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  1. #1

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    Light Bulb and Temperature

    I just wanted to give it a try to see what happens. I used two regular spiral energy saving bulbs, not sure if they are daylight type. They are rated 13 watts, or 60w equivalent, not bright.

    I put them on and shot 3 pictures on white background. The digital photos look awful. They look like yellow color.

    Would the photo spiral bulbs be different? What is wrong with the regular home spiral bulbs, different temperature? Any filter can I use?

    I was going to order some photo daylight bulbs. But I do not want this to happen....

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

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    What kind of white balance was in effect on your camera? Auto? Daylight? Tungsten? Or...

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    I have a Nikon D70 and D200, they are on auto white balance.

  4. #4
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    Regular CFLs have color temperatures that are considerably warmer than daylight. I suspect their color temp also varies as widely as the prices. And since fluorescents have a much more discontinuous spectral distribution than incandescent lamps I could easily believe that could contribute to confusing AWB. I use some softboxes with daylight CFLs that work pretty well with bits or film. I chuckle at them being Compact FLs, as the suckers are a cluster of U-tubes about four inches in diameter and a foot long!

  5. #5

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    Unless specifically marked as "daylight", household Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs (spiral energy saving bulbs) are roughly the same colour temperature as regular tungsten light bulbs ~ 2800K. So set your camera's white balance to tungsten, fluorescent or auto. Judging from the attached picture, your camera was set to daylight, not auto white balance.

    If you're shooting colour film with your current CFL bulbs, use a tungsten film or a blue filter with daylight film. Or get daylight CFL bulbs. They're available at the bigger hardware stores.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the help. I'm still new to indoor lighting.

    The Nikons are indeed set to Auto white balance. I can try to set it at incandescent to see how it happens.

    My plan is to get some photo fluorescent bulbs. Still no sure what wattage I should get. Do the high wattage ones work well? like the 65w and 105w ones?

  7. #7
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    The units I alluded to earlier are something like 500 watt equivalent CFLs; about 130 watt input. They do a pretty good job for me and are certainly more pleasant to work under than the 600 watt halogen worklights I used to use. Some of the 'daylight" lamps appear in the world of grow lights and the greenhouse plant world -- don't know if they are any cheaper that way vs photo stores. I get the sense the equivalent wattage claim is a trifle optimistic, but then that could be from comparing them with halogen lights as opposed to more conventional tungsten bulbs. The old traditional tungsten photoflood bulbs typically have a service life in the 25 hour range, whereas the CFLs are several thousand, so long term that could be helpful. However my experience to date is that the cheap household CFLs do not come anywhere near their claimed life. Some of that may be the "fine print" requirements like burning them base down, etc.

  8. #8
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
    My plan is to get some photo fluorescent bulbs. Still no sure what wattage I should get. Do the high wattage ones work well? like the 65w and 105w ones?
    In buying fluorescent bulbs for photographic purposes you should aim for lamps with a high Colour Rendering Index (CRI). The declared CRI should be higher than 85, better if it is 90. Obviously even better if it is 96 as in certain products.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DWThomas View Post
    And since fluorescents have a much more discontinuous spectral distribution than incandescent lamps I could easily believe that could contribute to confusing AWB.
    This is a very important distinction between the two light sources. The discontinuous spectrum can influence the color rendition of films. Some CFL's may be better than others, so some testing may be required.
    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

  10. #10
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    This is why I hoarded hundreds of 100W bulbs before they became illegal to sell in the USA. - David Lyga

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