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Thread: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

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    New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Hi,

    I just spent 800 on Pocket Wizards. I'd given up on ebay slaves and the elinchrom skyports have a reputation for the antenna breaking off. Not really much other choice in the UK for reliable radio slaves with a UK frequency.

    I just bought a 1Ds mkIII at the same time and was commenting to a friend that I really need new strobes, my alien bees are dying but it would have to wait after all this expenditure. It then occured to me that I could have bought new strobes for the price of these pocket wizards! I've avoided Elinchrom in the past. The new BXRi's were out of my current price range (I need 4 heads) and I once bought a D-lite only to send it back 30 minutes later having found it cheaply made to the point that I couldn't live with it.

    Many years on and we now have the new D-lite 'it' models. Built far tougher, built in skyport reciever, fan, new universal brolly bracket (no having to buy elinchrom only), proportional modelling light, control of power from the camera in 3 different groups. Oh and the price of 4 heads is just 200 more than those pocket wizards I bought.

    Here's the thought. Sell the pocket wizards, I got them at the 'Focus' trade show cheaper than retail so should be able to break even at least. Sell my Alien Bees which although half are knackered, should cover the difference at least (one is brand new), buy new strobes with reliable radio slaves built in and get two new thingies (strobe/slave) for the price I'd paid for one (slave alone). Being built in these skyports neither have the annoying battery system of their external brothers or the antenna issue.

    Thoughts?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Just been told by the UK importer that the D-Lite has a thermal cuttout. That's a deal killer for me. Can't have lights cutting out on me mid wedding shooting. Sorry to have wasted your time...
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Ben,
    Before you count them out, you might want to consider how the flash are being used, with respect to number of successive pops in a short period of time. The thermal cutout that is mentioned for the D-Lite "it" model suggests it has two purposes. The primary is to turn on and regulate the fan to keep temps stable. If that fails to cool sufficiently, only then will it send an error message and prevent firing. Here is the section from the spec sheet:

    "Temperature controlled FAN management
    The cooling fan switches ON
    automatically if the internal
    temperature increases. The
    microprocessor controls the
    temperature and the fan. If the
    ventilation is blocked or the fan does
    not work, the display shows E8."

    So, if you are shooting somewhat "normally", and not high speed, the device should work and not shut the unit off. On the other hand, if you are firing several bursts back to back, it might overheat the unit, or any unit for that matter aside from maybe the big Profotos (Pro 8a) or others. I can imagine a string of 2-4 shots to capture the right moment, followed by a break before you might repeat that same shooting. Just do not know how many flashes you fire at full pop consecutively in a short time span, and for how many times you do that.

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    I do shoot fast during the dancing LJ and at full power, I need a 1-1.4 second recycle at maximum power to give you an idea. During portraits I also shoot pretty fast. I just can't risk it with a unit designed to be scared of fast hot shooting. It was never a problem with my alien bees, for 5 years now. With the Nikon SB-900 many photographers have found that it's extremely over zelous on the thermal cuttout compared to what the SB-800 used to be able to deal with. I can't afford that kind of guessing game, heck I'm trying to get more reliability in the field (hence PW's) rather than less.

    In other words it would take a couple of weddings to find out if they can hack the pressure and I can't afford to try and find out I made a big mistake.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Ben,
    Understood. In your case, it is prudent to go with the stuff that will get the job done all the time, without worrying. The new D-Lites may do the job, but right now their performance for your type of shooting may be unknown. Personally, I would opt for the Profoto D1 units, but the cost may be significantly more than your budget, and that too is important. As you have talked about in other threads, there sometimes is a false economy to the low-cost approach, with respect to consistency, utility, performance, and reliability, despite the claims of the manufacturers. If you lose shots, or have to keep replacing units because they burn out or fail, they wind up costing more. If your business and livelihood depends upon the equipment, TCO (total cost of ownership, meaning repairs, replacement, downtime, etc.) plays an important part. Good luck with your decisions. I will keep reading your posts of the journey ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Have owned the pre-IT DLites, BXRi and now moved to Profoto. Before thinking DLites, think long and hard about what size/heft of modifier you will use on it. A post of mine on another forum:
    ------------------------
    "Try to give some thought to what size/brand of modifiers you will be using with the lights. the BXRis, while more spendy, MIGHT be a better long-term buy.

    The new Dlites, while having the swivel lock of the BXRis and a thicker plastic housing and some other goodies, attach the swivel mount to the body with the same plastic dovetail as the old models (the top of the swivel mount slides and locks into plastic slots on the bottom of the light itself). Images of the rear of the light on Elis web site will make the part clear. Press in the right place and you can unlock and remove the swivel from the body of the light. On the BXRis and higher-end lights the swivel appears attached (never took my BXRis apart to get the gory details) to the metal housing of the light under the plastic shell. Much more robust.

