View Full Version : Print Viewing

16-Sep-2010, 09:00
Ok, another question: I've just finished renovating my studio and need some advice about viewing prints. I have an 8' long whiteboard that I use to view prints, attaching them with small magnets. My previous lights were Solux 47k in track lights, spaced about 18" apart. The problem with this arrangement is that they project spots, and it's hard to impossible to get even illumination across the whole board.

I know that GTI makes luminaires which sell for about $1,000 which would work, but I don't want to spend that kind of money. Were I to simply get 8' fixtures from Home Depot and put in daylight or 47k bulbs, would this work, or is there something to the luminaires? I can't spend 2k on lighting, so I'll probably just go back to the track light if a cheaper solution can't be found.

PS, has this been discussed elsewhere? Can't seem to find a thread.

Mark Woods
16-Sep-2010, 09:58
Why don't you use Fluorescent fixtures with one Optima 32 bulb and one Daylight 50. That would be about 4700 K.

16-Sep-2010, 22:00
So you're saying that I can use any flourescent fixture? Nothing magical about the GTIs?

erie patsellis
16-Sep-2010, 22:29
They can magically make $1k disappear from your wallet, that's something special, isn't it?

Mark Woods
16-Sep-2010, 22:42
Jonathan, if you looked at my post, I was very specific about the bulbs to use. An Optima 32 is a full spectrum 3200*K unit. The Daylight 50 (or whatever it's called) is a 5600*K unit. Other Flos have a green spike since they're a non-continuous light source. These bulbs aren't expensive and they are what they're advertised -- a full spectrum light source. We use them all the time at AFI to light scenes with no color compensation. If you want to be more precise, get MacBeth units at the MacBeth pricing structure. ;-)

Darin Boville
16-Sep-2010, 23:08
>>I know that GTI makes luminaires which sell for about $1,000 which would work<<

Photos, both color and black and white, look very different under different lights. Not only in color but in contrast and overall "feel", too.

It seems to me that you'd want to reproduce in your viewing/evaluation area the same conditions as where the work will be exhibited.

If those conditions aren't known you should aim for some sort of reasonable guesstimate.

I'd be surprised if my prints were *ever* exhibited anywhere, now or in the future, with $1000 light bulbs.


17-Sep-2010, 00:46
I did what Darin suggests years ago. I took my spot meter to a bunch of galleries and museums, measured brightness of the walls, and took notes on the kinds of bulbs they used.

I don't remember the brightness range, but I came up with some kind of average. At the time, bulbs were split between tungsten flood lights and halogen track lights. I set up my viewing area with flood lights, at a distance that gave the right average illumination. Then I put color balanced fluorescents in my overhead fixtures, so I could switch to those to see how print color would look (roughly) under the halogens.

It was a pretty pseudo-scientific effort, but it worked well enough. The prints have looked decent in all the places I've had to hang them.

I think the high-end, color calibrated viewing geegaws are usually intended for pre-press use.

Howard Tanger
17-Sep-2010, 10:31
Have you looked at "OttLites"? Excellent light quality and not expensive. Table models are on sale now for $49 or so. See ottlite.com

These lights are used by the appraisers on the PBS program "Antiques Roadshow".