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Portable Elinchrom Question
  
 
Greg Mason
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Alright, so I'm hoping for a bit of help from any of you who know the Elinchrom product line.

I currently own some BXRi 500s, use them often and they work great but I'm finding more and more I'm needing something more portable.

The two key things I would like out of my strobes would be a. power control (I find the BXRi's can be a little too much power even at lowest setting) and portability.

Any suggestions? I'm not opposed to buying an older system either (used market has always been my friend). These would mostly be used for individual/creative portraiture and potentially small groups.

Thanks in advance!

Greg



Nov 11, 2017 at 04:02 AM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Hi Greg!

I would recommend the ELB 400 kit or if your on a budget the Living Light Kit which is the older version (in terms of lighting it's a bargain)

You will get a minimum output of 7ws or 8.5ws (for the older kit) opposed to the 15ws of current BXRi 500.

These kits are head/pack systems which mean you can distribute the weight properly.

This, of course, depends on how much power and how many lights you need. If you need more power there is always the ELB 1200 but it's also bigger and has a full-sized head/mount.

I use ELB 400's and ELB 1200's the ELB can do a lot of stuff, the ELB 1200 is nice to have when you need the power, such as using it with a larger modifier, greater distance from the subject etc.




Nov 11, 2017 at 08:44 AM
Greg Mason
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Hi Paul,

Thanks for taking the time to reply!

So if I'm understanding correctly, the ELB 400 kit will roughly halve my min. output, which is great. I would be sacrificing a little on my max output (500vs400) but honestly I've never had a time once where I had my 500's at max power for a job so I'm not really worried.

Plus I can always buy another head if I need.

Portability-wise, you are happy with them? The more I'm looking at this kit the more I'm liking it. My only concern, or point I will need to research is battery life since I would be powering 2-3 heads likely.




Nov 11, 2017 at 05:05 PM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Yes, that's correct.

For me who shoot on location most of the time they have been invaluable, I really like the size, handling and UI.

You can see a little on how I use them on my Instagram

The battery life is quite good, but I do have a couple of extra batteries for longer shoots.

What do you shoot mostly and what modifiers do you use?



Edited on Nov 11, 2017 at 09:15 PM · View previous versions



Nov 11, 2017 at 06:53 PM
Greg Mason
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Portable Elinchrom Question


That's awesome. Great info.

I'm mostly shooting head shots, creative sports portraiture in the future. Modifiers will be fairly simple - strip boxes and maybe a deep octa or beauty dish. So I think the 400w will be great.

I'm going to start looking for a ELB kit.



Nov 11, 2017 at 08:48 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Portable Elinchrom Question


I use the Quadra system for corporate head shots and sometimes for groups too. For head shots I'm rarely higher than 4.0 (100Ws) on the main light using the 100cm Deep Octa with full diffusion. I aim for f/8 at ISO 200. Along with overall quality and reliability, I really like the super small Quadra head, which is easy to use on compact booms (such as the Manfrotto convertible light stand boom) with minimal counterweighting (the pricy Promediagear Quadra cage is a great way to directly and securely attach the pack to the stand with a superclamp, which lets it double as a counterweight).

The lithium battery that comes with the ELB kit will give you roughly 2-3x more usable flashes per charge than the SLA battery supplied with the older Quadra RX pack in the Living Light kit. Of course, you can buy the Elinchrom lithium battery separately and use it with the RX pack in place of the SLA, but it's expensive.

A nice feature of the ELB/Quadra is you can run the pack while the battery is charging. I found this extremely useful for long running sessions that were pretty much non-stop. I charge the battery attached to the pack with a Paul C Buff Vagabond Mini lithium battery powered inverter. Of course, this is one more thing to have to carry, but it will significantly increase the runtime of the system, is considerably less expensive than the Elinchrom lithium battery, which itself is only 4.1Ah (about half that of the Vagabond Mini's battery) and can be used for many other devices (might also work with your BXRis).

I got into the Quadra system about 8 years ago and have been generally very happy with it. That said, a lot has changed in the lower end of the lighting equipment market during that time. Would I still get the Quadra today? Difficult to say. Knowing that I typically only need about 100Ws for head shots, theoretically I could get away with something like the Godox AD200 unit. Not just because it's much less expensive (at least compared to the ELB), but also for the simplicity of it being fully self-contained for very fast set up and easy transportation.

