Where does this "looks like flash" idea come from? Has anyone ever tested continuous vs strobe?

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modolover Junior Member • Posts: 42
Where does this "looks like flash" idea come from? Has anyone ever tested continuous vs strobe?

(this question is only about the visual look or appearance, not about power, convenience, features, temperature, etc)

Howdy. I live by the motto that light is light, and regardless of the source they all [generally] are guided by the same principals and laws of physics. However, I was speaking to a well known lighting expert in my city and he told me that continuous/hot lights actually look slightly different. "In portraits, hot light has a subtle nuance to it, a subtle glow or smoothness because the quality of light is different at the source". I found this hard to believe if the bulb whether continuous or flash is modified the same way, under the same power. Then I thought, the different in using flash vs continuous is the shutter speed! Flash tends to kill any type of ambience while continuous lights can allow for a slow shutter speed to soak up the ambience. Perhaps this is how some old school film photographers achieved a "glow" in their portraits.

So I ask, has anyone actually conducted a test on this topic? I wish I could, but don't have continuous lights at the moment. Why is it that flash "looks like flash" and continuous light doesn't "look like continuous". Is it because the key light on the face is usually too strong when people use strobes? Where does the "looks like flash" idea come from if light is light after all?

Why is it that the extremely powerful hot lights used in cinema don't look artificial, whether using hard light or soft light, they always look very well balanced.

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