Need compact fluorescent advice

Started Jun 15, 2006 | Discussions
Chris Strobel
Senior MemberPosts: 1,431
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Need compact fluorescent advice
Jun 15, 2006

Hi guys, I've got a 32" light tent, and three light stands with 12" reflectors coming from B&H.The lights come with 500w tungsten bulbs, and I ordered 3 250w tungsten's as well since they were only a few bucks.Now my qustion is concerning CFL bulbs, I found this at full spectrum solutions:

65w Compact Fluorescent Lamp

  1. Replaces: 300w bulb

  2. Dimensions: 8 1/2"l x 4 1/8"w

  3. Wattage: 65 watts

  4. CRI: 91+

  5. Kelvin: 5500

  6. Lumens: 4100

  7. Life: 8,000 hours [?]

  8. Not for use with dimmer switches

And this at at the Table Top studio store:

55 Watt Trumpet Top Daylight Balanced Bulb

  1. 5000k daylight color temperature

  2. Very high output 3,600 lumens

  3. 10,000 Hrs. of use

  4. CRI > 85

  5. Normally requires 12" or larger reflectors

As well as this also from Table Top:

30 Watt Trumpet Top Bulb

  1. 5000k daylight color temperature

  2. Cool

  3. 10,000 Hrs. of use

  4. Lumens 2100

  5. CRI > 84

And lastly this from Garvin:

85W, 5500K High-Output Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb

  • Watts: 85

  • Equiv. Incan. (W): 400

  • Operating Voltage: 120

  • Style: Spiral

  • Lumens: 5,500

  • Color Temp: 5500K

  • Base Type: E26 MED

  • Overall Length: 8-1/2”

Which of these bulbs would be the best route for my setup.I want to shoot florals and don't want to fry my orchids with the tungsten lamps.I use both a Canon 20d, and 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras with film both b&w and chromes.This is my first foray into table top work.Thanks much!

Chris

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'Not many realize that great photographs - like anything else - are made with one's brains.'

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Peter Berressem
Forum ProPosts: 10,647
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Re: Need compact fluorescent advice
In reply to Chris Strobel, Jun 15, 2006

Chris Strobel wrote:

Which of these bulbs would be the best route for my setup.I want to
shoot florals and don't want to fry my orchids with the tungsten
lamps.I use both a Canon 20d, and 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras with
film both b&w and chromes.This is my first foray into table top
work.Thanks much!

Digital may cope with those bulbs (green colour shift and pretty low CRI) to a degree, but with film you'd have a lousy colour rendition.

Now that you've allready bought the tungsten equipment you won't swap it for strobes, am I right here? So, without exaggerating the budget I'd check those screw-in flashes to replace the tungsten. Assuming you're pretty close-up with the lights on the orchids, they will have enough power for even 8/10 apertures.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=search&Q=&ci=1239

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Kind regards,
Peter B.
(English - not my native tongue)
June 06. Football WC is coming - where to go and hide?

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Need compact fluorescent advice
In reply to Chris Strobel, Jun 15, 2006

Chris Strobel wrote:

Hi guys, I've got a 32" light tent, and three light stands with 12"
reflectors coming from B&H.The lights come with 500w tungsten
bulbs, and I ordered 3 250w tungsten's as well since they were only
a few bucks.Now my qustion is concerning CFL bulbs, I found this at
full spectrum solutions:

Just get the highest light output fluoros that will fit in your lamps that also have a high CRI -- if they also happen to be close to daylight in CT, that will be a bonus.

Oh, and I humbly suggest you get rid of the light tent. It is about as much use to a flower photographer as a chocolate teapot!!

What you need instead is one or two small diffusing screens (home made?).

Use the 12" reflector direct as your main light to get colour and texture. Then put fill lighting, (not too strong, now) through the screen(s).

As an alternative fill, try silver reflectors with a dimpled surface. These can be made from scrunched kitchen foil smoothed and stuck down onto lightweight board.

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Regards,
Baz

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Barrie Davis
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Whoops... !!
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jun 15, 2006

Barrie Davis wrote:

Just get the highest light output fluoros that will fit in your
lamps that also have a high CRI -- if they also happen to be close
to daylight in CT, that will be a bonus.

I just noticed that you are shooting FILM as well as digital, which means fluorescent light sources are more problematical.

There isn't a film made that is colour balanced for fluorescent -- only tungsten (3200K) and daylight (5600K) types are available.

This doesn't mean that fluoros cannot be used -- but it does mean you need to filter the light to correct it to the film of your choice.

Daylight film is probably the better choice.......

The precise filtration will depend on your actual choice of fluorescent lamps, and here you should choose [in this order].....

1) ones as close to daylight CT as possible....

2) with the highest CRI (90 plus is good)....

3) AND that also have as high an output in lumens as may got, so they are not dimmed too much by the filtration necessary for film shooting.

Colour filtration will not be needed with the digital, since fluorescent is capable of correction by doing a normal Custom WB.

However, it may be very worthwhile to shoot a few digital tests with the camera set to daylight preset WB. These images will allow you to try various colour filtrations over the lights (gels) or over the lens (special filters can be bought) WITHOUT using expensive film and processing.

Any filtration pack arrived at from digital testing will not likely be exactly right for film, but it will get you close and reduce the amount of money spent on film and processing at the testing stage.

Sorry I didn't notice the film lighting requirement. I was too worried about you using that tent!!
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Regards,
Baz

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Darrell Spreen
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I bought.......
In reply to Chris Strobel, Jun 15, 2006

Chris Strobel wrote:

Hi guys, I've got a 32" light tent, and three light stands with 12"
reflectors coming from B&H.The lights come with 500w tungsten
bulbs, and I ordered 3 250w tungsten's as well since they were only
a few bucks.Now my qustion is concerning CFL bulbs, I found this at
full spectrum solutions:

65w Compact Fluorescent Lamp

  1. Replaces: 300w bulb

  2. Dimensions: 8 1/2"l x 4 1/8"w

  3. Wattage: 65 watts

  4. CRI: 91+

  5. Kelvin: 5500

I bought two 55W versions of this lamp from full spectrum solutions (about 250W equivalent each). I chose the 55W version because it was a better fit to the 14" reflector I have. BTW, Full Spectrum Solutions are great people to do business with.

You DEFINITELY want high CRI for high color accuracy. I have used these lamps for table-top photography (sample below) and even for portraiture. Those who say you can't expect true colors or need filters probably haven't tried a good high CRI fluorescent. At 5500K, the color balance is very good and a great match for flash or daylight. If the CRI is less than about 90, you will probably see some of the characteristics of ordinary fluorescents -- not good.

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