A review of the Elinchrom ELB 400

Disclaimer: I am sponsored by Elinchrom and have received some of my lighting gear as part of that sponsorship. Regardless of my sponsorship, I look for the best equipment that suits my needs and I was already using Elinchrom lighting equipment before receiving any gear as part of my sponsorship. I was not paid to test out the ELB 400 and give feedback to Elinchrom and I was not paid to create and post this review of the ELB 400.

Over the last few months, I have had the honor of testing out the new Elinchrom ELB 400 before it was announced this morning. The ELB 400 is an updated version of the venerable and well-loved Elinchrom Quadra Hybrid RX. Elinchrom has simplified their naming convention to make all of their product names more uniform. The “ELB” portion stands for “Elinchrom Battery” and the 400 signifies that it is a 400 Watt/second (Ws) strobe. With this update, Elinchrom has added quite a few new and exciting features into this lightweight strobe, which in my mind makes it one of the most versatile and advanced strobes anywhere.

150129-10412-ELB400-One-Action-Head-To-Go-frontBefore we get into this review, a little background on my experience with the Quadras, which I have used since they came out almost six years ago. I currently have both the Elinchrom Li-Ion Hybrid Quadra and the first generation Lead-Gel Quadra and both have served me very well. I have taken the Quadras to the extremely humid jungles of the Amazon, on ice climbing shoots where they sat in freezing snowy conditions for hours and I have used them in Patagonia in some wild, wet weather. They have survived it all and my units barely even have a scratch on them. They have also been incredibly reliable. I have never had one of my Quadras go down on me, ever.

The reason that so many adventure sports photographers use Elinchrom strobes is that they are (in my experience) the most weatherproof strobes on the market – and they can deal with a fair amount of abuse and continue to keep on firing. As in the image below, a little rain or snow isn’t a big deal with the ELB 400 (or with my 1,100 Ws Rangers). I know that Elinchrom doesn’t like me to say that these units are water resistant but in my experience they can deal with a lot. In fact, I have never had a unit go down due to getting wet. The Elinchrom battery-powered strobes are in my experience the most weatherproof of any strobes on the market, bar none.

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Above: While on this shoot with the new ELB400, I gave it the full snow test. As you can see in this image, there was quite a bit of snow and moisture sitting on the pack. Here there are water droplets all over the side of the power pack. The ELB 400 didn’t miss a beat and reaffirmed my belief that these the Elinchrom battery-powered strobes are the most weatherproof units on the market.

The first thing you will notice about the ELB 400 is the new OLED display on top of the power pack (see the image farther down in this blog post). This new OLED display is very similar to the one on the back of the ELC Pro HD monolights that Elinchrom released last year. The new OLED display is very easy to read and shows just about every bit of information you could ever want. It also makes diving into the custom settings and menus a much simpler and easier task than with any previous version of the Quadra.

Aside from the new display and a cleaner, easier to understand button layout on top of the pack, the build quality and form of the ELB is reminiscent of the Quadra Hybrid RX Li-Ion. I know for many that the amount of plastic in the flash heads was a point of concern with the Quadras. The flash heads for the ELB 400 are practically identical, though the cables that connect the flash head to the power pack have been slightly refined. After traipsing all over the world with my Quadras for the past five years, I have yet to damage a flash head. I am not crazy hard on my gear, but I don’t pamper it either. I love the lightweight nature of the flash heads and when they are mounted onto a light modifier like a softbox they are really easy for an assistant to hold and the flash head itself seems to mold into the light modifier.

John Fullbright skiing at the Taos Valley Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico. Shot with the Elinchrom ELB 400 and the Pro Flash Head. Since I wasn

Above: Expert skier John Fullbright skiing at the Taos Valley Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico. Shot with the Elinchrom ELB 400 and the Pro Flash Head. Since I wasn’t using Hypersonic with the Pro Head, I instead opted to create a motion blur of John flying by my position. Image Data: Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens @ 24mm, ISO 100, 1/250th sec at f/7.1.

To test out the ELB 400, I headed up to the Taos Ski Valley, where they have received over four feet of fresh powder in the last week, to shoot some skiing with my buddy John Fullbright, who is an expert skier and whitewater kayaker. I had the ELB 400 along with a Pro Flash Head with me on this shoot. It was a bluebird sunny day at the Taos ski area, which meant with 424 Ws we headed into the trees not only for the shade but also for the bottomless powder. The ELB 400 easily lit up John in the trees (as can be seen above). The amount of light power these little units have is incredible, especially when considering the weight.