    That dovetail design is a weak point IF (note IF) you want to use heavy modifiers. On the old units the swivel was infamous for creep so people, self included, modified them with parts from a Manfrotto mount. Worked great. But having locked the swivel mount solid, the next weak point in the design reared it's head - that dovetail mount. In my case, I had the dovetail on a modified Dlite crack when I mounted a Mola Demi to it. Nothing hit the floor, but only because I felt something give when I started to take my hands away from the Mola.

    The Dlites are great lights, but new or old, they are not designed to be used with heavy, front-weight biased modifiers. I've used a 53" eli Octa with no issues, but I'd avoid anything beyond that. The 53" while big is very light. Comparable units from folks like Chimera, etc use much heavier fabrics and are not only heavier but more front heavy as a result - putting more stress on dovetail socket. With a BXRi, RX etc - just mount away.

    Again, great lights and feature rich, but before buying, give some thought as to what you see yourself using on them in the intermediate term, how long they may be your only lights, etc."
    -----

    Left: Pic of the problem
    Right: Pic from Eli website of new unit

    If you do get the IT versions, they use the same plastic-based ratcheting swivel mount handle as the BXRIs. Holds better than the unit from older Dlites, but can still strip if too much force put on it. The handle from a Manfrotto 026 swivel mount is a direct substitute and holds like a pair of vice grips.
    Last edited by robmac; 18th March 2010 at 10:03.

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Whew, $1,200.on Pocket Wizards Ben? Yikes!

    Profoto D1 Air is really nice, but it's a proprietary radio system ... so it's a no go for me since I can't use my handheld meter with PW module, or fire any of the other existing Profoto stuff with internal PW modules.

    I'm going to hunt down old new stock of the Profoto 600Rs to assure I can continue using these pups into the future. LOVE those strobes.

    -Marc

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Four Plus II's and a TT1 (smaller for use as on camera trigger, shooting with flash and trigger as I do during the reception, a plusII is just too big). Yup you heard the price right. Oh and that was a special convention price

    I'm a wedding photographer only. Biggest I hang off the lights is brollies. Because I'm only a wedding shooter I just can't justify the expense of the lighting which I need due to the current economic situation and the need for a 1Ds mkIII that I've just bought. Shouldn't be like that but it is. The cost of investment for wedding photography at the pricing that I command does not justify the necessary equipment for the job with a 5 year turnover due to wear and tear. Crazy but true. If I was still working at the rate of pre economic crisis (I was working like a dog and rolling in spare cash) then it would be a very different story.

    If you're mouth dropped open at that revelation, here is an example, most wedding photographers shooting canon are using 5D mkII's and not 1Ds mkIII's. Case in point. Most do not use 'pro' level lighting such as Profoto or Broncolor eventhough in both cases they are shooting once only never to be repeated events where they can never afford for their equipment to be unreliable, often even once. The market expects us to accomplish under incredible pressure and the inability to repeat should things go wrong - but are unwilling to pay the price that a photographer would need to cover the overheads of said garuantee of reliability.

    I'm going to see how the next few years go. My feet have only a few more years of wedding shooting left in them and I cannot continue indefinately to fly 2500 from my home to my workplace, especially now that we are trying for a 2nd child. I have to work out how much return on investment I would get from buying really 'pro' lights given that I may need very different ones for a future career change. I should have these PW's and 1Ds mkIII paid off by the summer, I'll re-evaluate my choices then (almost sure I'll want a 2nd mkIII to replace my 5D 2nd body! I'm sure to be spoiled by it..). Until then I believe that the PW's were an investment that will not go sour.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 19th March 2010 at 04:33.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Just ordered some Non-R Compact 600 Specials (refurbs) to go with my Acute gear. OP - If you want tough and fast recycle - these fan-cooled suckers are 0.8 sec at full power and 0.25 sec at min (37.5ws for the 600s but oddly 75Ws for the 300s).

    The non-Rs go for about $500 ish, R (in-built PW) versions a tad more. Have yet to receive them, but given the build quality of the rest of my Profoto gear, I don't think I'll be anything but pleased. Full specs are still available on the Profoto web site. On the D1s, you can plug a PW receiver into the Airs (port is under rear of light) but if not using AiR, might as well buy non-AiRs. That said, while the digital controls, etc., of the D1s would be nice, for the $$ savings, use of the traditional glass dome (w/o the accessory unit) and given fact I use Skyport, I went after the Compacts.
    Last edited by robmac; 19th March 2010 at 05:14.

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Does that price for the 600's include the heads? What is the weight of head and pack?

    Had a look at the D1's just now. They look incredible but for that weight you can get some rock solid bullet proof and well speced heads at a significantly lower price. Elinchrom Rx's for example.

    Marc will back me up here. Weight and bulk are a significant issue for wedding shooters and personally a all in one head is going to be better for me unless it's a battery pack system (yet another cord to come loose mid shooting). I need 4 strobes for a wedding, 3 to use and one as backup or for use in huge halls.

