Three days ago I finally got my Elinchrome Ranger Quadra To-Go Set, with some addtional accesories (umbrellas, stands and softboxes), and I’ve used it for a couple of shoots now, one in studio, and one on location.
It is probably proper to start off with some of the specs and some info on the Ranger Quadra.
Qouted from the elinchrome site:
“The Ranger Quadra AS is a compact portable 400 Ws battery flash system for studio and outdoor use. A perfect battery flash system for anybody who like un-plugged (not connected to the mains) photography. The RQ System offers "Action Freezing" flashduration with fast flash recycling time and also un-plugged (wireless) trigger and remote options. “
-Image courtesy of Elinchrome
Radio remote control of POWER SETTINGS and FLASH TRIGGER.
INTELLIGENT FLASH POWER OPTIONS
Two outlets – Asymmetric 2 : 1 ratio.
Single high power channel.
Single superfast flash channel.
INTELLIGENT BATTERY POWER OPTIMISATION
Programmable Pilot Light duration.
Super efficient LED Pilot Light.
INTELLIGENT SLAVE CELL
Red eye pre-flash auto-detect.
Programmable and pre-set effect modes.
RANGER QUADRA HEAD S /A
Compact, lightweight (250 gram per)
RQ A Speed Head version for “Action Freezing” photography
(One RQ A Head connected to the superfast channel B - 1/6000 s)
-Again another image from I stole from the Elinchrome site :=)
The Quadras come in two different types, the RQ A head (wich both mine are), and the RQ S head. The difference is pretty much that the RQ A heads can sync to 1/3000 and 1/6000 sec. Other than that I dont think there is anything else that is different. They cost difference is – tiny – so I would recommend choosing the RQ A head, no matter what your normal subjects are.
To make this as easy to read as possible I will just split this review up in three parts. Pros, cons and summary.
- Obviously, these little buggers are pretty tiny, at 250G each. But they still feel very solid. And I’m sure they’ll handle a fall better than most of the larger flashes. They feel very compact in build quality.
- The actual battery is also very rugged. I used it outside, and placed it right on the ground in sand / snow / snowy grass without fear for destroying it. The cables are also screwed on, so it seems pretty rugged. I had no problems atleast.
- They flash at 1/6000 (or 1/3000 depending on what slot you use). Wich is kind of awesome for a budget priced flash with this kind of power. They freeze movement like running and jumping perfectly.
- LED modelling lights @ only 20W, but the effect is equalient to a 50W halogen. I could see this being useful for videos etc. I have’nt tested them yet, though. Oh, and the light is also daylight balanced. Aka not the ugly yellow light most flashes have =)
- You get a skyport trigger with the To Go Set, and its working really good. So far I’ve had no misfires, and it also lets you control the power from your camera. The range is also quite good, I tested it to about 35 meters today, and it worked perfectly. I didnt test how far I could go though, since it was fucking cold outside.
- They create nice light right out of the box without any modifiers. Atleast they create the kind of light I like, so when I used them outside I used only the small reflectors they came with.
- Good battery life. They say they are good for about 150 flashes at full power, but so far mine has done better than that. I used them both at 280W for about 320 images, and it was somewhere between 20% – 50% left.
- They also have very good capabilities when it comes to controlling the output. All the way down to 8,2 Ws up till 400W. So you can use them with fast lenses to.
- You can “Try before you buy”. Even from internet stores.
-A image from my first location shoot with the quadras, shot only with the default reflector. -7 degrees celsius. It was freezing !
- Theres a lot of good things about these little babies, but ofcourse nothing is perfect. My main issue is that the menu design is horrible. Its the worst thing Ive – ever – tried as far as menues go. Its basically a bunch of 3 letter codes shown on the power display, and you have to look them up in the manual to figure out what the hell they mean.
- The cables are a little to short. With only 2,5m its hard to use one of them as a main light and one as a kicker light. Ofcourse you can buy bigger ones, but thats gonna cost ya ;=)
- Doesnt fit the normal elinchrome mount without an extra adapter that costs quite a bit to much, considering its a fucking plastic ring.
- You can’t adjust just one and one flash, as far as I can tell. So you adjust power levels and one of out put holes only goes up to 33% of max power, so you can use that to get some control. Though it might be hidden in those devil-made menues some place I can’t find !
- And thats about all I have on the bad side so far =)
-Image from my studio shoot with the quadras. Look how nice it freezes their movement =) Even the one in the back jumping forward is completely frozen. Shot this one at about half power with the white umbrella that comes with the elinchrome stands and umbrella set.
All in all, I’m rather happy with my purchase of the Quadras. Although I must I admit I’m quite puzzeled that I can’t control the lights one and one. Seems like such a simple thing to incorperate. But thats the only thing that I really don’t like with them. I do love the mobility they offer, it’s really nice for someone who work freelance like me, and might have to pack up and down a lot and bring them around all the time =)
Probably good stuff for anyone used to working strobist style with small speedlites to. Its like, smaller speedlites with a battery pack, and much more power !
Hope someone takes the time to read this. Maybe I will do more “reviews” later:=)