Elinchrom ELB 1200 ‘adventure light’ portable flash system unveiled

Swiss lighting manufacturer Elinchrom has announced the ELB 1200, a powerful, portable battery-powered flash system for location photography.

Elinchrom ELB 1200

Swiss lighting manufacturer Elinchrom has announced the ELB 1200, a powerful, portable battery-powered flash system for location photography. The ELB 1200 is a modern successor to the Ranger RX battery flash, as well as being pitched as a more powerful, heavier-duty alternative to the lightweight ELB 400 pack-and-head.

Elinchrom’s chief executive, Simon Whittle, said: “Photographers have been looking for more powerful and portable battery packs for their photoshoots, and we’ve responded by introducing the ELB 1200, our premier adventure light.”

Elinchrom ELB 1200

The Elinchrom ELB 1200 comprises a 1200J generator pack, powered from a user-switchable lithium ion battery. The system supports two flash heads with symmetrical 1:1 or asymmetrical 2:1 energy ratios. Minimum flash power is 7 or 14 joules, depending on whether one or two heads are being used. A 2.4GHz Skyport radio receiver is built in. At full power, the generator recycles in 3.0 seconds, or 1.7 seconds in “fast” mode. There is a USB port for firmware updates.

Three new flash heads are available: the Pro, Hi-Sync and Action. All three include powerful 50-watt LED modelling lamps (4000lm daylight-balanced, 92 CRI output) which are dimmable and suitable for video lighting. They are fan-cooled but the fan can be disabled when shooting video. Each head weights 2.2 kg. Like other Elinchrom heads, they have a 7mm umbrella hole in the centre, as well as an 8mm on the tilt bracket.

The three head variants are distinguished by their flash durations, with the Hi-Sync version “optimised for HS”, letting photographers use fast shutter speeds with an appropriate Skyport radio trigger. The Action version has a minimum flash duration of 1/8850 second, for freezing fast-moving subjects. The Pro head is non-specialised (and presumably cheaper/standard). All three have full-sized Elinchrom accessory mounts, letting you use a wide range of light modifiers.

Elinchrom ELB 1200 Pro Head

Two different batteries are on offer, too. You can opt for the standard Battery Air (1.1 kg), or the optional, greater-capacity Battery HD (‘heavy duty’, 1.5kg). According to the manufacturer, they will support 215 and 400 full-power flashes, respectively, from a single charge, or 80 mins / 120 minutes of continuous lighting from the LED modelling lamp. As a bonus, the packs also feature a 5V USB port suitable for charging mobile devices.

Elinchrom ELB 1200 battery

The lightest ELB 1200 kit will weigh 6.5 kg, which includes the 3.2 kg generator, the 1.1 kg Battery Air and a 2.2 kg flash head — possibly not including the weight of cables and modifiers. Elinchrom seemed to think this was light enough for their Into The Void promotional video which features paragliders being photographed mid-air by other paragliders carrying cameras and ELB 1200s. In this case the behind-the-scenes footage is possibly even more compelling than the final photograph. The project goes some way to justify the coining of the term ‘adventure light’ for the ELB 1200.

Elinchrom ELB 1200 Into The Void promo by Yannick Dacheux

Elinchrom ELB 1200 Into The Void promo by Tristan Shu

If radio transmission isn’t your thing, or if you want to use non-Elinchrom triggers, then the ELB 1200 also has a 3.5mm sync port and an optical slave sensor.

Elinchrom ELB 1200

The Elinchrom ELB 1200 is scheduled to become available “mid-2017” at a price yet to be announced. Elinchrom have also indicated that photographers will be able to trade in their old Ranger RX / Free Style packs in return for a discount on a new ELB 1200 purchase.

Elinchrom ELB 1200 Pro To Go kit

The standard buying option looks to be the “ELB 1200 Pro To Go” set, a kit including the ELB 1200 pack, a Pro head and reflector, a Skyport Transmitter Plus radio trigger, a “Snappy” carrying harness and a ProTec carrying bag. A “Hi-Sync To Go” is the same but with a Hi-Sync head instead. A more comprehensive kit is the “ELB 1200 Pro To Roll” kit, which also includes a grid, an 85cm white umbrella and a rolling case.

For more information, visit the Elinchrom ELB 1200 product page.

Rivals to the Elinchrom ELB 1200 might include other lightweight pack-and-head systems such as the Jinbei Discovery DC-1200, the Priolite M-Pack1000 HotSync, Broncolor Move 1200L, Hensel Porty Lithium and Profoto Pro-B4.

What do you think of the new ELB 1200? Something to add to your wish list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

David Selby
David is a keen photographer and has been editor of Lighting Rumours since 2010. When not writing about lighting, he works as a data scientist at the University of Manchester, UK.