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Author Topic: Anyone with experience of the Eiko SP30 and SP50 fluorescent bulbs?  (Read 4843 times)
Ellis Vener
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« on: January 18, 2011, 10:02:30 PM »
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(Not sure if this is the right forum but here goes)
has anyone here tried the Eiko SP 30 or SP50 Fluorescent bulbs?

Eiko makes the quartz-halogen bulbs used in SoLux lamps, as well as some flashtubes and quartz-halogen modeling lights. My experience is they generally make a good product. The claims on their SP fluorescents look good on-line:

CT of 5500˚K, A CRI of 93,
The 30 watt version supposedly emits the same quantity of light as a  standard 150 Watt incandescent.
The 50 watt version supposedly emits the same quantity of light as a  standard 200 Watt incandescent.
10,000 hour life claim; Standard  screw-in base; Self contained ballast.

So it sounds good. The question is how is the flicker and how are they to work with in the real world?

I am not looking to replace my 4700˚K Solux lights but would like something better than either incandescent or low quality fluorescents  for general office lighting and possibility  some photographic /videographic uses as well.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 03:45:52 PM »
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I was thinking about getting those, Ellis, to compare to my 100 watt output Ottlight CFL's which claim 5500K, 95 CRI.

I imagine they can't be much better, but the price seems a bit steep for a CFL considering the Eiko's don't provide a spectral distribution response graph. The PDF on the Eiko-Ltd.'s site doesn't give much technical specs either.

At least the Ottlights claim they use six different phosphor colored pigments to attain a somewhat neutral appearance and they can be bought for around $6 at Lowe's while the Eiko's are going for around $15 online.

The Ottlights are better than incandescent and regular fluorescent lights for sure. I've used them to photograph my self portrait shooting Raw but had to do some HSL adjustments to get it to look right even using a custom DNG camera profile. The lights play nice with my DSLR's auto WB better than any other light.

One important note is the Ottlights seemed to have changed their formula in giving an even more neutral appearance from the last one's I bought about a year ago from Lowe's. The package design indicates a change as well, but they still don't include CRI or color temp specs. You have to go on their website for that info.

Comparatively the old ones were on the bluish green side even after warmed up where the newer ones aren't so much, but put them next to a Solux and they're still noticeably bluer but not enough to be an issue.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 03:49:22 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 03:52:00 PM »
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I wouldn’t put a whole lot into CRI, especially with Fluorescent and those lovely spiky areas of spectrum. CRI is useful for making this appear less an issue.  A high CRI is a decent gauge of how well a light will preform in your home but not such a great indicator of how well it will work for photography and proofing. Both a Solux 48 and a "full spectrum" tube from home depot may have a CRI of 97. I can assure you the Home Depot bulb has a giant mercury spike and some spectral dead spots. 
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 04:26:40 PM »
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Thanks for the input so far. I assume there will be a spike. but am llokign for actual experience wit hthem to see how bad it might be as opposed to hypothesizing about it . Like I said, I am not lookign to replace my Solux bulbs although I am unhappy with the situation regarding the lightweight SoLux/Eiko  120 > 12 volt transformers for their now discontinued lamps.  With the help of an electrics parts  shop up my street I am going to make some heavy duty versions.
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Ellis Vener
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 07:51:52 PM »
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Spoke with a master electrician at Home Depot just yesterday concerning the demise of the MR16 lamps and why Home Depot doesn't carry any, not even track lighting setups. I was wanting to buy another Solux bulb but wanted to see if I could get a cheaper lamp locally.

His answer...the electronics within their 120 to 12 volt transformers causes way too many headaches for contractors and home remodelers to where it's not worth it using them. Because of the competitive nature of the lighting industry and the shift to more safer cooler running eco-friendly lighting arrangements, many in the industry are switching to G10 lighting which doesn't need a transformer to convert 120 to 12 volt for every light bulb. This transformer is what makes them more expensive as well. He also said a lot of them were failing and some were of such low quality they caused fires, all this due to the industry having to cut corners in manufacturing.