    So cummon folks, lets here suggestions for my ideal unit.

    1-1.6 kg total weight including lead.
    400w/s.
    1 second recycle time.
    Bullet Proof (both build quality and reliability and toughness).
    Reflector with tough brolly bracket built in (either to reflector or head).

    Now let's add a new dimension:

    Battery pack system.
    6kg approx per complete unit.
    All the specs from above including 1-1.2 second recycle time (I'll compromise on 0.2 of a second for a battery pack ).
    800-1000 shots at full power with system on and running for 10 hours.

    Lets forget price worries for the moment. Is there anything out there at all that can do all of this? If the battery pack can't hack that many shots then I'm better off without a battery pack and just using a monohead. Hence the first set of requirements.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 19th March 2010 at 06:34.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    The Compact's are monolights like the D1's.

    Your 1-1.2 sec recycle time at full tilt on a battery system is going to be limiting.

    If you want to go Eli, the Quadra is one option, but I STRONGLY suggest play with one first - and compare it to a Ranger system. I owned a dual-head Quadra A kit and Eli adapter for a week before selling it in disgust. I know some people love them and I suggest trying one out, but don't count me as one of the fans of the product.

    Light, lots of features (almost too many), but the build quality of the heads, their replacement price point ($100 of tube and $20 of plastic for $400+) and the amount of DIY work needed to get them and the adapter (it's too weak) to work with anything beyond their dedicated softbox (another $20 value for $125) and reflectors was pathetic. They are clearly designed to avoid stealing Ranger sales. Even the umbrella holder (I use that term loosely give it's uber-delicate straw-on-a-wing design) was a joke compared to that of other Eli lights. Add on the fact no head protectors come with the kit and the top rubber of the pack likes to come off in your hand when you pick up the unit, I wasn't impressed.

    I like to describe the Quadra as Dynalite form factor meets (older) D-Lite construction @ a Ranger price point.

    I went with Acute B for a battery system, but had I stayed with Eli, I would have checked out a Ranger unit - despite the increased weight and size. You get a LOT more for little extra $$. Hensel is another well loved unit, but for me selection/service in Canada is a no-go and I have read of long lead times of getting Hensel gear/parts in NA.

    Good luck on the hunt.

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Ben,
    First, it will probably be helpful to separate the kinds of flash requirements you actually have. You have mentioned using monos and umbrellas (brollies) for the formal posed shots. How many of those shots do you take per wedding? Most/all on full power? Then you mention the reception shots (dancing, etc.). Are those done with on-camera flash (you have talked about SB800 and SB900 units), or also with monos and brollies on stands throwing light over wide areas? Are there other shots that require flash also (ceremony, procession, pre-ceremony non-formals, etc.)? Breaking all of that down may be a bit more helpful.

    As it stands, there probably are no battery-operated lighting systems that will give you the 800-1200 shots you have mentioned that you take, at least not without several extra batteries to be changing and charging and carrying. However, if your battery-operated needs can be broken down into types (like the SB800/900 on-camera type units, or the formals), you may be able to piece together those flash needs separately, but it may still be several "systems" for the flash. You mention needing fast recycle times. If that is for full-power flashes of 400Ws or so, you are going to be much more severely limited. If you are able to use less Ws output, then you may be able to get much faster recycle and total number of flashes from the various options.

    As it stands now, it seems that monolights may be your best option for number of flashes needed, recycle times, and total light spread. You are looking at the various units now (Elinchrom DLites, Profoto D1s and Compact 300/600, Alien Bees, etc.), and they vary in sturdiness, cost, reliability, weight, and other features. Fact is, the more light you throw, the more power and weight you will have to carry, set-up, move around, etc., and the more that will probably also cost for the specs you are asking.

    I was going to mention the Elinchrom Quadras as a possible option for both formal sets and just off-camera mobile use with their battery packs. They put out 400Ws power (with one flash head only), are very light and compact for battery units, but their overall sturdiness has not been discussed much by folks, and extra cord length for the heads does reduce the output by a stop or more, so if you are marginal from the start, it only gets worse. They are also not terribly inexpensive, but look to be quite attractive for what they can do. The others possible kit out there (Bron, DynaLite, and others) have loyal followers that may provide added info to help you.

    Bottom line that I have gleaned from your posts.....you want light, sturdy, somewhat powerful unit outputs, battery or mono, relatively fast recycle at decent output, capable of reliable remote triggering (maybe non-proprietary), and you want to do that with the least cost possible. Tall order, but maybe doable. The plus being that you are only shooting bare/small reflector or into brollies, so little need for dedicated "system" light shaping tools and the associated costs for rings/mounts, and other paraphernalia.

