on May 11, 2021

I am grateful to Camera Electronic in general and Daniel Ward in particular for their ability to get me out of trouble. It is a condition I experience frequently as I operate photographic machinery. It's as well that no one trusts me with a motor torpedo boat or a herd of geese...

Unlike smart people who learn from their mistakes, I repeat mine. In the latest case it was a matter of over-stressing the old Elinchrom RX-500 studio heads until one burnt up its capacitors. This was at the end of an intense dance shoot - too many great pictures to take and too little time between them to let the head settle down. One saving grace was nothing caught fire and the windows were open at the time - the smell blew away. And the best shots were in the bag by then.

I need to realise that the 25year+ heads are carrying 25year+ components that have aged to their limits in some cases. This dramatic " Phoompff " is not the first one, though it is the first for this head. Hopefully, the repairs that Daniel undertook will give many more years of long as I take it easy on the goods.

Or should I go in and buy some fresh Elinchrom heads? I've got all the light shapers I need for my style of photo and it's no good swapping systems and having to re-buy all the boxes and reflectors. People do, if their business supports it, and good luck to them. The ones who buy fresh Elinchrom or Profoto can expect decades of profitable service.

Can you run a studio with portable light sources like speed lights? Some of the speed light and accessory makers would have you believe so. Did you do so you would probably run to the end of the capabilities pretty soon - though if you'd developed a clientele and style in the meantime that needed the portable light it would be a real decision. Other, staid, workers would gain no advantage and would become slaves to batteries and chargers. It is bad enough with the phone and the iPad.

To be fair to the Elinchrom lights, when they work, they work well. Had I not gotten greedy and careless I would not have been into the repair department. Pack shots, tabletops, and portraits never blow up monolight heads.

And the point of this waffle? Things wear out. Not cameras or lenses - some of them go for lifetimes - but heavy electronics run on heavy electricity and if you keep trying to get teenage performance out of pensioner capacitors it's gonna bite you. Buy some fresh lights - even Edison sometimes changed the bulbs...