Note also that the ELB kit is typically sold with the HS head (at least by Vistek here in Canada). The HS head is great if you plan to do much hyper-sync style shooting at shutter speeds higher than normal sync speeds with the Skyport HS transmitter. But for normal use at or lower than the maximum normal sync speed, the very long flash duration of the HS head might be suboptimal because it will not be very effective at stopping subject motion and/or camera shake if you work hand held. The S/Pro head would be better here, or the A/Action head would be best in this respect, but unusable for hyper-sync style shooting.



Nov 14, 2017 at 07:23 AM
Daan B
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Another vote for the ELB 400. For overpowering the sun you don't need the 1200 version, just the HS head and trigger on the ELB 400. Very versatile system with the 3 different heads and trigger.


Nov 14, 2017 at 11:09 AM
 

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Daan B
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Portable Elinchrom Question


rscheffler wrote:
I got into the Quadra system about 8 years ago and have been generally very happy with it. That said, a lot has changed in the lower end of the lighting equipment market during that time. Would I still get the Quadra today? Difficult to say. Knowing that I typically only need about 100Ws for head shots, theoretically I could get away with something like the Godox AD200 unit. Not just because it's much less expensive (at least compared to the ELB), but also for the simplicity of it being fully self-contained for very fast set up and easy transportation.


For inside shoots a speedlight and radio wireless trigger (like the Godox AD200 or even Canon speedlight system) will suffice. You can use TTL too. If I need to work fast and mobile, I prefer such a system over the ELB 400. I'll basically only use an umbrella in these cases because they are easy to attach and small/light to transport.




Nov 14, 2017 at 11:16 AM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Daan B wrote:
Another vote for the ELB 400. For overpowering the sun you don't need the 1200 version, just the HS head and trigger on the ELB 400. Very versatile system with the 3 different heads and trigger.


Well this, of course, depends on a lot of factors, but mainly on the modifier and distance between the subject and the light.

The ELB 1200 certainly gives you a lot more freedom in overpowering the sun.

I do agree however that the ELB 400 is one of the most versatile systems available for location shooting.



Nov 14, 2017 at 11:50 AM
Daan B
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Fotografpaul wrote:
Well this, of course, depends on a lot of factors, but mainly on the modifier and distance between the subject and the light.

The ELB 1200 certainly gives you a lot more freedom in overpowering the sun.

I do agree however that the ELB 400 is one of the most versatile systems available for location shooting.


I was assuming it is for portraits with the lights not far away (within 1 tot 3 meters). For (small) groups I would want more lights than one anyway. The ELB1200 of course is great too and gives more freedom in full sun if you need it.



Nov 14, 2017 at 01:05 PM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Daan B wrote:
I was assuming it is for portraits with the lights not far away (within 1 tot 3 meters). For (small) groups I would want more lights than one anyway. The ELB1200 of course is great too and gives more freedom in full sun if you need it.


Even with portraits at that distance, you're limited in choice of modifiers with 424ws, if you want to use the flash as a key light that is. Using it for fill flash is another thing altogether.

But of course, this depends on how and what you shoot, I.E Ron mentions he rarely needs more then 100ws for his headshots.





Nov 14, 2017 at 02:09 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Yes, that's true. Only around 100Ws but that's indoors, of course. As mentioned in another thread, I recently used the ELB/Quadra in the Deep Octa with only the internal diffuser as the main light outdoors for individual, couples and smaller group photos, using the HS capability (with HS head), shooting against late afternoon sun, using the sun as the rim/hair light. For those I was between half and full power at ISO 100 1/2000 f/2 or ISO 100 1/500 f/4.

I think with efficient light modifiers you can get away with 424Ws outdoors, even at some distance. Some guys like the Deep Octa, either 70cm or 100cm as a portable alternative to beauty dishes. I have both Deep Octas and they seem to be good at throwing light a reasonable distance while maintaining pleasing light quality. There are also the Maxi and High Performance reflectors, but I haven't tried them yet.

I'd love to try the ELB 1200 but for my typical uses it's too high a price point. Obviously there's the benefit of more light, but I think I'd value it more for faster recycling at quarter to half power than the ~2 seconds of the ELB at full power. TBH, I find the on-paper specs of the Profoto D2 500 extremely appealing - very short recycle times, short flash duration and the ability to shoot 3-4 frames at high frame rate when at ~quarter power. But not so crazy about the recessed flash tube, size, weight and price. Of course it also requires wall power (apparently it'll run off a PCB inverter, but at reduced recycle speeds).

In the above mentioned outdoor situation I'm pretty sure the AD200 in HSS mode would have been challenged supplying sufficient power and would have quickly triggered the thermal protection within 30-40 shots (I was shooting pretty much as quickly as the pack would recycle for several hundred images). Sticking with Godox, in such a situation you'd be looking at their AD600, but I think it too has a specific thermal protection threshold that may be lower than the ELB 400/Quadra, but I need to double check the specs.

