You mentioned switching from Paul C Buff Einsteins to Elinchrom Quadras recently. I am getting ready to purchase something like this and was wondering why you made the change.
I’m eventually going to blog about it. I’m not ditching my Einsteins completely. They are great lights. The thing I am in search for is a solid bag of gear that can hand most of what I need in simple form. My old studio manager, Erik, had a shirt that said, “I’ve done so much, for so long, with so little I can now do anything with nothing.”
I sort of feel that way. For the past nine years I’ve been hacking gear together in more ways than one. I’m always buying the least expensive option and figuring out how to make things that aren’t made to work together to work together.
I’m starting to build my perfect kit with what is available on the market. I love hot shoe flashes. I’ll never ditch them entirely but the ones I own are needing to be replaced soon. I love my used Nikon flashes but they are getting harder to find and the prices are going up on them. I started looking for new flashes that have a solid build, have a warranty, and have the features I want. For this search I wasn’t looking for the most affordable. I’ve looked at all of them out there. Every one of them. While I like the build and features of the new Canon 600 I will not spend that much money on a stupid hot shoe flash. Add to this I’m most likely ditching my Canon kit soon for a Phase/Fuji kit. I don’t need dedicated flashes. Looked at the Nikon 900. Nice, nice, nice flash. Stupid price for what it is.
I moved from hotshoes to looking at Q-Flashes. They are nice lights. They have a bit more punch of power than a hotshoe. A lot of folks think the new Q’s aren’t built all that well these days. Many are complaining about cheap plastic and heads getting loose and the mounting system being sub par. Also, they are fairly hefty in size and take up a lot of room in a bag. Add to this they cost about $1,000 to get one with a battery. Give or take some.
So I kept looking and looking. Came back to the Quadra. I fell in love with them when they were announced. I’ve rented them a few times. I love their size. Love their power. There’s a lot to love about the Quadra except the price. But then you start comparing $600 Canon flashes and $1,000 Q flashes and the Quadra isn’t all that bad for what you get.
LOVE my Einsteins. Love the Vagabond Mini. But to shove an Einstein head in my camera bag is a lesson in futility. In my larger ThinkTank Airport Security roller I can fit a camera, a lens, two quadra packs, two heads. 800 w/s of light and my camera. It’s plenty of light for me to do most of my editorial gigs. The Quadra head is so small and lightweight. I love it. As soon as I can upgrade to the Lithium batteries it will make the packs smaller and lighter with even more juice.
I got 2 A head kits. It cost about $3k. I can’t be more pleased with my decision. I ran them through the paces at a week long workshop and they held up like champs and we never killed the battery. Granted, I rarely took them over the 133 w/s of the B port but that’s still more power than a hotshoe at full power. I went with the A head to be able to sync at full power with my PhaseOne at 1/1600th of a second. Works like a charm.
I’m making a little metal bracket that will hold two Quadra heads on a swivel adapter so I can punch 800 w/s of light though a modifier. Speaking of modifiers, I still mount the Quadra head to a swivel adapter like I do with hot shoe flashes. Elinchrom has a stupid little 7mm shaft size for an umbrella. None of my umbrellas will fit. Add to this the plastic around the Quadra head is thin and I feel I’d break it inside of a week. Mounting it to a swivel adapter lets me use umbrellas and my Westcott Apollo softboxes with the head and put the weight on the swivel adapter and not on the head.
Yanking the reflector off and going bare bulb is awesome. It’s so tiny. You can place it anywhere. My next hack will be mounting it to some sort of clamp for use in my Westcott speedring boxes that I have PCB rings for. I can mount the ring to a stand then clamp a Quadra head to that. I think I can. Need to rig it and that will keep me from buying new rings for my strips and Octa.
And…. there I go again hacking stuff together. I’ll never get away from it. :)
I know they are pricey. I seriously looked at them a few years ago and stuck with PCB lights due to price. PCB makes great stuff. I’m not parting with mine. But I’m over the moon happy with these Quadras. They’re damn near perfect. I think they’ll be even more perfect once I upgrade the batteries.