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Old May 22, 2008, 11:16 PM   #1
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Has anyone spent much time yet shooting non-flash photos in rooms lit by those newer, energy-saving, fluorescent light bulbs? I'm talking about the ones that are being used in place of the old incandescent bulbs in traditional lamps.

Specifically, I'm wondering if these have caused any surprises in terms of light temperature and/or white balance. The bulbs themselves are available in different frequencies/temperatures of light (just like those long tube-like fluorescent bulbs used in offices, kitchens, shops, etc). But most that will be used in, say, living rooms, dens and bedrooms indicate "soft white" on the label.

Are these being found to throw off the same temperature light as a traditional incandescent bulb? Or is it something in between incandescent and fluorescent? Surprisingly, at least to my eyes, the light that comes from these "soft white" bulbs looks even more yellow than from some of the old bulbs. But that's to my naked eye. I'm in the middle of a few test runs to see what my camera thinks.
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Old Jul 10, 2008, 3:52 PM   #2
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i see a lot of folks looked at your post and didn't reply! just shoot a custom white balance and you be great!
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 7:21 PM   #3
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If you choose the "daylight" rated ones, they work very well. For product shots you probably need increase the exposure.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 10:51 PM   #4
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The light tent photos in this post http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ko...ight-tent.html where illuminated with daylight CFL bulbs and camera was set for Auto white balance. I have not formally tested the soft white CFL bulbs but when they've shown up in my photos they seem a pretty honest representation of a tungsten bulb. Neither has produced the famous green cast fluorescents of the past but that may show up in a least the soft white bulbs after a couple of K hours.

A. C.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 2:27 PM   #5
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Are these any good for portraits?
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 3:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justagirl1980 View Post
Are these any good for portraits?
I haven't tested mine for that purpose but here's at least one portrait. http://alexcampagna.blogspot.com/200...t-softbox.html

A. C.

Last edited by ac.smith; Jul 30, 2009 at 5:01 PM.
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Old Jul 30, 2009, 3:13 PM   #7
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Cheap CF bulbs have the same drawback as other fluourescents. It's not the color temp so much as the color quality. They have an incomplete light spectrum, mostly missing the magenta range. If it really matters to you, you can buy full spectrum CF bulbs from a number of places. Originally develped for treatment/prevention of SAD, they can also prevent your pictures from looking too sad! Since their color temp is around 5,000 degrees, they mix well with a little supplemental flash.

I don't use these bulbs for lighting, as I prefer a couple of off-camera flash units or studio strobes, but the bulbs are also excellent for inspecting prints.
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Old Aug 5, 2009, 10:20 AM   #8
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You can use these lights to replicate Kino Flo lighting. I do agree that full spectrum 5000k lights would be perfect for this application. Mixed with other light sources like flash and tungsten, you can get some really interesting effects.
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Old Apr 20, 2011, 9:44 AM   #9
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Additional notes on CFLs. The softwhite CFL that I've used about 6 years in my living room have developed a green cast although it is within range that a custom (white card) white balance can compensate. I can't detect any shift either visually or photographically with the daylight balanced CFLs I use in the kitchen (again about 6 yrs. use) nor the ones I use for my light tent.

A. C.
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