Elinchrom Prolinca 250 - too bright!

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by james_osborne, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. I have just bought 2 second hand Prolinca 250w (elinchrom budget)
    studio strobes. They work well, except for the fact that they can only
    be adjusted to full or 1/2 power. I am finding that for a portrait the
    strobe (with 22" softbox) has to be more than 6ft away to even get f11
    on the flashmeter!! At that distance I might as well use a bare bulb,
    since I am getting horrible specularity on the skin.

    Am I missing something really obvious here? I would have expected that
    a puny 250w strobe running at 125w with a 22" Softbox cutting at least
    1 stop would make for a perfect portrait light... other people seem to
    be using what seem like ridiculously powerful (600w+) lights at 2
    feet, are they just dialling them right down?

    Anyone overcome this? Bigger softbox, more internal baffles?


  2. Jim,

    This is a very common problem. Very little raw power is needed for headshots and the ability to adjust the output of the lighting is IMO far more important than the amount of maximum power. I find, typically, with a medium (4'x3') softbox set very close, and the power dialled down to the minimum of 37J, I get around f13 @100 ISO.

    The answer is to use neutral density gels, either over the lamp itself or over the softbox.

    Coincidentally, If you go down a few posts to 'Monthly Lighting Project' you'll find it covered there.
  3. One issue is that these strobes are adjustable pretty much only 1 stop, anthother is that @ 6 feet away, your 22" softbox isn't going to do you much good, these other folks you've mentioned are using much bigger softboxes, which suck up more light, and their strobes can be dialed down over a 6 stop range.

    My 2400ws Profoto Acute 2 can be dialed down from 2400ws to 37ws, the 22" isn't doing what you want it to do @ 6 feet, buy a large piece of white foamcore, turn your light around/away from the subject and bounce it into the foamcore, you're using this rig like an umbrella, then you've got the distance from the light to the foamcore, and the large area of a board of foamcore to illuminate, doing both of which might possibly knock down your stop down to f8 or less with the foamcore(not the light, which is pointing at the foamcore) @ 6 feet away from the subject.

    This is the dialemma with these lights, they cost less but have less features which cause you more work, I know that saying that doesn't do you any good now that you've got them, so try bouncing them into a large sheet of white foamcore as a workaround(keep the softbox on your light when you try this, it'll knock your light down even more).
  4. OMT............knocking down everything to F8 isn't bad if you're using some diffusion on the front of the lens, also when you use the foamcore at 6 feet away from the subject, you can defacto adjust your power by moving the light closer/farther away from the foamcore(don't move the foamcore, move the light).

  5. OK, thanks for your responses...

    I have bought some 0.6 grad ND gel, can I clip it to a Translucent Deflector inside the softbox (will it melt!), or will I have to tape it to the front of the softbox?

    My concern with tape is that if I buy strip light, I will have to buy lots and lots of gel to cover the larger softbox.

  6. Jim,

    It should be safe to place it within the softbox but you need to test it to make sure.

    ND (and other) gels are also available in 4'x25' rolls.
  7. Thanks Garry,

    I ended up buying 21" square ND gel from an online DJ supply shop, I can't find ND gel anywhere else in the UK!!! Do you have any suggestions?

  8. Jim

    For standard full and half sheets, http://www.srbfilm.co.uk

    For rolls, http://www.leefilters.com and go on to their 'nearest supplier' page
  9. Your problem is why I purchased AlienBees flash units. They can be dialed down 5 full stops from full power. That's 1/32 of full power. I haven't run into a situation yet where they can't be set low enough for me, and they are powerful enough to do some fairly large group photo lighting (such as a big class reunion) with four of them.
  10. Skip,

    Don't misunderstand me - I'm not in any way critical of your choice, which seems to have a good reputation in its market sector, but there is no single 'right' choice for every situation and every type of photography.

    Elinchrom are renowned for their build quality, reliability, fast recycling, consistency of output and consistency of colour as well as their acessory range. Prolinca are their budget range and don't have the wide range of adjustment - a pity - but all the other benefits are there, and as pointed out above there's a workaround to the adjustability issue.

    Of course, not everyone needs the same features or the same standards of consistency.
  11. Hello James, the easiest way to reduce the light output is to use deflectors available from Elinchrom. These are placed in front of the flash tube/modelling lamp assembly. They are designed to reduce hot spots and help in spreading the light more evenly. Their drawback in reducing the efficiency of the light former can be used to advantage in your situation. You can make devices to reduce the efficiency of your flash units easily yourself. The umbrella fitting of the Prolinca head can be used to hold a rod to which diffusion material can be fastened. Although I had no need for such a device I found this an interesting task to master, so I built one myself using material I found in my scrap box. The material I used for a diffuser is thin LEXAN (high temperate resistant) which I roughened up with sand paper, and the rod is of wood . I decided to place the diffuser between flash tube and modelling light bulb to keep it relatively small, so I had to cut it into a ring shape. If you want to place it in front of the modelling light you will have to cut a disk which needs to be somewhat larger in size. The position close to the flash bulb will keep the diffuser smaller and lighter in weight, and an additional light blocking effect can be achieved by riveting a thin flat aluminium ring slightly larger than the flash tube to the diffuser material. Keep the diffuser material about 12 mm (1/2 inch) away from the flash tube. In lack of a Prolinca unit I had to use an old Bowens Mono to demonstrate the placement of the diffuser gadget. Hope this helps Hans
  12. This is another image showing the diffuser held by the umbrella fitting
  13. This is how it looks like from the front
  14. Hello James.
    I know exactly what your problem is, since I have also been using two Prolinca 250s.They were my very first studioflash units, and I have learned a great deal, using these two little inexpensive units. But soon I will have to trade them in, for new heads with more precise control.

    I was recently recommended to buy a pair of Elin 500 Classics. I really liked the idea of a stepless output over three f-stops. But then it ocured to me, that the lowest setting of the Elin 500s is 125 ws, EXACTLY the same as the lowest setting on our Prolinca 250s! Keep that in mind, when you go hunting for new gear. We sould look for compacts with a minimum output of about 25 ws (Elinchrom BX/FX 400) or 37,5 (Profoto ComPactPlus 600).

    On the softbox issue, many (among them Stephen A. Dantzig, writer of: "Fashion and Glamour Photography" on Amherst Media)feel the correct working distance, is equal to the hypotenuse of the box.
    A 3' by 4' box has a hypotenuse of 5', which is then the theoretical correct working distance. A 22" square box, has a hypotenuse of only 31". If you move your box much further away than this, it will act more like a point source, and you will loose the "wrap around" effect.

    Best of luck to you ;-)
    Phillip Marco Vallentin/
  15. hai guys,

    anybody want to comment on hensel compact flash light.

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