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Thread: Print evaluating light

  1. #1

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    Print evaluating light

    For several years I've used a 4' fluorescent shop lite fitted with proper Macbeth / Xrite (can't remember which, xrite probably) color correct tubes for evaluating my prints. Not as accurate as a proper Macbeth / Xrite viewing booth but close enough for my needs. Sadly the shop light died and it seems fluorescent fixtures are pretty much a thing of the past, with everything going to LED. So is there a good color correct LED solution out there. I'm sure I could go grab something cheap off the shelf at Lowes but wanted to ask the collected wisdom here for ideas, options. Preferably something that doesn't cost thousands of dollars.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Print evaluating light

    Menards has more lamps than most

    Nothing will make some happy

    https://www.menards.com/main/electri...5560339013.htm
    image

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Print evaluating light

    image

  4. #4
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Print evaluating light


  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Print evaluating light

    Menards? Lowes? Get real. And you did ..., but down the wrong path. Forget not only big box store cheapo LED's, but fancy LED strips too. There are other sources for the same kind of pro strip at a tenth that price (but still expensive). But very high-end 5000K, CRI 98 fluorescent tubes are still available, and not only more affordable than serious LED strips, but probably still superior with respect to evaluating color too. Even B&H themselves carry a selection of Just Normlicht replacement tubes specially made for this very kind of purpose. No... NOT everything is going LED by any means, at least not on a specialty level, or even in commercial lighting.

    Home centers are more a rubble pile. And I've got a rubble pile of my own. I've been literally given cases of LED and CFL "full spectrum" bulbs as samples to test and presumably make me happy. Well, I'm not happy. Sure, some of them end up as random shop lights or for emergency darkroom or home use, but they don't last more than a couple months (despite the BS claims on the packaging), and the output color of every one of them is mediocre, and likewise way out of synch with labeling claims. That's routine until you get up into true architectural LED lighting quality or upper-end filming tweaks. You get what you pay for. My own retouching and critical color evaluation station, as well as how I equipped pro color matching stations where I previously worked, were all top-end German fluorescent-tube equipped. Just Normlicht will do the trick. The only thing better is softly-diffused white foggy daylight, likewise easy to find right around my lab here.

  6. #6

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    Re: Print evaluating light

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter View Post
    To clarify, my light fixture died, not my tubes. I either need a new flourescent fixture, OR a LED option. I have the GTI tubes.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Print evaluating light

    I happen to use a swing-arm overhead lamp taking the smaller diameter tubes. But full sized overhead fluorescent fixtures can be found all kinds of serious lighting places, or through a common industrial supply chain like Grainger. Maybe you just need a new ballast - a routine issue sooner or later (likewise Grainger).

  8. #8

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    Re: Print evaluating light

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I happen to use a swing-arm overhead lamp taking the smaller diameter tubes. But full sized overhead fluorescent fixtures can be found all kinds of serious lighting places, or through a common industrial supply chain like Grainger. Maybe you just need a new ballast - a routine issue sooner or later (likewise Grainger).
    I've searched Grainger. There are very few options available for replacement 4' 2 bulb fluorescent fixtures, all of them are way too expensive. I'm trying to find an inexpensive option. These things were ubiquitous a few years ago, available in your neighborhood hardware store for 15 bucks.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Print evaluating light

    They have all kinds of ballasts. Simple enough if you want to go that way. I can't use electronic solid state ballasts due to them EMI interfering with certain solid state darkroom controllers. If you're near any big city, there should be some kind of architectural surplus yard with heaps of old fluorescent fixtures. Still plenty of new ones around here, but not for fifteen bucks.

  10. #10

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    Re: Print evaluating light

    Find a kitchen remodeling company near you. Ask them for a fixture they remove or dumpster dive. Homes built in the 1990s will usually have 1 or 2 large florescent fixtures and smaller under-cabinet fixtures.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

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