A Man and a Light

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different”  

-Kurt Vonnegut

Now that I’ve got your attention let’s talk about this really cool light thing I was able to use. The Elinchrom D-lite RX 4 is a brilliant piece of equipment with great versatility. In my few days of shooting I was able to capture a wide range of images, touring through the world of the abstract, into portrait work and briefly into the narrative format. 

I was quite impressed at the lights ability to be used on its own, without the assistance of natural light or another piece to the kit. Due to its size and relative power it was able to illuminate the subject with ease and the consistency of light was such that it spread evenly across subject. This was especially useful when doing portrait work. As many of you know light consistency is vital in making your subject stand out and giving solid dynamic range to your image and often, harsh directional lighting set ups aren’t useful in this context. Unless of course you are using it as a rim light or kicker, but I digress. This light, due to the size of it, can be used as both,  unfortunately I didn’t think to use it in this way until after it had been returned, but if at any time you are able to rent out the light you will see what I am talking about.  Here are a few examples of the lights versatility. 

One of my favorite things to do with the Elinchrom D-lite RX 4 was to use it directly in my composition and I was impressed at how often and in how many ways this was possible. One of my favorite ways to shoot with this light was shown to me by Robert Hunter, a good friend and employee at Acme Camera Company, and that is to shoot directly into it. With the soft box thrown over the top, it creates a beautiful form with undefined edges and as far as the subject is concerned it gives you nice defined features and surprisingly harsh contrast. 

There is a feature on the light that allows you to extend this mode of shooting into multiple arenas. It’s simple, yet elegant, there is a knob on the rim of the light that allows you to spin the soft box in any direction you please. Provided, of course, physics allows you too. I mean, as cool as it would be to have a light that folds and rotates in multiple dimensions---- wait----- why hasn’t someone done this yet? Somebody needs to get on this immediately. Should be easy right? 

Anyway, the knob allows you to spin the light around its axis allowing the light to shine from multiple positions. As well, you have the ability to tilts the light up and down, giving you the option to point above your subject. 

One thing to be cautious of is the intensity of the light. It’s a soft light so the light needs to be fairly close to the subject for decent illumination as you can see in the pictures below and the picture directly above these words. 

I must provide a disclaimer before I head into this next section. I am terrible when it comes to using a flash. I have never learned how to use one and therefore am not to be consulted when it comes to the flash. However, to test out the breadth of features this light had to offer, I used one anyway. Given my limited experience with the flash, I cannot say how the Elinchrom D-lite Rx-4 differs from others on its flash function. The way in which I found it useful was, again, in creating a more abstract picture. What I did to create this effect was put the light in front of and to the right of my friend and exposed for his right side and then used the remote to time the flash. I’d be curious to see if the reason the light divided him in half was because of the shape of the soft box. Nonetheless, a pretty cool trick to do with the flash function. 

The Build

 This was one of the few areas that I found problems with the light, especially regarding the attachment of the soft box. It is necessary to say that when attaching it to the light you must make sure that the soft box head is tight, if not you will be unable to hook it on and the softbox will keep rotating. After that you need to make sure the soft box is lined up with the head. It has two rods directly across from each other that the softbox slides into and once connected you twist it and it’ll lock into place. Sounds easy enough, unfortunately it takes quite a bit of finessing and the rods are not easily visible. After awhile, as with anything it was easy enough to set up and take down, however, due to the flimsy material of the rods/softbox I could see wear and tear dwindling down the long term use of the light. That being said, it did travel well. 

I have one other complaint that I am not sure is the fault of the light or just the power that it generates. But when shooting from a battery pack, I was only able to shoot for 30-40 minutes at most. Which made it difficult to really get the feel of the areas I was shooting in. My reccomendation is to know exactly what you will be shooting and plan accordingly, unfortuneately the light is not well suited for a run and gun shoot. 

Overall, this light was fantastic to shoot with and I would recommend trying it out, very much worth the price of admission. 

Down below is a gallery of photos showcasing the broad range of photos that can be had by using this light.

I hope you all have as much fun with it as I did. Have a wonderful day and make some beautiful pictures alright? 

Hi. My name is Preston Zubal, author of this very article and I approve this message.