Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Rumor or Truth? Inon Japan closing Inon America?


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 scott_nielsen

scott_nielsen

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 302 posts
  • Location:Maggie Valley, NC
  • Interests:Love to dive and travel. Now, I'm trying uw photography, have a lot to learn.

Posted 17 January 2009 - 05:35 AM

Rumor has it that Inon Japan is closing Inon America?????. I heard that Inon Japan may be closing it's America division. How could this be? I don't know about any of you that own an Inon but I personally want service here in the U.S.A. . I bought my first one from Ryan, Reef Photo, at a trade show and also bought the uw lens and housing for my oly 350. What a treat this was to get personal service. I used this rig for about two years and then took a a course with Cathy Church and she suggested I get a second strobe. A few months later, I took a photo course with Bonnie Pelnar and was able to "try out" a second Inon strobe through Inon America and of course you know the results, I bought it. I personally have told many people over these boards about my strobes and how much I love them. Been to several countries on dive trips and many people on the boats have asked about them and I told them where to buy. However if I have to purchase them from Japan and send them to Japan for service,etc. , I will change my mind. I think that Inon makes a great product but if they stop having Inon America, I will look for a brand that can be serviced here in the states. The customer support from Inon America is amazing. I called Steve once in a panic and he was will to help me out overnight! I also flooded my strobe once and told him the truth how it happened and he was amazed. It's one great product. OK, I'm finished ranting now, I just hope and pray that this is just rumor. I won't continue to buy if I have to send products to Japan to get them fixed, buy, etc. Scott Nielsen
PS. I own 3 D2000 Inon strobes and was going to buy a fourth for Troy's camera in Coz if he liked it. I was hoping he would be able to try one out at Bonnie's workshop but now, I'm not sure. I hope this is only rumor and Troy will be able to try one out like I did last year. Also another friend of ours, Anna, tried one out at the workshop and she bought one also. I'm sure there were others. Rant off
Camera, Nikon D300, Seatool housing, Inon Strobes.
One World, One Ocean, Let's Protect It!

#2 bruceterrill

bruceterrill

    Tiger Shark

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 536 posts

Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:31 AM

I see on Marine Camera Distributers web page that they are dumping all
their Inon stock by 30%? Buy, buy, sell, sell. . . . woohoo.
Bruce...

#3 underwatercolours

underwatercolours

    Manta Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 443 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:So. California
  • Interests:skinny dipping, sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, art galleries, classic cars, flying

Posted 17 January 2009 - 12:12 PM

We are REALLY going to miss Steve & Jolene! Mike from H2O Photo Pros has stepped in as a sponsor for the upcoming workshop in Cozumel, so now we'll be able to demo Sea & Sea, Ikelite and the Inon gear I already have. Inon America has been a wonderful company to work with and I am sorry to see them go.

#4 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 667 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 17 January 2009 - 12:55 PM

We are REALLY going to miss Steve & Jolene!

Inon America has been a wonderful company to work with and I am sorry to see them go.


I am also going to miss Steve and Jolene. Ditto your comment that Inon America has been wonderful to work with. Steve and Jolene have always responded promptly to my questions about using Inon Strobes. They have also been super people to be around both on the boat and off the boat in Cozumel.

I wish them the very best in their future endeavors.

Ellen
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#5 Scuba_SI

Scuba_SI

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1063 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indonesia
  • Interests:Owner / Manager / Handyman at NAD-Lembeh.

Posted 17 January 2009 - 04:52 PM

It may have something to do with the strength of the Yen, prices for inon have gone up by around 30% for INON products here in SE Asia, hence i moved on all my stuff and bought Sea and Sea before the prices went up for them too...


Inon America should keep copyright for all their translation work, wouldnt have been able to use my ringflash or 240 as easily without their manuals :blush:

Nauticam Rossa / 5Dmk3 / A7r / EM-1 / S110

http://vimeo.com/lembehmuckdiver

www.nad-lembeh.com: 2:1 diveguide ratio for June / July 2014!!


