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| p.1 #13 · Elinchrom Quadra Hybrid Li-Ion |
No thanks. I like my AB1600 and Mini when I need more power than my speedlights; both are still pretty portable. Besides that I wouldn't want to have to carry my phone or tablet to control my lights when I can do that from my camera with the wireless trigger that's already atop in the hotshoe.
I bought two double head Quadra sets back in late 2009 and they have been very useful. But I still kept my AB1600s for those times when I need the output. The primary reason I chose the Quadras at the time was I wanted something more portable and battery powered than the ABs, while still giving decent output. But also for the shot to shot output consistency and the much shorter flash duration. What some might not know about many monolights is that when the output is dialed down, the flash duration gets a lot longer. Because I was using the ABs for both lighting up large spaces and portraits in confined areas, I found when doing the portraits that working at 1/8 or 1/16 output resulted in such long flash durations that I was actually seeing image blur due to either camera movement (I started shooting portraits on a tripod because of this) or subject movement. The cheapest solution would have been buying a few AB400s, but that would only have addressed the flash duration problem, probably not the shot to shot output consistency. Neither of these points is a problem with the Quadras, especially flash duration with the A heads.
Anyway, I really like how portable the kits are and how small and light the heads are. I'd like to get a couple of the lithium batteries, but at the moment the price is holding me back. If I used the lights a lot more, then maybe I would. Three years into ownership though, the lead batteries are starting to lose their capacity and I find I'm swapping them out rather frequently.
Had the Buff Einsteins been available in late 2009 along with the Vagabond Mini, I probably would have gone with four of those instead because they address the shot to shot output inconsistency of the ABs and unlike most mono lights, the flash duration gets shorter as the power is reduced. But I admit the size and utility of the Quadras has been great and there have been a few jobs where placement of the small heads in very confined areas has paid off.
Nothing fancy, but here's an on-location head shot set-up where I was stuck in a small office with a table that was fixed to the floor and couldn't be removed:
Also, it took me a few years, but I found a nice transport solution - the Pelican 1440 roller:
A brief write-up with some additional photos.