Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL Kit Review

Norwich Commercial Photography

Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL

Why choose the Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL Lighting kit as your go to potable lighting setup? Well we all know when it comes to lighting equipment, there’s a massive amount of choice on the market with a range of prices to fit every pocket and the whole spectrum of photographers from novice to award winning professional. Choosing what is right for you as a photographer can at first seem a bit overwhelming. Believe me, I know. I trawled the internet and Wex Photography (the showroom in Norwich happens to be literally on my doorstep,) to try and find a solution that would fit my work as a commercial photographer. I’ve done the whole heavy light set-up having owned two pairs of Bowens 500 Gemini R lights for the past ten years. The Bowens didn’t owe me a penny. They were used spectacularly for assignments including professional hairdressing photography, commercial portraits, event photography set-ups and acted as warm constant lighting during video production. But they weighed a tonne. The lights were cumbersome, heavy and were totally oversized for transportation. The lighting stands really weren’t very substantial and the modelling lamps and fuses had a tendency to blow at the most inappropriate of times. They were amazing workhorses, but In July 2017, Bowens went into liquidation after 94 years of business, ultimately succumbing to the market’s growing competition and changes in consumer purchase trends. The ELB 500 TTL weighs 1.7 kg (3.83 lbs) and the battery weighs about 0.73 kg (1.60 lbs). It’s got a very small carry case which means it’s a dream to just throw in the back of the car.

If you’re planning to shoot on location somewhere without mains power, battery powered lights are the most practical means of achieving professional powerful lighting and The Elinchrome ELB 500 TTL is incredibly light and compact. I opted for the dual kit, which comes as standard with two lighting heads.  is the most powerful and portable TTL kit on the market and I was very impressed with both the design and the sheer lightness of the kit. There are different types of quality out there depending upon what you’re looking for — Profoto have an extensive range of superb lights including the B10and  B10 Plus, there’s the Badger and entry level Interfit FLA2002K1 Studio Essentials to name just a few. Elinchrom have a solid reputation for making great lighting and are constantly bringing out new and improved products. The ELB 500 TTL Kit is designed for use both on location and in the studio but does not have a dedicated mains setting in order to power the lights without a battery.

Elinchrom ELB 500 TTLElinchrom ELB 500 TTL

 

About the Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL

This is a very clever piece of kit. Not only does it offer TTL but it also offers HSS. Basically, it will synchronize at super high speeds up to 1/8000s so capturing ultra fast action isn’t go to cause problems. The battery will give You about 400 flashes from one charge dependent on the power output that you’re pushing to the lights. The battery has the active charging, which means you can charge the battery as you shoot. This is awesome if you’re using the lights to shoot event photography on location or any indpoor locations where you have mains power available. It means you can shoot the interior set and still have a afull battery when there’s no charging options and still have a full battery to work with. The ELB 500 TTL features built-in Skyport, Elinchrom’s proprietary wireless system. For photographers already using the Skyport Plus HS Transmitter, there’s a firmware update available to obtain the TTL feature set. There’s also built-in functionality for the Phottix Odin II transmitters. 

The Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL battery pack allows for two separate lights to run off the one power supply. Labelled A and B, the pack can power and control two separate heads at the same time with  independent control of one another, meaning you can fire the lights as you would any mains powered system. The battery pack has an easily navigable menu system with options for black and white background colours and functionality that is clear and very simple to manage. he display gives you complete control over the kit, allowing you to activate and has asymmetrical distribution, meaning you can extend the power range when you’re using a single head.

The ELB 500 TTL enables the unit to act as a slave unit, so it will flash automatically along with other flash units. Triggering with the ELB 500 TTL is 15m is around 10 metres. I really recommend the Skyport Transmitter Pro. It’s reliable, has multiple frequency channels and fully controllable from the top of the camera. The lights will automatically adjust the power based on the metering of the scene and your camera’s settings. And, as the kit has HSS, if your shutter speed is outside the sync speed of your camera the light will automatically detect this and use HSS to maintain the correct exposure levels for the shot. The TTL option will automatically  predict the power to us

Blanc Creative Norwich

Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL

The kit is reasonably priced but be prepared It’s definitely a great piece of kit but the extras will bump up the cost. The lights will wet you back just shy of £1800, but remember you get no lighting stands, no Skyport Transmitter. Obviously softboxes and light shapers are another very personal and subjective item, so the lights come with mo modifiers. I opted for the Rotalux modifiers but in order to use these, the Q-Reflector Adapter MK-II will also be required. This will push up the overall cost by another £700-£800 for a pair of modifiers and mounts.

For professional use, the Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL series is a compact, easily transportable system with a host of features that are heard to beat for the price.