Review: Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 Monolight

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (11 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

Elinchrom doesn’t have a name as strong Paul C Buff, Profoto, or Broncolor–but their products are in the hands of many pros who do some incredible work with their lights. When we first saw the ELC Pro HD 1000 watt second light at a meeting with the company, we saw some very rudimentary features. And for the most part, Elinchrom isn’t reinventing the wheel. But the big selling points of this light are the 1000 watt second output, 1.4 second recycle time, and the promise of being able to shoot 20fps at the lowest power setting.

But is that enough to make you want to upgrade?

Pros and Cons

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Model: Natalie Margiotta

Pros

– Tremendous amount of light output

– Interesting if not tedious measures taken to ensure that everything comes to the user not broken

– Extremely powerful modelling lamp

– Included umbrella mount

– Fairly straight forward use

– Built in skyport transmission

– Modelling lamp doesn’t burn way too hot to touch

– Lots of protection around the flash bulb and the modelling lamp when packed away. Better protection than anything Paul C Buff offers though not as good as Profoto.

– Very color consistent light output

– 1/10th light increment controls or in full stops.

Cons

– Securing the umbrella stand is a pain

– Wish that the LCD screen were larger

– Elinchrom needs a portable DC to AC conversion battery

– The Skyport transmitters need a refresh at this point.

Gear Used

We tested two Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 units with Westcott seven foot parabolic umbrellas, the Canon 5D Mk II, Sigma 85mm f1.4, Sigma 35mm f1.4, Olympus OMD EM5, and the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 lens.

Tech Specs

Tech specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the product.

Maximum Watt/Seconds 1,000
Guide Number 298′ (90.8 m) @ 3.3′ (1.0 m), ISO 100 with 48° reflector
Recycle Time To full power
@ 230VAC Slow: 4.0 sec., Default: 1.5 sec., Fast: 1.2 sec.
@ 115VAC Slow: 5.0 sec., Default: 1.8 sec., Fast: 1.4 sec.
Maximum flashes per sec. at min. power: 20
Flash Duration Min / Max: 1/2,780 / 1/1,430 @ t0.5 At 80W/s: 1/5,260 (power setting: 3.6)
Flash Variability 8.0 Stops: 7.0 – 1,000W/s in 1/10 stop increments
Power range display: 0.3 – 7.3
Color Temperature 5,500K
User Replaceable Flashtube Yes, S-Type, Omega plug-in
Changeable Reflector Yes
Modeling Light Wattage 300W GX 6.35
Modeling Light Control Full, Free, Proportional
Voltage Stabilization Yes, +/- 0.1%
Flash Ready Indicator Audible and LED
Operating Voltage 90 – 265VAC, 50/60Hz
Sync Voltage 5.0V
Sync Socket 3.5 mm Jack
Umbrella Mount 7.0 mm Diameter
Built-in Slave Cell Optical/IR
Integrated transceiver: 8 frequency channels with 4 Groups with full RX features
Circuit Protection Fuse
Power Consumption @ 230VAC, 50Hz
Slow: during charge: 350
Default: during charge: 700
Fast: during charge: 875
@ 115VAC, 60Hz
Slow: during charge: 250 Default: during charge: 500 Fast: during charge: 625
Pure Sine Wave Converter AC/DC, slow charge: 600 with halogen
Fan Cooled Yes, temperature controlled
Auto Dump Yes
Dimensions 12.4 x 5.5 x 8.2″ (31.5 x 14 x 21 cm) With protective cap
Weight 6.4 lb (2.9 kg)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (2 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

The Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 monolight comes in this really cushy case if you get the double head pack. The case boldly features the Elinchrom logo on it and comes with a fairly cushy strap as well to help you tote around these behemoths. Putting them on my shoulders and bringing them a couple of blocks with me was a bit much for my back. But if you’re not out of shape the way I am, then you shouldn’t have too much of an issue.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (1 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

The bag also has a hand strap on top and dual zippers that open and close together using another strap. That flap over the bag locks shut with a buckle. It’s a fairly complicated system–and when initially taking the product out of the box I had an inkling that Elinchrom didn’t want me getting into the contents inside.

This further lead to my thinking that it is a very theft proof bag. Not that we’d steal our own review units that is!

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (3 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Inside, you’ll be treated to two massive monolight heads, cables, modelling lamps that must be installed (yes, we’re serious), umbrella reflectors, skyport triggers, and more. It’s quite a glorious chest of loot.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (5 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

When you finally get to light, you’ll find it like this with a cap on the the front that includes protective foam. You’ll need to remove this, then install the modelling lamps, and then attach the umbrella reflector. For what it’s worth, we wish that the included reflectors were larger for extra protection.