One thing you will notice about this ski image, which I have to say isn’t a phenomenal ski image by any means, is that John is blurred in the frame. This is because I had the Pro Head, which has a t0.5 flash duration of only 1/1,200 second at full power (424 Ws). Because of this limitation, I chose to create a motion blur of John as he skied by my position. If I had used the Action Head, I would have had a much faster t0.5 flash duration of 1/2,800 second, which would have frozen John’s movement completely. And if I had used two Action Heads, one each plugged into the A and B ports, I could have gotten an amazing t0.5 flash duration of 1/4,000th second at full power. Note that for this shoot, with the Pro Heads, I could have used the PocketWizard Control TL transceivers to trigger the ELB 400 in Hypersync mode at a shutter speed up to 1/4000th second with the Pro Heads, but I didn’t have those with me for this shoot.

Portrait of John Fullbright shot at the Taos Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico. Image Data: Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/200th sec at f/14.

Above: Portrait of John Fullbright shot at the Taos Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico. Image Data: Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/200th sec at f/14.

To test out the ELB 400 for portraits, I shot a few portaits of John in another location, also in the trees. Since John wasn’t moving for the portraits, I could easily freeze his motion and the images are tack sharp. Also of note, since I was able to get the flash head closer to John, I also had to turn the power output down to less than half power. At full power, I could have easily overpowered the sun in this scenario by moving the flash head in closer and cranking up the power.

Portrait of John Fullbright shot at the Taos Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico. Image Data: Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 100, 1/80th sec at f/6.3.

Above: Portrait of John Fullbright shot at the Taos Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico. Image Data: Nikon D4, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 100, 1/80th sec at f/6.3.

Along with the new display on top of the pack, Elinchrom has also added some very advanced flash modes and extended the battery life even farther than the Hybrid RX model. Here is a list of some of the new exciting new features of the ELB 400:

OLED Display: The new OLED display on top of the ELB 400 makes it very easy to see what is going on with the unit. Changing powers settings is much faster and very responsive. Diving into the menus is easy and very straightforward when it comes to changing settings. I didn’t even need a manual to figure out the custom settings menus. Hurray for not having to pull out the manual to change custom settings!

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Extended Battery Life: At full power, the ELB 400 will give you 350 flashes on a fully charged battery. At minimum power it can put out up to 6,000 flashes on a fully charged battery.

Faster Recycling Times: The ELB 400 recycles at full power in 1.6 seconds, almost a half second faster than the Quadra Hybrid RX. At lower power settings the recycling times are much faster — nearly instantaneous.

424 Watt/seconds (Ws): The new ELB 400 actually puts out 424 Ws of light.

Strobo Mode: The ELB 400 has a “stroboscopic” mode where it can fire up to 10 flashes per second (10 Hz) within a single frame. For the best results, you will need to use a lower power setting in a dark location and use the Action flash head, which has a very short flash duration to stop the movement of the subject. Below is an example of the stroboscopic effect, created using the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD strobes, which have the same Stobo Mode capabilities. For this image I had the shutter open for 0.8 second at ISO 50 and let the flash fire five times in that period.

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Sequence Mode: This mode allows you to sequentially trigger up to 20 separate ELB 400 packs so that you can shoot at a high framing rate, like say 11 fps with a Nikon D4.

Delayed Mode: This mode allows you to shoot in a “second curtain” or “rear curtain sync” mode with cameras (like Canon cameras) that don’t have this feature built into the camera.

Two different Flash Heads to choose from: Elinchrom offers the Pro Head and an Action Head. The Pro Head is the standard flash head while the Action Head offers significantly faster flash durations. If you are trying to stop the movement of a subject you are better off with the Action Head. If you are using Hypersync techniques, then the Pro Head is the way to go.

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Easy to use new Strobe Port Closures: The new port closures on the top of the power pack are much easier to open and close than the old screw top closures and also stay out of the way while trying to screw in a flash head.

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Fast Flash Durations: With two Action Heads plugged into the unit you can get flash durations as short at 1/4000th second (t0.5) at full power. With one Action Head in the B Socket you can get down to 1/5,700th second (t0.5). While 1/4000th second flash duration may not sound that fast realize this is at full power. Most other units out there (like the Profoto B1) are down around 1/1000th second (t0.5) at full power, which is not fast enough to freeze motion as can be seen in my ski image above.