For Greg's possible uses, such as sports portraits, these tend to often be 4-5 light set-ups (key, 2-3 rim/hair lights and maybe on the background too). While you can run a couple heads off an ELB/Quadra pack, keep in mind the power split is asymmetrical and many tend to run one head per pack. It would be a hassle, for example, to run two strip rim lights off one pack if desiring each to provide equal light quality on the subject. Realistically you'd probably be looking at up to four packs: one for key, one each for the strip/rim lights and one could handle both a hair light and background light. For my basic business H&S shots I do a key on a dedicated pack and a second pack handles hair and background. Fill is handled by a reflector.



Nov 14, 2017 at 07:36 PM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Portable Elinchrom Question


rscheffler wrote:
Yes, that's true. Only around 100Ws but that's indoors, of course. As mentioned in another thread, I recently used the ELB/Quadra in the Deep Octa with only the internal diffuser as the main light outdoors for individual, couples and smaller group photos, using the HS capability (with HS head), shooting against late afternoon sun, using the sun as the rim/hair light. For those I was between half and full power at ISO 100 1/2000 f/2 or ISO 100 1/500 f/4.


Yeah gotcha 4.0 (100ws) does not do much against the sun at noon.

Yes that works, but still limited dof and for groups where some more dof might be desired ELB 1200 will give you more freedom

rscheffler wrote:
I think with efficient light modifiers you can get away with 424Ws outdoors, even at some distance. Some guys like the Deep Octa, either 70cm or 100cm as a portable alternative to beauty dishes. I have both Deep Octas and they seem to be good at throwing light a reasonable distance while maintaining pleasing light quality. There are also the Maxi and High Performance reflectors, but I haven't tried them yet.


Sure you can, but again it limits your choice of modifiers. Sometimes you donít want the hardlight of a MAXI or HP. I like the Deep octas, rarely used them with the front baffle.

I do however prefer the Litemotiv 120 over the DO 100 if have the space.

rscheffler wrote:
I'd love to try the ELB 1200 but for my typical uses it's too high a price point. Obviously there's the benefit of more light, but I think I'd value it more for faster recycling at quarter to half power than the ~2 seconds of the ELB at full power. TBH, I find the on-paper specs of the Profoto D2 500 extremely appealing - very short recycle times, short flash duration and the ability to shoot 3-4 frames at high frame rate when at ~quarter power. But not so crazy about the recessed flash tube, size, weight and price. Of
...Show more

Yes the ELB 1200 is of course an investment, to me and for how I work it was a no brainer to get them. I agree the recycling is very fast at lower power settings, which is welcome of course.

Profoto is not an option for me, If I were to get something else then Elinchrom it would be Broncolor. Profotoís recessed tube is dealbreaker and their B1 is not a good design for my location work.



rscheffler wrote:
In the above mentioned outdoor situation I'm pretty sure the AD200 in HSS mode would have been challenged supplying sufficient power and would have quickly triggered the thermal protection within 30-40 shots (I was shooting pretty much as quickly as the pack would recycle for several hundred images). Sticking with Godox, in such a situation you'd be looking at their AD600, but I think it too has a specific thermal protection threshold that may be lower than the ELB 400/Quadra, but I need to double check the specs.


The AD200 is not well suited for modifiers, just like a speedlight you need adapters etc. One benefit is the bare bulb, but still the form factor is more for strobist work then studio work on location. The rear display seems to exposed and easily broken.

rscheffler wrote:
For Greg's possible uses, such as sports portraits, these tend to often be 4-5 light set-ups (key, 2-3 rim/hair lights and maybe on the background too). While you can run a couple heads off an ELB/Quadra pack, keep in mind the power split is asymmetrical and many tend to run one head per pack. It would be a hassle, for example, to run two strip rim lights off one pack if desiring each to provide equal light quality on the subject. Realistically you'd probably be looking at up to four packs: one for key, one each for the strip/rim lights
...Show more

I never used two head on one pack to be honest, I use one pack for one head its faster to work with. 




Nov 14, 2017 at 11:28 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Portable Elinchrom Question


Fotografpaul wrote:
I do however prefer the Litemotiv 120 over the DO 100 if have the space.


I was very close to getting one. It looks like it creates beautiful light. Instead I might go with a Parabolix as a poor man's Bron Para, for the focus/defocus ability to change light spread/character. Actually, it might be possible to modify the Litemotiv to do this too, with the Parabolix focusing rod.



Nov 20, 2017 at 02:43 AM







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