Let’s dive in before I come up with some groan-worthy pun about the Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 being a signature model for the early 90s dance group ‘Deee-Lite.’ The RX 4/4 is a self-contained lighting rig with two studio strobes, stands, softboxes, and a transmitter, which truly proves groove is in the heart.
When it comes to the process of selecting all the bits needed for a studio lighting setup, the journey can become wearing. Elinchrom has simplified the process with this all-in-one kit and most importantly, it’s extremely affordable. With 400W of power available from each strobe and two reasonably-sized softboxes, this kit should be a good starting point for any two-light setup or the center of a more extensive rig.
The number four in the name refers to the 400W of power, which should be sufficient enough to light up large spaces and shoot at any opportunity you desire. The power can be adjusted from 25W and upwards in tenth-of-a-stop increments, along with having a fast recycle time of 0.4-1.3s and a flash duration of up to 1/800 of a second.
A 100W modeling lamp has also been included, with three power settings, a 3.5mm jack socket, temperature and voltage protection, and a total weight of 1.3 kg. The rear of the light has a simple LED panel to show general power levels, with simple-to-use, squishy buttons to control each element of the strobe. A standard kettle power cord plug has also been included as a standardized fitting.
The light in each strobe can be easily replaced, which is a definite money saver. Each bulb is protected by a plastic hood, but one thing to bear in mind is that the hole for an umbrella is seven millimeters, rather than the more standard eight. This means you will have to check your existing modifiers to make sure they all fit.
The stands that come with the Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 have a reasonable build quality. They are not as strong or robust as higher-priced units, but with careful use over time, they will serve their exact purpose. Each stand has snap lock adjustments, which should also be more durable and quicker to adjust than tightening lots of screw threads.
The two included 26×26-inch softboxes need to be built each time, rather than popping up like a traditional umbrella. However, once you get the process down, it doesn’t take too long to go from a packed-away kit in the included storage bag to a fully-set-up lighting rig.
The Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 In Use
As each light stand has a maximum height of 235cm, they have enough working height for most lighting scenarios. After a few minutes of set up, it’s very easy to dial in the appropriate lighting power in 1/10-stop increments for ultimate precision. The 100W modeling light may not have the output of a 250W version, but it still works very well for the initial setup and doesn’t overheat the units.
The Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 uses the Elinchrom EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus transmitter, which has a good working range and didn’t drop any shots while testing. This little unit doesn’t feel as robust or comprehensive to use as more dedicated offerings from other makers, but as a unit in a self-contained kit, it definitely fulfills its purpose.
The light output from each strobe has a very neutral color temperature and with 400W of power on tap, you won’t have any problem overpowering the sun for outdoor work. A small point, but an important one, each strobe has a built-in handle which makes it far easier to carry and adjust each unit.
Elinchrom vs. Interfit
If a low-cost lighting setup is your only criteria, there are plenty of kits available on the market. However, having gone down this route myself, lights that fail to trigger or even stop working eventually lead to more reliable, but also more costly, setups. The Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light Kit strikes the balance between value for money and solid working monolight units with plenty of power.
The 320W from the Honey Badger may not be as powerful as the Elinchrom, but it is equally robust, with a neutral color temperature and solid workings. The transmitter only works in manual mode, but this is arguably sufficient for studio work and for generally dialing in your own settings.
The stands and softboxes are also good quality in this kit, as is the carry case. If you need the most power, the Elinchrom is the option to go for, but it also costs a few hundred dollars more than the Honey Badger. If you don’t need that extra 80W of power from the Elinchrom and you don’t mind the manual transmitter of the Honey Badger, the latter option is the one to go for.
|Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4||Interfit Honey Badger Kit|
|Flash Duration||1/800 sec||1/900 sec|
|Weight||1.3 kg||1.36 kg|
The Price Is Right on the Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4
Generally, to buy into a studio strobe setup with 400W of output and seamless consistency used to be extremely expensive. The Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 kit shows that you can buy into good build quality and output at an affordable price point.
The units themselves and the stands don’t feel as initially quality-made as something like the Profoto B1, but this is where the cost savings come in. As long as you treat these units with the utmost care, they should last a very long time.
In practice, the Elinchrom works time after time delivering very neutral-colored light with a fast recycle time. The simple interface on the rear of each strobe makes it straightforward to dial in any particular setting. And when the strobes are mounted on the supplied light stands with the included softboxes attached, they are light enough to be quickly moved around and even used handheld when you really want to get creative with your lighting setups.
Essentially, as an all-in-one kit, the Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 provides surprisingly good value for this level of output. The locking mechanisms and light stands may not be the most robust in the world, but the strobe itself is where everything counts and we have no problem recommending it as a cost-effective choice.