Consistent Color Temperatures: As with all Elinchrom strobes they are extremely accurate and vary only plus or minus 150 °K from flash to flash.

Hypersync: Using the Pro Flash Head and the PocketWizard ControlTL system you can shoot at much higher sync speeds with the ELB 400 than normal. With my Nikon D4 and D800, I can get up to 1/4000th second shutter speeds using the Hypersync function, which really comes in handy when trying to overpower daylight with only a 400 Ws strobe in those situations where you can’t move the flash head close to the subject – as when shooting adventure sports and your athlete is launching off a cliff.

With so many new features, and advanced capabilities, the new ELB 400 is bound to be popular. It is the most advanced battery powered strobe that I have used and certainly the most versatile as well. After testing this unit out, I am definitely going to have to upgrade my older Quadras. Shooting adventure sports, the key features for my work are the lightweight yet durable construction, the fast flash durations at full power and the ability to use Hypersync. Because the ELB 400 offers two different flash heads, that opens up a lot more options when it comes to creating the image in mind. I just pop on the Pro heads if I want to shoot using Hypersonic or I can choose the Action heads to freeze the motion. Of course, it is also awesome to have the new Strobo mode, an easy to use display on top of the pack, a faster recycling time and 350 full power pops on such a small rig. I still can’t believe we can get 350 full power pops out this unit and it weighs only 6.02 lbs (2.7 Kg) with the flash head and the cord. That is incredible.

“In my view, the Elinchrom ELB 400 is the most advanced battery powered strobe that I have used and certainly the most versatile as well.”

On top of all these new features, Elinchrom still makes, in my view, the best modifiers in the business. There is a reason you see so many Elinchrom Octabanks on other manufacturer’s strobes. With the addition of an adapter, the ELB 400 can use any light modifier Elinchrom makes and this is a huge reason to go with Elinchrom strobes, since they are all optimized to be used with their light modifiers.

Lastly, I know another manufacturer (Profoto) has been making a big deal out of the fact that their latest battery-powered flash is an all in one style mono bloc design with no cords. I am very happy that Elinchrom has chosen to keep the separate pack and head design with the ELB 400. I own a few mono bloc strobes and while they are great in the studio, once you put them up high it is a pain to have to lower the flash head and modifier to change a few settings on the back of the unit. I realize that many settings can be changed on the transceiver on top of the camera but in all cases there are some settings that can’t be changed anywhere but on the monobloc. Monobloc designs are also quite a bit heavier when it comes time to mount them on a light modifier, like inside an Elinchrom Octabank. I wouldn’t dare mount my monobloc strobe inside an Octabank as it would stress the mount quite a bit and be a beast to lock down. It would also weigh a ton. With the separate power pack and head design of the ELB 400, and especially the lightweight nature of the Pro and Action flash heads, they are so lightweight that you can get away without even using a stand (see the image below where I mounted the flash head on my ski pole) and they don’t require a big, hefty light stand to put them on. Since this is meant to be a fast and light strobe system, this is a critical fact that you may not think about when standing in the camera shop debating which brand to go with.

John Fullbright skiing at the Taos Valley Ski Area near Taos, New Mexico.

Above: For some of these lit images I simply put my ski pole into the powder snow and mounted the flash head on the bottom of the ski pole (above left), which was also anchoring my pack to the steep slope. this allowed me to quickly set up without having to pull out a lightstand. 

My thanks to Elinchrom for allowing me to test out the ELB 400 and give feedback. For more information on the ELB 400 visit the Elinchrom website, which has also been completely redesigned.

Bonus Material: Stay tuned for an in-depth comparison of the Elinchrom ELB 400 and the Profoto B1. I will add that to the blog here in a few days. 

  • Earle - Hi Michael, thanks for the fairly comprehensive review (I’m guessing written just before Profoto introduced its shot more clearly aimed at the Quadra market, the B2).

    One obvious question (as the owner of two Quadra RX packs), did Elinchrom give you any indication what the USB port is primarily designed for? Phone charger socket? Future firmware updates?

    Also, Elinchrom frowned upon Quadra use in more challenging weather conditions. Does the new ELB400 actually have better weather sealing?

    My first reaction to reading about the B2 as hope that Elinchrom would come out with a more refined Skyport trigger system and tackle TTL (primarily for HSS on its own) and stop relying on a third-party trigger.

