Flash tubes have a remarkably short full power rated lifespan. We all generally get hugely more out of them than the ratings but that doesn't change the actual manufacturers specs.
Interesting read. Thanks for that. It completely contradicts my own no-doubt narrow though long experience, but maybe I've just been just plain lucky.
To quote the Strobist article....And it might surprise you to know that 5,000 pops is an expected life span for some flash tubes. Disappointed? I was, too. And it gets worse: some tubes are rated at 1,000 pops.
No manufacturer could survive on these figures, every sale would result in a warranty replacement. On a big day I'd easily expect 1000+ pops from 580 exII & 600 ex-rt, and sometimes 3000+ from the Einsteins in a big studio session. Comments in the Strobist post are also completely at odds with the claims.
I'd love to see some real manufacturers numbers on this, unsubstantiated Strobist editorial content doesn't necessarily establish stable facts. Like contemporary Japanese cars, I'm constantly amazed at the durability and reliability of products sold by Canon, Panasonic, Apple, Paul C Buff (US) and so on.
But flash tubes? The future looks very bright.