    Sorry to somewhat repeat things you have mentioned, but I had to start putting them into a different framework to consider the options. If most or your shots require flash, and a substantial amount with fast recycle times, I think the solutions you seek are going to be few, and maybe not so cheap, but my operating framework may be different from yours. As you say, there are others shooting with gear that you do not feel as comfortable considering (for reliability, back-up needs, etc.), and they are your competitors. Might be worth doing some math for the least expensive option kit (less costly light, triggers, etc.), and build in a faster replacement cycle, plus extra units to have along should failure happen sooner. Not the most attractive scenario for those one-time only shots, but you may get by, as others are capable of doing now. It is a business that keeps getting tougher (wedding photography), so new investment of quality gear gets harder to amortize as price pressures continue. I stopped doing weddings long, long ago, but even now, I get asked more often, and with other business being slow, have to consider a few, now and again. The gear is always a problem, both for cost and carry, but I seek solutions that can do double or triple duty for me (portraits, commercial, product shots, etc.), and then hope and pray to get costs covered with sufficiently paying work. Not at all easy. Were I only doing one type of work, like weddings, I too would be looking to get the most for the least to keep margins at livable levels, and backpain and worry at minimums too.

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Very good points from "robmac". We were probably writing much at the same time. Good info on the Quadras. I still think they are very attractive, but do have my concerns about sturdiness and overall build/use. I too have looked at the Hensels and Elinchrom Rangers as portable options, but everything else I have is Profoto, and I am now looking hard at the AcuteB 600R units, or the newer AcuteB2 600 units (same as AcuteB, but now with newer, lighter Lithium iron phosphate batteries, plus PW and Air built into generators). Take your breath away "not cheap", but built like tanks and proven reliable in use and light output consistency. As mentioned, I see them as doing triple duty, so the cost may be more justifiable.

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    LJ,

    I've never been so disappointed in a lighting product from a quality/price perspective as much as I was by the Quadra. The unit's have nice power, short duration, fast cycle times, built-in Skyport, etc all in a small unit, but the heads are a joke. Your average speed light is MUCH better built and more robust.

    - Cheap molded plastic - including the locking lugs that mate to the (nice and sharp) metal bayonet on the Quadra reflector. I wonder how many xxxxx mounts/dismount you'd get before they'd get too shaved to lock? Also leads to stiff mounting due to variations in head mold and reflector stamping, but that does loosen over time.

    - Umbrella 'lock' is a thin plastic straw mounted on a plastic wing to the head. Grabs the shaft via friction only. First time I mounted an umbrella was the last time I tried it. Mount an umbrella and give the tip of it a love tap (or wind gust) and snap/crack. When mounted, gravity likes to see the head flop down under the shaft. No biggie, but silly to watch happen. POTN has a number of threads with people trying DIY solutions involving mating a Quadra to normal swivel mount or mounting an umbrella holder to the Quadra adapter (it has just a pass-thru hole) to get it to work safely with umbrellas.

    - Flash tube is VERY exposed. The kit comes without head protectors (optional ones are now avail but apparently like to crack) and you have something like a 0.25" of leeway between the edge of the head and the tube. Very easy to contact the tube with hands - or hard bits best left out of contact with same. Most folks go with a Tupperware-style lid solution.

    - Swivel on the heads is straight off the old D-Lites - creep, creep, creep. The adapter's swivel is mildly better - still need to mod with Manfrotto 026 to get to hold anything substantive.

    - Adapter is weak. Mounted a Mola Demi to mine and my wife and I stood there and watched the Demi bob up & down with the slightest touch as the adapter flexed around the bottom of it's welded L shaped main structure. IIRC her words were " that doesn't look good..."

    - Adapter, as you'd think, pushes the Quadra tube back quite a distance from any Eli speed ring. The tube becomes recessed in a bit of a well.

    - The Quadra reflectors are ok, the softbox is a nice compact $20 product (no inner diffuser) wrapped in a $120 price tag.

    While I obviously hated the damn thing, some folks love them and they'd be worth checking out - IN PERSON as part of any decision. My opinion/experience is but one among many.

    As a secondary speedlight-on-'roids reflector-only or dedicated-softbox-only solution for run & gun photography, they could be fine for some folks. Beats lugging around a pack full of speedlights and 500 batteries. Stick the pack in a sling bag, the head on a pole and control the power from your hot shoe.

    What they aren't is a good sole (or sole battery) system for someone thinking they're scoring a Ranger/AcuteB7B2/Hensel studio-grade product with budget $$. Eli used the power, build quality and compatibility (e.g. lack thereof) of the Quadra to make sure it wouldn't hurt Ranger sales.

    The Quadra was the last straw that pushed me over the edge into Profoto. Was never a big fan of the Eli mounting system and just saw Elinchrom, with it's newest products (in my case DLites, BXRis and Quadra) sacrificing robustness and build quality for features. Wasn't optimistic as to where they'd go with any eventual re-design of the Ranger, RX series, etc. Given that plus my long-term plan to move to Profoto anyway and the deals they were offering prior to Xmas, I pulled the trigger. As for the guys from Sweden - love the stuff. It's a costly lover affair, but (for me) worth it.

