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KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-24-2007, 08:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm thinking of using cheap celing tubelights stacked together put infront of reflective silver surface, to act as a source of light instead of the expensive kinoflu. i know the result will not be 100% the same but the question is, will i be able to get more or less similar results. what is the main difference between the both? Thanks
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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-24-2007, 11:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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what's your budget? I'm not familiar with KinoFlu, but I can say that with flourescent lighting you'll want to get as high of a CRI as possible and it probably wouldn't hurt to get something really close to a 6700 kelvin either. You can do it without breaking the bank, but you'll need to do your homework.

If you want to get into some serious flourescent lighting discussion go to the Planted Tank forum: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/. There is so much discussion on color rendition, color temperature, power output, ballast choice, reflectors, etc. It'll blow your mind.
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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-24-2007, 11:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here's the FAQ from the KinoFlo website: http://www.kinoflo.com/FYI/FAQs.htm

With regular fluorescents you have to be careful about shooting with a shutter speed faster than 1/60th. of a second because of the nature of AC current and ballasts. Regular fluorescent fixtures "pulse" 60 times per second (in the U.S), so if you shoot with a shutter speed faster than that you can get uneven illumination and/or under-exposure. It doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to be frustrating.

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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-24-2007, 11:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dledeaux View Post
If you want to get into some serious flourescent lighting discussion go to the Planted Tank forum: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/. There is so much discussion on color rendition, color temperature, power output, ballast choice, reflectors, etc. It'll blow your mind.
Lighting a fish tank is a **completely** different beast than lighting people for photo/video. Those lights have to penetrate water and simulate the environment in which you're trying to grow plants, corals, and whatnot. Those tubes can have very different spectral qualities beyond CRI than what you'd want to use to photograph people.

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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-25-2007, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ChipBulgin View Post
Lighting a fish tank is a **completely** different beast than lighting people for photo/video. Those lights have to penetrate water and simulate the environment in which you're trying to grow plants, corals, and whatnot. Those tubes can have very different spectral qualities beyond CRI than what you'd want to use to photograph people.

-Chip
Getting into reef tanks, yes, but with freshwater planted tanks it's all about wattage, CRI and color temperature. Most of the planted tanks try to emulate the sun as closely as possible with regards to supplying the correct wavelengths. Thus the use of "daylight" bulbs. Plants seem to do best under the same conditions that we use when shooting outside.

Reef tanks are the weird ones with the 10K bulbs and actinic and all that.

Quote:
With regular fluorescents you have to be careful about shooting with a shutter speed faster than 1/60th. of a second because of the nature of AC current and ballasts. Regular fluorescent fixtures "pulse" 60 times per second (in the U.S), so if you shoot with a shutter speed faster than that you can get uneven illumination and/or under-exposure. It doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to be frustrating.
There are some ballasts that are better about this than others. This is usually a characteristic of cheap industrial ballasts. If you get a good ballast like a Fulham Workhorse (http://www.fulham.com/Detail_BallastClass.php?ID=WH) then that issue will be mitigated substantially. You'll pay more, but you'll get more light (especially if you overdrive the bulb).

The one thing to really be aware of with a flourescent bulb is that their efficiency drops rapidly within the first 6 months of use. There will be constantly changing light output. So photos may not look the same if you take them the first day and compare with the 180th day of use. Obviously this is more of a factor if you use them constantly.
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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-25-2007, 06:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You are correct Dledeaux, fluorescents with solid state ballasts usually run around 100's of Hz, or thousands of Hertz. Fluorescents are more efficient at those frequencies. But this means that you can shoot at a higher shutter speed without having to worry about inconsistent lighting patterns.

And as you stated, fluorescents have a half-life, which is different from incandescent type bulbs. At one half-life a fluorescent will put out half as much light (1 f-stop) less that they were when they were new. But at the next half-life period they will put out 1/4th (1/2 of 1/2) of the intensity that they did when new (2 f-stops down at this point). They eventually reach a point where they will not strike an ignition, or else will start getting patterns snaking through the tube.

Fluorescents are nice about giving a lot of light for a small amount of heat (high efficiency), and they are a continuous light source, which is nice for seeing what you are going to get while you are setting up a scene.

PTL,
Lee
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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-25-2007, 08:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smtalha View Post
I'm thinking of using cheap celing tubelights stacked together put infront of reflective silver surface, to act as a source of light instead of the expensive kinoflu. i know the result will not be 100% the same but the question is, will i be able to get more or less similar results.
Around here, we call it a "poor man's ring light" when the four (or eight) tubes are fashioned in a square and you shoot through them. You don't have to do that if you don't want.. you can merely put a couple of banks together and it'll work, just a bit differently.

If you can, get the daylight balanced fluorescents else you're looking at some horrible green-ish light coming out mixed with the rest of the light. It's a bear to balance correctly.
Even with the daylight temp lamps, you may have to take a bit of green out of the image, but for my money that isn't much of a problem.

Here's a couple of images I shot using the square arrangement of four banks of two lights each:








If you get real close, you'll see that the catchlights in such a lighting arrangement are a bit bizarre - they're square. A lot of folks don't like that, calling it "Alien Eyes", but I personally don't mind. Your mileage may vary.

Here's an example of what I mean:




Remember, these were all shot with the daylight balanced fluorescent tubes. Hope that helps some.

Wayne

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Re: KinoFlu vs Tubelight
Old 07-25-2007, 09:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dledeaux View Post
There are some ballasts that are better about this than others. This is usually a characteristic of cheap industrial ballasts. If you get a good ballast like a Fulham Workhorse (http://www.fulham.com/Detail_BallastClass.php?ID=WH) then that issue will be mitigated substantially. You'll pay more, but you'll get more light (especially if you overdrive the bulb).
All this is true, but you're now taking this far beyond the original poster's questions, which were (to paraphrase): I'm thinking of using cheap fluorescent fixtures stacked together instead of Kino Flos. Will I be able to get similar results? (A: "similar" is a pretty broad qualifier but in general, yes). What are the differences? (A: See the Kino Flo FAQ). Don't turn the thread into a discussion about the finer points and subtleties of fluorescent lighting.

By the time you start building custom fixtures, installing high-performance ballasts, and the like you've left the realm of "cheap". It's one thing to wire up a 4 light fixture with a plug, install 4 daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs and give it a whirl to see what happens. You're out maybe $150 and an hour for assembly. You've still got to figure out how to mount it on a stand, but hey that's what duct tape is for Once you start spending the time to research, acquire, and assemble high-performance components and the like you really have to ask yourself if it's worth the time and money you put into it.

Considering you could buy a single light strobe kit from Alien Bees (sorry Rolando) for ~$350 and be ready to shoot, does it make sense to spend $200-250 in parts and a weekend or two's worth of time to fabricate something that is unwieldy, unstable, uncontrollable from a power output standpoint, and difficult to modify from a light quality standpoint? Come to think of it, would spending $150 at your local hardware store be worth it?

-Chip
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