The conversation began from my asking why new current consumer grade electronic appliances including lighting setups using soldered connections and circuitry were emitting such a toxic smell from outgassing when first turned on and he replied because the low bid competitive nature of the industry is causing manufacturers overseas to cut corners by not thoroughly cleaning the chemical residue left on circuit boards and connectors.

The Ottlights when pointed down were putting out this smell as well as the Solux task lamp but the outgassing eventually burned off, but dang it did give me a sinus headache and a metallic taste in my mouth at first use.

I never had this problem with GE soft white CFL's as well as other GE appliances. I had to return a Hamilton Beach microwave oven to Walmart because the smell was making me sick. I was using a used 1992 GE model I bought for $8 at a thrift store that lasted me 4 years and it never had a smell.

I like the Solux light but unfortunately MR16 lamps are becoming hard to find and will eventually be phased out if not now then in the near future I suspect.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 08:05:17 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 07:55:35 PM »
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First off, I’d go to another “expert” source than a salesman, I mean master electrician at Home Depot. The office I built about 3 years ago have can’s with MR16 Solux bulbs, no issues what so ever. Can even dim em for effect with Lutron equipment.

Next, there are now PAR’s from Solux if you prefer that route.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 08:09:15 PM »
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I prefer to trust a master electrician whether he works at Home Depot or not (this is Texas, land of the underemployed) before I trust a digital imaging/photography expert when it comes to the safety, reliability and longevity of electronics.

But I'll look into the Solux PARS.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 08:24:41 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 09:01:13 AM »
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I prefer to trust a master electrician whether he works at Home Depot or not (this is Texas, land of the underemployed) before I trust a digital imaging/photography expert when it comes to the safety, reliability and longevity of electronics.

Actually the real life, paid electricians that built my office that as yet, hasn’t burned to the ground can at least IMHO be trusted to the validity, safety and usability of MR 16 can’s with Solux bulbs (I have more than 10 in use daily with no issues). Those electricians didn’t even work part time at Home Depot FWIW. If you want to take one Home Depot electrician’s take on Solux to the bank, by all means do so. Those of use that experience the quality of the products day in and out will just continue to use the product which I’ll add, are producing awesome quality light.

Maybe Texas is also the land of missing building inspectors. At least in New Mexico, the building inspectors passed the lighting and the work of my electrician with flying colors!

My suggestion was to get a 2nd opinion, but if you want to get pissy about it, even when what I think is solid advise albeit from a digital imaging/photography expert when it comes to the safety, fine with me. Stick to one “expert” opinion.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 10:34:01 AM »
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Really, Andrew, you're taking this way too seriously.

If you carefully read what I said, I was referring to the reason why Home Depot doesn't carry MR16 fixtures anymore including the reason why so many newer electronics these days are emitting this toxic smell through outgassing.  It was mainly to point out that so much of our electronic appliances are being built overseas with questionable quality and safety inspection standards, so why use a light that requires a transformer when there are so many other alternatives.

Having a light that requires a transformer is just another potential weak link no one should have to deal with. I mean when my AT&T DSL modem made by Motorola just quit on me a year ago after a years use, it wasn't the modem that broke--IT WAS THE FREAKIN' TRANSFORMER BLOCK that plugs into the wall! Do you know how hard it is to replace with one that matches the exact electrical specs? Give me a break!

If you've got a better answer as to why this happens, then divulge with meaningful information instead of knee jerk FANBOY-ism for some lighting brand. If anyone is acting like a salesman, it's been you, Andrew. I mean Ellis and I have been in discussion with you online I know at least for me ten years, now and you still stay on script and talk to us (me at least) like we're strangers. What's up with that?

It would be so nice to be able to afford to hire your electrician. No one said anything negative about your electrician, your contractors or Solux which I know you always seem to be "Jonesing" for for all these years.

