Power Pack Review: Broncolor’s Scoro S
January 24, 2018
Physicists consider “Planck time” to be the shortest interval of time that exists in the universe, a fraction of a second so infinitesimal that you can fit 1044 of them into a single second (that’s 10 followed by 43 zeros).
While Broncolor’s Scoro pack doesn’t deliver flashes at Planck-like speeds, it seems pretty darn close. We turned the Scoro over to N.J. photographer and director David Patiño to see how this barn burner held up in his studio.
The marquee feature that distinguishes the Scoro S from its predecessors, and from most of the competition, is Wi-Fi. The unit can create its own ad-hoc Wi-Fi network so you can control it with the Broncontrol app on your desktop, iOS or Android device, similar to the Siros series of monolights.
The Scoro S offers three lamp outlets with the ability to power each flash asymmetrically or symmetrically. You’ll enjoy a maximum flash duration of 1/10,000 sec. (t0.1) or 1/14,000 sec. (t.05). Recycle times are as short as .02 sec. up to 2 sec. at max power. When shooting at maximum flash power you’ll get flash durations as short as 1/132 sec. (t0.1).
In speed mode, where the maximum flash power is set to 2,400 W/s, the Scoro S delivers 1/285 sec. max power flash durations and recycle times of 1.2 sec.
Power is adjustable over a wide 11 f-stop range in 1/10 or full stop increments. It uses Broncolor’s ECTC technology to ensure consistent color temperature flash-to-flash and can pop off at up to 50 flashes per second.
The Scoro S is built like a tank, with a durable, premium feel. Patiño says the buttons click with a reassuring thud. You don’t necessarily want to be lugging the nearly 30-pound Scoro around your studio all too often, unless you’re one of those Cross Fit fanatics. Fortunately, the handle has a well-contoured hand grip for when you do need to heave it.
The design is approachable and easy-to-use. In fact, with no real training on the pack, Patiño says he was up and running in a matter of minutes.
The Broncontrol app is similarly intuitive, giving you complete access to the Scoro’s settings with a very accessible interface. However, Patiño says he’s less a fan of the wireless RFS 2.1 remote, which uses multi-function buttons that adjust different settings depending on how long they’re pressed. “It seems less convenient to me” than other remotes he’s used, he says.
Image Quality and Performance
Patiño tells us he was incredibly impressed by the “beautiful light quality” and consistency shot-to-shot. He shot several studio portraits with the light, including a series of images in rapid succession, and says the light’s color temperature was completely consistent from frame to frame. Using the Para 88 modifier, the light is an outstanding choice for fashion photographers working with rapidly moving models, he says.
Patino says that, in contrast to some very early iterations of the Broncontrol app that we tested with the Siros monolights, the Wi-Fi/app control with the Scoro S was much more reliable, likely a testament to Broncolor’s continued development of the technology. The response time from when a command was input into the app and when the Scoro pack responded was much quicker and more consistent, he adds. That said, it’s not always more convenient to open an app on your smartphone or desktop during a shoot when all of the controls can be accessed on the outside of the power pack, Patiño tells us.
The Scoro S offers a level of lighting control that’s almost unheard of, Patiño says.
The Scoro was already a fast, quality power pack so Broncolor was understandably conservative when rolling out this update. That said, you won’t find much new outside of its Wi-Fi control. Features such as TTL metering and HSS, which are available in comparable packs from Profoto, aren’t available in the Scoro.
While Profoto doesn’t offer a 3,200 W/s power pack, and thus no direct comparison to the Scoro S, it does offer 2,400 and 4,800 W/s lights. The 4,800 W/s version of the D4 offers more lamp outlets than the Scoro S (four vs. three) but less power control (8 stops vs. 11).
If you want more control, Profoto’s Pro-10 offers the same 11 stops, but with less power (2,400 W/s). Additionally, the Pro-10 delivers high-speed sync and TTL metering, something not available on the Scoro S. But when you need speed, higher power and the benefit of Wi-Fi control, the Scoro S stands alone.
Broncolor Scoro S