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  1. #11
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    CFL = Fluorescents?

  2. #12
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    Yes, CFL technically stands for compact fluorescent or coiled fluorescent. You know, the fluorescent bulbs that are shaped like an ersatz 60w incandescent using an Edison screw-base instead of a bi-pin connector.

  3. #13
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    I've used these for still life. They're cheap and run cool.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80169636/
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  4. #14
    David Brown's Avatar
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    I'm at a similar point. I have all these "visualizations" of macro and still lifes (for lack of a better category) but I am approaching lighting as a trial and error process. I've read the books. Hey, a couple of thousands of dollars of lighting gear and you, too, can make these photographs.

    Over the decades I have accumulated stands and umbrellas, small and medium strobes, and not a small number of "clamp-on" light fixtures. I'm starting out with the cfl bulbs, myself. (Black and white film, of course) The experimentation will come in diffusion and reflectors. My wife, the graphic artist, has suggested tracing paper for diffusion. Cheap and readily available. I'll also try thin fabric, and some white, translucent cutting boards (for the kitchen, of all things). For reflectors, I have stocked in some white foamcore. Also cheap and readily available.

    To further cut costs, I'm going to use that "other" technology for initial experimentation, and then burn film when I'm starting to see something usable.

    I mean really, isn't playing around part of the fun of all this? Cheers, and good luck!

  5. #15
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    This is just a personal opinion/preference so take it for what it's worth. I don't like fluorescents. I realize they've gotten much better as time has moved forward, but I still don't like them as a light source because of the color cast they produce. I know the cast is irrelevant to a great degree when working in black-and-white. But I'm still perceiving the world in color before I render it b/w on film, and part of wanting to take a photograph is being able to aesthetically appreciate the scene before I click the shutter. A blue/green, minus-red lighting scheme that you get from fluorescents just doesn't get my juices flowing readily. For still life I'd prefer hot lights, for portraits I'd prefer strobes.

  6. #16
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    This is just a personal opinion/preference so take it for what it's worth. I don't like fluorescents. I realize they've gotten much better as time has moved forward, but I still don't like them as a light source because of the color cast they produce. I know the cast is irrelevant to a great degree when working in black-and-white. But I'm still perceiving the world in color before I render it b/w on film, and part of wanting to take a photograph is being able to aesthetically appreciate the scene before I click the shutter. A blue/green, minus-red lighting scheme that you get from fluorescents just doesn't get my juices flowing readily. For still life I'd prefer hot lights, for portraits I'd prefer strobes.
    LEDs?

  7. #17
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    LEDs?
    Eventually. I don't disagree with Scott about the CFLs but I can live with the drawbacks. My biggest knock on them is waiting for them to warm up. But, I get over it. I view (as do others) CFLs as a transitional technology. Eventually, LEDs will replace both tungsten and CFLs, but the price is going to have to come down for this use (for me). I have invested in LED's in certain parts of my house, and I really believe this is the future.

    Sorry, a bit off topic ...

  8. #18
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    Yes, CFL purports to be Compact Fluorescent Lamp, but like many things in our consumerist society, 'compact' can be a bit of a stretch:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's a 12 inch/30 cm scale!

    These are supposed to be 5500º K, 135 watt input, 600 watt equivalent light output. I believe they come out of greenhouse grow light territory and are not cheap -- like maybe $40. (Well, if you're growing the right herbs you can afford it. )

    The softboxes I have are about 16x23 inches at the front, an aluminized fabric contraption held out by springy wire stays that plug into holes in the bulb socket assembly (and are a PITA to set up/take down, which is why I keep a pair set up most of the time).

    There is a cloth diffuser panel behind the front panel, presumably to decrease hot spots. Front diffuser partially peeled open:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    These appear to be nylon, which is OK with the CFLs, but to use hot lights, the softbox materials have be special heat-resistant stuff to withstand scary temperatures and are priced accordingly.

  9. #19
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    LEDs are much better than CFLs, but they're still not where we'd want them to be in terms of color accuracy. They're also not full-spectrum - they're peaky in the blue end of the spectrum (I noticed how white/cool things look with them in my house, as opposed to warm when using traditional incandescent bulbs). I think the reason we're seeing the push to alternative bulb sources is that an incandescent can be made for only a few pennies more that will last 10+ years, like the LEDs are supposed to. They may not be as energy efficient as LEDs, but they're very cheap to buy. Instead of making more efficient incandescents, they've gone to CFLS and LEDs because you can charge $4/ea for the CFLs and $25 ea for the LEDs. So the manufacturers are pushing for LED because the long-term reduced turnover is compensated for by the massive increase in short-term profit gains. LEDs still need to get lighter, brighter, steadier AND more color accurate if they're going to truly replace incandescents. I got some LED floods to put in the recessed lights in my hall. They were marketed as being dimmable (which some are not). They still flicker sometimes even when on full power. They got better after I had them installed for a week or so, but in the beginning I was about ready to take them back because of it.

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