    Ben - One option is to use the smaller Quadra pack and mount a far more durable/usable Ranger head via the available adapter. Downsides are size obviously - and loss of modeling light (Quadra units is a high-output low-wattage LED unit).

    LJ - The Lithium Phosphate Acutes do look good. I like the idea that I can use the new batteries with my existing AcuteBs for some weight savings with the same chargers (see the FAQ on Profoto site). Nice thinking on their part.
    Last edited by robmac; 19th March 2010 at 10:13.

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    robmac,
    Great feedback on the Quadras. I have not been able to actually get my hands on them yet (local pro shop has been unable to get any from Elinchrom for demo, and are only selling them as special order), but your "hands-on" does not surprise me. Disappointing, as the solution seems really attractive, but the execution (i.e., build) seems questionable.

    Profoto is running its "buy the AcuteB 600 or 600R, get a free head" deal again. I am tempted. What I see as the big difference on the newer AcuteB2 is the built-in Air and PocketWizard remote option. The older AcuteB 600R would cover the PW side, and work well for me. The newer battery, while lighter, has about the same power specs as the older lead acid battery, so all you get new is less weight, and maybe more total recharges. Not sure what the costs differences are yet, and yes, it is very thoughtful to be able to use the same chargers and all. That sort of design keeps me in the Profoto camp, despite their costs, plus the stuff always works and delivers gorgeous light.

    While the Profoto Air remote stuff is proprietary, the controls it provide is really attractive, and that was one reason I have thought about the D1 Airs also. I will not yet abandon the PW, as it is still on my D4, and like Marc, I like being able to easily trigger from the flash meter, but the Air remote does have some very nice control options that PW cannot do nearly as easily without separate units/channels for each light.

    This may be a bit off-course from Ben's quest, but there are probably more than a few of us wrestling with very similar lighting choices, so it is good to have the thinking and hands-on evaluations.

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    LJ,

    I've never been so disappointed in a lighting product from a quality/price perspective as much as I was by the Quadra. The unit's have nice power, short duration, fast cycle times, built-in Skyport, etc all in a small unit, but the heads are a joke. Your average speed light is MUCH better built and more robust.

    - Cheap molded plastic - including the locking lugs that mate to the (nice and sharp) metal bayonet on the Quadra reflector. I wonder how many xxxxx mounts/dismount you'd get before they'd get too shaved to lock? Also leads to stiff mounting due to variations in head mold and reflector stamping, but that does loosen over time.

    - Umbrella 'lock' is a thin plastic straw mounted on a plastic wing to the head. Grabs the shaft via friction only. First time I mounted an umbrella was the last time I tried it. Mount an umbrella and give the tip of it a love tap (or wind gust) and snap/crack. When mounted, gravity likes to see the head flop down under the shaft. No biggie, but silly to watch happen. POTN has a number of threads with people trying DIY solutions involving mating a Quadra to normal swivel mount or mounting an umbrella holder to the Quadra adapter (it has just a pass-thru hole) to get it to work safely with umbrellas.

    - Flash tube is VERY exposed. The kit comes without head protectors (optional ones are now avail but apparently like to crack) and you have something like a 0.25" of leeway between the edge of the head and the tube. Very easy to contact the tube with hands - or hard bits best left out of contact with same. Most folks go with a Tupperware-style lid solution.

    - Swivel on the heads is straight off the old D-Lites - creep, creep, creep. The adapter's swivel is mildly better - still need to mod with Manfrotto 026 to get to hold anything substantive.

    - Adapter is weak. Mounted a Mola Demi to mine and my wife and I stood there and watched the Demi bob up & down with the slightest touch as the adapter flexed around the bottom of it's welded L shaped main structure. IIRC her words were " that doesn't look good..."

    - Adapter, as you'd think, pushes the Quadra tube back quite a distance from any Eli speed ring. The tube becomes recessed in a bit of a well.

    - The Quadra reflectors are ok, the softbox is a nice compact $20 product (no inner diffuser) wrapped in a $120 price tag.

    While I obviously hated the damn thing, some folks love them and they'd be worth checking out - IN PERSON as part of any decision. My opinion/experience is but one among many.

    As a secondary speedlight-on-'roids reflector-only or dedicated-softbox-only solution for run & gun photography, they could be fine for some folks. Beats lugging around a pack full of speedlights and 500 batteries. Stick the pack in a sling bag, the head on a pole and control the power from your hot shoe.

    What they aren't is a good sole (or sole battery) system for someone thinking they're scoring a Ranger/AcuteB7B2/Hensel studio-grade product with budget $$. Eli used the power, build quality and compatibility (e.g. lack thereof) of the Quadra to make sure it wouldn't hurt Ranger sales.

