The dynamo hub seems like a good move to streamline my on-board light system. The bottle generator won't go to waste. It can move to the rain bike, on which I already run more rugged tires that may stand up to the wire-brush wet weather drive roller offered by Peter White.
In the world of generator hubs, the Schmidt SON seems to be the gold standard. My budget does not extend to gold, so I have to shop around. This economic fact has guided every cycling purchase since I started my adult cycling habit in college. In my racing years it was a point of pride to find cool components for your bike that looked good and functioned well for less than the price of the legendary Campagnolo. It was also great to find sweet deals on the Campy itself.
Contenders for a bargain gem in the dyno-hub market include the Sanyo H27, the SRAM i-Light and several models by Shimano.
My first impulse is to avoid Shimano. I developed that habit in the 1990s, when they were basically a malignancy in the cycling industry, spreading fast, killing other companies not just on the basis of product quality, but unfairly on the basis of size or less aggressive marketing. Their devotion to obsolescence preyed on consumers and retailers alike. Most of their stuff was not as awesome as the advertising said it was, it was merely good enough. It was shoved down the cycling world's throat on the end of a battering ram of marketing and preferential pricing for OEM spec. However, the big ugly behemoth has also continued to offer some nice basic components for those of us who like to mix, match and roll our own. You just have to remember two things: don't buy their proprietary crap that does not play well with others and stock up on the stuff you like, for the day when they quit making it at their whim.
I can get the SRAM or Shimano hubs wholesale. SRAM isn't exactly the good guys when it comes to obsolescence and tweaky innovation. They actually offer less to the tinkering cyclist than Shimano does, because their barcons are index-only. I have no brand loyalty, I have individual product loyalty. I suggest you do the same.
In the end, what matters is function for price. That's where I may have to roll the dice and do my own product testing, one wheel at a time. So it's not a question of what hub to buy, it may be what hub to buy first. Or scrape up the coin for the Schmidt, assuming the high price really does indicate the best long-term investment.
Of course I will welcome any input from users with a tale to tell. I'm not doing this right away.