At this time I am using both a bank of twelve 48" BLB tubes (with vacuum easel and light integrator) and a NuArc 26-IK plateburner. I previously used a 1000 watt metal halide light, also with vaccum easel and light integrator.
Originally Posted by shinn
These are my opinions about working with these three light.
1. Printing speed --The bank of BLB tubes prints faster than the other two light, by about 1/2 stop. BL tubes (or SA for Pt/Pd would print even faster. I bought the NuArc to replace the 1000 watt HID expecting that the former would print faster than the latter, but it did not, at least not when the bulbs are placed at the same distance from the printing easel.
2. Contrast -- Very little difference between the three lights, either with colloid processes or Pt/Pd.
3. Sharpness -- The HID light and the NuArc 26-IK have a slight edge in sharpness when you test for it, but in practice offer little or no practical advantage over the UV bank of tubes (if you use a vacuum frame). Of course, both vacuum frame as well as light integrator are integral to the NuArc 26-1K.
4. Ease of use -- For me there is very little practical difference in ease of use between the NuArc 26-1K and my UV bank. If there is any at all it must be on the side of the UV bank because I tend to use it more than the NuArc.
Bottom line -- All three lights are equally useful so the main question is which is easier or least expensive for you to set up?