    I bought my Pocketwizard TTL triggers primarily for Hypersync and have never been thrilled about the reliability. But it looks like the next bit of the news will be the ELB1100.

    Thanks again for a nice review.

  • Michael Clark - Earle – I wrote this over the last few days, which is after the Profoto B2 announcement. Stay tuned as I am going to post an in-depth article comparing the B1 and the B2 to the ELB 400 tomorrow.
    I believe the USB port is for Firmware upgrades — especially for use with their software that you can add to your phone, iPad or laptop.
    I have had my Quadras in very challenging conditions, i.e. rain,snow, humid conditions and it has done very well – never had an issue. I know they don’t like me talking about the weatherproofness of their battery powered products but they are more weatherproof in my experience than any other product on the market.
    I don’t know if Elinchrom is working on a new Skyport but I’d be surprised if they were not working on it. I would love to be able to use my Skyports for Hypersync.

    Stay Tuned for tomorrow’s blog post – comparing the Profoto B1 and B2 to the ELB 400.

  • Devaka Seneviratne - Hi Michael,

    I’ve been a long time user of the Ranger Quadra system myself and am looking forward to trying out the ELB 400. Is it compatible with the previous generation cables and heads?

    The image of the power outlet socket does look a bit different. It would be a pity if one would have to buy an entire new set of cables and heads to get the most out of the system.

    Please let me know.

    Thank you

  • Johannes - Hi Michael, thanks for the very informative review! Do you already know when the article comparing the B1 and the B2 to the ELB400 will be published? 😉
    Thanks, Johannes

  • Michael Clark - Johannes – I will have it out here later today.

  • RVN - Hello sir, great review there.
    i just buy elinchrom quadra a 2 month ago and realize that it’s hyper sync can’t use on sony camera.. i use sony camera A300 and mirrorles sony A7 series

    when i read some spec of the new ELB 400 on this site http://www.theflashcentre.com/Elinchrom%20ELB%20400%20Pack.html?category_id=972
    they said this lighting had internal/build in sky port radio system that allowed hyper sync on canon, nikon and sony camera, with additional pro head and pocket wizard or phottix trigger system. is that true sir? can you test it on you next review sir?

    i also notice this new ELB 400 can use LED modeling lamp set to continues mode, how long it work if we use modeling lamp LED from full battery?

    can it ELB 400 do a burst mode shot like profoto B1/B2? profoto B1/B2 can make 20 burst flash shot a second

    thank you sir 🙂

  • Michael Clark - RVN –

    Hypersync is only achieved using the PocketWizard ControlTL transceivers with the Quadras – and I don’t think those can actually do Hypersync with Sony cameras. They only work with Nikon and Canon cameras. The Skyport cannot do Hypersync. You have to have the correct PW ControlTL transceivers (one plugged into the pack and one attached to the camera – Nikon or Canon only).

    Both the ELB 400 and older Quadras can have the modeling lamp turned on continuously. On the older Quadras, Pressing and holding the modeling light button down for 2 seconds will leave the modeling light on for as long as their is power in the pack. Not sure how long it will last with the Modeling light on.

    The ELB will shot at 10 fps in a burst mode or in strobe mode at lower power settings.

  • RVN - thank you sir for your reply, i will try it again on my older elinchrom quadra 😀
    really love your hardwork and your great review about elinchrom 😀 god bless you sir

  • The Elinchrom ELB 400 vs. The Profoto B1 (and B2) » Michael Clark Photography - […] comments on both of these units. Many of you know, especially if you read my previous review of the ELB 400, that I am sponsored by Elinchrom. I am not writing this comparison to bash Profoto. They make some […]

  • Gavin McGregor - Hoping for an ELB1100 announcement!

  • Joel - Thanks for the great review Michael. What settings on the TT1 and TT5 do you use when hyper-synching with the ELB400 or the Quadra? I have been trying out several combinations of settings and can’t nail down the best results. I know Pocketwizard has a guide here:

    http://wiki.pocketwizard.com/index.php?title=HyperSync_Setup#How_to_Configure_the_ControlTL_Transmitter

    But what works for your setup? (I guess a D4?)

    Thanks again for the great review.

  • Michael Clark - Gaving – You and me both. The Rangers are my main go to pack since I usually need more power than the ELB 400. I can’t wait to see an update.

  • Michael Clark - Devaka – Yes, the ELB 400 can use older Quadra flash heads and they go into the sockets just fine. No worries there….sorry for the late reply.

