I remember when the very first Elinchrom Skyports were launched back in 2007, they were my go to remote for the start of my flash photography. Fast forward to 2016 and Elinchrom have totally redesigned the Skyports in the form of the new Elinchrom Skyport Plus – so what’s new and how do they compare to the older speed units? Luckily I’ve been able to purchase a pair (these things are quite hard to find at the moment!) to try them out and see what’s what!

The Refreshed and Updated Elinchrom Skyport System

Last month I updated my lighting equipment to the new Elinchrom ELB with HS head and their brand new HS remote for Nikon. This allows me to now shoot at 1/8000th with ease! Nothing to set-up just pop on the hot shoe, turn on the ELB and remote, then you’re good to go. Simple has never been so easy. However one thing I didn’t allow for when I bought into the Elinchrom system again was how I was going to fire my Nikon SB-910s?! On my very shoot with the ELB I tried to simply but the SB-910 into SU-4 mode (a built in optical slave mode on the Nikon system) this kind of worked however I was so used to using a faster flash duration for shooting skateboarding, I didn’t know at the time to turn the flash to 1/1 power as you need to have a longer flash duration for hi-sync photography.

Once I worked out how to add my smaller speedlights into my hi-sync photography, I still needed a way to fire them, especially when out on location! When I took a trip to London in February I paid a trip to the guys at The Flash Centre and bought an Elinchrom Skyport Speed receiver. The perfect tool to finally fire my speedlights without using line of sight. However after using the Speed receiver for a while I was getting frustrated with the unit! Unlike my PocketWizards I used to use before switch my main flash lighting, the Elinchrom receiver has an on/off multi press button that also enables speed mode……could I get the unit to turn off after a shoot!?! I would press the button twice, three times, enable speed, back to normal then finally it would turn off! Maybe it was something I was doing, however it used to drive my a little crazy, you’d think the units off but then that green light starts flashing again! Good job Elinchrom a month later launched the Elinchrom Skyport Plus, a new improved receiver and a completely overhauled look.

First Impressions of the Elinchrom Skyport Plus Receiver

Seeing as what everyone loves to see when a new product comes out is an unboxing video, I thought the other morning I’d film a quick little timelaspe so the unboxing it’s over and done with! The box itself is very much the same the Skyport HS transmitter box, white with a very clean design with the unit sitting in the middle taking centre stage. For the quick unboxing here’s the Instagram post showing what’s inside.

As you can see briefly, you have a few leaflets which are the Warranty, Safety Instructions and Quick Start Guide. Below that is the main unit and underneath Elinchrom provide you with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter and wrist strap. The Elinchrom Skyport Plus Receiver also has a nice hot shoe cover so when you’re not using it can protect the contacts, it’s those little attention to details that Elinchrom really think about!

Features

Elinchrom Skyport Plus Flash

Compared to the original Skyports the new Elinchrom Skyport Plus Receivers have added soo much more but without going over the top. The unit is a lot more visual – turn on the Skyport and you have a flash of colour along the side of the unit green then red then you’re ready to go. Changing the group and channel is a simple button press and again you see it visually on the remote. To change the mode to SPEED hold down the mode selection and now the unit flashes red, telling you the Skyport is set into the speed mode, hold it down again and you get a green flash back to normal.

The bottom of the Elinchrom Skyport Plus Receiver has a metal mounted 1/4″ thread so now you can just screw the unit directly onto a lightstand or tripod if you’re mounting a speedlight flash to the remote. You can as well if you’re using the remote with a different flash hang the Skyport via the wrist strap cord as you could previously. As this is a totally universal remote as long as you’ve got the right cable, any flash unit or system can work.

Another massive plus and something that Elinchrom have really thought about is adding a USB port to the side of the unit. Like on the ELB pack and Skyport HS everything is fully update able. No matter if new units come out or Elinchrom change or add a new feature, this remote is able to be kept up to date again using the Elinchrom EL Software.

Real World Performance

Elinchrom Plus Real World

I’ve been using the Elinchrom Skyport Plus Receivers on the last few shoots I’ve had and I must say I can’t fault them! Never missed a flash, so easy and simple to set up plus now I can add my extra Nikon SB-910’s into hi-sync photography – it’s opening up a massive world of flexible shooting. Compared to the older Skyport speed remote it’s no contest which is the better unit.

Below is an example shot from a recent fitness photo shoot shot down at The Gym in Gloucester. The main light was an Elinchrom ELB in a 70cm deep octa box and then one SB-910 as a rim light.

Conclusion

Overall I’m so happy with everything Elinchrom has developed and thought about in the new Skyport Plus remote. Those little touches make all the difference to the complete package and producing a universal flash remote that performers right when you need it!

So thank you Elinchrom as you’ve made myself one very happy customer. Now to get out and push this flash photography more and see where the creative takes me.

Matt Thomas Photography

Matt Thomas is a Gloucestershire based Fitness, Commercial and 360 Virtual Tours photographer. Passionate about all things photographic no matter if it's digital or film. Creative with lighting and always looking for that new travel adventure. Visit the social links below to stay up to date with behind the scenes content, videos and more.