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| Converting Elinchrom speed ring to Buff- Buffinchrom! |
Well, I don't think I'm the first person to do this but I haven't seen much info on it, so I thought I'd share my experience.
I wanted to use the Elinchrom deep octa on my Buff Einstein... Google revealed the Kacey adapter. I would have been happy spending the $100 or so on it, but using the adapter doesn't put the flash tube precisely in the right spot. Would that have affected the quality of the light output? I'm sure it would have... whether or not it would matter, I'm not sure. But, it would be silly to spend $300 on the deep octa and not have it line up right. May as well get a cheaper one at that point.
So, based on pictures of the speedring (I didn't actually own one yet), I figured I could hack one apart and put a Buff compatible mount in there. I figured someone must have thought of that before... and indeed, a search revealed this fellow: http://blog.arharvey.com/2011/07/elinchrom-rotalux-deep-octa-to-bowens-conversion.html
He converted one to a Bowens, and confirmed some of my ideas how to do it.
A word of warning- this obviously voids any warranty you might have on the speed ring. This modification was done to the ring that came with the 39" deep octa that I bought this past week. I have no idea if there are different versions of the ring. This took me less than an hour to do, as an experienced tinkerer. But if you mess up- new Elinchrom rings are about $100
First step is to get the old ring apart. I forgot to take pictures of that, but basically, the Elinchrom ring is riveted together. You have to drill the rivets out. I used a 3/16" bit for this- drilled just enough to remove the rivet head. After that, the rivets need to be hammered out with a punch. They are pretty tight. The fellow at the link above mentioned he bent his ring a bit and spent a lot of time getting it back in shape. I avoided this by supporting the speedring on both sides of each rivet as I pounded away. You'll find the nub where each rod holder is might make this difficult. I found that 2 popsicle sticks conveniently makes up for the height of the nub. After you have it apart, you'll have this-
The 8 rod holders are all independent pieces, and you'll have the rotation locking knob as well, plus the two main halves of the speedring. The rod holders are held in by short pins- be careful, because some may pop out as you're hammering the rivets apart.
Now, we can easily see what we need to do- replace the Elinchrom insert with one that fits Buff lights. My donor was a Photoflex speedring. Why? Because I had one... I'm sure there are other suitable ones out there. Now, a small problem- the Photoflex insert had a significantly larger outer diameter than the Elinchrom insert. When you have the thing apart, you can see that the insert rides in a recess on both halves of the speedring. So, the Photoflex/Buff insert needed to be trimmed down.
Here you can see the new insert and the old. Trimming it down turned out to be simple. I traced the Elinchrom insert onto the Photoflex/Buff one to get the size right. Then, I cut it to size rather easily with aviation snips. Took about a minute to carefully cut it out. I erred on leaving it a tad too big, and then went the rest of the way with a file, sandpaper, and a dremel. (If you've never used a dremel before, this isn't the thing to learn on )
Putting it all back together isn't too difficult. You can put the rod holders in one half and they'll hold themselves in. I put the rotation lock back in, but to me, it's not really needed. I've never had a soft box randomly rotate on me. I might use the nut associated with that later to mount the deflector if I decide I want it. Rather than riveting it back together, use screws, and you can take it back apart again if you want.... even put the Elinchrom insert back in if you want to.
I used 4mm x 12mm screws for this, and nylock nuts. This was my only real expense for the conversion. I used stainless screws from the local hardware store- each screw/nut combination was basically a dollar, and you need 16. If I were to convert more, I'd buy these in bulk somewhere.
Here it is all back together, and mounted on my Einstein-
And here's a shot to show how the flash tube aligns with the new ring:
No diffuser, looks pretty even-
And of course, had to test it out. So... new facebook profile pic