Thursday, July 16, 2009

Elinchrom's Ranger Quadra

FWIW: Most of the folks I follow on Twitter are fellow photographers or peeps who represent photographic businesses, e.g., manufacturers, service providers, photo-pundits, etc. so, today, early this morning actually, the photographic Twitterverse, leastwise, many of those I follow, were buzzing about Elinchrom's new Ranger Quadra battery-powered strobe system. (How was that for a long, run-on sentence?)

Anyway, I took the bait and decided to have a look-see at what the buzz was all about.

First thing I checked-out, since someone on Twitter was good enough to link to it, was Scott Kelby's "First Look" at the system.

You can view Kelby's video HERE.

In the vid, Kelby's guest is Bogen Imaging's Mark Astmann. As I recall from the video--I only watched it once and, at the time, hadn't yet been properly caffeinated with my first cup o' Joe--Astmann is a marketing dude with Bogen Imaging. Bogen, from what I further recall from my then, not-quite-awake, state, is the U.S. distributor for Elinchrom's products.

The Ranger Quadra system looks pretty cool altho Kelby's "first look" is a bit short on technical details: I don't remember there being much, if any, info about recycle times and power output and how many pops you can expect between battery charges. The video seemed more focused on the product's form and function which, in truth, is mostly why I think this integrated, portable, lighting system looks fairly cool. The marketing guy hawked mentioned the Ranger's flash duration a couple of times, if I remember right. I guess the product's flash duration is something Elinchrom or Bogen Imaging or both consider a big selling point.

Bogen Imaging should send me a try-it-out demo system and let me put it through its short flash duration paces with some pretty girls. (Hint, hint.)

I then checked out the Ranger's pricing on B&H and, while the Ranger Quadra ain't cheap, it ain't stratospheric either. As a comparison, I took a look at the pricing for a similar product, the Hensel Porty, which does approach the stratosphere in terms of price.

Besides the Ranger Quadra's small size and weight, which are big pluses for anyone who has experience schlepping gear to-and-from and in-and-out of less-accessible, walk-to-only locations, I was kind of taken with the system's LED modeling lights. I'm pretty sure they use LED lights because of their low power consumption. The system is running off a battery, after all.

How come someone doesn't manufacturer a line of LED modeling lights that screw or snap into other manufacturers' strobes? Maybe they do and I'm not aware of it? Those LEDs, if I'm not mistaken, are daylight-balanced instead of the usual tungsten or incandescent you get from most modeling lights. They also don't generate much heat and, at the risk of being redundant, they consume less power.

So there you have it: Elinchrom releases the Ranger Quadra battery-powered strobe system and I get something to write about today. BTW, the Ranger is being just-now released in the U.S. market... they've already been available in Europe.

One thing I have to say about photographic technologies: They're always marching forward with new products offered in the marketplace almost daily. I guess the economic downturn hasn't effected the spending habits of millions of photographers world-wide.

The gratuitous eye-candy at the top is Bella from a recent shoot.


Ed Araquel said...

Oh yeah...I know what you mean about weight.

I've got the Hensel Porty Premium with 4 batteries, 1 head and a righlight all inside a Lightware case and it is not light by any means!

I was looking at the Hensel Porty 12 Lithium which is nice and compact with the same capabilities as my Premium but at the prices they're charging, I think I'll wait til the Premium is dead and buried before I even start looking for a replacement.

Hopefully Bogen sends you a review copy so you can tell all of us faithful followers if it's worth the dough.

Ed Araquel said...

Hmmm...I just watched the Scott Kelby video.

I see why it's's only 400W/S AND the cables are different from the regular Elinchrom Ranger so you have to have an adapter around if you're bringing both systems...ugh. Also, it looks like you can't adjust the ratio on the asymmetric pack: you're stuck with 66/33%.

I think I'll stick with Hensel's way of doing things but unfortunately they don't have any sexy videos of their new Lithium line :(


jimmyd said...

@Ed Araquel,

400ws is, for the most part, enough power for most glamour and portrait applications but, yeah, seems a bit underpowered-powered for the price. There are, of course, work-arounds to the fixed ratio between channels but more power would make those work-arounds easier to accomplish.

Ed Araquel said...

True can use more diffusion, move the lights, etc but when you're spending that kind of dough, it's good to have maximum flexibility because you just never know when it may save your shot. :)

Anonymous said...

This is why I have gone to mono packs so I have full control of each light head.

I only use packs when I have to light a very large area without the need for a lot of precision, like a large fill or soft box.

Stephen Cupp said...

I have the Hensel Porty Premium too. From what I can tell from the quick look I took (at the Ranger) besides it being 400ws instead of 1200ws like the porty it also doesn't have a built in remote like the porty does. Plus the Porty is made in Germany and you know the germans make good stuff.

GRISHA NYC said...

The flash duration is what you are paying for, but at that price and lack of power Ill stick to my battery powered (and heavier Brons) or just use Dyna's and take the lightest battery of them all - an extension cable. How often do you find yourself more than 50 feet from a power source that you could access if you asked nicely? If you are shooting in the desert or up a mountain Metz makes more sense than this.

Too small. Too underpowered. The Ranger Speeds seem to be a better design for shooters who need some power.