I love my Elinchrom Quadras… At least, I loved them until I broke the handle off one of the heads. This also meant that I had to use a Quadra RQ reflector adapter anytime I wanted to use the head with the broken handle. This was frustrating to say the least. I had also recently acquired a few of the newer parabolic-like umbrellas from Flashpoint (Adorama) and Westcott. These 7ft monsters are great on-location, but heavy and definitely not a match for my Quadra’s umbrella receiver. On paper it looks like it would work as the Westcott even has a tapered 7mm shaft, but to even imagine trying to mount this through the Quadra’s plastic umbrella support is ludicrous and in my case out of the question completely with a broken handle.What I ended up doing is stealing a Manfrotto Nano Clamp + Hydrostatic Mini-Arm combo I had attached to my HDSLR shoulder mount. I use this mount for my Zoom H4N recorder, and the Nano Clamp is basically a minaturized version of Manfrotto’s super clamp for mounting mostly anything camera or lighting related.
With the new mounting clamp on my Quadra head, I now simply use a Manfrotto umbrella mount a.k.a lite-tite (which is made out of aluminum), mount my large 7ft umbrella through it and simply take the Quadra and clamp the light around the umbrella mount. The Hydrostatic arm has a single knob that tightens and loosens all of its articulation points in one go, so you can position the light where you want easily.
This setup packs lighter than Paul C Buff’s Elinchrom version of their PLM umbrella. With their PLM umbrella, you would also need to also pack a Quadra RQ adapter and the PLM mounting sleeve that centers the umbrella over the light. While my setup doesn’t perfectly center the light with the center axis of the umbrella, you can get very close depending on how you aim the light.
This is a shot taken with the the set-up above:
note: While the hydrostatic arm is a bit pricey, any articulating arm can work with the Nano clamp (which is about $30 by itself). Even a gooseneck extension with a 1/4″-20 or 3/8″in thread would work as the Quadra heads weigh only 2 packs of playing cards.