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Old May 4, 2003, 1:43 PM   #1
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Default HELP! My new fluorescent photo booth sucks :(

I built this photo booth, you can see it here:
http://www.adde-inc.com/misc/1.jpg

Basically there is a redwing cocoon in the middle with 8 x 2' fluorescent 20w bulbs, 4 on each side.

But my problem is, when I use my digital camera... the picture flickers, in cycles from a darker redish hue to the nice bright white one I want. And when I take the photos, it is always different. Maybe this is because the lights operate at a certain frequency too close to the frequency of the camera?!?!?

I'm using a Minolta Dimage 7Hi. When I used my Canon G1, I got the same problem. I'm very dissapointed because I wanted to make a photo booth to shoot objects in pure white light and spent about $200 on this setup Is there any filter or something I can buy that will correct this problem!?!?

I saw this filter here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bh2.sph/...ID=F52B56EBB60

... but it doesn't seem to address any "flickering" problem that I'm experiencing, I think it's more for correcting a static color. Will this fix my problem!?!?!

Thanks for any help you can give me!
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Old May 4, 2003, 1:51 PM   #2
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It's possible that the pulse from the 60 or 50 hertz frequency might be the issue, but I've not had that problem shooting with full spectrum "ott lite" illumination which is also 60 hertz.

Try a different shutter speed setting and see if it affects the view. You are seeing this on the LCD or EVF? Perhaps it's only the view and not what you will get on the photo with different shutter speeds. Use manual rather than auto and see what happens...

Lin
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Old May 4, 2003, 2:13 PM   #3
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Hi - Thanks for your help.

I tried ISO 100, 200, 400, 800..... it didn't stop the flickering from occurring and pictures seemed to still be discolored (different colors) depending on when I take the picture during the flickering cycle
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Old May 4, 2003, 2:35 PM   #4
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Hi, sorry I re-thought your problem and you were right, it was the 60hz thing.... when I take photos at 1/30s exposure or less, all the photos look the same color. Only problem is there is WAY too much light and I can't anything but a big white blob

I guess I'll keep playing with it or dismantle my photobooth and use it for a reading light or something :roll:
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Old May 4, 2003, 3:14 PM   #5
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Well after a bit of research, I think I have found the solution......

You can buy ballasts that operate at much higher frequencies... like this one:
http://www.marinedepot2.com/a_lt_mh_...fo.asp?CartId=

It's meant for auqariums, but will operate at up to 400W which should be fine I think for my 8 x 20w setup. And it runs at over 120,000Hz, so I should be OK. What do you think?
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Old May 5, 2003, 1:26 AM   #6
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That may be a solution, but why don't you try the 1/30th second, but change the ISO to the lowest value (ISO 100 or 50) and then change the aperture to the highest value (f8?) and see what happens.

Lin
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Old May 5, 2003, 3:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: HELP! My new fluorescent photo booth sucks :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by born2drv
But my problem is, when I use my digital camera... the picture flickers, in cycles from a darker redish hue to the nice bright white one I want. And when I take the photos, it is always different. Maybe this is because the lights operate at a certain frequency too close to the frequency of the camera?!?!?

I saw this filter here:
... but it doesn't seem to address any "flickering" problem that I'm experiencing, I think it's more for correcting a static color. Will this fix my problem!?!?!
Your program is basically due to the use of a faster shutter speed just like shooting your TV or computer monitor with a fast shutter speed. To overcome this problem, use a slower shutter speed until flicker is gone. Keep the ISO speed to the level you like. Don't increase the ISO speed because in doing so noise will come. Use good ND filters instead. One ND is better than more than ND filters.

The FL filter is for film cameras. With your digital camera, a FL filter is almost useless because you can use measure white balance with your camera or correct it in the post-processing stage.

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam
Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500 user guide
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Old May 5, 2003, 7:34 AM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's replies. Jim Hunt also suggested to me to go with the ND filter, so I went and ordered an 8x one. Without the ND filter at f8.0, 1/30s, ISO100, it's still too bright but maybe with the ND filter it will fix it.

If not, I'll probably buy this unit here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/product/...F200B/REG/2441

It's a flicker free ballast designed specifically for fluorescent lighting for photographers, so it would just mean I would have to re-wire my existing setup to use this one ballast rather than the 4 internal ones in the lights I purchased which is no big deal, but I'll try the ND filter and go from there. Thanks everyone for your help

I love this site by the way, when I purchased my Canon G1 about 3 yrs ago, I read the review here, and when I bought my Minolta Dimage 7Hi I read the review here as well. Great website, Steve!
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Old May 5, 2003, 10:35 AM   #9
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Default Four foot bulbs

The last ballast shown is clearly marked for four foot lamps only. As the booth in question has two foot lamps I don't think that this is an option.
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Old May 5, 2003, 10:54 AM   #10
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From what I've been learning so far..... for every 2' of standard fluorescent bulbs, they run at about 16-20watts. So 2' bulbs are usually 20w, 4' are 40w, 8' are 80w.

But most people only use 4' and 8' in professional lighting fixtures, but this device is designed for 4' only (40watt) and not 8', which is why I think they put the warning on it, higher wattage may damage the unit. Their Foto Flo 200 kit runs 2 x 4' bulbs for a total output of 80watts, so anotherwords, 20w each just like the bulbs you can buy at home depot. So I will need 2 of those, or possibly 1 of the larger Foto Flow 400 balasts (to get 160watts, which is what I need since I have 8 x 20w ea = 160watts total).

However, I don't think running smaller 20w bulbs will do anything to the ballast, that wouldn't make sense. But I am contacting the manufacturer first before I purchase it just in case. Obviously they will want me to buy their special kits, etc. with the fixture, bulbs and everything. But I just want the ballast, and from calling B&H photo this morning, apparently a lot of people are doing what I was thinking to do (buying the ballast and running fluorescent bulbs/fixtures from home depot from it) although it is not recommended and they don't officially advise it because the company of course wants to make money selling the whole unit.
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