    The Quadra was the last straw that pushed me over the edge into Profoto. Was never a big fan of the Eli mounting system and just saw Elinchrom, with it's newest products (in my case DLites, BXRis and Quadra) sacrificing robustness and build quality for features. Wasn't optimistic as to where they'd go with any eventual re-design of the Ranger, RX series, etc. Given that plus my long-term plan to move to Profoto anyway and the deals they were offering prior to Xmas, I pulled the trigger. As for the guys from Sweden - love the stuff. It's a costly lover affair, but (for me) worth it.

    Ben - One option is to use the smaller Quadra pack and mount a far more durable/usable Ranger head via the available adapter. Downsides are size obviously - and loss of modeling light (Quadra units is a high-output low-wattage LED unit).

    LJ - The Lithium Phosphate Acutes do look good. I like the idea that I can use the new batteries with my existing AcuteBs for some weight savings with the same chargers (see the FAQ on Profoto site). Nice thinking on their part.
    This is EXACTLY why ya gotta check-in with actual users with some of this stuff. Check that solution off the list. Thanks

    -Marc

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    LJ

    Funny I was reading earlier in POTN about a couple of longer-term Eli users noticing the same thing with Eli sacrificing case/mount robustness on the alter of (more marketable) electronic features/options. Something along the lines of them not having enough competition in the middle tier of the lighting market. I have a funny feeling we'll see that trend work it's way into the re-models of Rangers, etc.

    Quite right on the new batteries primarily (from all appearances) just saving weight.

    Given that only real differences between the old and new units is the AiR ability and it's trigger-only (no power/modeling control), the new lighter battery (which can retrofit), I'd be tempted to execute on the free-head deal on the 'older' R units and if desired, just get an AiR receiver later. Looks like we'll have to wait for a fully digitized Acute system to get triggering and power/model light control.


    Marc - When I unpacked the Quadra, I reached in and picked the pack out of the case by it's top (e.g wrap hand around top of unit), the rubber lip immediately came off (poor retention system) and the unit dropped 6" back into it's case and I was left holding the rubber lip/gasket/WTF they call it. Impressions went downhill from there.

    Rob
    Last edited by robmac; 19th March 2010 at 13:36.

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Quadra is not even close to being in the running even if they were to have been built strongly enough. Two simple reasons. 150 shots per battery at full power and 2.4 seconds recycle time. Nuff said.

    LJ, I shoot lots of formals at Orthodox Jewish Weddings, usually an hour worth. I take 3 shots of each formal/portrait and with my AB800's (320w/s) I get f5.6 @ iso 100 using two lights with brollies. At Orthodox weddings the light in the halls is usually turned all the way up and I have to bounce quite a lot of light into the ceiling to match it. Usually 2-3 strobes at 2/3 power. A Chassidic wedding lasting until 4am (not kidding) will use at least 1000 frames worth at full power or close to it during the course of a wedding. No exaggeration.

    If anyone is interested here is a chassidic wedding, 600 proofs, shot in the most formal of formal styles expected from me with formals both before and after the ceremony. http://studiobeni.instaproofs.com/en....php?id=204726 password: assad

    The formals are shot with 3 strobes and the hall has 2 strobes and 2 speedlights firing, with my on camera as fill, my current setup. Interesting to see such a 'different' wedding in any case if you want a peek.

    As you can see from the style of dancing and the fact that I'm shooting both the mens and womens dancing (seperated by a curtain for modesty reasons) I'm needing fast recycle. Very fast. During the course of the day. Those formals were shot in a relatively short time and as you can see from the amount of them, I needed to shoot fast and without faffing around waiting on recycle time given 3 shots per group.

    Was quite annoyed at that wedding, we were to do photos of the couple in the magnificent synagogue as well as the boring formals presented in that group. The caretaker had let down a metal shutter over the entire ark (used for security for the Torah scrolls) and then gone home. Real shame.

    I pretty much realise that there is no system light enough and with the battery musclepower to do what I'm requesting from it. The Innovatronix system could do it from the specs but both units were either faulty or horribly over advertised and didn't come close. Being sent back on Monday.

    Next question then is - if battery isn't going to do it, what is a light, fast, bullet proof and reliable strobe which should be the next step up for me from my Alien Bees (or it's level of quality including the D-Lites) at the same performance and importantly weight and size or should I pay less and replace more often like once every 4 years to ensure reliability?
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 20th March 2010 at 10:25.
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    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    LJ

    Funny I was reading earlier in POTN about a couple of longer-term Eli users noticing the same thing with Eli sacrificing case/mount robustness on the alter of (more marketable) electronic features/options. Something along the lines of them not having enough competition in the middle tier of the lighting market. I have a funny feeling we'll see that trend work it's way into the re-models of Rangers, etc.

    Quite right on the new batteries primarily (from all appearances) just saving weight.

