GEAR & TECHNIQUES PRODUCT REVIEWS
achieve these speeds. Flash intensity can be adjusted by up to seven
f-stops in either full stop or 1/10-stop increments. Recycle times
clock in between 0. 14–1. 9 seconds on a 120-volt outlet.
Flashes can be fired in a rapid sequence of up to 50 in a second for
capturing stroboscopic effects. You’ll find a 300-watt modeling light plus
a USB port for updating the Siros’ firmware.
CUTTING THE CORD
Beyond its performance specs, the major selling point of the Siros is
its built-in Wi-Fi. You can operate the Siros using the bronControl app
for iOS and Android (we tested the iOS app, as the Android app was
not released during our review period). The app gives you complete
control over the Siros’ main functions and lets you operate multiple
units from a single app dashboard.
Out of the box, the Siros will create its own private Wi-Fi network,
allowing you to make a direct connection between it and your mobile
device—although you’ll lose your Internet connection while linked
to the Siros. Alternatively, you can set it to “Enterprise” mode and
connect the Siros to an existing Wi-Fi network so you can operate it
without losing your connection.
Establishing a connection between the Siros and your iOS device is
straightforward. As you add lights to the app, each is assigned a color
code (blue, turquoise, green, pink and yellow) that appears on both the
app and the light itself, where an LED at the rear of the light will glow
with the appropriate color.
Once the app is installed, it’s a breeze to use. You can switch
between lights, adjust power levels with a flick of a finger and quickly
adjust settings such as firing frequency and audio controls. Working in
Patiño’s studio, we would bounce between making adjustments on an
iPad, the Siros itself and the Broncolor wireless transmitter and were
very pleased with how quickly setting changes synced across all three
devices. We were able to keep the Siros and an iPad connected even
when about 35 feet and two floors separated the two.
It wasn’t a completely flawless experience, though. We would
occasionally lose the connection between the Siros and our iOS device
Broncolor Siros 800 S
PROS: Consistent output; Wi-Fi functionality works well;
CONS: “HyperSync” mode requires accessory;
no desktop app; heavy for transport.
(in private mode) and would have to flip back into the iPad’s settings to
re-connect. When the bronControl app was open on an iPad, it would
prevent the tablet from sleeping, but when it was on our iPhone 5S, the
phone would sometimes enter sleep mode, dropping our connection.
This was not a frequent occurrence, however, and the app worked well
enough that Patiño told us he wished Broncolor offered a desktop app as
well. For tethered shoots, it would be easier to adjust light settings when
you’re already at your computer, he said, rather than have to handle yet
another device. Still, the app affords plenty of convenience, especially if
you’re working with multiple units or have positioned them up high and
out of arm’s reach.
DESIGN & PERFORMANCE
When we first powered up the Siros, we thought we’d struggle navigating
the menu on the back of the light, especially in view of how simple the
app is. Aside from the center scroll wheel, a modeling light and test
button, there are no physical controls. Instead, you have to depress the
center scroll wheel and toggle it to illuminate previously hidden menu
options like speed, Wi-Fi and sync. Once you’ve made a selection, those
functions stay illuminated but others will remain invisible so you’ll need
to remember where everything is or scroll over them to illuminate them.
That said, it didn’t take us very long to get the hang of it.
Esthetically, we loved the look of the Siros. Its tubular shape,
glowing LEDs and blue display have a futuristic air about them.
It’s sturdy and well-built, but at 7. 9 pounds, it’s heavier than many
competitive monolights—something to consider if you see yourself
taking a few of them on a road trip.
Patiño used a pair of Siros monolights for several portrait sessions
with Broncolor’s new softbox and umbrella, which were designed
specifically for the Siros (though the lights will work with Broncolor’s
existing line of modifiers). Running the iPad app with the RFS
transmitter on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the workflow proved seamless.
The Siros, Patiño concluded, was a rock-solid performer, delivering
consistent output throughout his shoots.
Broncolor’s 400 w/s and 800 w/s power options are not as common as
the 500 w/s and 1,000 w/s options favored by its competitors, making
a straight apples-to-apples comparison with other monolights more
difficult. At $1,627 for an 800 w/s light, the Siros 800 S vies with
products like the Elinchrom ELC HD 1000 and Profoto’s D1 for your
studio strobe dollar. Both of those are more powerful by 200w/s and
offer comparable recycle times. Neither of those options, however,
incorporates Wi-Fi or are capable of the high-frequency flashes that the
We found the Siros’ app-based operation remarkably easy to use
and Patiño had nothing but good things to say about the light’s
performance in the studio.
ABOVE: Capable of firing up to 50 flashes in a second, the Siros offers built-in
receivers for Pocket Wizard or Broncolor’s RFS transmitter system.