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    Power & Color

    The ELB 400 is rated at 7 to 425 Ws, divided over two channels A and B with two flash heads.

     

    The energy-capacity is a-synchronously divided into A versus B as 66% versus 33% which is the ideal ratio for making portraits. This asynchronous diffusion of light forms the proper contrast ratio for portraits. The color temperature is 5500 Kelvin and very stable across the almost all of the ELB 400’s power range.

     

    The benefit of this may not be obvious at first until you understand that there are many, cheaper (and some more expensive) flash units that exhibit color deviations of 15 to 20 percent. If color is important to you, the ELB 400 delivers is spades.

    Flash Heads

    The ELB 400 and the Quadra Ranger are one of the strobes on the market that support the ability to trigger above your camera flash sync shutter speed (mostly 1/200th a second), Elinchrom’s solution is called Hi-Sync. This technology takes a slice out of the full-flash curve allowing sync speeds much greater than 1/200th a second. This is why action and sports photographers particularly appreciate this technology.

    Lear more about Hi-Sync technology.

    These 3 flash heads offer you 3 different ways to use your ELB 400 (or Quadra Ranger). The difference in these heads lies in their flash duration.

    The Action head offers the fastest flash duration to freeze moving subjects with the normal flash sync shutter speed of your camera (1/200th a second) without the use of Hi-Sync technology. When shooting with a Hasselblad or shooting with a DSLR at the standard sync speed or below, you should use the Action heads. 

    The Pro head is the standard head for universal uses. It’s the perfect flash for portraits and still subjects. It offers a great balance between performance and price.

    When you want to shoot and overpower the sun for a portrait or to stop the motion completely, you should opt for the HS heads in combination with the EL-Skyport Plus HS transmitter. So, if you have an exclusive usage of Hi-Sync (using shutter speed faster than 1/200th), you’ll have to go for the HS head along with the EL-Skyport Plus HS transmitter.

    Learn more about the Quadra Flash Heads.

    Battery

    The Lithium battery has been improved, with 350 full power flashes versus the former 280 previous battery at full power.

    It is very unusual to be able to work at maximum output and get so many flashes per charge which puts the ELB 400 in a league of it's own. Another important aspect for the capacity of the battery is the energy management. The ELB 400 gives the user complete control over when the units will automatically turn off the modeling light, put the unit to sleep or turn it off completely.

    Charging the Lithium battery is very fast, from dead to full charge within one and a half hours, and dead to 80% charge in only 50 minutes, providing another 280 full power flashes. If you work in the studio or on a location where there is access to a power socket, the battery can be recharged whilst shooting, recharging between shots. One question people always ask me is “How many shots can I get out of a fully charged battery”? This depends on the power of the flashes. When I work a whole day with the ELB 400. I manage to work a whole day with one battery making about 400 to 500 pictures at 60% of the output and no modelling light. This an astonishing amount of flashes for such a lightweight strobe. To do this with speed lights, you’ll need four of them to produce the amount light an ELB 400 can output and a truck load of AA battery’s.

     

     

     

    What is the difference?

     

    The exterior of the ELB 400 looks almost exactly like the Quadra. Still the quick release port caps, raised Skyport antenna and USB micro port for firmware upgrades are extremely handy to have.

     

    Furthermore, the protective sealed rubber edge of the ELB 400 is made of a different kind of material which fits much tighter providing this weather resistant device even better protection against humidity. Under bad weather conditions the Quadra’s worked fairly well. I work a lot at the seaside and on the beaches and have never experienced any problems with them. Together, the ELB 400 with the battery and a flash head weighs 2.25 kg. The Quadra with lead-acid battery weighs approx. 3.35 kg.

    Internally the ELB 400 has several changes. Elinchrom’s OLED menu makes controlling the unit much easier.

    Now all settings are faster and easier access and the design makes finding any feature more intuitive. It is the same OLED menu that is used in the ELC Pro HD and I found that within a few minutes I could swiftly set up all features of the pack and I could, but didn’t throw away the manual.

    The supplied Skyport (remote control) allows me to change many of the packs settings without having to walk across to the unit. Skyport 3.0 functionality is built into the ELB 400, which provides up to 20 user channels, but we’ll have to wait for a Skyport 3.0 trigger before we can access the 12 addition channels.

    Also, flash synchronization time has increased to 1/320 sec.

    Flash Duration VS Power

    Should you purchase a new flash just for an OLED display?

     

    Actually, there is much more. I was thrilled to see that the flash recycle time is 20% faster than a Quadra. Because I’m rarely shooting at full power the strobe is always ready for my next shot and is waiting for the camera. If this isn’t enough, the the ELB 400 “stroboscopic” feature, allows me to flash up to 10 flashes per second on 140ws 1/3 power.

     

    Manufactures often mention the short flash durations of their strobes, but not always at what power it occurs. Almost all of Elinchrom’s strobes offer their shortest flash durations at the top of their power scale. Most other manufacturers shortest flash durations are at the bottom of the power scle. It is convenient to know the number of flashes per charge, but please be aware of how this is determined. Are the flashes done at full or at minimum power, with or without setting modelling lights etc. Always try to combine as much data as possible in order to get a better picture of a particular item/unit that you want to buy.

     

    In addition, the ELB 400 has a 20-watt daylight balanced LED as modelling lamp. You won’t need it much outdoors, but indoors it is a good solution. Video makers will find this is an ideal source of light.

    Light Conditions

    While at the beach, the sun got in the way, just when I wanted to darken my background. Because of the sunrays the left hand side was too bright.