The lights include a handle–albeit in a weird position near the back.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (6 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

When you look at how the light attaches onto a light stand you notice something very subtle but still relevant. Elinchrom included an umbrella stand with this light–all you’ll need to do is screw it in in the right spot with your umbrella mounted in. Trust us, it’s sometimes a two person process.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (4 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

The light has all of its controls at the rear. When it is powered off, it will appear like this. But by using these controls you can go through presets, modelling light controls, power options, and more. For the most part, you’ll really just want it to have the modelling lamp output at a strong setting and control the light output.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (7 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

The Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 WS is one heck of a tanky light. We didn’t bump it around too much, but everything about it feels to be of serious quality. We didn’t bump it around a lot, but it was on the floor at times and travelled around with us and didn’t suffer a single scratch or issue of some sort. The build quality overall is better than Paul C Buff units but still not as good as Profoto. Still, it comes close.

What we really value though is the reliability of the transmitters to work with the light. They literally never failed on us.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (8 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

Everything that needs to be controlled in one way, shape or form can be done via the back LCD screen and by using the buttons. You can build presets, control the modelling lamp, dial in how much power you want to use, etc. It’s very convenient, but we think that making the LCD screen larger would have helped immensely.

Additionally, the first time around while going through the settings, we didn’t know whether to use the directional arrows or the control knob. We got the hang of it eventually though.

Oh right: bring extension cords. There aren’t very many power packs that will support this light.

On the other hand, controlling the lights via the Skyport transmitters isn’t so tough, but you can only do it in full stops.

We almost never used it at the full 1000 watt seconds, but we took it up to half power and recycled fairly quickly most of the time. However, we saw certain instances where the light would take longer to recycle the power. Still though, it held true to the 1.4 second recycle claim.

Image Quality

Model: Bec Fordyce

Model: Bec Fordyce. Big thanks to the Graham for letting us use the spot.

During our tests, we tested the Elinchrom Pro HD ELC 1000 watt second light with umbrellas and with the umbrella reflector. If you’re coming from Pau C Buff, Elinchrom, or most other manufacturers then you’ll see that the umbrella reflector makes a huge difference. But if you’re a Profoto shooter, you’ll really miss the built in reflector and the frosted dome.

For what it’s worth though, this light helped us deliver a slew of incredibly cool images. At no time did we use both lights at once–2000 watt seconds is overkill for many photographers. For what it’s worth though, 1000 watt seconds was (and still is) more than enough to light most NYC establishments.

Power

The Elinchrom Pro HD ELC 1000 can put out around 1000 watt seconds of light, but we almost never used it at full power. The light that it gives off is bright, punchy, and seriously beautiful. But if we had to compare its use in bare bulb situations and when shooting in a comparative setting, we’d have to say that Paul C Buff and Profoto both still win out. In a case like that, your light modifiers become even more important.

At 1000 watt seconds though, photographers shooting in studios and working with large groups may be the ones to benefit the most from lights like this. Trying to make your background go purely white? 1000 watt seconds will surely let you do that.

Color Consistency

If we really have to talk about color consistency, then we have to admit that we surely saw color shifts when shooting–but that none of the shifts were anything to really cry about to your retoucher or your production team. If anything, consider the fact that color consistency can be easily fixed in Adobe Lightroom with three clicks.

Still though, both Buff and Profoto have offerings that get the color consistency more stable than this light did in our tests.

Here are some extra image samples.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom 1000 Watt second lights review images of Sam (2 of 2)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 5.6

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom 1000 WS light review images Bec (1 of 3)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

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Conclusions

Likes

– Very powerful output

– Skyports aren’t terrible controls, though archaic

Dislikes

– Only AC powered

– Heavy

– Umbrella mount needs to be better implemented

– Setup is a bit complicated

There isn’t anything wrong with the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 watt second lights. In fact, they can help you deliver some jaw dropping images. But there are certain things about the system overall that make us want to kick Elinchrom. For starters, the radio transmitters need an update and need to be brought into the modern age. Operation at first is also awkward and not incredibly intuitive the way it is for other companies.

By all means though, none of those will stop you from being able to create wonderful images with this light. But Elinchrom could benefit from some updates to support their own products better.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

We award the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 monolight four out of five stars. Want one? Check B&H Photo for prices and availability. Usually it goes for $1,449.99.