Looking for an entry-level studio monolight that pros won't snub their noses at? Bron Electronics recently upgraded its "Solo B" line of Visatec low-cost strobes with all-metal housings and fan-cooling systems, two pro-level features rare in strobes targeted at the home user. The Bs range from the 1200-Watt-second 3200 B down to our test unit, the 5-pound, 130Ws Solo 400 B ($338 street).
A week of testing showed the 400 B to be well designed, with more than its share of attractive (though not unusual) features. These include continuously variable, dial-in power output across a 3-stop range; 4-mode 150-watt halogen modeling light; built-in carrying handle, and a wide line of accessories. Other, less common, features are a patented, lock-free bayoneting system for attaching snoots and reflectors, auto dumping (when dialing down power), auto shutoff (to prevent overheating), and a conveniently lock-free umbrella holder.
Cool feature: Because the umbrella adapter isn't concentric with the flash tube, Bron designed a clever asymmetrical reflector that redirects light output for even reflection from the umbrella's surface. Also cool: a special-order adapter for powering the 400 B from a car battery!
Visatec's distributor, Hasselblad USA, offers the Solo monolights in several attractively priced two- and three-light kits, which come in extremely sturdy, well-padded pro-grade cases that are almost reason enough to buy. Any ambitious intermediate who wants to grow beyond the limitations of hot-shoe lighting should consider the Visatec Solo 400 B. It's not the most powerful strobe for the money, but it may be the most feature-rich and durable.
For info: www.hasselbladusa.com; 973-227-7320.