#6 CADiver

CADiver

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Palo Alto, California (Dive in Monterey)
  • Interests:潛水, 吃喝玩樂 !

Posted 17 January 2009 - 05:27 PM

This might be an opportunity for Reefphoto to become the importer/distributor ... and if it ever happen, we may get even better services :-)
... :blush:
Dominic
Flickr: CADiver
Blog:
Nikon D90, Tokina 10-17, Nikkor 60, 105VR, Nexus, Inon Z240 IV, Hartenberger Nano, FixLED 1000DX.

#7 MikeO

MikeO

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1025 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA, USA

Posted 19 January 2009 - 08:11 AM

There is some truth to the rumor, though . I received an e-mail earlier today about this and I'm told a press release or other communication will be released soon. My understanding is that INON Japan and their partner company have decided to cut out the middle man and assume the distributorship for the Americas directly. This is bad news for INON America (which is not a subsidiary of INON Japan) as it basically pulls the rug out from under them as a distributor putting them out of business (unless they want to continue on as just another INON retailer). Based on this information, it appears INON products will still be available, though I don't know how service will be handled or how distribution to the dealers will work. In the interim, it would appear that Marine Camera, at least, is cutting bait. If they have any Z-240s left, it would appear now's the time to get a good deal on one . . .

Mike

Mike Oelrich
Canon EOS 40D in Seatool housing, 100mm macro, Tokina 10-17, INON Z-240s.


#8 MikeO

MikeO

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1025 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA, USA

Posted 19 January 2009 - 08:19 AM

Well, since the information I received has hit UWPhoto, here is what will likely be posted on the INON America web page in the near future:

Dear valued Inon America customers and industry colleagues.

Inon America regrets to announce that as of January 9, 2009, the company is suspending sales and most other business operations, for the following reasons.

Since establishing Inon America in September 2003, we have done our best job for these 5+ years building Inon brand name recognition, reputation and market share in North, Central and South America. Despite our efforts and success, the Japanese manufacturers of Inon product, Inon, Inc. and Seanet, Inc., have suddenly and unilaterally decided to sell directly to our customer base, cutting Inon America out of the very business it created.

To implement their new distribution scheme without engaging Inon America, since November 2008, both Inon, Inc. and Seanet, Inc. in Japan have refused shipments to Inon America unless Inon America agreed to the new scheme. For this reason, Inon America has since been denied supply of product and repair parts it has needed to support its dealer base and to repair products. We know many customers had hoped for products and repairs to be completed before the 2008 holiday season, but control of the situation was out of our hands. Inon America is very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

We do not agree with Inon and Seanet's unilateral decision to sell directly from Japan to our customers. It means our employees will lose their jobs and their families will suffer, just because the manufacturers deem it time to take over now that the hard work has been done. Because the consequences are so dire, we will continue to try to work out a solution that will enable us to resume our services to you.

For those who have outstanding repairs, by now we have been in contact with you about the lack of parts support, and our ongoing efforts to resolve the situation. For those who won our 2008 monthly photo contest, we have been in contact with everyone about how to redeem your winnings, which we will honor to the best of our ability. Our goodwill to help those who have supported us will last as long as we have the means.

If you have any product, sales or other inquiries, please use the email form below.

We hope to return to service as soon as possible.

In the meantime, thank you for your support, and for the good times these past years. We hope for prompt resolution, and the chance to resume our business and earn back your patronage.


Mike

Edited by MikeO, 19 January 2009 - 08:19 AM.

Mike Oelrich
Canon EOS 40D in Seatool housing, 100mm macro, Tokina 10-17, INON Z-240s.


#9 JackConnick

JackConnick

    Orca

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1247 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Interests:Sailing, diving, women, cats

Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:24 AM

I've used their strobes and lenses for quite a while. Good products that are fairly reliable. Service from Inon America was pretty good overall. And I was an Inon Artist of the month a couple years back.

