CFL equivalent for Tungsten photoflood

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by beverly_hall, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. Doing portrait ( girls only) photography for 25 yrs. using only two ( one left -
    one right - side/front of subject) 250 watt photoflood bulbs (blue inside)
    (4800K/5000lumens) in Smith Victor lamp stands with frosted diffuser clipped on
    front to reduce glare & heat. These bulbs only last approx. 2-3 hrs. but I love
    the lighting they give ( very natural. My
    'backdrop' for almost all shots is big window behind subject showing outside.
    I am now considering switching to CFLs. for longer life and cooler, but am not
    sure which CFL is exactly equivalent to the photofloods I've been using. Seems
    to be the 85 watt- 5500 lumen -5000K -EIKO bulb for about $20 ea. This one
    states 'incandescent equal - 400 watts. Since I am using 250 watts
    incandescent, is that anything to be concerned about? Will I need to use a
    'straw gel filter' to give more warmth, or will the bare bulb be fine? Also,
    other potential problem in switching....this CFL bulb is almost 12 inches long,
    so will stick way out of my lamp holder, and I will not be able to clip on the
    'diffuser.' Will this be a problem, other than looking weird? Will the bare
    CFL be too piercingly bright in my subject's face? Even the 250 watt photoflood
    I've been using frequently draws complaints from children, but they finally
    adjust. I just say, "don't look into the lights..look at me." I am trying to
    improve my set-up - cooler - longer life to bulbs, but not lose the lighting
    effect I've always had. I have a home studio..not interested in buying new
    'equipment' - reflectors, umbrellas, strobes, softboxes or any other 'stuff.'
    Just want to improve the bulbs. suggestions?
    thank you. Beverly Hall
  2. You don't know until you try, but I would think having to remove the diffuser would make a noticeable change in the look of your lighting. Even without that, the position of the bulb in relation to the reflector can change things also. If the brightness of the bulb is already a problem for your subjects, a brighter bulb is going to increase that problem. If the setup you have has been working all these years, I wouldn't change it. BTW, I like the fact that you're creating beautiful images with a very simple and inexpensive setup. Everybody today seems to think they need thousands of dollars worth of gear with dedicated TTL and all just to shoot a simple portrait.
  3. Beverly your work is nice and like Craig stated done without an expensive strobe set-up. I use 8 inch 55 watt 5100K CFLs in my Interfit Stellar lights. Documentation claims that these bulbs are 250 watt tungsten equivalent, but I find them closer to 200 watts. I have one photo-flood fixture and I use it with a diffuser like the one you have. It creates beautiful light and doesn't stick out past the 12 inch reflector. If the bulb sticks too far out of the reflector you'll have light spilling in places you may not want it to go. Again nice photos!

  4. Have you considered quartz bulbs that are made with a standard screw base that can go into your photoflood reflectors the same as a photoflood bulb? They would be just as bright and hot, but would last longer. Porter's Camera Store if they're still in business used to sell them but should also have them. There are also adaptors with a screw base and then sockets for two-pin quartz bulbs. Probably don't come in blue so you would have to use blue gels or blue "toughspun" diffusion material.
  5. Craig is right and today's quartz bulbs are a lot cooler than their cousins of yesteryear. I plan to buy adapters for my Stellars to go along with my focusing flood lights.


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