Ellis is asking for a better lighting solution that's more practical for other uses that don't require split hair accurate color reproduction, the same pursuit as mine. He and I already have been well versed about full spectrum lighting and all the spikes that are in fluorescent lights. We don't need that preached to us for the umpteenth time by you.

If you've got newer, more meaningful information, then put it forth, but please stop preaching to the choir because it's just sounding like "hell fire and damnation" coming from you.

Ellis, below is a self portrait I shot hand held, 50mm, 1/80's, f/5.6, ISO 800 using (White light) Fluorescent WB preset on my Pentax K100D and kit lens using a 100 watt HD Ottlight in front 2 ft. away and one behind me at waist level. It's not difficult getting decent color with these lights, but you'll have to edit for the blue green you can see in the hat and the shirt on the left. The colors of those objects on the right are closer to how they look under the 4700K Solux task lamp.

In reality the lights don't look that blue-green. In fact the newer ones are much more neutral but don't offer the separation in color like the Solux. What I refer to separation can be seen in the color of the collar of the shirt which should look warmer than the vertical ornate design which should look more olive green. The Solux will show a much more noticeable difference between these colors but not by much.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 10:50:44 AM by tlooknbill » Logged
Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 11:14:40 AM »
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As for the Eiko's I'm pretty sure they'll do the job because from my experience working with the Ottlights, it's really not the quality/color temp/spectrum spike concerns that's the main issue here. It's the AMOUNT of light you can get from these neutral-ish fluorescent light sources. Notice the exposure parameters for my portrait and how dark the unedited version looks.

And since the Eiko's put out a 200 watt output equivalent, I'm betting they'll probably work even better than the Ottlights or any other brand of daylight balance fluorescent lights of a lower wattage. Just hope the ballasts are of high quality and don't have a lot of outgassing issues.

Online discussions of the Eiko's by photographers say they're a bit oversized, about 8 inches long. One discussion stated they're using them in soft boxes in cluster of four or more.
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 11:20:06 AM »
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If you carefully read what I said, I was referring to the reason why Home Depot doesn't carry MR16 fixtures anymore including the reason why so many newer electronics these days are emitting this toxic smell through outgassing.

Not happening on this end. You have a reference to other Solux/MR16 users who have experienced this? Or perhaps its not the only (or even a reason) why Home Depot doesn’t sell MR16 products.

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It was mainly to point out that so much of our electronic appliances are being built overseas with questionable quality and safety inspection standards, so why use a light that requires a transformer when there are so many other alternatives.

Many or all? No argument that crap products are crap, don’t buy em. Unless you have some data that shows all possible options are crap, move on. FWIW, I purchased all the can’s and bulbs directly from Solux.

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Having a light that requires a transformer is just another potential weak link no one should have to deal with. I mean when my AT&T DSL modem made by Motorola just quit on me a year ago after a years use, it wasn't the modem that broke--IT WAS THE FREAKIN' TRANSFORMER BLOCK that plugs into the wall! Do you know how hard it is to replace with one that matches the exact electrical specs? Give me a break!

I’ll be happy to give you a break and a pass when you can provide evidence that all products using transformers are problematic or that your AT&T modem failure is solely caused in this manner (and not poor construction, a surge on your end, other lesser quality components etc).

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If you've got a better answer as to why this happens, then divulge with meaningful information instead of knee jerk FANBOY-ism for some lighting brand.


Actually its you that needs to supply the data points to connect the dots as to the issue of which I have not witnessed nor I suspect the vast majority of users of said products. I’m sorry the AT&T product failed you, you do not have to purchase another. But to suggest there is some common fault here with majority or users seems extreme, be it with the AT&T or Solux or MR16 or transformer products. Again, if you have some data to suggest this is a common issue we should be aware of and alert to, I’d be happy to read that data. Otherwise you have an opinion, one presumably formed from a Home Depot employee and all I suggested was you gather a bit more data (opinions). Sorry if that’s such an awful suggestion. It takes a bit of work yes.

