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Old May 20th, 2009, 03:00 PM   #1
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Budget fluorescent fixtures

I'm trying to decide between alzo ( Pan-L Lite Video Light by ALZO ) and coollights ( CL-255P Cool Lights Portable 2 x 55 watt Softlight - Cool Lights USA ) 2bank fluorescent fixtures. Ive seen some reviews of the coollights and some reviews of other alzo products, but cant find any reviews of this particular fluorescent fixture model. Anyone have any idea about it? The prices appear pretty close at first glance, but upon inspection alzo is much less expensive which makes it a really strong candidate if i can just find anyone who can vouch for them...

Coollights = ~$320 per fixture after shipping + $17 bulb for extra bulbs
Alzo = $238 per fixture with free shipping + $13 per 2 bulbs for extra bulbs

I want 2 2bank fixtures with enough bulbs to go full daylight or full tungsten on both, so alzo would be $502, but coollights would be $674...

I like the mounting options on the coollights better since it seems to use a lollipop, but alzo can be mounted on any edge as well, but probably cant switch orientations as quickly. alzo says their bulbs are 90CRI and coollights says theirs are ~87CRI. I tend to trust coollights since I've seen richard andrewski around these forums and he seems to know what hes talking about and they seem to quote conservative specs if anything. I dont know what to think about alzo though. What should i do?

Btw why do alzo's photometrics say their 2bank 2' fixture has twice the output at 1m as kinoflo's equivalent diva-lite 200?
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Old May 20th, 2009, 07:35 PM   #2
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I don't think there's much difference between CRI 87 and 91 in my tests. We could certainly do a CRI 90 or higher tube if we wanted but my tests don't show a dime's worth of difference. Shooting color charts and all that. So, its not an issue of us cheaping out or trying to make some excuses but more we were really thinking deeply about whats best not just using some buzz words or over quoted specs which you see routinely. For example, isn't every fixture or bulb you see out there now, a CRI 90 or above these days? ;-)

The inconvenience in all that is you do lose some light output the higher you go when obtaining more CRI. The reason being is that the green spike is actually helpful in lumen ouput. The more you engineer it out with boosting magenta in the phosphor the more it loses some light output. Some make up for this by simply driving the tubes harder. Even then, its still hard to get a lot more out of them. So that's why we settled where we did. A good overall compromise between output and color rendering. The green spike at CRI 85 and above is so minimal that its easily taken care of by white balancing in digital mediums.

As for price differences between that model and ours. Our CL-255P unit is only 4 lbs. without tubes and is very labor intensive (all hand made) to put together, plus has all kinds of custom engineered parts so its just more expensive than a studio model like the one you showed or even our own CL-255 metal studio model which is $179.

Those kind of metal units are so much easier to put together, use very economical extrusions and stamped parts for making the body and parts that are very commonly available. The lollipop for instance on the portable is a cast aluminum piece made with a custom mold and that's quite expensive to make. As you may know, lollipops aren't a common part nor are many of the other parts we use. All the extrusions used in the portables are made and engineered by us as well. And there's a lot of them.

As far as lumen output from one or the other, I think all things being equal (ballasts all doing about the same kind of driving) then you're going to get about 3000 lumens average from each 55w tube on most of the models out there. No way will one be double another unless the weaker one has a terrible ballast with bad power factor. There's only so much that a 55w tube is capable of.

Its therefore impossible IMO that this model in question will be double the output of a Kino Flo Diva 200 or ours for that matter.

When you're talking specs, we like conservative. Then you don't have people coming online and posting about how its wrong or way off. We probably even underquote our CRI a bit ;-).
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Old May 20th, 2009, 09:45 PM   #3
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I didnt imagine that the lumen output would be particularly different between your units and diva-lites and alzo's, but is it possible that the lux reading could be double at 1m given some significant difference between the reflectors or fixture shape? its very possible that its simply a matter of that diva-lite photometric readings were taken with an eggcrate on even though it is not mentioned in their chart:

alzo Pan-L-Lite TWIN
ALZO Video "Cool Light" Metrics

kino flo diva-lite 200
Kino Flo Diva-Lite Photometrics

Richard, do you have similar data on your CL-255P? I dont seem to see it, i only see bulb test data.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #4
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I have the data, just haven't had a moment to do the graphics.

CL-255P

2 feet
2600 lux

4 feet
740 lux

6 feet
370 lux

To get footcandles, divide by 10.76.

Yes reflectors will affect readings for sure. No idea of the test conditions that were used. Our reflectors are about as good as it gets but even the best ones can't do a lot to help dropoff at 6 feet. I don't believe its really possible with a 2 bulb unit to have that reading at 2 meters. Kino's and our reading seems more realistic.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the data, richard.

