Review [review] Elemental Genesis MKII Twin Head Kit setup (with photos!)

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Graham
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#1
Elemental Genesis MKII Twin Head Kit @ £350

Finally decided to invest in some studio lighting and thought I’d give a quick review on the service and gear. Please bear in mind this is the only lighting kit I’ve ever used so this is not a comparison with any other make as I wouldn’t know and I don’t do reviews so please bear with me! lol

Studio lighting is new to me so I was looking at a 200-250w kit with at least two heads. Despite a fair old amount of research and digging, I was still undecided between Lencarta and Elemental. As Lencarta were out of stock, I gave Elemental a call to see what the situation was with the Genesis Range.

After a good and surprisingly unbiased chat with Danny from Elemental (who was very supportive of other brands if I may add), the kit was in stock and he convinced me that he would do his best to make sure I received the gear on Saturday (next day from a Friday order). He fulfilled his promise and the Elemental Genesis MKII Twin Head Kit arrived this morning! :D



Like a man possessed, the wife was banned from the living room as I set about unwrapping the packages which brings me to my first observation; it was very well packaged and I can't believe how much stuff came out that box.

Everything feels of very good quality from the spring loaded stands to the light heads themselves, even the carry bags are of tough nylon material. After a quick check, nothing was missing and I set about putting it all together.



The stands and lamps are straight forward to put together even for me, despite a slight lack of assembly instructions. Operating instructions are included along with technical details etc.



The octagonal softbox (nicer for catchlights I was told and I can see it now when I look at the photos) almost shot out my window and became a UFO as I tried to assemble it and then realised it was much easier if the Velcro strips at the base were not fastened – this could be a good point to mention in the assembly video on their website to help prevent people bending the rods too much before realising [maybe it’s just me being stupid though]. The material of the soft box and umbrella is tough and I’ve got no fear of rips or tears.

The remote trigger fitted easily on my hot-shoe and the receiver plugged in to the flash unit (the other one using the built-in light sensitive dome for triggering) without any problems.

After about 20 minutes everything was assembled and I was ready to shoot, which is just as well my camera shy wife had done a runner and next in line was becoming a little bored.....



Took a few test shots and everything worked perfectly, I had to turn the power down to around ¼ for each unit so I’ve no worries about future power requirements.

Here’s a quick shot (the magic word “biscuit” being said) of my Beagle who was quite mesmerised by the umbrella!



In all honesty, I’m quite taken back by how much stuff you get for the money. It feels of high quality materials, there's a wide range of controls giving you a lot of flexibility, is easy to assemble and even easier to use – quite literally plug and play! The best part was that it took less than 10 minutes to pack it all away into the neat and spacious padded bag (except the softbox) ready for transport or storage. (y)

All in all, excellent kit and considering how cynical I can be that’s not too bad at all! Right, now I need to learn how to actually use the gear properly! Lol


Thanks for reading
Graham
 
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gman
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#3
The sync speed is 1/200 on the 5D but I'm guessing I should lower it a bit for the remote trigger and receiver?

I noticed afterwards that I had left my ISO at 800 but still amazed at how the 5D handles noise anyway!
 
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Derek
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#7
Love the dogs legs in the first shot..... classic.... :D
 

smooth

Threebrows
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Matt
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#10
What a superb review!

Tempted myself by this one!

Thanks Graham (y)

Added to the directory.
 
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Malcolm
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#12
Excellent review - gives a clear uinderstanding of what this kit offers - well done

Malcolm
 
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Simon
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#13
Yes excellent review, can I be so bold as to ask how much this kit retails for?
edit - scratch that it's in the bold on the title :DOH:
 
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gman
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#16
No worries. Can I ask what is was that did it for you? I tried to be unbiased etc because I've never used any other makes so wouldn't be a fair review otherwise.
 
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Roger
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#17
Hi again Graham,
I think it was mainly your comments about the feel of build quality. I then spoke to Shaun at Elemental about the Fugle which offers much the same kit but with an extra lamp and he confirmed the better quality of the Genesis. I have a "Poppy Ball" shoot which I want it for on the 5th which should pay for it so here goes.
Love the Beagle yawning btw.
 
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gman
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#18
Ah, yes they said that the Fugle was really just a basic entry level kit - I would assume an alternative to ebay stuff and interfit perhaps but the Genesis range do seem to be very good quality and have a lot of adjustable controls for an excellent price.

I'd be quite keen to see other brands, I'm going to find out what my uncle uses (probably Bowens) and see what he thinks of the Genesis lights if he's free. Good to get a pro opinion on them :)
 
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Tel
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#19
Love the dogs legs in the first shot..... classic.... :D
Yes i looked on the Elemental site and couldn't find them anywhere :D it looks a great bit of kit, can you please tell me what the outer casing is made of ?
 
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gman
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#20
Yes i looked on the Elemental site and couldn't find them anywhere :D it looks a great bit of kit, can you please tell me what the outer casing is made of ?
The light casings are metal and the stands are also metal (spring loaded to reduce shock).

:)
 
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#21
I'd be quite keen to see other brands, I'm going to find out what my uncle uses (probably Bowens) and see what he thinks of the Genesis lights if he's free. Good to get a pro opinion on them
I believe that my M series heads are very similar to the genesis line, albeit with a different umbrella mount and older.

They take a beating, and there's not much difference between these and bowens tbh...light is consistent, recycle is good, build is great... I far prefer the elemental way of mounting umbrellas to the fiddly holders on the bowens reflectors :)

TG, the casings are all metal, and take the knocks :) Great support and communication from elemental too (y)
 
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Philip
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#24
Excellent review.

