Inexpensive & efficient photographic lighting & more, made possible.…
© 2016 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
In the age of smartphones, iPads and digital photography, we’re always looking for ways to make our photographs and videos look great without the need of color correction. All indoor or outdoor lighting reproduces light of a specific color temperature. Outdoor lighting constantly varies based on the time of day and sky condition. Over the counter bulbs are available in many temperatures that are sometimes noted on the lamp. Photographic reproduction wants to mimic the closest temperature that’s produced by daylight (5000 to 6000 K) “Kelvin”, or indoor studio lighting at 2400 to 3500 K.
(TIP: The age, condition and exposure to the elements can cause the color temperature to change dramatically in a bulb.)
Digital photographic devices generally include some form of artificial lighting feature commonly known as a strobe. Such lights reproduce color temperatures close to ideal indoor or studio lighting. Since indoor lighting does vary based on conditions, the strobe light attempts to create a compromise. This works well for tight shots, but rapidly drops off when shooting large areas when you consider the dispersion drop off and the mix of various other lighting sources. If you are in your own environment where you can select the lamps for your home, office or business you can very easily rectify this condition.
Now, I’m not suggesting that readers should immediately rush out and convert all the lighting in their home, office or place of business. However, having some knowledge in advance of future purchases could offer many benefits and cost savings. Photography is only one of many benefits.
Florescent tube lights are a very popular form of lighting. They’re cheap, cool and typically offer long life. As they age the color temperature will change considerably, they begin to flicker and the required ballast, a/k/a a starter, in the lamp’s fixture wears out. This can be an expensive repair. So what’s the state-of-the-art solution?
LED technology has been around for a while, however, it’s now come of age. I recently interviewed the president of Vootu Coastal Energy Solutions, a distributor of the Vootu line of LED lighting, bulbs and tubes that are designed in Clearwater, Florida and produced overseas. I also tested their LED direct replacements for the standard T-8 and T-12 florescent style tubes. Here’s what I found. Vootu offers a 4´ LED Hybrid tube that works in fixtures with or without an electronic ballast. 8´ non-hybrid versions are also available. 8´ tubes do require the removal of the magnetic or electronic ballast. This is a relatively quick and easy process. Installation and/or modification requires knowledge of luminaires electrical systems. If not qualified, do not attempt installation. Risk of fire or electric shock is a possibility. Contact a qualified licensed electrician.
(TIP: Florescent fixtures commonly use a magnetic (M), or electronic (E) ballast, a/k/a a starter. This device is used to energize the gas in a florescent lamp. It is not needed with an LED replacement since they’re not gas filled. Hybrid tubes will work with an electronic ballast in the fixture, but presently 4´ LED tubes are only available as hybrids. Ballasts of either type require periodic replacement. They are costly, hard wired and somewhat clumsy to change out. A burning smell, flickering, buzzing noise, or no light at all are symptoms of the need to replace a ballast.)
The advantage of converting or replacing with LED tubes include that they are very energy efficient, produce more illumination, emit virtually no heat, offer around a 50% reduction in energy costs, lower cooling costs and are available in 4000K and 5000K color temperatures that are relaxing and perfect for photographic purposes. Vootu LED tubes operate at a 240 cycle frequency rate meaning there is virtually no possibility of detectable flicker. They also do not create a buzz or hum sound with audio gear or visible rolling hum bar with video displays, a common problem with fluorescents. Since they use no mercury or gas and are plastic they are environmentally safe to dispose of, which is not the case with fluorescents.
Vootu LED tubes are A+ quality and work well, not necessarily the case with competitive products I’ve inspected. Vootu offers many different styles of LED lighting, far too many for this article. The company supports this product with no-cost consulting and energy audits. Since tombstones, the name given to the bulb’s sockets, are universal, and the wide input voltage range of the tube (100-277vac), these LED tubes will interface with most fixtures worldwide.
LED lighting technology is the perfect answer to home, condo, photographic studio and commercial applications. Wherever you need light, LED’s could be the solution!
GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★
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Graphic credits: Vootu & Amazon
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at email@example.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. Installation of any products is at the reader’s risk. When in doubt always hire a professional. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.