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Sekonic & Elinchrom - HvE-20170310-0016

37 Comments

  1. Mat

    Good job, was looking for comparison like this. 🙂
    Any chance you could test an older Elinchrom head, like Style RX 600? I’ve read older heads are supposed to be faster then the new ones (ELC)..

    Reply
  2. Nick

    Excellent writeup. I’ve been searching for this info for forever. I have einsteins and ELB400’s with HS heads, and always wondered about the duration at different power levels on the the ELBs. Eli didn’t respond when i asked. The t0.5 is nowhere near the einsteins (t.1) data, but the action heads should let me at least shoot in the studio with the ELBs when i need to. THANK YOU!

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Hi Nick, you’re welcome! The Action Heads are great, but also the ELC1000 on 3.6 and the ELC500 on 3.1.
      The Einsteins are IGBT flashes, so their shortest flash duration is usually at the lowest power. I need high power and short flash durations because I use gridded beauty dishes: I loose a lot of light because of the modifiers. Elinchrom gives me the sharpest images and the shortest flash duration on those power levels.
      I’m glad to make you happy with it and I hope to make your workflow and studio time a little bit shorter this way. 😃

  3. Petr Krenzelok

    Bad thing is, that the fast flash duration goes against the HS principle. We have got our Skyport HS and our studio RX600 are simply too fast. It works towards something like 1/600.

    So – you either go for the fast flash duration and well darkened studio, or you go for the HS and slow flash duration, which is usefull in outdoor conditions for e.g. We got both 🙂

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      That’s true Petr. 😃 I’m preparing for another article later this year. Or we freeze motion with an ultra short flash duration, or we freeze motion with an ultra short shutter speed. An ultra short shutter speed needs a high, large slow flash duration, that’s why the HS heads are around 1/300 of a second. I’ve got both here too, fortunately.
      I’m thinking about making an article about my outdoor workflow while using HS, combined with measuring with the Sekonic 858-D light meter (it measures HS and HSS now).

  4. Phil Webb

    Hi, great article thank you for sharing. I have a question regarding the Sekonic 858 and Elinchrom HS. Does the 858 measure Elinchrom HS at shutter speeds above normal sync speeds, I have been told it doesn’t by various different outlets and companies but read in your piece it measures HS is that correct?

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Hi Phil,
      Good news for you: yes, the Sekonic L-858D does measure HSS AND HS. 😃
      To measure HSS you need to put the meter on HSS mode.
      To measure HS you need to put the meter on normal flash mode and dial in shutter speeds faster (shorter) than 1/200s. The only caveat is: after changing your shutter speed on the light meter, you have to re-measure the flash again for the most accurate readings.
      Enjoy!

  5. Phil Webb

    Hi Hans,
    Thank you so much for your reply to my question.


    Hi Phil,
    Good news for you: yes, the Sekonic L-858D does measure HSS AND HS. 😃
    To measure HSS you need to put the meter on HSS mode.
    To measure HS you need to put the meter on normal flash mode and dial in shutter speeds faster (shorter) than 1/200s. The only caveat is: after changing your shutter speed on the light meter, you have to re-measure the flash again for the most accurate readings.
    Enjoy!

    May I just clarify one thing before parting with a lot of money and then passing on my current Sekonic 358 meter. To meter Elinchrom HS with the Sekonic 858, set the meter to measure conventional flash as I would do on my current meter, take a test reading (for output) having the meter set to say ISO 100 and 1/160th sec and the meter gives me f8 for the power the flash is set to, then reset the meter to ISO 100 and 1/4000th sec and this would still give me f8?? And then when i take the picture is the subject going to be exposed correctly?? or could I give you a telephone call for two minutes to clarify TQ Phil

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Hi Phil,

      Sorry, I just wrote you a mail back before I saw your reply here. I’m answering here too, that’s better because of Google and this way, others can learn too.

      With Elinchrom HS, just set the meter to conventional flash (as you’re used to in the studio on your current meter). You can take a test reading at 1/160s and you can also take a test reading at 1/4000s, both readings will be correct (as long as you remeasure again).

      So, in your example: ISO 100 and 1/160s gives you a reading of f/8. Then (if you use HS light) you can change the shutter speed of the Sekonic L-858D to 1/4000s (still ISO 100). The meter will now display a wrong value but don’t worry: just take a new reading. Now your meter will display the correct exposure (probably way lower, f/2 or something). Then you can take the picture and it will have the correct flash exposure.

  6. Guy Daudelin

    Are you sure this is a correct way to mesure Hi-Sync? I always thought that the problem with Hi-Sync is that, since it cuts into the flash while open (and can be adjusted with ODS), there wasn’t a real proper way to meter it.

    If all of this is true, I am really tempted to get the new Sekonic with the Elinchrom module.

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Guy, the Sekonic light meter is (finally) smarter. Under the hood it analyzes the flash durations and calculates the right Hi-Sync exposure. That’s also why it needs a re-measurement after adjusting the shutter speed on the meter. It takes the flash duration and shutter speed into account.

  7. Per

    Great work, I was looking for someone who had tested the elb 400 heads in studio. So it was good information that the hs head was not good for studio work.

    Do you by the way have tested the elb 400 hs and action heads outside? I would like to see images with people and how sharp they are compared to each other.

    And when would you change from and hs head to and action head outside? I think as day goes into more dark evening and night?

    Reply
    • Guy Daudelin

      Hi Per,

      The ELB 400 HS head will be useful whenever you want to go faster than you regular sync speed. For example, the sync speed on a 5D Mark IV (regular) is 1/200sec.

