Elinchrom Introduces the Long-Awaited ELB 1200

Most of the new portable flash units released in the past few years have been 200-600Ws strobes. Not many manufacturers decided to bet on powerful packs. They seem to focus heavily on HS, HSS, TTL, or simply lighter units instead. However, there are photographers who require power and Elinchrom listened to them. The ELB 1200 is not without reminding us of the aging Ranger RX, but they only share the power output, the brand name, and very few features. The Elinchrom ELB 1200 is a new product in itself and one that action photographers will love without a doubt.

The Ranger RX was an extremely robust and powerful unit used and appreciated by quite a few photographers. Although it was heavy and not pretty, it got the work done. With the ELB 1200, Elinchrom kept the robustness and the high power output but designed a more refined and polished product. Just like all the portable units conceived by the Swiss flash manufacturer, the ELB 1200 is a combination of a pack and heads.

The Pack

The ELB 1200 pack weighs about half what the Ranger RX did. It’s just over 9lbs, battery included, making it one of the lightest portable packs offering over 1000Ws. Although the unit is lighter and smaller, users won’t have to compromise on the specs:

  • Power range of 8.5 f-stops, adjustable in 1/10th
  • Power distribution in either 2:1 or 1:1 ratio
  • 1.7 seconds recycling time at full power in Fast mode (3 seconds in Default)
  • Dimmable Modeling lamp, all the way down to 5%
  • Up to 215 flashes at full power with the default Air battery, or 400 with the optional HD Battery (0.8lbs heavier)
  • Power stability of +/- 0.03 %

The Heads

Following the steps of the ELB 400 line, the ELB 1200 range will carry three different heads: Pro, Hi-Sync (HS), and Action. Each is designed with a specific use in mind. The Pro is the most versatile of all. It doesn’t have the short flash duration of the Action head (up to 1/5050s vs. 1/8850s), but it’ll be enough for most photographers unless they absolutely need to freeze movement. In which case, the Action head is the best choice out of the three. The Hi-Sync head is tailored to work with the Hi-Sync mode available with the Skyport HS. It has a longer flash duration than traditional strobes so that the sync is easier and works perfectly up to 1/8000s.

The great news is the modeling lamp. It’s an LED light, with a CRI rating of 92 and it’s dimmable all the way down to 5% of its maximum power. The LED is a 50W lamp, 250W halogen equivalent, or 4000 Lumens if you prefer and it’s daylight balanced. Even better yet, Elinchrom realized its users would love to use it as a video light and they added a switch on the heads to turn off the fan when needed. The default Air battery is rated for 80 minutes of continuous lighting, while the optional HD battery will last up to 120 minutes.

On paper, the Elinchrom ELB 1200 looks very appealing. No definitive pricing was given, however existing Ranger RX or Free Style units users will be given a special rebate. The ELB 1200 will be available mid-2017. In the meantime, Elinchrom asked adventure photographer Tristan Shu to take one of the unit and create something unique. The behind the scenes is quite refreshing and worth a look!

If you want to read more about this crazy photo shoot and see the resulting images, head over to Tristan Shu’s interview on Elinchrom’s website.

For more information regarding the ELB 1200, visit the official product’s page.

What do you guys think of this new Elinchrom product? I personally can’t wait to have it in my hands and give it a try. I’m currently using a Broncolor Move L 1200 to write a review for you and I think it would be extremely interesting to see how they compare. But I guess we will have to wait a bit longer before we can do that. Do you think Elinchrom took the right path not including TTL in the unit? Is a 1200Ws strobe something you would buy or do you prefer smaller and lighter flashes?

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Quentin Décaillet is a photographer and retoucher based in Switzerland specializing in portrait and wedding photography.

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Yes! I've been waiting years for Elinchrom to update the Ranger RX pack. My lead-acid batteries died long ago and I went with a third party lithium-ion solution which reduced the weight by 5 lbs, faster recycle, and upped the shots to about 400. The better build, transmitter, HSS, and first party batteries will make this a no brainer for me personally. I hope this costs significantly less than the Broncolor Move, perhaps $3.000-$4,000 seems reasonable considering the previous model was about $2,700.

It looks interesting! I would try it. I like that you can connect up to 3 heads and the modeling lamps feature that are led and dimmable, I have the Broncolor Move 1200 and they are not dimmable.

Im not sure you can connect 3 heads. it only has 2 ports. They mentioned three head options, but that's jus the same as the ELBs i have. just options.

But yes, im excited to expand my Eli stuff with this beast when i need the power, or recycle time, or both. It should be faster recycle time at the same power as the elb400 (within their crossover ranges) because it's being driven at a lower percentage.

I'd still like to see actual flash durations, not just at max power, as i tend to use strobes in the mid range, or even all the way down.

You can plug two heads at a time, but you can choose between three different flash head models depending on what your photography style and needs are.

Thanks for the clarification! I would still try it. : )

99% about the coolness of what they are doing in that video and 1 photo. Where is the flyby? I don't see it on the elinchrom site. If that 1 photo they posted was the brief that's cool (and the header image on the elinchrom site) but where is the rest? I'm starting to get tired of seemingly arbitrary action videos associated with gear.

I have definitely been waiting for this update! Curious if it is backward compatible with older heads, particularly the ringlight. Also curious if it can trickle charge while in use like the ELB 400.

You can't charge and use it at the same time, Elinchrom posted about this yesterday. From what I can gather it's a design choice to make the port weather proof, and the new ELB 1200 is better than the old Ranger in this regard.

The older Ranger RX hat a power range of 7 stops and was one of the best units in terms of power range. The new 8.5 stops are amazing!

Love the new ELB 1200, and can't wait for Elinchrom to start shipping. (this summer) Yesterday i had a chance try it out!


I don't understand why they did not include TTL. If they want to attract buyers they should include this feature.

Because TTL is a worthless technology for most users. If you're moving and your subject is, sure, it could work well, but for portrait and location work, nobody shoots TTL, it's too inconsistent