I looked into becoming a dealer a couple of times and was considering it in the near future. But Inon Japan is a very difficult company to deal with. They insist on dealers having a brick and mortar store, BUT most all of their product is sold over the internet. Particularly frustrating is that Asian internet dealers often sell way below allowable US pricing. It's not an unusual situation, it does happen with other companies. But without a US distributor enforcing pricing, it becomes impossible to compete, which possibly may have been the reason Marine Camera decided to pull the plug. Margins are very, very small for dealers and it takes a large investment to carry these lines.

Just a few random thoughts.

Jack

Jack Connick
Optical Ocean Sales.com Sea & Sea, Olympus, Ikelite, Athena, Zen, Fix, Nauticam, Aquatica, Seacam, Gates, 10Bar, Light & Motion, iTorch/I-DAS & Fantasea Line - Cameras, Housings, Strobes, Arms, Trays & Accessories
Blog & Gallery: Optical Ocean Sales Blog
Flickr Gallerys: Optical Ocean on Flickr


#10 Ryan

Ryan

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1052 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Lauderdale, FL

Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:54 AM

It is a shame that this happened, as Inon America has been great to work with.

Our store will continue to support all of the Inon products we've sold in the past, and their warranties will be fully honored. Inon Japan will honor their obligations, and our company has an excellent track record dealing with Japanese vendors, so I don't expect radically different service response times than would have been offered by Inon America dealing directly with Inon, Inc.

founder of Reef Photo & Video
manufacturer of Zen Domes

distributor of Nauticam in the Americas

 

n2theblue at reefphoto.com


#11 CADiver

CADiver

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Palo Alto, California (Dive in Monterey)
  • Interests:潛水, 吃喝玩樂 !

Posted 19 January 2009 - 02:24 PM

... If they have any Z-240s left, it would appear now's the time to get a good deal on one . . .

Mike


Nope, confirm with Tom this morning, no more Z240F ...

I agree it's really difficult for seller as well as buyer, Z240F cost over $700 in USA and less then $600 from Asia. It's a tough decision. We need Obama to get the US $ strong again, otherwise, we can buy zip for a while ...

Cheers !
Dominic
Flickr: CADiver
Blog:
Nikon D90, Tokina 10-17, Nikkor 60, 105VR, Nexus, Inon Z240 IV, Hartenberger Nano, FixLED 1000DX.

#12 wolfeeldiver

wolfeeldiver

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bellingham WA
  • Interests:Finally getting into creating underwater videos after 30 yrs of shooting stills. Now were having fun!

Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:44 PM

...we need Obama to get the US $ strong again, otherwise, we can buy zip for a while ...


Whatever... People, keep in mind that the Undewater Imaging "business" and related product lines are a very, very small specialty niche market, which is very competitive, and with too many suppliers and not enough customers to support everyone. Ask yourself, how many people in your neighborhood buy underwater camera items? Not many. Thus given the products are luxury goods, they are the type subject to demand declines especially by consumers watching their spending. I dont blame the manufacturer for selling direct and trying to keep their products competitive.

#13 loligo

loligo

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:16 PM

Rumor has it that Inon Japan is closing Inon America?????. I heard that Inon Japan may be closing it's America division. How could this be? I don't know about any of you that own an Inon but I personally want service here in the U.S.A. . I bought my first one from Ryan, Reef Photo, at a trade show and also bought the uw lens and housing for my oly 350. What a treat this was to get personal service. I used this rig for about two years and then took a a course with Cathy Church and she suggested I get a second strobe. A few months later, I took a photo course with Bonnie Pelnar and was able to "try out" a second Inon strobe through Inon America and of course you know the results, I bought it. I personally have told many people over these boards about my strobes and how much I love them. Been to several countries on dive trips and many people on the boats have asked about them and I told them where to buy. However if I have to purchase them from Japan and send them to Japan for service,etc. , I will change my mind. I think that Inon makes a great product but if they stop having Inon America, I will look for a brand that can be serviced here in the states. The customer support from Inon America is amazing. I called Steve once in a panic and he was will to help me out overnight! I also flooded my strobe once and told him the truth how it happened and he was amazed. It's one great product. OK, I'm finished ranting now, I just hope and pray that this is just rumor. I won't continue to buy if I have to send products to Japan to get them fixed, buy, etc. Scott Nielsen
PS. I own 3 D2000 Inon strobes and was going to buy a fourth for Troy's camera in Coz if he liked it. I was hoping he would be able to try one out at Bonnie's workshop but now, I'm not sure. I hope this is only rumor and Troy will be able to try one out like I did last year. Also another friend of ours, Anna, tried one out at the workshop and she bought one also. I'm sure there were others. Rant off


