Elinchrom ELC 500 / 1000 watt Review

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Elinchrom has introduced a new flash!!! The awesome Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 500 & 1000watt!
I’m not going into how happy I am with the Elinchrom brand and all the 1000 reasons you will love this brand as well, but I had the chance to play around with these puppy’s. They claim it will change the way a photographer thinks and well, I think thats a bold statement. However, it does have some very interesting stuff I like very, very much. Before going into the new “creative features”, here are a few things that I found worth mentioning right off the bat! Normally I don’t like talking about how things look… BUT!:

The Design!

I love it. I know it doesn’t matter how something looks, but I find the older RX models kinda bulky. And the different sizes between units makes it annoying to carry all in one bag. With the ELC’s, both the 500 & 1000watt are the same size- about a BXR unit size. And they fit together neatly in a nice bag. I travel around by bike with my lights and these two fit perfectly. The design is very sleek, and very small compared to the normal 1000watt units. I also love that weird 80’s “Knight Rider” feel I get from it haha! And it has a big bright OLED Display on the back of the unit which gives you a load of information. Information I haven’t gotten before. Like, at any power level you will see what your “flash duration” is and how much power is coming out. It also shows the Frequency you’re on with your triggers and what settings are enabled.

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Besides the size and display, they changed the menu and the way you navigate it. You control and go through the menu with a Push Jog-Wheel button in the back. This here makes things so much easier and faster. The way they made the menu is also something I love. Instead of having to push < > together then going into custom functions you can’t remember names of, everything is nicely displayed in normal words and phrases. Want to change your frequency? You go into the menu, to -Skyport->Frequency->Channel and you can choose another channel. No more Cf.1. to 0. So yeeey! This also comes in handy with the new features this flash has.

 

The Special

Besides the design, there are more things that caught my eye! So I’ve written about the RX One in another review. And I was so thrilled about the fact that you’re able to lower the power to a 1/8 speedlight level. This means you can shoot inside the studio with a 50mm f1.4 actually on F2.0 without needing ND filters. I love depth of field! But if you don’t want to miss out on power, you still need a bigger unit. Thats why I have the RX One’s and BXR500 for when I need a bit more OOMPH! And now they’ve joined these two options together! Not only can you own a 500watt/1000watt light, you can power it down, alll the way to 0.2 which is half of a speedlight. OMG! When I saw this my head was blown again! Just like the first time I started reading the specs of the RX ONE. Besides this lovely feature.

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Model: Lidewij | Shot at F1.4 – Elinchrom ELC 1000 powered all the way down into Rotalux 175 Octa Box

The recycle time is insane! At full power I think they say it’s like 0,5s on the ELC 500watt unit and 1,2s on the 1000watt unit. I haven’t held a watch on it, but I’ve clicked as fast as I could without busting my sync speed or a finger and it kept up!! This means you’re able to freeze fast water motion and go for multiple shots fast, without having to wait on the recycle beep. This and flash duration going up to 1/5000 which is also very fast!

The Sequence Option
This little feature lets you sequence up to 20 units one after the other with all the other featured enabled. So if you had, say, a snowboarder doing a big jump, you could add 3 ELC unites and let them fire in sequence one after the other in full power. So you would freeze the person 3 times in different areas. (As I’m writing this we are working on a project to show off this feature. I’ll update this post later this month with the images.)

The other creative features they added, I know from speedlighting. Being a speedlighter I’ve known the strobe effect and rear-curtain sync on my small flashes for a while. Now they added these in a studio 500watt & 1000watt flash. Well, not really rear curtain but a delayed function!

The Stroboscopic effect
This allows the flash unit to do bursts of flashes.
The value you set it at is duration and frequency. So for 1 second, I would like 10 flash pops. You could have a golf player stand ready for a big swing. Have him swing and the flash unit would fire 10 flashes in 1 second and you will get 10 different position of the golf club in perfect light in a single photo! Not only that! This unit unlike other brands with the same features does it at almost full capacity of the 1000watt light!

The Delay Function
This is kind of a rear curtain feature. You can tell the flash unit to wait x amount of time before the pop. So I could set it to 1″. I could then set my camera to 1.2″. A person could light paint for 1″ then take position, the unit would flash the person in place and my shutter would open and you would have a single picture with light motion and a subject frozen by the flash. Now you can paint with light and create light trails right before the flash pops and your camera shutter opens. I’m not a school photographer, but imagine instead of a static picture of a child sitting behind a table, you throw a ball. And you get this motion trail of a ball and kid trying to catch it? Or imagine if you would have 2 dancers. Let them move around in the space catching natural light then freeze them after 2″. This opens up some new things you can do and add to the mix.

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The modeling light is a 300watt beast! This gives you the ability to use it for video. I’ve noticed the 1000watt unit has a brighter modeling light then the 500 unit. Although the specs say they both have a 300watt bulb, I seriously have gotten more power in the modeling light from the 1000watt unit. Though I haven’t measured it. Maybe it’s a typo in the specs sheet.

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The Dome.
No, not a bio-dome! It has a little dome to protect the flash tube. Not only is it a nice protection, it saves the color gels from frying on your flash tube. I could imagine they would start making little CTO dome’s. Or Color blue dome.

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Conclusion

I like these new units. They are a bit pricier then a BXR, but the ability to drop it down to a RX One unit and not having to buy both has its advantage. It’s very affordable as well compared to the bigger brands like Pro-Foto and the bigger Elinchrom RX Unit. And with the crash flash fast recycle time (try to say that 3x times fast), the ability to power it all the way down and that nice modeling light I can use to do my blog videos, I think you’ll get more than your money’s worth. And those extra creative features just open up a little part of your brain on every shoot. And then you think, shall we try it and see what happens?

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Resources – Where to buy (The Netherlands)
If you live in The Netherlands and don’t know where to buy all your Elinchrom products, there is one place that has been the Elinchrom distributer for this country for years! It’s a family-run businesses, and I’ve been going there ever since I bought my first flash. They always welcome you with open arms and go above and beyond to help you with your needs. Small example: I recently had to replace one of my flash tubes because I’ve been using it for 5 years and it was worn out. Not only did they replace it, they serviced my whole flash, changed all the little things that were loose, screwed everything back in tight, and I didn’t even had to ask. This magic place is called: FotoFlits. And I would strongly advise you to go there for cup of coffee and a chat, or to see some of this stuff work. Side note, they also have the lowest price on all Elinchrom products, so yeeey for that! *tell them I sent ya, and you’ll get an extra cookie!

Gear:
The Elinchrom ELC 500 – Unit Only
The Elinchrom ELC 1000 – Unit Only
The Elinchrom ELC 500 package deal – including a bag that fits in my bicycle bag.

 

2 thoughts on “Elinchrom ELC 500 / 1000 watt Review”

  1. I noticed that in your last picture you posted the water freezing ability looks very marginal as you can visually see a dragged motion effect on the water droplet in front of her black dress. Im assuming this was captured at 1/5200 sec given the picture indicates that that was your intent.

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