Swiss lighting specialist Elinchrom has launched a new battery-powered lighting system for “adventurous” photographers shooting either in the studio or in more challenging locations. It offers a big jump up in power compared to regular speedlights as made by camera makers and could tempt existing pro flash users over from less well-specified kit.
The ELB500 TTL comes as a portable power pack feeding one or two separate flash heads (you can get it as a single-flash or dual-flash kit). The ‘500’ comes from the pack’s 500Ws (watt-second) power output, which is about ten times higher than regular speedlights. Indeed, Elinchrom claims it’s powerful enough to overpower the sun, by which they mean it can produce more light than direct sunlight on the subject’s face to dispel harsh shadows and make the background appear darker and less obtrusive.
The built-in battery can deliver 400 full power flashes on a single charge, with a recycle time of 2 seconds between full power flashes, and it has an Active Charging feature which means you can use it and charge the battery at the same time.
The ‘TTL’ in the name refers to its automatic flash control, which is common on regular speedlights, but less so with professional flash systems. Many photographers will be used to working out the flash power manually, but TTL flash is quicker in situations where there’s little time for planning – social photography, for example – or for photographers who just like the convenience of automatic flash control. With the ELB 500 you can also get the initial exposure using TTL and then adjust it manually if you want to.
The ELB 500 TTL’s sun-squashing power comes from Elinchrom’s High Speed Sync (HSS) technology, which can time the flash precisely with the camera’s shutter action to work at much higher shutter speeds than the camera’s regular flash sync speed. So in bright sunlight, for example, you could shoot at 1/8000sec to control the ambient light yet still set a wide enough aperture for the flash.
The ELB 500 TTL is compatible with Elinchrom’s own Skyport system (which is built in) together with Phoenix Odin II functionality. Potentially, photographers will be able to control virtually any light or combination of lights, right from the camera. A firmware update has added TTL control to the Skyport Plus HS units for Canon and Nikon, and support for other brands will follow.
The ELB 500 TTL is available now in either a one-head or a two-head kit:
- ELB 500 TTL To Go (one head) $1899 USD €1699 EUR £1499 GBP
- ELB 500 TTL Dual To Go (two heads) $2124 USD €1949 EUR £1749 GBP