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Broncolor Siros 400S 800S Lighting Review

We fire up the Broncolor Siros 400S / 800S lights for portrait photography on location.


|  Broncolor Siros in Studio Lighting and Flash
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict

Siros Expert Kit

Studio lighting has been brought bang up to date, with the new Siros models offering Wi-Fi control with an iPhone or iPad! There is choice of two power outputs, 400J and 800J with the S version giving additional control. There is also the option for Wi-Fi and RF control as well as PocketWizard compatibility. A Broncolor remote trigger is available, that will work with any camera with a flash hot-shoe.

An app is available for iOS devices letting you control the power output and other settings without having to use the controls on the back of the lights. An Android app is also due to be released. 

Broncolor Siros Features and Handling

Siros White Background

Key Features Siros 400: 

  • Flash energy: 400 J
  • f-stop at 2m distance, 100 ISO (6.5ft)
  • - with reflector L40: 22 5/10
  • - with reflector P70: 32 5/10
  • Flash duration t 0.1 (t 0.5)
  • - min. energy: 1/400 s (1/1000 s)
  • - max. energy: 1/1000 s (1/2200 s)
  • - with HS Flash tube* 1/8000 s
  • Charging time: 0.1 – 0.95 s (230V)
  • Control range of flash energy: 7 f-stops in 1/10 or full-stop intervals - 6.5-400 J

Key Features Siros 800:

  • Flash energy: 800 J
  • f-stop at 2m distance, 100 ISO (6.5ft)
  • - with reflector L40: 32 8/10
  • - with reflector P70: 45 6/10
  • Flash duration t 0.1 (t 0.5)
  • - min. energy: 1/200 s (1/500 s)
  • - max. energy: 1/500 s (1/1100 s)
  • - with HS Flash tube* 1/8000 s
  • Charging time: 0.2 – 1.9 s (230V)
  • Control range of flash energy: 7 f-stops in 1/10 or full-stop intervals: 13-800 J

There are two versions of each, one with an S on the end, signifying that there is additional control over the power output, with the Siros 400/800 giving a control range of flash energy of 7 f-stops, and the Siros 400S/800S giving a control range of flash energy of 9 f-stops. We tested the Siros 400S and Siros 800S.

The lights are compatible with other Broncolor modifiers. A high speed sync duration of 1/8000s is available with the optional HS Flash tube. The HS flash tube is optimized for operation in HyperSync™ mode, while using a camera with curtain shutter.

The lights are available as a Basic kit configuration (£1,758 inc VAT), for Siros 400 x2 Basic Kit with 2 umbrellas, as an Expert kit (£2244.00 inc VAT), for Siros 400S x2, with RFS2.1, an umbrella and a softbox, and as a Pro Kit with 3 heads (£4368.00 inc VAT) for Siros 800S x3 with RFS2.1, 2 softboxes and 1 octabox.

The kits come with a rolling case, with the Expert kit in a two-part rolling case, with the larger case holding the lights, the smaller case holding two stands, umbrella, softbox, and other accessories. 

Siros Frontpanel

Setting up the lights is very easy, with it being very easy to slide the umbrella that is provided as part of the kit, into the light head. The stands can be setup quickly and easily and the stands are dampened to avoid damage from lowering the lights too quickly. On the side of the lights is a large rubber knob that can be tightened and loosened to control how easy it is to tilt the head up and down. The large handle on the lights makes it easy to pick up and move the lights around. 

The lights are controlled with a dial on the back of the control panel, and the power rating is displayed in blue. The dial can be pushed in to select different options, including a modelling light, as well as flash power as you would expect. The lights make a reassuring pop when fired, but become quieter when used at lower power settings.

Siros BronControl Ipad Image

Using the Broncontrol app you can remotely control a number of monoblocs. More traditional RF control is also available, or alternatively you can always use the traditional sync cable. We used the Broncolor RFS2.1, which is a small unit with a small backlit LED.

Broncolor Siros Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the equipment. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Broncolor Siros Sample Photos

Once the lights are setup and powered on, it's simply a case of dialling in the required power and setting the camera shutter, aperture and ISO speed manually. After you've got your settings correct, you can simply carry on shooting without having to worry about the exposure changing, with the lights giving a consistent level of lighting. It's also possible to shoot with a wide aperture of f/2.8 when using an ND4 filter as well as turning the lights down low. This let us balance the natural light from a nearby window with the light from the Siros monoblocs. 

Broncolor Siros Home Setup
Broncolor Siros Home Setup

In our second shoot we were in a more confined location, and used the lights turned down almost as low as they would go, so that we could use a brighter aperture to throw the background out of focus. Using the Siros 400S and 800S you get further control over the f-stop, ensuring that you don't over-expose the subject. Flash recycle times are very quick, letting you shoot a number of shots without noticeable delay. We used the light on the right-hand side to bring out more detail and colour in the model's hair. 

Value For Money

The Siros kit is one of the most affordable Broncolor lighting solutions available, and with Wi-Fi and RF options offers a new (and quicker) way to control the lights making it unique. The high speed sync of 1/8000s (with optional High Sync flash bulb) is also unique at this price point. The Siros 400S Expert kit with two heads, is available for £2244 inc VAT, and there is an offer till 30th June 2015 which includes an additional (free) softbox. Alternatives include:

The Bowens Gemini 500R Pulsar Tx Twin Head Kit which is available for around £900, although does not offer Wi-Fi control options. It's also difficult to find lighting with fast sync speeds, with other monoblocs, such as the Bowens Gemini 1000 Pro Head offering a flash durations up to 1/2100 s (£690 per head). Another option would be the Profoto D1 monoblocs with an "entry level" Profoto D1 Studio Kit 250/250 Air priced at £1999 inc vat with 1/1600 sync. 

Broncolor Siros Verdict

The Broncolor Siros lighting kit is easy to setup and use, with the umbrella and softbox neatly and easily packed away. Due to the size and weight of the kit, these are lights you most likely wouldn't want to travel very regularly with, and are most likely suited to studio use. The results possible from the lights are very pleasing, with consistent results time and again. The umbrella and softbox provided with the kit are well made, and produce a pleasing look. For those that want a professional lighting solution, with modern control options, then the Broncolor Siros is recommended, and the S version offers additional control over output that could be particularly useful in tighter spaces. 

Broncolor Siros Pros

Wi-Fi / RF options
Easy to control
Easy to setup
Very good build quality
Reliable results
Excellent design
Good kit options

Broncolor Siros Cons

Large and heavy (relatively)
Size of kit may not fit in boot of car (depending on size of car)
Basic kit does not include remote trigger

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Broncolor Siros kit offers a modern lighting solution with consistant and reliable results. 

 

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