  • Michael Clark - Joel – My settings for Hypersync are generally to set it up for Maximum Output in the software. I think the options are Maximum Output or Reduced Clipping. In the Reduced Clipping mode I can shoot at up to 1/4000th second with my Elinchrom Rangers and Quadras with the D4 and D800. In Maximum Output I start to see clipping at around 1/1600th sec on both cameras – this will be highly dependent on the cameras you use. I generally go for maximum output and shoot at around 1/1000th sec up to 1/1250th sec for the shutter speed. I also put the Hypersync on the C2 channel on my MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units. I often just use two TT5 units as the reception between those units seems to be better. If you are a Canon shooter, then I have heard and seen that Hypersync doesn’t work as well for many Canon cameras. Hope this helps.

  • safak karaca - Dear Michael Clark;

    Thank you for sharing this great article.
    I want to ask you a question. I have Elinchrom ELC PRO HD 500.
    I just want to learn if I can use pocket wizard for hypersync or not.
    I did a research on the net but I didn’t find anything about this.
    So could you please tell me if I can use it with Elinchrom pro hd or not? If Yes, Please tell me which pocket wizard prodcut should I buy.

    I am waiting your helps and by the way, I am so sorry for my poor english.

    Safak

  • Michael Clark - Safak – I don’t think the ELC Pro HD 500 can do Hypersync because it has a very fast flash duration. It might be able to do it at certain settings like full power but I haven’t ever tried and I don’t see it listed as one of the compatible flashes on the PocketWizard website. You would need the PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1 to do Hypersync with – the Nikon or Canon version depending on your camera brand. I would call or email PocketWizard and see if they have tried it with those units. I have the ELC Pro HD 1000 Ws units but I don’t think it works with them. I use the Rangers with the S heads or the Quadras with the “Pro” heads for Hypersync because they have a slow flash duration.

  • Eric - Michael… Are the new Heads built better then the older heads? I have heard a lot of comments about the sloppy build quality of the elinchrom quadra heads and just want to make sure they will handle my abuse that most of my gear goes thru.

  • Michael Clark - Eric – The new heads are pretty much the same as the older heads. The cord, as I said in the review is a bit better integrated. I have not experienced any sloppy build quality issues with my Quadras. And as I said in the review, even though there is a lot of plastic in the heads, I have not had any durability issues with them. They are tougher than they look. These are meant to be lightweight, so the heads are in that vein. If a head falls over on a light stand and hits something hard, like a rock or concrete, you will be buying a new flash head but that would be the case with just about any flash head out there save for the all metal DynaLite heads or maybe the top-end Profoto Pro heads. If a Profoto B1 falls over on a light stand, with that much weight, it is going to do some damage to the flash head for sure. The nice thing about he ELB 400 is if you have a light modifier on the Quadra heads they are very well protected and mold into the light modifier. The light modifier, like a softbox, will protect the flash head. The new light modifier adapter is also very robust. And the battery-pack is totally bomber – no worries with that.

  • Mark - Just took possession of a new ELB 400 and Pro Head. Alright, the OLED panel looks NOTHING like the photo in the article, at least outdoors in direct sun or even shadow. If this is an improvement over the old one, I’d hate to see what that one looked like. Inside a darkened studio it’s nice and easy to read and legible as per the photo but that’s it. There should be a truth-in-review somewhere here for this!!!

    Other than that, unit seems tight, quick and well built. HOWEVER….. why oh why they designed the heads so the locking lever is on the left side of the head is beyond logic, as it goes against the first rule of gripping (well maybe second or third) that things are set up so that they lock against themselves by the weight of the object; i.e.. as the weight of an umbrella pulls down the head, which it does have a tendency to do given that the assembly is mostly plastic, it will loosen itself rather than tighten. Due to the umbrella shaft holder (again, what size is this?) on the right side, you can’t reverse engineer the handle, sadly. Perhaps it’s not that big of a problem as you’ll probably be using the Elinchrom adapter for additional light modifiers (boxes, octi etc…). So much to like, and yet so close but a bit short.

  • Michael Clark - Mark – I think I did comment on how the OLED isn’t easily readable in bright sunlight. It isn’t so bad in the shade in my opinion. I never even noticed what side the locking lever for the flash head was on.Once it is locked down I have never seen one actually move – I crank them down hard.