For Inon Japan to arbitrarily shut-out their US distributors, doesn't do much to shore up wavering consumer confidence -- especially in such a small niche market catering to underwater photographers (and in particular, given this economy). Reputation is everything in this industry, and I recall the difficulties I even had dealing with Nikon in the past (when they owned / distributed Aquatica for a brief time) -- a company with, then and now, a gargantuan presence in the US. I had every intention of purchasing additional Inon Z-240 strobes but will now put that off and, once again, go the Sea and Sea route, without any real assurance of the type of support I received from Inon America . . .

Edited by loligo, 22 January 2009 - 02:55 PM.


#14 Timmoranuk

Timmoranuk

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1169 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near NDAC, South Wales
  • Interests:Technical diving; open circuit and rebreather, U/W photography, topside photography, travel, aviation and sailing.

Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:35 PM

I am very disappointed to hear this news. I'm based in the UK and although INON America hasn't received direct business from me, I have been highly satisfied with their pro-active customer service. Jolene has been a superb ambassador for INON products. Conversely, when I have contact INON Japan I have received erroneous and misleading advice in response, for example I was told that under no circumstances would a UWL-100 and dome unit be compatible with a Canon G9 and Ike housing...

Hey INON Japan. THINK AGAIN!!!
· Canon 5D3, 7D & Nauticam housings. Sigma 15mm, Canon 16-35mm, Tokina 10-17mm, Sigma 8-16mm, Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 17-70mm, Sigma 70-200mm, Sigma 120-300mm, Canon 60mm & 100mm
· INON Z-240s & Sea & Sea YS-250 Pros
· SmallHD DP4 monitor & NA-DP4. Fisheye Aquavolt 3500s & 7000s
· Zen DP-100, DP-200 & DP-230

#15 craig

craig

    Full Moon Rising

  • Super Mod
  • 2826 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:37 PM

Inon America is/was not a division of Inon Japan nor did Inon Japan decide to shut them down. Inon simply decided to cut them out as a middle man. I also had good dealings with Inon America and consider this bad news, but I see no reason not to continue using Inon products. Fewer of them will be readily available to me I'd imagine and that's a shame.
I love it when a plan comes together.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

------
Nikon, Seatool, Nexus, Inon
My Galleries

#16 CADiver

CADiver

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Palo Alto, California (Dive in Monterey)
  • Interests:潛水, 吃喝玩樂 !

Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:39 PM

Is there any study/statistic to show the market share of strobes vendors, Ikelite vs Inon vs Sea&Sea vs all the rest etc.
And then of that Inon %, how much is coming from the North America market vs the rest of the world ?
Logically speaking, I think for a business to pull out like this, they must have seen a decline or unsustainable operation or difficulties working with the importer. For me, I rarely see people with Inon strobe around where I dive in Monterey, most with P&S camera use Iketlite strobe or Sea&Sea, then those with dSLR are usually using Ikelite & Sea&Sea. Saw a couple folks in SeaTool and Inon and never ever seen one with a Nexus or Seacam housing ! I do dive regularly. I think as long as Inon is not closing down like Oldsmobile, it should still be a candidate for prospective buyer. If you have some friends in Japan, Taiwan or Hongkong, wouldn't that help too?! Meanwhile, I think DS-160 may need to increase their production which is perhaps good for the American industry :-)

Edited by CADiver, 22 January 2009 - 02:43 PM.