I bought the Genesis 9 package, three head set, good quality.

Danny is a pleasure to talk to.

Congrats on your purchase

Phil
 
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Rob
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#25
I'm considering this kit or the Lencarta smartflas kit.

It appears you get a little bit more for your money with the elemental.....

Do they have a variable modelling light?

Cheers
 
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gman
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#26
I'm considering this kit or the Lencarta smartflas kit.

It appears you get a little bit more for your money with the elemental.....

Do they have a variable modelling light?

Cheers
Yep, the modelling light can be either full power or proportional to the flash power. The Trinity's modelling lamp can be controlled completely separately from the flash power (i.e. flash power can be full and modelling lamp can be half etc). I've just bought an Elemental Trinity 400w which I'm about to review, it's lurvey! :D

I've never used Lencarta lights, the only other immediate difference I can see is the Elemental ones are metal cased and the SmartFlash are plastic but I don't think that's a problem. I love my Genesis lights and would definitely recommend them. There's also plenty of threads posted recently from people buying Lencarta kit so it's worth researching all the brands before buying. :)
 
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#27
Thanks for the detailed reply,

I like the idea of a variable modelling light propotional to output - less change of 'pollution' particually at lower settings.

The main advantages that jump out at me for an elemental kit over a lencarta smartflash kit are:

Bag included
Spill kills included
Metal flash bodies
Variable modelling light
slightly higher output (250ws vs 200ws)

I'm interested to see your review of the Trinity to see how much of a step up from the gemmini it is.
 
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#29
Forgot to add, the Genesis and Trinity auto-discharge when you turn the power down, a handy feature :)
 
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Jonathan
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#30
Forgot to add, the Genesis and Trinity auto-discharge when you turn the power down, a handy feature :)
It is. But it would be even nicer to see more manufacturers using IGBT circuits. No need to dump power - they are ready to fire at a lower power immediately when you turn them down. This also means you can fire off 2 half power pops almost immediately.

It also means shorter flash durations at lower power.
 
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gman
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#31
Would there be any reason why IGBT circuits aren't used more often? I'm assuming cost or maybe complexity? There must be a reason otherwise the manufacturers would do it!

Not sure about you but when I turn my strobe down and it dumps, I can't get back to my camera, focus and shoot in less than the second it takes to recycle! lol

Maybe when stobe power can be adjusted remotely in-camera it could be far more useful?

When you say shorter flash durations, are you meaning recycle times or flash durations? Both being beneficial! :)
 
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#32
Would there be any reason why IGBT circuits aren't used more often? I'm assuming cost or maybe complexity? There must be a reason otherwise the manufacturers would do it!
I guess it has to be one of those - probably cost. Plus many users won't see the benefits. I believe speedlights use IGBT tech (either the actual circuits of something similar) which is why you don't need to dump them and why they are called "speed"lights :)

Not sure about you but when I turn my strobe down and it dumps, I can't get back to my camera, focus and shoot in less than the second it takes to recycle! lol
I have people to turn my lights up and down for me ;) I was shooting today with an IGBT head on 1/8 power and some Lencarta Elite Pros on low power. Since I was shooting a baby I had the screamers turned off and got an occasional pic when I shot before the lights had recycled. The IGBT light absolutely kept up with me.

When you say shorter flash durations, are you meaning recycle times or flash durations? Both being beneficial! :)
Actually both. This is way out of my comfort zone (in general I know how to use kit and just enough tech to bluff my way) but the recycle is quicker because it seems to use just some of the power for the flash. It's as though at half power you discharge half the power in the capacitors so there's another half power flash ready to go ASAP. At 1/8 power it can keep topping the capacitors up as you shoot so basically no recycle lag.

Many flash heads decrease power by throttling the voltage and as you decrease the power of the flash the flash duration increases. IGBT works like a speedlight - as you decrease the power the duration decreases.
 
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gman
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#33
Thanks for the reply, it's nice to know some new technical info (y)

I'm a big believer of this, similar to cars in my opinion. If you know at least the basics of how a car engine, suspension etc works then chances are you'll be a better driver for it as you'll know the consequences of your actions! lol :)
 
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#34
Would there be any reason why IGBT circuits aren't used more often? I'm assuming cost or maybe complexity? There must be a reason otherwise the manufacturers would do it!

Not sure about you but when I turn my strobe down and it dumps, I can't get back to my camera, focus and shoot in less than the second it takes to recycle! lol

Maybe when stobe power can be adjusted remotely in-camera it could be far more useful?

When you say shorter flash durations, are you meaning recycle times or flash durations? Both being beneficial! :)
IGBT is easy with speedlights, which operate on low voltage, they are far more complex when used with studio flash.

AFAIK the first to use IGBT is the Alien Bees Einstein, and all credit to them for trying. I'm told that their circuitry is 'ambitious but unstable'. I think though that within a year or so there will be quite a few of the higher end makes with IGBT.

To get the real benefits of the effects of IGBT on flash duration though you need to start off with very powerful flash heads, because IGBT is used to 'trim the tail' off of the flash, shortening the duration and turning the colour of the light colder, and unless there's plenty of power to start with there is very little left by the time there is a worthwhile reduction in flash duration. Making a flash head with enough power to gain a worthwhile benefit to the flash duration will be expensive, simply because it has to have so much power. I can't see the cheap sellers buying in flash heads with IGBT any time soon.

The better makes of lights have a large number of capacitors and use capacitor switching out to reduce power. It's the cheap ones that rely heavily on potentiometers to reduce the power, which creates problems with both flash duration and colour temperature.
 
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