I just noticed adorama carries these lights:

FL552 Savage FL-552 Fluorescent Lamp Fixture with Two 55 watt Daylight Tubes

Seems like a ridiculously low price for such a fixture. Even if the build quality isnt amazing it might still be worth it. There are a few reviews on the larger units and while not the best reviews people seem to say they do the job even if the included bulbs take a little minus green. Its a bit hard to pass up considering i may need these lights for a shoot next week and adorama is right near me. Any idea if all of these fixtures work with all the same bulbs? I mean as long as the bulbs are 110v 55w 4pin biax bulbs with good cri, they should work about the same in the fixture, right? there do not seem to be 3200k bulbs specifically for this fixture but would any bulb that works for a lowel caselite or kino divalite or coollights fluorescent etc do the trick (assuming it has the same 4pin mount and wattage)? perhaps if i picked up some of kinoflo's bulbs they might perform better in this cheap fixture?

I'm also considering now that it might be a good idea to also get a nice 2k open face and softbox as well as or maybe even instead of fluorescents since it might be more versatile to have a fixture that can also throw lots of hard light or even less-soft light (than fluos) if needed. i like the power efficiency and low-heat of fluorescents but itd be nice to have a big hard source to shoot through a window or into a big softbox if needed.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #6
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Did you try the Savage lights Noah? I am looking at them myself.... What did you go with in the end?
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Old July 9th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #7
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Or a broader question - has anyone used the ALZO PAN-L-LITE QUAD at all? Or any of the lights?
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Old October 19th, 2009, 12:16 PM   #8
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I know its a bit late, i forgot to respond to this thread. I ended up buying two savage fluorescent fixtures and getting some extra kino biax bulbs for it. Build quality isn particularly good. I put them back to back and the power button that protrudes broke and got pushed into the fixture a bit, still works fine though.
kino biax bulbs work fine in them, and im actually quite happy with the price and output and even customer service (they were missing the part to attach the units to a light stand and i called savage and they shipped me some rather quickly). They are incredibly light and incredibly inexpensive and put out a good deal of light. of course they dont seem to have louvers available for them and they come with removable intensifiers for the barn doors (textured reflective metal attachments) which increase output a bit. I've only used them a little but they seem to be the cheapest lightest smallest option by a pretty significant margin and the light they put out looks nice (used them when shooting with my 5dmk2 and some tungsten lights and color rendering seemed no problem). So as long as you are careful with them they are pretty nice. I have a custom location light kit i put together with 2 prolights, 2 totas, two of these 2x2 fluorescents about 10 stands and a bit of grip aks including some 3x3 collapsible frames and gels and i can take it myself in the back of a taxi.

I'm using them again on a shoot today and ill see if there is anything else about them i missed out on.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #9
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Noah,
Back in July, I got the ALZO Pan-L Lite QUAD. I decided on ALZO because of the price, and the QUAD to get a larger area light source. I felt that the TWIN would only be "soft" in 1 dimension, while the QUAD was closer to a square shape, thus giving "soft" light in 2 dimensions. (You can switch off the inner 2 tubes, or the outer 2 tubes, to cut down the output.)

I've been happy with the ALZO unit, but of course it's not perfect. The 4 barndoors are nice (CoolLights has only 2), but you loose the effect of the barndoors when you attach the provided diffuser, since it attaches to the ends of the barndoors. The honeycomb attachment (kind of an eggcrate attachment) doesn't seem to easily attach...maybe some gaffer tape might hold it in place. While the ALZO can tilt some, it's not as nice an arrangement as the CoolLight's lollipop bracket. And the all-metal ALZO is a bit heavier than the CoolLight portable model. So I don't mount the ALZO on my lightest stands. (CoolLights also makes a very heavy, and less expensive studio model, but they've been out of stock for quite some time.)

Regarding color temp: Generally OK, but once I was shooting subjects on a white floor, with the ALZO 3200K flourescent on one side of the camera, and a 3200K Omnilight on the other. Looking at the shadows on the white floor, I could see a color difference. Non-video people probably wouldn't notice it, but the difference was there.

To summarize, the ALZO does what I need it to do. So I'm happy with it, but if I'd had a bigger equipment budget, I probably would have gone with the CoolLights and been a tiny bit happier.

Ken
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Old October 19th, 2009, 05:46 PM   #10
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I bought a FotoDiox and a Savage before Richard's business was up. Frankly they were both pieces of junk. The FotoDiox was dead right out of the box, so I shipped it back, they sent another and it worked. For about a week. Then one of the tube outputs fizzled. The Savage was the exact same light, with just a different name tag.

Richard's lights are definitely a step up in quality from the no names. I own two of the LED 600s and they have been nothing but great.

Dan
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Old October 19th, 2009, 06:23 PM   #11
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Hey Dan,

Must be busy out there using all your lighting and cameras. Haven't seen you around here for a while. Any more interesting articles coming up?
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