Review: Philips Vari*Lite VL880

Posted on Friday, October 14th, 2011

By Mike Wood for Lighting & Sound International

Philips Vari-Lite is clearly very aware of the economic pressure their customers have been under recently and so has taken the step, unusual perhaps for Vari-Lite, of developing a new range of luminaires which they advertise as “compact and economical”. The range comprises four luminaire variants, the VL400, VL440, VL770, and VL880, all with spot optics, and all with identical external appearance. The units primarily differ in their light sources: the VL400 and VL440 use a 400W MSR Gold 400 Mini FastFit lamp; the VL770 uses a 700W MSR Gold 400 Mini FastFit lamp; and the top-of-the range VL880 an 800W MSR Platinum 35 lamp. As I understand it, the feature sets (and indeed much of the internal construction) are identical across the VL440, VL770, and VL880, while the VL400 has a slightly reduced specification with two fixed colour wheels instead of CMY colour mixing, and no separate dim wheel. In this review I will just look at the top-of-the-range VL880, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that the other units in the range will perform very similarly, just with different light outputs.

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