Dominic
Flickr: CADiver
Blog:
Nikon D90, Tokina 10-17, Nikkor 60, 105VR, Nexus, Inon Z240 IV, Hartenberger Nano, FixLED 1000DX.

#17 craig

craig

    Full Moon Rising

  • Super Mod
  • 2826 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:59 PM

And perhaps Inon thought they could lower US prices or increase profits. What is the point in speculating?

Ikelite and Sea & Sea have been in the American market far longer than Inon. Inon started out being called cheap and flimsy here at Wetpixel and I don't see that sentiment anymore. There are plenty who use Inon strobes with very high end gear even if none of them live in Monterrey.

If you don't know, Ryan is a retailer of Inon products and he's commented already in this thread.
I love it when a plan comes together.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

------
Nikon, Seatool, Nexus, Inon
My Galleries

#18 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10642 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 23 January 2009 - 03:08 PM

I do think there is a bit of overreaction to the news. Inon Japan is restructuring how they do business here in the US. They have not withdrawn local representation but just decided to do direct distributing vs having a distributor in the US. Let's not trash them before they have a chance to prove themselves in this decision. I seriously doubt Inon will let one of their bigger markets suffer bad service.
I like Steve, Mark et al at Inon America and wish them the best of luck in settling this issue.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#19 loligo

loligo

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:15 PM

I do think there is a bit of overreaction to the news. Inon Japan is restructuring how they do business here in the US. They have not withdrawn local representation but just decided to do direct distributing vs having a distributor in the US. Let's not trash them before they have a chance to prove themselves in this decision. I seriously doubt Inon will let one of their bigger markets suffer bad service.
I like Steve, Mark et al at Inon America and wish them the best of luck in settling this issue.


I recently contacted one of Inon's local dealers in California and was apprised of that Japanese company's unreasonable and byzantine requirements to even do any future business with them in the US; as a result, that well-respected dealer will no longer carry Inon, and there is now a fire sale on those products . . .

This type practice is nothing new; other diving-related companies have pulled this crap in the past, Poseidon AB most notably. That company was once richly represented in the US diving community, that is before ridiculous quotas, strictures, and a general lack of support in the unavailability of spare parts, became the burden of prospective dealers. The result of that effort is now an ever-dwindling market share, at least here in the US . . .

Edited by loligo, 23 January 2009 - 07:15 PM.


#20 MikeO

MikeO

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1025 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA, USA

Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:47 AM

I recently contacted one of Inon's local dealers in California and was apprised of that Japanese company's unreasonable and byzantine requirements to even do any future business with them in the US; as a result, that well-respected dealer will no longer carry Inon, and there is now a fire sale on those products . . .


Along these lines, I may (or may not) have been one of the first people in the U.S. who was very interested in INON products, using first their conversion lenses with my Olympus gear (starting with a C-2020Z) and then with my DLSR gear, finally graduating up to using their strobes as well with my current setup. Early on, when I tried to get information from the company, it was a bit difficult, but it was Mark Rupert (then in Japan) who e-mailed me on behalf of Mr. Inoue. Mark and I were then in touch off and on for some time about the off and on again Caon 10D housing. Throughout, Mark was helpful and informative, even when I'm not so sure the parent company was. While I can certainly understand that some have chafed at the notion of the U.S. pricing being higher than that in Asia, there is a cost to having a distributor/repair shop that is a bit more local. We'll see what differences emerge in customer support once this sorts itself out. Perhaps INON Japan will become efficient at getting warranty work done remotely, perhaps they will make parts available to dealers directly. That being said it is, indeed, a shame that someone put a lot of hard work getting the brand and products market share in the Americas and then might be pushed aside (and into unemployment) once that work is done. If there is no way for the sides to come to a reconciliation, I do hope that INON Japan will learn a few lessons and become a bit more customer focused. They do make nice gear and it would be a shame if they managed to, in the end, screw up a good thing . . .

Mike

Edited by MikeO, 26 January 2009 - 09:50 AM.

Mike Oelrich
Canon EOS 40D in Seatool housing, 100mm macro, Tokina 10-17, INON Z-240s.