    To solve this, I used a grey gradient filter, which helps the background disperse the light gradually. Afterwards I place the model into the shooting-position that looked good to me, set up the strobes and the composition is ready. I next determine the exposure, first without flash. At 1/125 f8 the sky will look as if it is normally exposed. But by lowering the exposure two stops lower (under expose) the sky becomes a lot more dramatic and the exposure goes to f16 at 1/125.

    Now, here is the trick, if the flash is set at 1/125 f16, then the model is well exposed and the background will be underexposed. It may take a while to calculate and puzzle between these settings, but in the end you will see the result that makes your shots look more dramatic and cool.

    © Peter van Heulen
    with no flash

    With the afore mentioned techniques you can darken daylight in a forest, however, there is a third factor, freezing of movement. There are two methods, a fast shutter speed or a quick flash. I chose the latter. The Action heads are ideal for this work. I made sure that the power suits a flash duration of approximately 1/3800 sec, enough to freeze the movement. For a light modifier I used an Elinchrom Rotalux softbox Octa 135. 

    Jump or action photos with the ELB 400 are a piece of cake. Forget about HSS or TTL modes of your speedlight and use the quick flash of the ELB 400. During a demo day, I took a shot of the model Kitje Wong in front of an Elinchrom flag. Here too, the sky is one stop under-exposed.

    The modifier I used was the Maxi spot reflector which gives me an advantage of 1 extra stop of light. In this case it was not necessary, but useful to know for future use.

    © Peter van Heulen
    with the ELB 400 flash and the Deep Octa 100

    Conclusion

    Most of the changes made to the ELB 400 are internally. The electronics, just as in the ELC Pro HD, were fully redesigned. The performance increases together with the intuitive OLED menu control definitely makes this a great upgrade. The unit has lots of flash functions such as Strobo, Sequence and Delayed flash mode.

    When you need power, speed, durability and an awesome looking portable lightweight flash pack, then the ELB 400 is the best one out there. It is just the best choice for photographers who want or need to work everywhere with no limitations.

    by Peter van Heulen

    updated on 09.02.2016

    The ELB 400 product page

    Specifications

    Quadra Hybrid
    10266.1
    ELB 400
    10279.1
    Auto Power DumpingAdjust power settings automatically
    BatteryLead-Gel 12 V / 3.6 AhLithium-Ion 14.4 V / 4.1 Ah
    Battery Life140 Flashes (full power)350 Flashes (full power)
    Colour temperature at max. power5500 °K
    Energy400 Ws/J424 Ws/J
    F-Stop (1m, 100 ISO, reflector 48°)64.5
    Modelling lamp modeOn, Off, programmable timer and continious
    Power range displayLED displayOLED display
    Power range f-stop6.6 6.9
    Power Range8 to 400 W7 to 424 W
    Height210 mm185 mm
    Length150 mm
    Width85 mm
    Skyport TypeBuilt-in, 8 freq. channels, 4 groupsBuilt-in, 20 freq. channels, 4 groups
    Sync Socket3.5 mm Jack
    Sync Voltage5 V
    Weight (max.)3 kg2 kg
    Weight (empty)2 kg1.27 kg
    Quadra Action Head
    20151
    Quadra Pro Head
    20121
    Quadra HS Head
    20153
    Colour temperature at max. power5500 °K
    FlashtubeN° 24086 : Plug-in, replaceableN° 24087 : Plug-in, replaceableN° 24088 : Plug-in, replaceable
    Port A1/2800 (100%)1/1200 (100%)1/550 (100%)
    Port B1/5700 (33%)1/3000 (33%)1/1100 (33%)
    Hi-Sync CompatibilityNoYes (camera dependent)Yes
    Modelling lamp - 230VLED: 50 W
    Umbrella fittingCentered tube for EL-umbrellas ø 7 mm
    Weight (max.)0.25 kg

    Peter's To Go Set

    • ELB 400 ACTION TO GO

      ELB 400 ACTION TO GON° 10417.1

      This set includes the new Transmitter Plus which offers simplicity, durability and reliability with the range now extended up to 200 m (656').

      Choose the Quadra Action head set when flash duration is crucial and you want to freeze your subject’s motion within the limits of the camera flash sync (X-sync) speed.

      The new ProTec Location bag safely carries the ELB 400 and accessories, and it can be can customized and reconfigured to fit the equipment.

      Not recommended for Hi-Sync photography.

    • Maxi Spot Reflector 29° 40 cm

      Maxi Spot Reflector 29° 40 cmN° 26149

      Same shape as the Maxi Lite Reflector but produced with brilliant reflection material for very high efficiency, throwing light over even longer distances.

      It creates a narrow powerful beam, which creates deep and sharp, shadows.

    • Rotalux® Softbox Octa 135 cm

      Rotalux® Softbox Octa 135 cmN° 26184

      Very popular among beauty and fashion photographers, as they prefer the round catchlight given by this softbox.

      You can make yourself a great folding beauty dish just by removing the front and inner diffusers and adding one of the optional deflectors. 

    • Rotalux® Softbox Deep Octa 100 cm

      Rotalux® Softbox Deep Octa 100 cmN° 26185

      This narrow shaped Deep Octa reduces the spread of light and offers sharper shadows compared to standard sized octagonal softboxes. It provides a very even diffuse light over the front screen and is an excellent crispy and direct light when used without diffusers to give a beauty dish look. 

    • Quadra Ringflash ECO

      Quadra Ringflash ECON° 20492

      Portable, this is an ideal fill light for fashion and beauty photography. Comes with a white diffuser cap to soften shadows.

      Optional extension cables up to 10 m for special situations are available.

    • Tripod Air Set 105-264 cm

      Tripod Air Set 105-264 cmN° 31052

      Lightweight and safe, these air cushinoed black aluminium tripods are designed to use your flash units with heavier accessories. This tripod set is an ideal complement to the BRX and ELC Pro HD To Go sets.

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