Review: Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000/1000 To Go set
7 February 2017 | Category: Stills
Having played around with the concept of multi-flash exposures with life-hacked lighting gear to varying degrees of success in the past, I was really excited about working with technology that would allow me to work with a higher level of control and consistency in this style of photography, offering consistent results that could be easily re-created on demand.
The Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000/1000 To Go set consists of two 1000W heads, each with their own mains lead, transparent glass dome and 16cm Wide Reflector 90°. Along with both an EL Skyport Transmitter Plus and a 5m sync cable, everything is stored in a ProTec Poly Bag for transport. The set doesn’t include lighting stands, so I made sure to include some of these on my hire list along with some Elinchrom softboxes to give me more control over my lighting.
Out of the bag, the heads are pretty straightforward to set up. The settings menu - displayed on a decent sized OLED screen - is intuitive and easy to navigate. It is a huge improvement over the old menu system on previous models and even includes four customisable presets, handy for locking in your favourite lighting setups at the touch of a button.
Providing 8 f-stops of power over a range of 7-1000Ws, the heads boast consistent colour temperatures at flash durations as fast as 1/5260th of a second, along with recycling times between 0.05-1.2 seconds depending on your settings. The ability to shoot across such a wide spectrum made these lights extremely versatile, allowing me to test them both in my natural environment of an intimate location setting (normally shooting at minimum power) as well as have full control of my lighting during a live flash demonstration with tungsten bulbs and skylights working against me.
As well as a Normal flash mode, the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 features three additional flash modes: Sequence, Delayed and Stroboscopic - or Strobo as it is referred to in the menu system.
Sequence mode allows you to trigger multiple strobes in sequence, which is particularly useful for working around strobe recycling times in action shots. Although I did play around with this mode, I found Strobo mode better for achieving the style of shot I was after, allowing me to fire both heads simultaneously at set intervals throughout an exposure.
Setting up the Strobo shots took a little while as it requires you need to set both the frequency (number of flashes per second) and total duration of the shot rather than just number of flashes required per exposure. On top of this, there was a fair amount of trial and error when calculating the overall exposure. Although I wasn’t particularly happy with my first attempt at Strobo mode, it was definitely worth the perseverance and test shoots 2 and 3 went really well, working at around a 1.5 second exposure time. The ability to control the brightness of the modelling lamp was also brilliant for giving me full control over the ambient light in the room, providing a fast enough flash duration to freeze juggler Mat Ricardo in various stages of his hat routine.
Delayed mode offers a fully manual rear sync curtain flash, which was great fun to play with in the studio. Again, using Mat Ricardo as my muse, we experimented with different juggling patterns and objects to create a series of live action shots. Again, the control over the modelling lamp was great for fine control over the amount of ambient light in the shot.
So what do I think of the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000/1000 To Go set? Well, first off, I LOVE delayed, strobe and burst modes. The ability to get creative with these built-in features opens up far more possibilities on a shoot and definitely brought a sense of fun back into the standard studio environment for me. The menu systems are easy to navigate and the ability to control the output and the modelling lamp to this level made achieving the perfect exposure much easier, especially when working in extreme location variables. The only real downside I found to the lights is their weight, coming in at roughly 8KG without stands, which made travelling to locations impossible without a car. That being said, my favourite shots with the Elinchrom ELC Pro heads were all studio based - no travel required - and it brought the fun back into shooting against a plain backdrop. I can see myself investing in the Elinchrom ELC Pro heads as a brilliant addition to the studio.
All images: Tigz Rice Studios. Models: Mat Ricardo & Scarlet Duggan