I don't know about NYC, but there's one in a Livermore California firehouse which is over 100 years old. That could be what you're thinking of.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
That must be it. I knew it was in a firehouse. The mind plays tricks.
Originally Posted by lxdude
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Yup the 'Centennial Light' - 110 years old and still going strong apparently. And there are a few others not far behind it... There WAS one of that sort of age in NYC - A hardware store on Second Avenue?? Grassicks??? Something like that...
In this particular house we couldn't get an incandescent to last more than 2-3 weeks thanks to local switching problems. One of the problems we have in some parts of the UK is that bulbs are made for the European standard of 230v - Many/most of the UK is still, in reality on 240v! Some parts the average hovers closer to 250v RMS..
Incandescents generally die from 'thermal shock' at switch on. Inline dimmers are known to extend bulb life in things like 'red heads' by at least 3-5 times. The button Gerald mentions is a surge resistor and would definitely help... If only they had ever made them for bayonet fittings!
As for CFLs? The 'starters' will fail before the actual bulb - I'm seeing 5-7 years out of the Ikea bulbs in everyday use running about 20% of the power I would on conventional bulbs... Light quality is fair-good in terms of colour rendering; no perceptable flicker on a 50Hz/240v supply...
Out of curiosity I should probably do some experimental shots to see how these look under film...
Worth a look to make sure it hasn't just now burned out...
Originally Posted by Matt Quinn
Whew! Just checked and 29 seconds ago it was still burning. What a relief!
From the Facts page at the above website:
"The Second longest bulb was listed in the 1970 Guinness Book under the heading Most Durable says that 'on 21 Sept 1908 a stagehand named Barry Burke at the Byers Opera House, Fort Worth, Texas screwed in a new light bulb and that it was still burning.' The building was renamed the Palace Theatre, and the light was known as the Palace Bulb ever since. It now resides in the Stockyards Museum, and will have been burning for 100 years Sept of 2008. A website is in the works.
"The Third, a bulb in a New York City hardware store, Gasnick Supplies, had been working since 1912, but it is unknown if it still works today.
"The Fourth is known as "the bulb" which like ours, burns in a firehouse in the town of Mangum, Oklahoma. It has been in operation since around 1926, has no special power conversions, and is turned on and off with normal use.
"The Fifth was a bulb in a washroom at the Martin & Newby Electrical Shop in Ipswich, England was dated from 1930 and burned out in January 2001."
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
Ordinary tungsten lightbulbs have deliberately been made crappy for a long time; otherwise they wouldn't be able to sell them to you over and over and over. But don't count on CFL's to have decent
color rendition any time soon. Some of them might eventually be OK for print display purposes, but
I'd stock up on something more reliable for studio use. LED lighting is even worse. I have yet to encounter a CFL that doesn't give me horrible eyestrain from the wacky spectrum. I wonder what the
longterm health effects will be, especially now that kids are put right in front of computers from preschool on.
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Seriously?? As a trained lighting cameraman with over 30 years experience I can tell you that if you were designing a new television studio today you would be investing heavily in CFL lighting for a number of reasons... Not the least being they're a well-established technology in the Film and TV world.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Recently I did some work in STV's new-ish studios in Glasgow; the only halogens available were the ones I had in the boot of my vehicle! I took a bit of ribbing for my 'Luddite tendancies' when I dragged them upstairs as they are what I personally prefer to work with.
Some typical spectral charts for studio CFLs are shown here...
LEDs factually are now capable of very high CRIs - Even I have long-since abandoned my halogen 'top light' complete with it's heavy 2-hour battery pack for a one-piece LED unit that runs literally for weeks off a few 'AA cells...
And for the record the average, poorly made domestic incandescent such as might be found on the High St RARELY produces anything close to a high or even good CRI - Or for that matter a predictable or stable colour temperature over its life...
As I mentioned earlier - for over 60 years more light has been produced by flouros than incandescents - And I know of many a printer who turns on the overhead striplights to 'judge' their output... I had a business partner who ran a graphics and print company; the paid happily the premium for special FL tubes that allowed them to make critical judgements about the colours they were producing - And that was 20 years ago...
The spectral output of classic flouros is "wacky" by dint of the 'gaps' in the output - You can often demonstrate this for yourself by taking a CD and looking at how light splits across the surface... Daylight, Incandescent and LED lights will produce nice smooth rainbow; whereas in a room lit by Flouros that 'rainbow' will appear somewhat 'fractured' with noteable peaks in the RGB additive primaries.
MAJOR differences exist though between the cheap 'open tube' type CFLs and those with a double envelope. I have some very old CFLs in outside storage areas and they're pretty bad; the effect is easy to see with the CD trick... But the one I have in my antique desk lamp here barely exhibits that split spectrum at all...
I've found the GE Reveal CFLs have the nicest looking color (less wacky) compared to the other off-the-shelf CFL choices. One of three has failed so far though.... So it's not all cheer.
I have a small hand-held spectrophotometer. I can look at a light through it and tell which is a CFL or an incandescent bulb. The CFLs are discontinuous, and give several bands in the visible spectrum. Tungsten bulbs give a nice even spectrum.
This discontinuous spectrum can cause problems with some films.
It's quite interesting that folks in the U.S. seem to be experiencing such high failure rates with these things.
Originally Posted by jp498
As I mentioned previously; here in the UK we have the problem of incandescent 230V bulbs being sold in an area that is in reality 240v-250v - This makes for very short lifes (a standard bulb here lasts a few weeks on average)...
The CFLs are also rated 230v; and seem to last years - Yet in the US bulbs (presumably) properly rated for the 120v supply are 'popping' like corn by the sounds of it??? Baffling...
Well the CD trick I mentioned will show you the spectrum IS indeed discontinuous - We know this. We also have 60+ years of technique to mitigate shooting under flourescent light...
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Essentially CFLs are just smaller/more sophisticated versions of the good ol' fashioned flouro tube.
At the end of the day Kino Flos are an accepted reality; both for film and electronic imaging. And many domestic CFLs are heading the same direction in terms of addressing discontinuity and colour temprature isuues...