I'm guessing many on here, like me, get roped in to do tech for the School production? I, in fact used to be a tech ( a proper one not an IT one) in a couple of local theatres, but that was 10 years ago and the theatres were 30 years out of date!
After doing a big hire-in of kit from Whitelight (absolutely first class company to deal with - not a scratch or fingerprint on anything) for "We will Rock You" last year, we're looking at starting to buy some more bits of our own - and we're hoping to start with followspots.
Now then, both the theatres I worked in had these: Strand Archive - Patt.293 and Patt.294 but they literally went out with the ark (not arc; they're tungsten:nerd:) and I can't get hold of any.
I have, however, found a site selling used lighting kit for a reasonable price; all of the following are on at the same price and I wondered if anyone had any experiences with any of them and would be able to comment:
Cantata Followspot Kit | usedlighting.co.uk
CCT Freedom Followspot | usedlighting.co.uk
ETC Source 4 Followspot 10 Deg | usedlighting.co.uk
We hired Source 4's from Whitelight last year and (after the Strands I'd used before) they seemed to be the dogs whatsits - but I'm interested in what others think.
Can't help you with your question as we only have experience with the Contata followspot we hire from stage electrics whenever required (which has always worked out well for us), however you may have better luck posting your query on the Blue Room website as they have thousands of members based in the theatre industry, including a fair few who work in schools.
@Batchfile I can't tell you which followspot to go for, but I can recommend usedlighting.co.uk.
+1 for posting on the blueroom forums.
And we have one of the BlueRoom mods here too! :o
I've not used any of the ones you're looking at either, but knew the 293 well. The HPL750 lamp will probably be as bright as the T29, and I suspect the ETC optics will be better. I don't think the GKV will cut it, and I've got quite bored of mending CCT lanterns. They were a revelation in design 30 years ago...
ETC is my preference, CCT stuff is cheap and cheerful but breaks easily if left in the hands of children I find and its a bit flimsy.