Two things I love doing are shooting my lenses wide open (f/2.8, f/1.8, f/1.4 etc) and shooting with lights/strobes. Many photographers who do the same know the pain of having to carry around strong ND filters to do this during the day often with adapter rings to suit different lenses or in some cases carrying multiple ND filters just so they can shoot their lenses wide open and keep to their maximum sync speed. The alternative is being stuck using your brand’s high speed sync/FP sync mode flash systems which in a lot of situations simply cannot provide the power you need to light your subject properly and require stacking multiple speedlights to get the right effect
Excited was an understatement when I read that Elinchrom were bringing out the new Skyport Plus-HS trigger that would not only allow the camera to sync with Elinchrom lights over the maximum sync speed of the camera but also be backwards compatible with the lights I already owned (take note other brands, this is how to keep your customers happy). I decided to pick one up not long after launch here in Australia to try it out and see how it fared. I tested it with 2 different monoblock units, a BRXi500 head and a D-lite-4 RX head to see what gave the best results. It only took a few shots to realise that the cheaper Dlite-4 RX with the longer flash duration which is usually seen as a disadvantage performed much better in high speed sync mode than the more expensive and more powerful BRXi500.
More than any other light modifier I love my Elinchrom 100cm Deep Octa, it just creates a magical light so it’s what I used for these photos. I was powering the Dlite-4 RX with a Paul C Buff Vagabond Lithium. Here in Australia these battery packs are now hard to get but there are alternatives available from other manufacturers.
We were shooting right in the middle of the day (12pm-1pm) so this gave the system a good test in a worst-case scenario outdoor lighting condition and the light performed flawlessly. I could get sync right up to 1/8000th if required though one thing you do have to watch is that the flash/strobe starts to act a lot more like a constant light source (similar to the daylight) because you are using the flash duration of the strobe to illuminate the small slit in the shutter as it rolls across the sensor meaning that increasing the shutter speed affects the power of the light. This can be a little counter-intuitive to people that are primarily used to using strobes as an instantaneous light source where the shutter speed does not affect the brightness.
Overall, I can say that I’m very happy with how the Skyport Plus-HS performs with the D-lite4 RX. I did check the Elinchrom site first to see the compatibilities with the trigger so I was expecting the BRXi to not perform as well due to it’s much faster flash duration. This is good news however because it means the cheaper D-lite 4 RX is more accessible to a lot of photographers which means they can get into the high speed sync game at a lower price point. Thanks to my great model Tahnii. Click here to visit her Facebook page.