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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #1
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LED lights vs fluorescent lights?

I'm considering buying a small lighting kit for HDSLR camera (especially for interviews, event videography and lowbudget promotional videos). I was thinking about LED or fluorescent lights. Since I have experience only with tungsten lights I wanna know what are the differences between LED and flueorscent lights? What are their pros and cons? (Especially in lighting quality)
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Old November 21st, 2010, 10:06 PM   #2
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LED lights tend to be much more costly per lumen output than CFL lights.

Most of my experience is with lighting units based compact florescent light (CFL) lamps. You can get 100-watt equivalent CFL units in 5000K to 6000K color temperatures, so they are basically sunlight. They mix well with ambient sunlight and don't require gelling.

CFL lights draw roughly a quarter as much power as a tungsten lamp for the same amount of light, plus they run a LOT cooler. I've run 3.2 KW of CFL lights from a single outlet, drawing only about 800 watts actual power.

The downside to CFL lights are that they are a diffuse source. You can't get hard shadows from them. They don't "throw" nearly as well as tungsten spotlights. However, they are great for lighting up relatively large areas uniformly.

Martin
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Old October 27th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: LED lights vs fluorescent lights?

Peter, I have both light sources. There are threads on the forum where you will find experts contend that there are technical reasons dealing with the light spectrum that make LED's not as desirable as CFL. While CFL's have a green spike that can be corrected by gels during production or color correction during post production the claim is that LED's are missing some of the spectrum that cannot be gelled or corrected.

However on a practical front we use on camera and off camera LED lights at every wedding and wedding reception we do and have never had a problem with getting a good color range including skin tones. If we have time, space, and AC power handy we use our CFL lights with softboxes but that is rare.

If I were going to be doing just interviews and in a controlled setting with an AC power supply I would probably go the CFL / Softbox route. Very inexpensive and you can either get 5500k bulbs or go even cheape with the 5000k bulbs from Home Depot. If we are the sole light or in a situation with mixed indoor outdoor lighting we shoot with no gel. If we are shooting indoors with the location's light fixtures on also we gel down to 3200k on the softboxes.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #4
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Re: LED lights vs fluorescent lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by D.J. Ammons View Post

If I were going to be doing just interviews and in a controlled setting with an AC power supply I would probably go the CFL / Softbox route. Very inexpensive and you can either get 5500k bulbs or go even cheape with the 5000k bulbs from Home Depot. If we are the sole light or in a situation with mixed indoor outdoor lighting we shoot with no gel. If we are shooting indoors with the location's light fixtures on also we gel down to 3200k on the softboxes.
D.J.
Could you give an example of a product like you're talking about (the "CFL/Softbox route"), or even a link??
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Old October 27th, 2011, 12:37 PM   #5
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Re: LED lights vs fluorescent lights?

I got all excited when I saw an add for a Litepanels L.E.D. Fresnel light that was equal to a 650 tungsten Fresnel. That is until I looked at the price. NO THANKS!!
Litepanels Sola6 6" LED Fresnel Light 906-2001 B&H Photo
for that kind of change I will keep lugging around my Arris and gels. When they get into the reasonable range I will start looking at the change over.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #6
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Re: LED lights vs fluorescent lights?

I'm very much into theatre video - and production in theatres and LED there is generating almost the exact same questions. At a shoot off recently arranged by the Society of Television Lighting Designers, for the first time we saw LEDs with light output and quality to match or beat the long standing profile and Fresnel equipment. All the big manufacturers put up equipment and they are now quite usable. However, what was really clear was that to match or beat the old tungsten versions would cost you FIVE times the price. There were some nice Arris that I liked, plus all sorts of wash style fixtures - some were also fitting the LEDs into light engines, so that as technology progresses, you could replace the light engine, and keep the fixture.

5 times the price is a lot!
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Old November 1st, 2011, 03:15 AM   #7
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Re: LED lights vs fluorescent lights?

Hi Peter

I have just moved from CFL Softboxes over to LED's (but the lights with just 21 x 3W power leds rather than the 500 or 600 tiny ones)

My main reason was physical size and setup time!!! With the softboxes I have to stretch the box over the light head and then struggle with the four tension rods..then it's a matter of screwing in 9 x CFL lamps and I end up with a HUGE softbox (mine is 32" square!!!) but it does do a nice job. However due to the fact that it's aready 16" above the top of the stand you can't get it that high until it connects with the ceiling so using it as a high mounted light is tricky. Then again you get an awful lot of light for a small amount of money!!!! I got 2 x softboxes each with 9 x 55W CFL's for a mere $239.00 on ebay.

Now on the LED side you have a way more compact light (mine is only 8" x 8") and pushes out 8600 lumens at around 2' which is less than the softbox by a long way BUT the LED can be either mains or battery powered and it's instant setup...put it on the stand and turn it on!!! If mains feeds are an issue just use the battery pack!!! As already noted they are costly ... My 21 x 3W led light cost $400.00 almost double than the 2 softbox pack ... but it's really convenient!!!!

For now I sold one CFL softbox and I'm keeping one until I see how the LED system performs....I do mainly weddings so I really only need to light one person at a lectern so hopefully the LED setup will be easier and more convenient!! If I had to light a bigger area then I think the softbox is the way to go when it comes to the cost factor!!

Chris
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