Elinchrom, a Swiss company, have been manufacturing flash for many years, and are well known for both their small portable kits and higher powered pack and head combinations.
I've been using their latest BX 100/400 kit, a very small, neat and powerful system with some nice features. If you look on their part of the site you will see both the latest FX and BX ranges available. Basically the BX heads come with a better spec including multivoltage detection, ideal for those of you who want to take their lights anywhere in the world!
Like a lot of the Elinchrom range the 100BX (100W/s power) and 400BX (400W/s power) have distinctive 'plastic' bodies and are both small and light, the 100 and 400 only 21cm long and weighing only 1.55kg and 1.9kg respectively. The whole kit is small, both heads and accessories fitting into a bag not much bigger than a large laptop case with a separate shoulder bag for the stands and brollies.
The kit comes with basic accessories, 2 x 85cm brollies, one white/translucent and one silver (I particularly liked the silver, a good harsh surface, giving slightly harder tones), 2 stands, a 16cm wide angle reflector, a translucent deflector and a 60cm soft box. The kit also includes a 5m sync lead, modelling lamps, Halolux with the BX's, plus a user guide and DVD. All Elinchrom's accessories will fit the FX and BX range via their standard twist and lock system. I used the brollies to take a few pictures, rather than attach to a separate reflector, the brollies 'push through' a hole at the front of the unit, just under the flash tube.
The controls on the BX heads are on the rear panel of each light and are easy to use, a red on/off switch and large white buttons that operate the power, modelling lamp, slave cell, audible bleep and flash test, plus two fuses and the sync socket. The power, a 5 stop range on both, is displayed in large green LED's calibrated in 1/10 th's of a stop. The 100 and the 400 both have fast recycling times and flash durations.
As I said, the Elinchrom 'BX's' have more features than the standard 'FX' version, user changeable flash tubes, multivoltage detection and long life Halolux modelling lamps.
I set up the kit and took some very simple shots of my son Peter using both brollies. I used the 400 first with the white brolly a main light with a small Lastolite reflector as a fill. I also took some shots with both lights using the silver brolly as a main with the white as a fill. The lights were simple to use, easy to adjust, very accurate and gave good all round results. I like the 1/10th of a stop adjustment, just when you need to give the power a little 'tweak'.
Because of its size and overall performance, this BX kit is a good all rounder for the product or portrait photographer. The cost of 100/400BX kit is around £869.00 and £799.00 for the standard 100/400FX kit, the difference in price is that extra spec, which will certainly appeal to some people.