Monday, November 23, 2015

Vela 1 flash - a scam?

On September 28th I told you that I suspected the alleged Vela 1 high speed flash was a scam. It had a shipping date of sometime in October as I recall. Today looking at their website I see the telltale "sold out" label.

Basically, it seems to me that they've either come up with an idea that sounds likely to work and milked it for donations via crowdfunding. From there, there are really two realistic options.
1. A few sample models were made for paid customers then when they'd been supplied, an out of stock notice put up. The basic flash cost next to nothing to develop. Like as not, about a week to code the software then an afternoon to design the circuitry. Arduino circuits are very common so are the LEDs used. The $75,000 raised was low enough to be plausible but high enough to give the guy 2 years free living!
2. Nothing has been supplied. The guy just took the crowdfunding money and put up a "sold out" notice to put up a pretence of there actually being such a unit. In a few months I expect the site will vanish as will the site owner.

It is faintly possible that the project is genuine but at $800+ per unit, its way too expensive for something clearly made so cheaply. I can't see any high speed photographers - most of whom are sufficiently versed in electronics to build their own flashes - wanting to pay $800 for a flash when they can build their own for $150 or just convert a secondhand $25 vivitar 283.

Looking for the flash online proves it simply is not available. No effort has been put into getting it listed with any stores either physical or online. If it's a real unit then it looks very fake.

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