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Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?
  
 
mholdef
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


I own an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra flash kit and am interested in buying the Skyport Plus HS to use with my Nikon.

I am aware that the High Speed Sync works best with the HS or S Heads, but I currently own only the two A Heads that came with the kit when I bought it.

While I have visited the Elinchrom webpage which provides some idea in terms of compatibility, I am unsure if aside from ebing able to trigger the flash, the Skyport will allow me to increase the sync speed using the A Heads, even 1 or 2 stops to 1/500 or even 1/1000 sec (as opposed to 1/8000 for instance with the HS Heads).

Right now I can only justify the investment in the Skyport, having to wait a bit before I can buy an S or HS Head, but gaining 1 or 2 stops would already offer me some benefit for shooting dance outdoors.

Does anyone have personal experience using the Skyport HS Plus with the Ranger Quadra and an A Head ?

Many thanks for feedback

Mark



Sep 17, 2017 at 05:38 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


You won't get even light coverage across the frame.. This is already evident with the S head to some degree. I have all three head types and can test the A for you once I'm back from a trip in a couple days.

But I shoot Canon and apparently HS works better and is more even with Nikon, from what I've read.

The HS transmitter is nice even if only for visual feedback of and adjusting pack power settings.



Sep 17, 2017 at 12:20 PM
mholdef
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


Thanks for the feedback

I would really appreciate that, what I would like to know is at what shutter sync is lost with the A head - if 1/500 or even 1/1000 is possible - in which case I would start with the Skyport, then add an HS Head later on




Sep 17, 2017 at 12:50 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


OK, I'll let you know. You might want to check if there are differences between Canon and Nikon HS sync. As I mentioned, I've read that Nikon cameras allow for better across-frame lighting consistency at higher HS speeds. But I would still expect the A head to be suboptimal. From the limited HS shooting I've done, the HS head is definitely best.

Years ago I used Pocket Wizard's hypersync with some limited success with the A head, so it can work but the question is the cutoff point and will let you know what my tests show.



Sep 17, 2017 at 03:54 PM
mholdef
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


Many thanks most appreciated +++


Sep 17, 2017 at 04:20 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


OK, just did some quick tests comparing the A and HS head. Camera was the Canon 1DXII.

With the A head plugged into the A port at full power, 1/320 and 1/400 would be usable, but with some gradation. Already at 1/400, the gradation across the frame quickly increased. At 1/500 a rather sharp transition was noticeable, where 2/3 the image width (of the short side of the frame) was full illumination and the other 1/3 was somewhat darker. It could be compensated with masking in post, but would be a hassle. 1/640 was even worse with maybe only half the frame fully illuminated and the top half of the frame fading off to maybe about 3 stops darker. The left end of the histogram was pulled pretty far to the left, spread across about 2/3 the right side of the scale with a spike at the right end. I tried up to 1/1000, at which point the exposure histogram spread pretty much all the way across the graph (meaning exposure was very uneven across the frame).

Performance seemed very similar at minimum power on the A port.

Going from 1/250 to 1/320 with the HS transmitter's ODS sync timing off resulted in a nearly black frame. It was necessary to set ODS timing to around 3.5ms to get the best result. For each 1/3 stop shutter speed increase, I had to dial down the ODS timing by 0.5ms. The ODS function allows you to 'line up' peak flash output at higher than normal sync shutter speeds.

Plugged into the B port, which results in the Quadra's shortest flash duration, 1/320 would be easily usable with major ODS timing compensation, but already at 1/400 there was some rather sharp fall off at the top 1/5 of the frame. Each 1/3 higher shutter speed became progressively worse and more shaded with a fairly sharp transition.

The HS head is clearly the way to go. While there was some gradation - the histogram had a 'fat' spike - it was consistent from 1/320 all the way up to 1/8000. But the amount of gradation did change slightly with power output (only tested in the A port). There was greatest gradation at full power and least at minimum power (1/4 power's histogram shape was similar to minimum power), however the amount of gradation difference between full and minimum power was maybe a half stop? It could still be compensated with a gradation filter in post. With each full stop shutter speed increase, exposure dropped pretty consistently by a stop. It would be necessary to either increase power output, ISO or open the aperture in order to maintain exposure consistency as the shutter speed increased. There was virtually no need to adjust the ODS setting. It could be left off, but a slight increase in the timing offset made minor improvements.

Bonus - S head: Tried only in A port. Could be used up to 1/8000 but the amount of gradation, while pretty consistent at all shutter speeds, was greater by about 2x than the HS head. While ODS adjustment did optimize positioning of peak light output in the frame, it actually resulted in greater gradation. Leaving ODS off clipped the brightest part of the strobe's output, but the resulting capture of just the tail portion of the tube's discharge provided a more manageable, more even gradation across the frame. It would be possible to compensate for this in post, meaning the S head would be usable, though less ideal than the HS head.

