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First post...Altman vs Strand

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by setbldr, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. setbldr

    setbldr Member

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    Technical Director
    Alexandria, VA
    I am a Set Designer/Technical Director/Lighting Designer/Sound tech.
    Jack of all...master of none you could say.

    I have always been used to working with altman instruments. I recently took a job as a technical director/lighting instructor for a high school that has a beautiful new theatre facility but has a whole brand new house full of strand instruments. I find them a bit more cumbersome in some ways but easier in others (like changing lamps). What are your feelings about this???
  2. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    Minneapolis, MN

    I was a master of the Strand SL before I ever touched a Source Four, as the brand new highschool I did most of my learning in had them. Prior to that I had only ever worked with Altman instruments. The change was a welcome one in my view, the SL is a decent modern fixture and easy to work with (I never had any trouble). The lamp terminals do seem to degrade much faster than on a source four lamp cap, however. I rebuilt or at least swapped out caps on probably 2 or 3 a month due to the fact that other users of the space left the whole plot on all day frequently.
  3. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Arlington, TX
    I like whatever I can get. My personal inventory, all dozen units, are 360Qs and Strand Lekos (from the early '80s perhaps?). They're both good units. I like the KW rating of the Strands, and the interchangeable barrels. Good optical train too. I like that relamping a 360Q doesn't force you to re-bench it.

    I've heard some criticism of some of the mechanical design of the SL, but I also know a designer locally who really likes them, so I suppose your mileage and opinion may vary.

    I'm not a super fan of the Shakes, and of course the infamous Altman KW Leko Of Which We Do Not Speak is open for bashing at all times.

    In short, I think both companies make good lights. I like the notion of the bayonet mechanism on the SL's lamp cap (though failure of that mechanism is one of the criticisms). My preference would be Source Four, then probably SL, and 360Q right behind that. But that's just me. Perhaps I might transpose SL and 360Q, they're still good workhorses and make good light with a new generation lamp in them.
  4. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    DFW, Tx.
    I have a personal inventory of 360Q's and Strand SL's (some fixed focus and some zooms). The reason I have them is because they were practically given to me. If I was to go out and buy new instruments I would choose the Source Four for fixed focus, but the SL is not bad. It seems to me that most of the problems they have are right out of the box. If you can get a lot that works right from the beginning you are probably ok.

    SL criticisms:
    Lamp base bayonet (sometimes freezes)
    Stiff Shutters
    360 degree rotation knob can break causing the unit to not lock into position
    Thin glass reflectors
    Lens focus knob contains small parts which can be lost if removed

    These things are all simple, but like I said, if you can get some that don't have these problems, you are probably in the clear for a while. Except the shutters, they're just stiff, but that isn't such a huge deal.

    As a side note, I love the SL Zoom's size and shape. I wish ETC would do that.
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    This is a feature, not a drawback. Due to lamp manufacturing tolerances, every ERS should be bench focused (or at least verified) when relamping. I'm not saying one must remove the fixture to the lighting shop, but a quick check never hurts.

    To the OP's question: I'd take any Strand fixture, over any Altman fixture, every single time. I'd rather have a black LekoLite than a Shakespeare. (Except for that pesky inability-to-obtain-parts-for-Strand problem.:()

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