  • Mark - Oh,then my mistake on that one regarding your mentioning readability in sunlight. HOWEVER…. just noticed that the white buttons are glow-in-the-dark! Not sure if that’s been covered! Do you have any idea if they’re planning on updating the Ranger series as well; would much prefer the added power of those along with a weight reduction in the batteries.

    Thanks for the great review and user-experience with these units; thought it was the most credible of anything written so far.

  • Michael Clark - Mark – Thanks. Sadly, no lighting solution from any manufacturer is perfect. I wish it were…but that is another topic. I can’t speak to the Rangers. I am right there with you hoping those are updated soon. Thanks for the comments and the note on credibility. I try to call it like I see it.

  • Paolo Marchesi - Hi Michael,
    I sent you direct message but figured I would write directly here so other people can benefit from it. I purchased two ELB kits and with the skyport Transmitter I don’t get more than 20 meters in range. I tried with many different settings and on a parking lot as well as outside in a grassy field with no obstructions. I loose connection after 20 meters. Both pack and transmitters have the same problem. I returned them to B&H and I am debating if I should get an exchange or a different system.
    Thanks for your help!
    Paolo

  • Michael Clark - Paolo – Hello. Great to hear from you. Honestly, I am not sure I have ever been more than 20 meters from my Quadras or the ELB400s. I haven’t tried to see how far I could be away from them. I have been pretty far away from my Rangers but I was using the PocketWizard ControlTL transceivers for that shoot using Hypersync. You can certainly use PocketWizards with the ELB400 set up.

  • Mette - Hei Michael
    I have the “old” Ranger Quadra with Action heads. I have a Canon 5d Mark 3 and have not been able to do Hyper Sync. But I heard that is possible with standard head. Does the new Pro Head fit the old Quadra, and will I be able to do hyper sync, when I also use the pocketwizards?

  • Michael Clark - Yes, you can use the Pocketwizard ControlTL transceivers with the Pro Head or the older S-Head with your Quadra and use Hypersync to activate them. The PocketWizards can be a bit finicky with the older Quadras as you will have to connect the transceivers via a cable but it does work very well. I haven’t tried it with Canon cameras but you should be able to sync up to 1/1,200 sec or higher without banding or a huge gradient. The new Pro head will fit and work with the older Quadras.

  • James Clews - Hi Michael

    I have the Profoto B1’s at the minute and when i use high speed sync with shutters over 250th second it goes instantly to power 8 out of 10 which is a very high power. I’d like to buy the Elinchrom HS heads with the ELB 400 power packs and hopefully shoot at any flash power with HSS. Will i be able to shoot at any flash power i want over 250th?

    Thanks

  • Michael Clark - James – I have used the ELB400 with the HS head at half power and it was totally fine. I need to do more testing to answer your question completely. But, in theory, yes, you should be able to use any flash power or use the ODS feature to use lower flash output. I’ll put up a blog at some point with test results…

  • RVN - hallo sir clark, yesterday elinchrom just release new el skyport plus HS with many improvement, interface and feature so it look very handy. they said this new skyport will come with canon, nikon and sony in following. thats really good news because i am is sony user camera.

  • MarkV - Hi Michael,
    Would you recommend the Pocket wizard system for hypersync with the ELB + pro head or the elinchrom HS Plus remote? I don’t see any banding in your photos while there is banding with the elinchrom remote.
    Thanks!

  • Michael Clark - Mark – I would definitely recommend the Elinchrom Skyport Plus HS transceiver over the PocketWizard. I would also highly recommend those that want to use the Hi-Sync feature to choose the HS flash head for the ELB400, which will eliminate all banding. I am not sure which photos you are commenting on that have banding. The gradation was way worse with the PocketWizard Hypersync than it is with the new Elinchrom Skyport HS, especially when using the HS flash heads.

  • MarkV - Hi Michael, thanks for your answer. I don’t see banding on your photos, but I saw it on another site where they tested the new elinchrom trigger with different heads. I would use it for all sorts of photography: product photography, portrait (shallow depth of field), corporate. Sometimes clients ask for shots on location to freeze action like liquids. My elinchrom dealer advised me to take the pro head since it’s the (close to) best of all worlds: Hi-sync capable but with shorter flash duration than the HS head.

  • Michael Clark - Mark – I’d say that was bad advice you got from the dealer. The pro head does neither well. It’s flash duration is pretty slow so it won’t stop action, not at fill power or anywhere near full power. And it doesn’t work that great for Hypersync. It will work but there will be a lot of gradation. The beauty of the ELB400 system is that you can have it both ways by buying the Action head and the HS head. That would be my recommendation. Buy one of each. They aren’t that expensive. Also, if you want to freeze liquids, shooting with the HS head and 1/8000th second will do that way better than any fast flash duration ever would.