      If I want my shutter speed to be slower than that, to have brighter exposure for the background, the best will be to use the Action head because of it’s fast flash duration.

      Whenever you want to go faster than 1/200sec, you will need the HS head because its slow flash duration combined with the HS transmitter will allow the flash to be “continually lit” during the whole exposure time. The HS head acts as a continuous light, if you will.

    • Hans van Eijsden

      Thanks for the answer Guy. Exactly right, couldn’t say it better. 😃 Enjoy Per, I’m glad to have helped you with the article. And yes, I often use the Action Head outside, when my shutter speed will be at or below (slower than) 1/200s.

  8. Per

    Thank you.
    Oh one more thing. If you have both heads is it possible to use the second head as fill light whatever head you use?

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Yes, that’s possible. With two Action Heads (or one Action Head as key and a HS Head as fill) and speeds below X-Sync no problems. But with the HS Heads you’ll have only the best results with port A (the slower port). And it takes a little bit of ODS tuning on the HS Trigger I think, to get a better port B syncing (but then port A will be less efficient).

  9. Per

    x synch?

    Well my idea was on sunny day to use the hs head for main light and action for fill.

    For night or studio to use action for main and hs for fill.

    Will this be possible? I’m not sure I understand correctly.

    And will this be possible with one battery or you need 2 batteries for this?

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Per, if you use on a sunny day the HS Head for main light and the Action Head for fill, you will only see the light of the HS Head in the photo (when you use shutter speeds shorter than the X-Sync speed of your camera).
      For night or studio it’s fine to use the Action Head for main, and the HS Head for fill, because then you will use a shutter speed equal or slower than the X-Sync of your camera. Just turn off the HS Head then, when you want to capture or freeze motion (the HS Head will give blurry images when used with slow shutter speeds).
      In both cases you can do fine with one battery. On average power one battery will give me several hundreds of shots with two heads connected at the same time.
      To know the unique X-Sync speed of your camera, just look into the camera manual and search for the technical specs (or search for them online).

  10. Per

    Hi again.

    So a night shoot with shutter speed for 100-200 will work fine with action head for main and hs for fill light?

    And as understand connection both flash head at one battery will also fastens the flash duration

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Hi Per,

      During a night shoot with a shutter speed of 1/100 – 1/200s the Action Head will work fine indeed, because that will freeze the action. As long as you use the HS subtle, as fill light for example, the blurryness of the HS won’t impact overall sharpness that much, because the Action Head will freeze that indeed.

      And no, both flash heads on one battery will actually slow down the flash speed. Best is to use the heads each on port B of a separate pack, to obtain the shortest flash durations possible.

  11. Per

    Well reading a bit more about the heads and talking to the dealer, I was recommended a hs head and pro head instead. So how are you experience witht the pro head and portrait or using to stop if someone is walking as that’s the fastest action I need to stop 🙂

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      My experience with the Pro Head is simple: the best of both worlds, but not really fast to obtain the sharpest images and not really slow to obtain the smoothest gradients during HS. The Pro Head is fine, and a good overall head, but if you want to do things to the max then it’s still a compromise.

    • Guy Daudelin

      I am really eager to see ELB 500 TTL results in this chart to compare. Thanks for all that info you are bringing to the table!

      Also, I just thought of something else. Is it possible on the ELB 500 to turn on modeling light only on one head when there’s 2 heads connected to the battery pack?

    • Guy Daudelin

      Wow, just realized that you DID update it. Very interesting results.

      Can you share a bit how much Action mode affects the color rendering?

    • Guy Daudelin

      Again, just saw that you did test on it in your other blog post.

      I’m very impressed about the color rendition being better on low output in Action mode! What’s the catch? Is it using more battery?

  12. dan

    Such a useful post! Great work, Hans. I would love to see more information about how you use the HS heads vs. the Action heads outside. You mentioned in a comment you will be working on more content.. would love to read it.

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Thanks Dan! The days are getting longer here, so I will be more outside. But the ELB 500 TTL works better for me because of the powerful HSS (almost as powerful as the HS, only max. 0.5 stop difference) so I will work more with the ELB 500 TTL than with the ELB 400. But when I have some more time I will create more content about both, in a follow-up article here and/or in a YouTube video.

  13. Per

    Does the elb 500 work well with phase one camera asweel? As I had to buy two different heads for the elb 400 as I have phase one and canon.

    Reply
    • Hans van Eijsden

      Hi Per,

      Here the ELB 500 TTL works with Phase One camera, but only in normal (manual) mode, not in TTL mode (yet). TTL mode works only with Canon and Nikon. Sony will be next, then Olympus/Panasonic and then Fuji. But I always use my light meter with Phase One cameras because I never use a large Phase One camera for a quick point & shoot shot. But it would be nice to have TTL there too indeed. Who knows…. 😉

  14. Per

    I was not so much thinking about TTL but more about Flash Sync up to 1/1600th Sec. How it works as with elb you needed one light for the phase one and another one for the canon. Now there is only one light. It sounds smarter as it works better together then two light that use different flash duration. But does it work well with all cameras so it would be better to get the elb 500 instead of the elb 400 I have now?

    Reply
  15. Per

    Hi again i have a problem getting a phase one camera with a leaf aptus 10 back to work with the elb 400 and HS transmitter. It works fine with my canon. I can get the phase one to connect to the elb 400 so I can change power and put model light on, but it won’t shoot the flash when I trigger the camera? I think I tried all in the manual with speed, frequency and group so they match up with the elb settings. It just won’t work. So do you have any ideas what could be the problem?

    Reply

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