    Given that only real differences between the old and new units is the AiR ability and it's trigger-only (no power/modeling control), the new lighter battery (which can retrofit), I'd be tempted to execute on the free-head deal on the 'older' R units and if desired, just get an AiR receiver later. Looks like we'll have to wait for a fully digitized Acute system to get triggering and power/model light control.


    Marc - When I unpacked the Quadra, I reached in and picked the pack out of the case by it's top (e.g wrap hand around top of unit), the rubber lip immediately came off (poor retention system) and the unit dropped 6" back into it's case and I was left holding the rubber lip/gasket/WTF they call it. Impressions went downhill from there.

    Rob
    You know Rob, a lot of folks swear by Elinchrom but sometimes I wonder.

    Before moving to Profoto I was all Elinchrom ... what drove that initial decision was the truly great Octabox modifier. However as time wore on I regretted that decision ... especially when I discovered that Profoto made an Elinchrom adapter so I could've used the Octa with Profoto head anyway

    I used these Elinchrom strobes both in studio and on-location. I had the modifier mounts warp, break, etc. sometimes dropping the light modifier to the ground in the middle of shooting.
    Upon inspection it was just shoddy materials and poor design. Mind you, these were Elinchrom modifier products. I had a number of monos go bad, and the repairs were so expensive I just chucked them in a pile to use for spare parts.

    Even the beloved Octa wasn't without issues ... the stand mount was a joke ... and looked like some jerry-rigged undersized part from something else grafted onto a plastic piece where the screws secured it to the Octa promptly pulled right out and the Octa crashed to the floor. I had to completely re-engineer it. I think they eventually fixed that issue. I still have the Octa using the Profoto adapter.

    One of the best things about Profoto is that they are almost assistant proof.

    -Marc

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Ben, thanks for the link. Nice work! Some beautiful images in there.

    I went through every shot and have to say you have to be the hardest working man in show business. I was exhausted just clicking through all those shots. The amount of repetitive coverage you have to do is just jaw dropping. Frankly, I couldn't do it. You da man!

    Your lighting technique is incredibly consistent. Not always my cup of tea, but hats off to you for getting it down pat and meeting some tough expectations, on the run, and so consistantly.

    In terms of where to go from where you are ... no real clue.

    I'd probably bite the bullet and go with the new Profoto Air monos so you can control the heads from the camera. I have a set of Hensel Monos that I use with a tiny 4 outlet 1200 w/s Hensel generator box and small heads for industrial location work that also allows adjustments from the camera ... and has a nifty carbon fiber ring light for hand-held fashion stuff. But the radio sender doesn't have the distance of a PW or the new Air senders.

    -Marc

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Ben,
    First off, thanks for sharing that gallery of images. I now have a much better appreciation of just what you have to contend with. That being said, I think you have done a fantastic job of capturing all that is going on, complete with difficult lighting, constantly changing positions, etc. I see why this is such a challenge.

    (From the ceremony perspective, and showing no disrespect, I was getting rather worried at all the serious solemnity, especially with the men. It was not until image 185 or so that any joy really showed when the bride lifted her veil and was wiping away a tear. Great moment. Then things got cranked up at the reception, but it took until image 595 before the bride and groom actually got to see each other again after taking vows. Wow. I really did gain a better perspective, and did enjoy going through all 600 shots. As Marc said, almost exhausting just clicking through, so shooting must have been a whole lot more draining. Great effort and nice results.)

    Based on what I saw, and you say this is typical, my thoughts are that you should seriously consider units that can take the beating and use....like the D1s that have been discussed, or the Compacts. Do not know the real equivalents in Elinchrom line nor Hensel line, but you would appreciate the bigger guns. I know they are not as cheap as the ABs, but I do think they would handle the recycle times and repeated use with less stress, and throw enough light into the brollies that you need for coverage. That is a tough setting. Lots of area needing even light. Suggests higher horsepower, fast recycle. That in turn starts to eliminate lots of the lower end gear, or just plan to replace stuff much more often. Do not see a really inexpensive way to get what you need, but that is just my limited perspective and how I have worked. Your style and approach needs the broad, even, consistent lighting.

    Not much I can add beyond that, but do appreciate the challenge. Makes an upcoming shoot I have look like a cakewalk in comparison ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    nice work ben- thats one big challah bread!

    don't forget that the 580exII has an auto mode using the sensor in front- you could combine on camera flash and either optical slave or pw via the pc port to the other room lights. I've put my 580 on a custom bracket's mini RC bracket- that way I can do horizontal and vertical easily, and then have another hot shoe bracket to hold the pw synced through the pc connect. Everything fires. With pw you can stick to ttl on camera and fire the room remotely, or auto as I said above.

    I see a pair of D1airs in your future. And another challah! Yum! (do you get to eat during these affairs? the food must be incredible.

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Thanks folks for the comments. As I said, an extremely formal wedding, very heavily formals heavy and solemn ceremony - and this was a relatively 'chilled' Chassidic wedding! At least they would look at each other in the photos though of course touching in photos (or anywhere in public) is extremely taboo.