  • MarkV - Hi Michael, thanks for your advice. I think I’ll start with a ELB HS kit then and see from there what I need. I guess I’ll need the action head to freeze motion inside (when they are moving fast) since the HS head will need faster shutter speed to freeze the motion but maybe that can also be an advantage even inside (darkening the background).

  • Jovelino MatosAlmeida - thanks for the good article
    2 things about using the ELB 400

    1/ if we want a dark background under strong sun : is it possible shooting with fast speeds (like 1/2000 sec @ f/11) with a non HSS camera option? (like the fuji XT1 that has no HSS option )
    or will we always be forced to shoot no faster than the maximum flash speed synchronization?

    2/ may we connect to the same battery 2 different heads, one Action and one Pro ? and fire both o the same shot?

    thanks in advance
    Jovelino

  • Michael Clark - Jovelino – the Hi-Sync option is a result of the transmitter, not the camera. Hopefully Elinchrom makes a Fuji and Sony version of the Skyport Plus HS. With the Fuji right now there is no option to shoot at higher shutter speeds than the standard flash sync with any flash system. You can connect two different flash heads to the same ELB400 pack but I am not sure why you would do this as your flash durations would be lower than if you just plugged in the action head. Typically you would use one or the other.

  • Jens Winkler - Hi Michael
    how do you get 10Hz in strobo mode? My unit will only go to 8Hz.
    And did you know, that the new ELB 400 is slower than the old quadra (even the non Hybrid ones) with the gel battery?
    I just test and wrote to elinchrom and got this information back: “The ELB 400 can only charge faster when used with the latest Li-Ion battery MKII (59 Wh, 14.4 Volt) Article code19259.
    The Lead Gel Battery offers only 12 V, which slows down the ELB 400.
    So, with the dedicated Li-Ion battery it will match the specs.”

    This was quite disappointing.
    Jens

  • Michael Clark - Jens – 10 Hz is a setting in the menu for the strobe mode. Not sure why you aren’t seeing it. I have never tested the ELB400 with the Lead Gel batteries. I am not sure I would ever want to use them or need to use them as I have worked with the ELB400 in some very cold environments (which would be the time to use the Lead Gel batteries) and saw no performance drop. So for 99.99% of people, myself included, it doesn’t matter – I will always use the Li-ion batteries. Apparently the ELB400 is optimized for the Li-Ion battery. Didn’t your ELB400 come with a Li-ion battery? Just use that and sell off the Lead Gel batteries.

  • John S - Hi Michael, I am an original owner of a 1st gen Quadra. I don’t do sports or anything “fast” but I do like a fast recycle for my not so patient people in group shots 🙂 I was disappointed about Elinchroms misleading fast recycle specs and # of shots per battery (I have spoke to Elinchrom and just got a lot of brush off answers). Basically I get 160 full power shots from a battery which is fine but if you are on fast recycle you only get 80 shots before it goes into slow recycle mode. Anything above 200ws takes forever (over 3 sec) in slow recycle.

    I am wondering if the Hybrid or the new ELB work differently meaning better. I am looking for a pack that will deliver a fast recycle while keeping most of it’s flash per battery charge count. Obviously the Lith batts are higher flash count but do they still go into a slow recycle mode 1/2 way through depletion? Thanks!

  • Michael Clark - John – As for the ELB400, they recycle faster than any of the former Quadras. I have them in fast recycle time all the time and just depleted a battery the other day while shooting and never noticed a slow down so i would say yes, they do offer much faster recycle times and don’t seem to slow down. Not sure about the Hybrids.

  • Daniel Arauz - Hi Michael
    Any advice for air traveling with ELB400.
    Will be traveling from Panama to NY but not sure if will have problem because the ion battery.
    Already read all the traveling recommendation from elinchrom.

  • Michael Clark - Daniel – Hello. I travel with my ELB 400 kit in either a Pelican 1510 carry on case with the TrekPak dividers or with my trusty Lowepro X200 Pro Roller case. I normally check these bags instead of taking them on the plane. As for the Li-Ion batteries I have never had an issue checking the ELB400 and a set of extra batteries. I always take out the fuse before traveling as well.

