Wednesday, April 6, 2011


   That title is a mouth full! So I've been labeled a photo-nerd now from some of our clients because of my absolutely stellar and insightful gear reviews (;  Well they are right, but this one about the Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS is no doubt the best yet! I'm just kidding, it's probably kind of boring but at least the pictures are pretty  darn good if I do say so myself.

   Why did we need (Kenya doesn't think we need it but I do) an 1100watt strobe when we already had 1500watts of strobes stashed away in the closet unused and a few speedlights? Portability and power, and man does thing deliver like a heavyweight's left hook! Now, I've tried using our Canon 580EX II's and 430EX II's trigged with TT5's outside in cloudy conditions and they do okay when using four at time as you can see in this picture below, (we were using a light modifier that cut the power of the Canons in half)

but if the sun is really shining you can't use a modifier and they need to be really  close which doesn't give very flattering light. This is where the Ranger RX comes in. Here are some pics from our testing the  Ranger RX out in the sun, yippee!

   In this first shot the sun obviously is coming in from about 135 degrees from camera right, the four Canon speedlights are 90 degrees from camera left, and the Elinchrom Ranger is about two feet away from my left shoulder.

The Canon 580EX IIs & 430EX IIs are aimed at the right side of the models face (camera left) and they are shooting at full power just outside of the frame. They really aren't doing much at all. In fact after this shot we stopped using them.  The Elinchrom Ranger is probably about 3 times as far from the model (7 feet away), shot through a Varistar, and about 1-1 1/3 stop down from full power. This was about 4PM and the sun was very bright. If we had taken off the Varistar and cranked the Ranger to full power she would have been blown out.

  We were amazed at how awesome the Elinchrom Ranger RX worked with the Varistar modifier so we had to try it out bare bulb with a white wide angle reflector. I think the light quality bare bulb is pretty amazing as you can see in these images below. These were shot with the Ranger at about 2-2 1/3 stops down from full power.

Oh yeah, we want to give a big thank you to Kenya's sister for letting us experiment on her once again! You rock little sister! We tried giving away free Wreck The Dress sessions for over a year and only had two takers, not including my lil sis. These kinds of shoots are definitely my favorites.

You might notice the black banding at the bottom of the picture above and the two below. This was

because we were testing out our new Pocketwizard PowerST4 which is supposed to let us shoot above our camera's max sync speed. These were at 1/250th and we were getting the black band. I'm going to try some adjustments with the Pocketwizard utility for hypersync offset and see if this helps, but I only hope to get about 1/320th or maybe 1/400th since we are using "A" heads (for speedy flash duration) instead of "S" heads which I hear work better for hypersync because of their slower flash duration. I have to say that it is really nice to trigger and remotely adjust power settings on both the speedlights and Ranger RX with the same transceiver. We are using MiniTT1's and AC3's for this and they work great.

In these bottom two shots we didn't get the black bars. I think because the Ranger and camera were at about the same plane horizontally. I'm not sure though.

And this is what happens when you forget to turn on your radios after changing have to use photoshop to fill in the missing light! I still think it looks pretty cool though. Kind has an HDRish feel to it.

   The Pocketwizard PowerST4 works good as long as you are not more than about 20 feet away from it. After that and it won't fire, so the range isn't that great. Kind of reminds me of the whole 580EX II / FlexTT5 frequency problem. After frying two 580EX II's and having them fixed I decided to get the frequency mod done and now they work great. I wonder if there is a similar mod for the PowerST4?

   I have seen a lot of debate between the Ranger RX vs Ranger Quadra thing. All I can say is that for the money I think the Ranger RX is a far better deal. After all, you are getting about 1.5 more stops for only a couple hundred more dollars. The Ranger RX Speed AS pack is pretty heavy at about 20 pounds compared to the much lighter Ranger Quadra, but you can use the pack and battery as a weight for your light stand when shooting outside which is a necessity in my book. We've had too many light stands (with modifiers and lights) blown over because of not enough weight holding them down.  If we don't need the power of the Ranger RX then we just use our Canon speedlights ganged together and they work just fine. However, if anybody in the Rogue Valley has some Quadras I would really like to do a comparo just for curiosities sake.

I guess thats the end to a really long blog post. Kenya just asked me if I was writing a book, I just smiled and said, "What did you expect? It's me." If you have any comments or questions feel free to let me know.

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