A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Featured Equipment Deals

5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Portrait Read More

5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Portrait

Top wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis is a creative master of using light to create powerfully emotional images. Get a sneak peak of his "Luxurious Light" seminar that he will be presenting at...

Latest Learning Articles

Featured Member: Katarzyna Gritzmann Read More

Featured Member: Katarzyna Gritzmann

Photo.net featured member Katarzyna Gritzmann talks about photography and portfolio of images.

how to connect bowens lights with elinchrom lights wirelessly

james xie , Mar 01, 2010; 02:24 a.m.

hi, everybody: i am interested in setting up a home based studio just for fun. i decided to buy 2 Bowens 500pro for the key and fill, and also a pair of Elinchrom d-lite 4 for the background. my meter is sekonic L-758dr. i have 2 questions. 1) will these equipment work well with each other? 2) which will be the best way to connect them wirelessly? ( L-758 has RT-32 radio transmitter, Bowens has an optional pocket wizard trigger card, Elinchrom has built-in EL-Skyport ECO Transmitter) thank you.


NK Guy , Mar 01, 2010; 02:58 a.m.

The best way depends on how much you want to spend and how you want things to work.
Do you want to be able to trigger the flash units for metering purposes from the Sekonic? If you do, then you'll need to buy PocketWizard-compatible cards for each of the Bowens units, and standalone PocketWizards for the Elinchrom units and your camera.
If you don't care about control from the Sekonic but want to save money, then you could buy Elinchrom Universals for the Bowens units and the camera, and use the on-board EL-Skyports on the D-Lites. (are you sure you have the D-Lite 4, incidentally? They don't have built-in radio transmitters - only the D-Lite 4 it does, I think)

Paul Duerinckx , Mar 01, 2010; 01:44 p.m.

Should we assume from this that you don't just want to use the built-in optical slaves that all of these mono heads have or have a reason for not wanting to do so? You could save yourself a shedload of money by triggering one light and letting the others fire via their built in cells. Radio slaves would suggest that you may want the option of shooting outdoors, with the lights some distance from the camera or that you need to switch between lights for easier metering by placing each light on a different channel.

james xie , Mar 01, 2010; 09:50 p.m.


Paul Duerinckx , Mar 02, 2010; 06:36 p.m.

Cables are a pain. They get in the way and the PC connection between sync cable and camera is the most useless connection in photography after Annie Leibovitz's connection with fiscal reality. If you use a sync cable to fire one light, the rest will fire if their slave cells are active. You could buy a fairly cheap infrared trigger that connects to the hotshoe of your camera and this will fire all the flashes. A Skyport will do the same if you have the Universal Transmitter/Receiver set. Again, you only need to trigger one light to trigger the rest optically.

If you want to trigger lights seperately, you can buy a Skyport receiver for each and set them to different channels (Key to 1, fill to 2 and the backlights to 3 for example). This will make it easier to check the exposure on the background. If you are buying the new D-Lites with built in Skyports, this will clearly cut down on your overall expenditure.

The easier solution in a studio environment is to just test the lights one at a time by turning the cells on and off so you don't get too much interaction between the different lights and confused readings. I usually use the flash meter on its 'open flash' setting and use the test button on the trigger to fire the flashes. Works with either an infra red or radio trigger. If you go with Pocket Wizards and use the transmitter module for the meter, the triggering process is simplified but at greater cost.

james xie , Mar 02, 2010; 09:29 p.m.

thank you, Paul. according to your opinion, if i buy 2 Bowens for key and fill and D-Lite 4 for the background. i need to buy two skyport transmitters for camera and light meter, also two skyport receivers for two bowens strobes. am i right? so the camera can fire all the strobes if all are set to the same channel. the light meter can check the exposures seperately if the strobes are set to different channels. one more question: when i test the light meter or take the picture, are all the model lights always on? will the model lights affect the reading of light meter and the exposures of the photos? thank you.

Paul Duerinckx , Mar 04, 2010; 04:18 p.m.

You will need Skyport receivers for the Bowens' lights if you want to control the triggering of the lights from the transmitter. I suggested that if you want to save money, you could just switch the slave cells on your Bowens' heads on and off as needed manually, you know, by walking over to them and pressing the switch on the light! If you want to spend the extra cash and operate all your lights from the Skyport transmitter, which may also impress your friends and models, then get the extra receivers.

You can just have one transmitter and remove it from the hotshoe to trigger the lights when measuring the exposure. I have an extra transmitter because I bought 2 Universal sets that are cheaper than buying the individual parts separately. This seemed a cost effective solution and provided me with a spare transmitter that I can use for triggering the lights with the other unit attached to the camera.

The modeling lights should not affect your exposure if you have a medium to small aperture and a standard sync. speed around 1/125. Remember that the aperture moderates the flash exposure and the modeling lights are usually pretty weak. If you find that the modeling lights are affecting your picture, for example by adding some warmth to your image, you can reduce the modeling light output on the heads or switch them off as long as there is enough light in the room to see the subject and focus your camera.

james xie , Mar 04, 2010; 10:43 p.m.

thank you again, Paul. now i understand in your opinion the minimum Skyport transmitter i need is one. how about if i just check the exposure of bowens key light alone or bowens key light and fill light only? so i think i still need at least one Skyport receiver. when use light meter with a transmitter connected to check readings: 1) put receiver on Bowens key light and turn off all other lights, so i can check key light. then if i turn on the slave cell of the fill light, then i can check key light and fill light. 2) turn off both Bowens key and fill, leave background lights which are Elinchrom D-lite 4 on, i can check background lights only. 3) turn everylight on, i can get overall reading. when i shoot the photo, i only need one Skyport transmitter and sync cable, i can control every light separately or together? am i right? one more thing to ask , if i use sync and slave cell, will all the lights fire exactly at the same time? thank you.

Back to top

Notify me of Responses