio ready will work with the standard PocketWizard receivers and transmitters. Your Photogenic dealer can supply you with all PocketWizard products.

With the exception of the analog-control PL1250 light, all Photogenic Solair and PL2 PowerLights are available with built-in PocketWizard receivers. Add the PocketWizard transmitter and you’re radio ready. You can also purchase PocketWizard transmitters and receivers from your Photogenic dealer and attach the receivers to your existing lights.

If your camera does not have a PC connection, your Photogenic dealer can provide you with a hot shoe-to-PC adapter. Connect the sync cord to the light and then to the adapter mounted on your camera. All our lights have built-in optical slaves, so instead of using the sync cord, you can trigger the lights  with your on-camera flash unit. If you have through-the-lens metering, be sure to turn it off or you will trigger the lights prematurely. You can also use infrared or radio remote triggering devices.

We recommend wireless triggering when using any non-dedicated electronic flash with digital cameras. The reason is that in some cameras, line noise from the sync cord is not filtered out and can cause image distortion. For best results, we recommend radio remote triggering devices.

Our older flash units have trigger voltages between 12 and 15 volts. To be on the safe side we recommend wireless triggering or using a trigger voltage reduction device with a sync cord.

Reflectors, Umbrellas and Soft Boxes

A parabolic reflector is a bell shaped reflector that attaches to the front of your light. Parabolic reflectors have special qualities that are impossible to duplicate with soft boxes and umbrellas. Parabolics are extremely directional which means you can control lighting patterns with pinpoint precision. Parabolics are the only lighting accessories that effectively allow you to “feather” or work off the center of the light. Feathering helps create a heightened three dimensional effect by introducing specular highlights into the image.

A scrim is a light modifier that reduces light output. Scrims work like neutral density filters. They reduce the amount of illumination, but they do not soften the light. Scrims are made of metal screen, usually stainless steel, and won’t burn up when used with hot lights.

Umbrellas have an angle of illumination of about 120 degrees. Soft boxes are much more directional and have an angle of about 40 to 60 degrees. White umbrellas produce a very broad soft light. Silver umbrellas are also a broad light source, but are more contrasty. Silver umbrellas are 1/2 to 1 f stop brighter than a white umbrella. Soft boxes also produce soft light but the angle of illumination is much narrower and much more directional. Umbrellas can be used for everything from individual portraits to large groups. Soft boxes are best for individual portraits, smaller group shots and still lifes. The closer umbrellas and soft boxes are to the subject, the softer the illumination.

White umbrellas will diffuse your light, and make it softer. Silver umbrellas have more contrast, and will be about one f stop brighter than white umbrellas.

The cover is removable so you can shoot through the umbrella using it as a large diffuser. This will give you more directional control than bouncing light off the interior of the umbrella.

The Photogenic speed ring # BPP fits all our Solair, PL2, StudioMax III and StudioMax II monolights. The speed ring also works our older PL06, PL375, PL750, PL1500, PL1875 monolights, PhotoMaster light units PM2A, PA8 and FlashMaster light units FM2A, FM2AU and AA12.

Yes. We also have speed rings available for Bowens, Norman and Speedotron. Speed rings from other manufacturers will often work with Photogenic soft boxes.

The embossed silver lining on all four sides is photo neutral and is designed to maximize light output. The inner baffle and outer diffuser soften the light and provide even illumination.

Soft boxes are excellent choices for all photographic applications where you need a soft and directional light source. The original soft boxes were called light banks. These were usually made of metal with a translucent white acrylic diffuser, were used with one or more light units, and were so heavy and awkward that use on location was impossible.

Soft boxes can be used as main, fill and accent lights. One classic commercial application is to add vertical or horizontal highlights to shiny or semi-glossy products. Use two narrow soft boxes (12” X 36”) on each side of a cylindrical object like a perfume bottle or hair spray can to produce a soft highlight with detail.

The size of the soft box will vary with the size of the subject. Many photographers use a 36” X 36” or 36” X 48” for most tabletop applications. For larger subjects, you can place multiple soft boxes side by side or end to end. A 24” X 36” or 36” X 36” soft box is ideal for head and shoulder portraits. A 48” X 72” is ideal for full length and small group portraits.

It sounds like you have positioned the soft box and umbrella too far from the subject. In order to achieve optimum softness, the umbrella and soft box should be as large as possible and the soft box/umbrella distance to the subject should be as follows: an umbrella should be no farther from the subject than the diameter of the umbrella. A soft box should be no farther from the subject than the width of the soft box. Diffusers help soften light, but are not nearly as important as the size of the light source and the light source to subject distance.

Flash Tubes and Modeling Lamps

Photogenic color-corrected flash tubes are daylight balanced to 5500 degrees Kelvin which is the equivalent to neutral or white light. This is particularly useful when you want to balance flash with sunlight or 5500K fluorescent light sources. Most daylight color films and digital camera daylight white balances are also set to this color temperature.

Even though flash tubes and modeling lights have long life spans, it is a good idea to have backups in the event that one is accidentally broken or damaged in the studio or while traveling.

We recommend that you use the same type of flash tube in all your lights. This will guarantee consistency of color temperature from light to light, and prevent the possibility of unwanted color crossovers.

Photogenic frosted flash tubes make an ideal directional soft light source when combined with parabolic reflectors and diffusers. They also provide softer effects when used with soft boxes and umbrellas. The frosted tubes will reduce light output by only 1/10 f stop.

No. The model lamp that came with your unit or the lamp shown in the specifications for your unit is the highest wattage lamp you can use. Using lamps other than those specified could damage the unit and will void the warranty.

Contact us at 1-800-682-7668. Our technical sales staff will let you know if replacement lamps and flash tubes are available.

No. All of our lamps and tubes work with Photogenic lights only.

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