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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:33 PM   #1
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Fluorescent key light recommendations

I am looking for a non-tungsten light powerful enough to be used as a good key (equivalent to at least 750 watts of quartz light).

Price is an issue, so I assume fluorescent makes more sense than LED.

What are some ideas?

The only light that I have found that is both in the price range and has the required light output is the Cool Lights CL-SFT2424. Is this light's CRI (supposedly 90) high enough to get good color matching when mixing it with tungsten lights? Does anybody have experience with it?
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Old May 20th, 2009, 08:37 PM   #2
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The model you're thinking of is the CL-SFT1 3200K Kit which includes all the items necessary. We're about the only ones I know of that have a 3200K fluorescent solution like this and the matching is very good with real tungsten.

That being said, the 3200K isn't our top seller as most people pick daylight these days if they don't have a tungsten legacy around to match up with, but hopefully someone that has one will come around with an opinion.
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Last edited by Richard Andrewski; May 20th, 2009 at 09:53 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Andrewski View Post
The model you're thinking of is the CL-SFT1 3200K Kit which includes all the items necessary. We're about the only ones I know of that have a 3200K fluorescent solution like this and the matching is very good with real tungsten.

That being said, the 3200K isn't our top seller as most people pick daylight these days if they don't have a tungsten legacy around to match up with, but hopefully someone that has one will come around with an opinion.
Richard, I'm not looking for a light with a color temperature of 3200K. I am wondering simply if the 90CRI fluorescent bulb that comes with the CL-SFT1, whether it be 3200K or 5600K or whatnot, will not have green spikes and mess with the camera's white balancing when using it with other light types (such as tungsten, with or without matching gels).

It would be good also to get responses from some other people who don't have a financial stake in giving me advice... hehe
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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:58 AM   #4
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Natan,

In fairness to Richard, he was offering clarification on his product line, and you mentioned the product line in your original post! It's reasonable to believe you were asking about tungsten matched lamps, since you said you wanted something color matched with your existing tungstens.

To your original question - yes, flos are today cheaper than LEDs. The only time when that isn't true is if you look at high-end flos (Kino, for instance) and value-priced LEDs (Richard's, for instance.) If you keep the comparison apples-to-apples, or brand name to brand name, flos have a lower upfront price.

Total cost of ownership is potentially different, since LEDs should never require a new lamp and should use less power over their effective life. I haven't seen a study showing the lower TCO for LED, but I expect it's a credible argument.

I use flos from an eBay source in China. I've had good luck with them. Here's their store link. I don't offer them as a must-do, just as another pricepoint for your search.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 12:13 AM   #5
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I'll speak up. I have no financial interest in coollights, other than having bought damn near one of every fixture they sell.

Of all the fixtures, the portable fluorescent from cool-lights has been the one that I'd recommend without qualifications. I prefer the case over the diva, am stoked w/ the price and I personally have been impressed at how cleanly they mix in with sunlight and with other high dollar daylight fixtures even with the stock "cheap" bulbs.

I dont carry around a photospectrometer, so its hard to say if there is a color spike too subtle for our crew to notice, but remember that the CRI is in the bulbs, not the fixture. In the event that you aren't happy with the color of the lamps, you can buy Kino branded bulbs and have identical light output to a kino unit at a much lower price.

I have the non-dimming version. We'd go nuts on shoots with a kino diva trying to adjust for the color shifts when you dimmed. I opted to not get the dimming model of cool-lights to avoid the color issue and it has worked out great. I don't know if the cool lights dimming model has the same problems as the kino, but i reckon it would.

Holler if you have any other questions about 'em.

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Old May 22nd, 2009, 01:25 PM   #6
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Dana,

I hope I didn't greatly offend Richard. I'll keep the flo lights from China as a possibility.

Andrew, which are the "case" lights from cool lights that you referred to? The one I thought would work well is the SFT-1, with the mogul base.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 09:03 PM   #7
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Apart from the obvious difference in mechanical construction all the fluro lights that use the single "D" 55W lamps are going to give the same light. 90% of the ones on the market use the Osram tubes, a few use Chinese clones but even they seem to perform the same.
All use either Osram ballasts or some Made In China approximation. You do need to be careful with electrical safety with some of the Chinese clones, not that I've seen anything too risky however the Osram ballasts are UL listed.
The other features to consider:
All the Lupo fluro lights we have are dimmable and that can be quite a plus but it does add to the cost a bit.
Some of the more upmarket units also include DMX control, probably of no benefit outside of a studio.
The ability to fit a grid to the light. All these lights by their nature spill a lot of light, having the ability to fit a grid can be handy. Then again it's not that hard to roll your own that can be held on with Vecro tabs.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 01:04 AM   #8
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Hmm. I was advocating the cl-455PM. Its a different class of unit from the sft. Very comparable to a Diva.

I don't have any experience with the sft. Its such a simple unit, though. There isnt much to go wrong. I mean, the ballast is part of the bulb.

So far, Richard's CRI readings have been fairly accurate. If he says the CRI is 90, then I'd believe color wont be an issue. My only concern w/ the unit is that its built on the same reflector as the cool lights softbox. Its a pretty primitive softbox. Its a challenge to assemble and not as durable as some. However, in the context of $150, its pretty darn inexpensive. I mean, you are hard pressed to get a similar quality bulb for $100.

That said, $150 for the sft gets you a bulb and a primitive soft box. 3x that much and you get a cl-455, which is a very professional unit, can cut 2 lights out w/o color shift and has useful barn doors. I thought the difference was worth it... but thats more of a function of convenience/use than light quality. You'd be hard pressed to determine which unit was used to light a shot by looking at the shot... except i think the biax bulbs would spit more light forward than the side-discharging compact fluoro.

There are reasons to like and not like the sft... but i dont believe color rendition is a major one. Along those lines... buying a brand name doesn't guarantee you color rendition. I've had to Gel Kinos that shifted hard to magenta or green, and i've been sent to put CTO gels on 5k arri HMIs that inexplicably were blasting out 9000k super-blue light. All fixtures, regardless of price, can need tweaking. Just a FYI in case you believed (like i did) that color temperature was set in stone if you spent enough money.

cheers!
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 07:18 PM   #9
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As an owner of 3 of the Coollights SFT 5600k lamps ( 2 in the softboxes and one in just a simple fixture ) I can assure you that they render a very nice quality of light. A bargain for a daylight source with the output they deliver.

The only con to me is that they are fragile... although I've yet to break one.

In a simple mogul fixture they are an awesome china ball type source.

A big plus is the box they ship in is really convenient.... I gaffer taped the crap out of mine to make them last longer.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 01:43 AM   #10
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I'd echo the fragility issue. If you are location shooting, the flo bulb's fragility IS an issue to consider. If you are mainly shooting in a VERY controlled environment (on location or studio) they are fine.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #11
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They are tougher on the road than tungten bulbs not removed from their fixtures though.... I hate it when I have to drive on a farm road with lowel totas that I forgot to shuck.
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