Elinchrom Octa: How to Use
Elinchrom Octa is highly sophisticated light modifier that can give very even and smooth light. It is a highly versatile piece of equipment for the photographer, as it can be used for getting different lighting effects by merely moving it around. It can be mainly used as a softbox, and also in place of a ring flash and for backlighting. The following explains how the Elinchrom Octa can be used for different lighting effects.
Setting up the Elinchrom Octa
The Elinchrom Octa is quite a huge piece of equipment, and hence you will need a very sturdy stand with a vertically sliding arm to adjust its height and the stand should be fitted with wheels, so that it is easy to move it around. As you unpack the Octa, you will find that it is unique in its design, as it fits directly on to the stand and not on the flash head. Although the Octa is quite huge, it is surprisingly quite easy to assemble and has a convenient handle in the middle (which needs to be pulled and the ring has to be just pushed).
The three pins slide easily into the three sockets and lock on with a single click. The structure of the Elinchrom Octa is based on satellite dish technology with a transmitter right in the optical center of the dish shape. The cable for the power comes out on to the front through a slit which can plug into the RH unit. The light unit fits securely on to the ring, as it has a superior double locking system, and then you can fit the front cover.
Using the Octa as a Softbox
The Octa can be used as a softbox in the usual manner, by placing it on one side of the subject and a reflector on the other. After you take the flash meter reading (if you need to turn up or down the light intensity), you can do it remotely, without going to the head, as it has the transmitter in the middle. Since the Octa is a huge light source, the effect will be a much softer light, and you will have a fantastic quality of light on the subject's face.
Using the Octa as a White Background
The Octa can be set up behind the subject and the diffuser panel can be kept just inches away from the subject, which means you do not require much space behind the subject. In the front of the subject, a softbox light source can be set up. To get a pure white background, you need to set the light reading of the Octa at half a stop more than the front light.
Using the Octa as a Ring Flash
For using the Octa as a Ring Flash, the cameraman has to stand in the center and with his back to the Octa. To take a reading, the subject will have to hold the flash meter while the person with the camera will fire the flash. While taking the photo, the cameraman has to tuck his elbows close to his body, or the flash point reflection will look quite weird in the subject's eyes.