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Elemental Genesis 8 Studio Lighting and Flash Review

The Genesis system from Elemental is aimed at the budget photographer but with high end products. With a kit that boasts 2x 400w flash heads and an array of accessories, is the Genesis 8 kit worth the 429 price tag?

|  Elemental Genesis 8 in Studio Lighting and Flash
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Elemental Genesis 8 Listed parts
1. Power switch
Turns the power on or off to the flash head.
2. Sync socket
Input port for wireless receiver or PC sync cable.
3. Flash variation dial
Adjusts the power output of the flash tube.
4. Test button
Triggers the flash for testing or when camera hasn't triggered it.
5. Beeper button
Activates anaudible "ready" signal.
6. Model light 100% switch
When pressed, the model light will remain at constant full power.
7. Model light power button
Switches the model light on and off.

The Genesis head is the newest flash head from Elemental. Aimed at the starter or photographer on a budget, the kit starts at £329 with the 250w heads but the one on test here is the Genesis 8 kit which has 2x 400w heads and is £100 more at £429. Is it worth shelling out the extra cash?

Elemental Genesis 8: Features
Taking a look at a similar kit from Bowens will set you back £559 with 2x 400w heads.  The £130 price difference already looks attractive but if the kit doesn't measure up then it doesn't mean a thing. The kit comes in a strong canvas bag which is surprisingly compact and I think it would be great for the roaming photographer who does shoots in people's homes. Once I opened the bag, I was amazed at how much stuff was in there.

Elemental Genesis 8 kit supplied
All this kit comes supplied in the canvas bag (below) including an octagonal softbox not shown in this image.
Elemental Genesis 8 kit bag
There are two 400w Genesis heads and modelling bulbs with a reflector dish each, a large soft box and silver umbrella. All the cables you need to get wired to the mains as well as two PC sync cords, a wireless trigger and receiver, two cushioned lighting stands and I even found a 5-in-1 reflector in the front pocket.

The flash variation is adjusted by turning a dial in the bottom right of the light on the back and can scroll from Full through 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 down to 1/32 power. This is a full five stops variation and it's infinite.

The modelling bulb will vary with the flash variation but flicking the Model 100% switch will put it to full power.

There are four ways to trigger the flash and the most common way of doing it using a DSLR will be via a wireless transmitter. The Genesis 8 kit comes with a wireless transmitter and receiver that bridges between the power cable and socket, plugging into the sync port on the back.

There's also a small slave receptor on the top of the flash head. From time to time, I was in a position where the slave or receiver couldn't see the transmitter and the flash mis-fired. The kit comes with a PC sync cord which plugs into the receiver and the Sync terminal on the flash head. I think this is a great idea and helped a lot so I didn't have to move the heads or myself.

Elemental Genesis 8: Handling
Because of the price point I expected to see a lower quality build and there are one or two areas that show where the money was saved. For instance, there's no LCD on the back like the Elemental LR55 Plus has that I reviewed in December last year. The heads aren't fan-cooled although this will be introduced later and the light stand lugs are made of metal instead of brass. The head casing is aluminium with a glossy white paint that feels lovely to touch.

The back of the flash head is simplistic with a few switches and one dial but it does the job and it's very easy to use with each switch labelled clearly. I found the lighting system easier to use than the Bowens system we have in the studio and I wouldn't have a problem taking them out to a location although they don't accept battery packs. A battery inverter is in development which will power all Elemental products, so for the time being, the location would have to be indoors.

Elemental Genesis 8 in use
The kit is very easy to use and the only thing it doesn't come with is a portable background.

Elemental Genesis 8: Performance
All the way through the test, I was constantly happy with how the lights performed. If it over cooked the highlights, a twist of the dial put paid to that problem and it only takes a couple of seconds. The head accessories are Bowens S mount bayonet fitting so are extremely easy to change. The only thing I really didn't like about the head was the accessory release catch which is a little metal switch that pulls forward to release. It's tense so it doesn't come free easily and it dug into my skin whenever I changed over from a spill kill to the soft box. However, once I'd released it, I found it easier to change than the Bowens.

Elemental Genesis 8 portrait
Editorial fashion shots are an easy type of photography you can do with the Genesis kit.
I never had any overheating issues with the lights, they both worked perfectly. Even the reflector dish wasn't too hot to handle after being on the light for an hour before I decided to change it.

I got some great pictures with the flash kit and I really enjoyed using it. It's solid, yet light and easy to move around with.

Chloe is a professional model who is available for work. Go to her portfolio here:

Chloe Bleackley.

Elemental Genesis 8: Verdict
The lights are simple in their design and easy to understand and use. The kit comes with an amazing amount of stuff for the price. The nearest competitive kit is the Bowens Gemini 400 at £559 from Warehouse Express, which also comes with two 400w heads but you get four umbrellas. Gemini is also compatible with the Bowens Travelpak battery system.

I got some great pictures with the flash kit and I really enjoyed using it. It's solid, yet light and easy to move around with. The price it's at will be attractive to newcomers and amateurs. However, if you think the price is too high, Elemental do a Genesis 2 kit which has exactly the same equipment but with 250w lights instead of 400w and is priced at £329. I think the Genesis 8 kit is certainly worth the price though.

If I was a wedding photographer or portable family photographer working indoors, I'd certainly look at a kit like this to use. I don't usually want to keep equipment and the only other piece I've ever not wanted to give back was the Gitzo Vintage tripod. This is a studio kit that I can use and Elemental are going to have a fight on their hands to get it back.

Elemental Genesis 8: Pros
Plenty in the kit

Elemental Genesis 8: Cons
Fiddly accessory release switch


Elemental Genesis 8: Specification
Price £429
Contact www.studio-flash.com
Output 400w x2
Colour temp of flash tube 5600k/-100k
Modelling lamp 150w, 3200k
Flash duration 1/1200 - 1/800sec
Slave cell Yes
Accessory fitting Bowens S mount
Auto lamp  
Weight 6Kg (kit)
Size 330x110mm (400w flash head)

The Elemental Genesis 8 costs £429 and is available from Elemental here:

Elemental Genesis 8

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