    This was the 2nd similar wedding of that week and I'd had the Purim festival on Sunday (only Jewish festival where you're expected to get really drunk but I had a wedding the next day). I started shooting at 1pm in Glasgow, Scotland. The wedding finished at 2am (early for a chassidic wedding). I loaded up the car, drove 4 hours back to Manchester, England, offloaded the gear, had a shower then drove to the airport and boarded a plane back to Jerusalem. Got home at 8pm having still not had a wink of sleep. Such is my life.

    Did anyone notice the picture of me and my family? The bride is my neice (by marriage, my wifes sister is the mother of the bride, her husband is chassidic, now the Rabbi of the biggest Synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland) my assistant took it and I cloned out the lens pouches in PS You may notice that I am firmly not chassidic as proven by my lack of furry hat!

    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 20th March 2010 at 16:37.
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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    nice work ben- thats one big challah bread!

    don't forget that the 580exII has an auto mode using the sensor in front- you could combine on camera flash and either optical slave or pw via the pc port to the other room lights. I've put my 580 on a custom bracket's mini RC bracket- that way I can do horizontal and vertical easily, and then have another hot shoe bracket to hold the pw synced through the pc connect. Everything fires. With pw you can stick to ttl on camera and fire the room remotely, or auto as I said above.

    I see a pair of D1airs in your future. And another challah! Yum! (do you get to eat during these affairs? the food must be incredible.
    The 'Kitke' Challah (huge loaf of bread) was indeed massive and I shot it wide angle to emphasise it. Looks rather phallic actually in the picture but I'm sure the pure innocent minds of these highly religious people wouldn't have leapt to that conclusion unlike my sewer of a mind .

    I shoot a lot with a mixture of manual flash and ETTL, got it down to a fine art over the years. Trick is to let ETTL do the foreground and set up the strobe lighting for boosting ambient, as backlight and kicker lights. I used to shoot auto flash but now have ETTL fully tamed and obedient

    I use a demb bracket and bounce card in the house, can bounce any direction I like. Outdoor portraits are done with a 2 light setup, main off camera and on camera fill. Formals are shot with two lights shot into brollies and a background light (which was way too hot but anyway). The hall was 2 strobes to boost ambient and provide accent when (purposely) used as backlighting and 2 speedlights firing in manual as kicker lights with a flash on camera for fill.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 20th March 2010 at 16:38.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Did anyone notice the picture of me and my family? The bride is my neice (by marriage, my wifes sister is the mother of the bride, her husband is chassidic, now the Rabbi of the biggest Synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland) my assistant took it and I cloned out the lens pouches in PS You may notice that I am firmly not chassidic as proven by my lack of furry hat!

    I thought it was more the lack of shorter pants and formal shoes that gave it away Ah, the furry hat would have made you look way too tall in this shot also, much as the bride's/groom' father or rabbi in the other shots. He be a very tall man in those shots

    Again, thanks for sharing the images, culture and lifestyle. Hope you caught up on some sleep. My only other comment.....whatever you are charging for your work is not enough If you had more income, the lighting challenge may be less daunting from the cost perspective.....

    LJ

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Hey Ben, can you show us your camera set-up for using on-camera speed light with a radio sender?

    -Marc

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    I don't have all my gear with me here Marc and I don't as yet have the PW which will be bulkier but if you don't mind me describing it.

    With bracket: Flash on bracket, radio trigger velcroed onto top of the Off camera Cords hotshoe thingy and fired using PC sync cable. Radiopopper on head of flash.

    Without bracket: The same but with the radio slave velcroed onto the left hand side of flash body (not the battery door side).

    I'm newish to the bracket (6 months) but I've been doing it without the bracket for years now. The radio slave and battery pack cord jostle a bit for space on the left side of the flash but the ebay ones I've been using till now are pretty tiny. It was this main consideration that pursuaded me to buy the PW FLex TT1 as transmitter for the PW system, it's small enough to velcro onto the side of a flash. Using the radiopopper as well, the spare real estate on a camera + flash + 2 different radio slaves is rather tight.

    You could of course use the TT1 as intended, on the hotshoe with a flash on top of it. Two reasons why I don't. The PW hotshoe is not strong and there are already enough tales of it snapping mid wedding and your expensive speedlight taking a nasty tumble. Secondly if you use the TT1 like that then you have to work with the PW version of ETTL which is defficient in several important ways for the way I shoot.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: New Elinchrom Dlite - might just do it

    Ben,

    Looks like you made the right choice staying away from the new DLites. Looks like the new 'intelligent' (only on when thinks needed) fan cooling may not be that intelligent. odd behavior of fan, over-heat cutoffs after short shoots, etc. Start on page 5-6.

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...=847437&page=6

    As an aside received my Compact 600 Specials - robust beasts, but like them so much (so far) may get 1-2 more. Talk about fast recycle.

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