  • Roel Rocero - Hi Michael. Can you plug the action and pro head on the same module at the same time?

  • Michael Clark - Roel – I have never tried that. I suppose you could though I am not sure what purpose that would serve. I would ask the Elinchrom folks on their Facebook page.

  • Quintin - Hi Michael.

    I am hoping you can offer me some advice as you also use the Canon 5dmk3 that i am using with my ELB400.
    I have just taken delivery of my HS head and transmitter and after some head scratching i figured out what to do.

    BUT, i still have a dark vignette at the top if i go over 200/sec.
    I worked out i needed to switch on the ODS, but even after turning it up to 5, the vignette is still there albeit less.

    What am i doing wrong?

    At this stage i am so disappointed, hopefully it is something small i need to change.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Michael Clark - Quintin – I shoot with Nikons. I would suggest checking out this blog post:

    http://www.elinchrom.com/learn/setup-hi-sync.html

    You do have to engage the Hi-Sync feature on the transmitter when working with Canon cameras. I would call the Elinchrom support people at Mac Group and ask them some questions. I have heard the best results with Canon cameras are in the ODS range of 2 to 2.5.

    You might check out my blog post here: http://blog.michaelclarkphoto.com/?p=4590

    But realize, I have not shot with Canon cameras so I don’t have experience with them and Hi-Sync. I know plenty of people who have gotten it to work well though. Here is an excerpt from that blog post linked above:

    Setting up HS mode for Canon Cameras: Setting up Hi-Sync mode for Canon cameras requires that you actually engage the HS mode on the transmitter itself. To do this, push the button below Setup and then select SYNC Mode and choose HS Hi-Sync Mode. Your transmitter is now setup for Hi-Sync.

    As I don’t work with Canon cameras, I have heard from a few that have tested it out and those photographers have indicated that for the best results the ODS (OverDrive Sync) settings need to be set between 2.0 and 2.5 ms. To adjust the ODS settings, press the button below Setup , then go down to the ODS Setup menu and use the scroll wheel to adjust the ODS setting to 2.5. Note that you may want to test various ODS settings with your Canon camera because each camera is a little different.

    With Nikon cameras, I have found that no ODS adjustments are necessary.

    That is it for setting up the Hi-Sync capabilities of the Skyport Plus HS transmitter. To get an accurate exposure with the flash I recommend that you calibrate your LCD screen on the back of your camera (to a calibrated monitor) and use the Histogram to check your exposure.

  • Yves Van Steen - Anyone who tested this?

    Does the Nikon version of the Elinchrom HS Skyport plus remote support rear curtain (2nd curtain) sync pass through with the elb 400 flash system?

    According to the manual you can’t set it through the Elinchrom HS Skyport Plus remote for Nikon (the Canon version can). But when you set it through the Nikon camera it should work with the remote. It would pass it though to elb 400 or other flash systems. I would like to be sure before I purchase a new flash system.

    For information purposes the Profoto does allow this from their remote.

  • Michael Clark - Yes, it does. Jus set the Nikon camera to rear curtain sync and it works perfectly.

  • Jan - Hey Michael,

    i just bought the ELB 400 with the HS Head.
    Can you tell me, why i cant use the 10hz in Strobo mode. if i use 10hz and for example 2 second exposure to capture a runner, the HS Head flashes just a couple times (about 2-3 times, depending on the power, i use)
    If you read the instructions, there is written, that you have the fastest recycle time on the B Port with 0,17 of a second. For me, that means, that the fastest strobo sequence is about 5 flashes per second (1:0,17) and this with a minimum of the power. But i dont even reach this sequence.. can you tell me, how i use the elb400 with the HS (or the Action, i will buy next) right. I know, that i should use the Action head for Strobo, because of the shorter flash durations, but the hz-sequence-possibilies should be the same on both flash heads, right?

    Kind Regards,

    Jan

  • Michael Clark - Jan – Yes, I think you said it, you will have to be at the lowest power settings on the B port to get the full 10 flashes per second in strong mode or any other mode. The Action head will be the one you want for that as well because of the faster flash durations. With the Frequency set to 10 Hz and the Duration Window set to 1.0 second, with the Action head in the B port and at the lowest power setting, I get quite a few flashes – it is hard to tell how many. More than five. Not sure if it is 10. You might ask your Elinchrom dealer for more details. I don’t use this mode very often on the ELB 400 – I tend to use it on the ELC Pro HD mono blocs.

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