I ended up with a few S heads when I bought a few used and they also came with a couple of the Living Light kits I bought on sale recently. But I'm glad I have the A heads from my original purchase for those times I prefer short flash durations when I know I'll be shooting within the camera's normal flash sync range. For HS shooting, the HS head is the best choice, unsurprisingly.



Sep 22, 2017 at 03:54 AM
mholdef
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


Thanks for such a thorough assessment, really appreciated !!!

Looks like I am going to need to start saving for an HS Head

Best,

Mark

rscheffler wrote:
OK, just did some quick tests comparing the A and HS head. Camera was the Canon 1DXII.




Sep 22, 2017 at 04:30 AM
 

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Michael White
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


I thought the a heads were the action heads and the s heads were the standard heads for a slower burst of. Light. The hs heads are the highsync heads but the a should work a stop or two with the correct trigger


Oct 30, 2017 at 09:30 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


Just an update - I recently did ~500 frames outside, late afternoon using the sun as a backlight/hairlight and the HS head in a 100cm Deep Octa with only the inner diffusion baffle. Exposure was either ISO 100 1/500 @ f/4 or ISO 100 1/2000 @ f/2. The pack was pretty much at or within a stop of full power most of the time with the Deep Octa probably about 4-6 feet from the subjects most of the time, IIRC.

In my tests above I shot a white wall, which always revealed some exposure gradation across the frame, even with the HS head. But in these real-world photos, which ranged from individual half-body to full length as well as groups of 2, 3, 4 and 6 people, it was never noticeable.

Interesting note. I started off with the ELB400 pack and about 1/3 of the way into the session it shut down due to thermal protection kicking in. I continued with a Quadra RX pack without further shutdowns. I've recently converted my Quadra lead batteries to 6Ah lithium LiFePO4 packs. There are aspects of the ELB I prefer over the older design, but my experience has been that the older packs seem a bit less finicky.



Nov 10, 2017 at 05:52 AM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


Michael White wrote:
I thought the a heads were the action heads and the s heads were the standard heads for a slower burst of. Light. The hs heads are the highsync heads but the a should work a stop or two with the correct trigger


The Action head will be the worst of all for HS as it's flash duration is the fastest of all the heads.

That's why the entry level d-lite (which has a slower flash duration) will work better with HS then the ELC series which has much faster flash duration.



Nov 10, 2017 at 07:04 AM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


rscheffler wrote:
There are aspects of the ELB I prefer over the older design, but my experience has been that the older packs seem a bit less finicky.


This does sound a bit odd, make sure your ELB is updated to the latest FW version, and also try to reset the pack.
If the issues persist i recommend you to bring the pack to your authorized Elinchrom dealer.

I have had ELB 400's pack since they where released, just as I have with every version since the initial release of the Quadra.

Also had the original free style RX and then later the Ranger RX speed great packs but extremely heavy to haul...

The ELB 400 packs have had a perfect track record, not a single hiccup, Ranger Freestyle/Ranger RX didn't have many features to talk about.. been working well over the years.

I now shoot primarily with Two ELB 400's & ELB 1200's. The ELB 1200 is everything i love with the ELB 400 but on steroids, the best pack i'v used including the Profoto packs.




Nov 10, 2017 at 07:15 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


rscheffler wrote:
There are aspects of the ELB I prefer over the older design, but my experience has been that the older packs seem a bit less finicky.

Fotografpaul wrote:
This does sound a bit odd, make sure your ELB is updated to the latest FW version, and also try to reset the pack.
If the issues persist i recommend you to bring the pack to your authorized Elinchrom dealer.

I have had ELB 400's pack since they where released, just as I have with every version since the initial release of the Quadra.

Also had the original free style RX and then later the Ranger RX speed great packs but extremely heavy to haul...

The ELB 400 packs have had a perfect track record, not a single hiccup, Ranger Freestyle/Ranger RX didn't
...Show more

Well, it's not so much that the pack isn't working properly, it's perhaps that it's working too well 'by the book' perhaps in typical Swiss/German style. I've never triggered the thermal protection of the older packs and have a couple times with the ELB. As mentioned above, in the latest instance, I swapped out the ELB with an older pack and kept on shooting until the end of the shoot, without slowing down, without running into the thermal protection.

The ELB is also on the latest firmware version.



Nov 11, 2017 at 02:53 AM
Fotografpaul
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus - with A Heads?


Never had an issue with overheating on the ELB 400 had a few shutdowns with the original quadras which seemed to be a bit more sensitive. Considering I often run at least one of my packs at max level I still think it would be worth having the pack looked at since they really aren't sensitive to overheating in terms of rapid fire.






Nov 11, 2017 at 11:53 AM







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