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If anyone is acting like a salesman, it's been you, Andrew.


Right. I suggested a 2nd opinion and told you there are Solux Pars. One is a suggestion, the other a fact. Instead you get pissy some more, and now try to suggest I’m selling something.

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I mean Ellis and I have been in discussion with you online I know at least for me ten years, now and you still stay on script and talk to us (me at least) like we're strangers. What's up with that?

Script, interesting concept. Apparently part of the script provided some new data points, in terms of a substitute (Pars).

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We don't need that preached to us for the umpteenth time by you.

You are not the only person being addressed here sir.

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If you've got newer, more meaningful information, then put it forth, but please stop preaching to the choir because it's just sounding like "hell fire and damnation" coming from you.

Ah, so now the script includes preaching. I suppose that the post here is only directed at you and read by you. You suppose other readers might find the info useful including the new data such as Par options?

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In reality the lights don't look that blue-green. In fact the newer ones are much more neutral but don't offer the separation in color like the Solux.


So the Solux are a better bulb? Sure sounds like it from your description.

Look, a few points then its time to move on. 1. Some guy at Home Depot said something about why they don’t sell MR16, fine. If the suggestion “get a second opinion” and “I’ve got almost a dozen such products in daily use with no issues” isn’t useful to you, fine. 2. You don’t want to use MR16 bulbs, there is another Solux option. Don’t want to use em, fine. 3. I paid for every Solux product I have, I don’t get a penny if you buy them or go with a Fluorescent, you want an illuminate with a spiky spectrum, filled with nasty mercury, fine. I don’t care. 4. Take a chill pill, you’re not the only one reading these posts who may take something useful away from experience of others.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 12:35:28 PM »
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So Andrew, you got any other suggestions other than Solux for Ellis's lighting situation?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2011, 12:50:58 PM »
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My suggestion is to ignore CRI values as I originally posted and of which it appears your experience agrees with (In fact the newer ones are much more neutral but don't offer the separation in color like the Solux.)

LOOK at whatever illuminant you are considering as your primarily objective in making a decision, don’t put weight into CRI, recognize any and all Fluorescent will have a spiky spectrum.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2011, 07:33:14 AM »
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'You have a reference to other Solux/MR16 users who have experienced this?"

Andrew this isn't about SoLux MR16 bulbs. I have and use bunches of them.
But:
--Eiko, which made the task lamp and clip-on lamp sold by SoLux,  discontinued both products because of weak demand. When they discontinued these products, Tailored Lighting (the company behind SolUx, bough the remaining transformers. They have now run through the last of that stock. My direct sources for this are 1) Tailored Lighting and 2) Eiko.

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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2011, 09:29:40 AM »
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Andrew this isn't about SoLux MR16 bulbs. I have and use bunches of them.

Exactly.

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--Eiko, which made the task lamp and clip-on lamp sold by SoLux,  discontinued both products because of weak demand.

I have three, all run fine but the damn little plastic switch that turns them on and off has broken off repeatedly (POS!).
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2011, 09:50:55 AM »
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Ellis,

From what I can see of the build quality of Eiko's Solux task lamp (mine is the model 19150) which is VERY good compared to consumer grade electronics, I'ld think the same level of quality would exist in those SP30/SP50's.

I realize you're probably not concerned with build quality, but rather their color rendering characteristics. Just thought maybe since Eiko has a prominent line of photography, projector and TV broadcast & studio replacement lighting and they've been in the lighting business for quite a long time, I'ld think they've probably addressed or minimized the color reproduction issues.


The only thing that I may have concern about is that the bulbs in question are made by another manufacturer with Eiko's name stamped on it.

And I misquoted the real price of the SP50's which is probably the ones to get to get the most amount of light. They're around $23 with the shipping.

Concerning other energy conserving neutral-ish lighting, I haven't yet found a decent LED that renders color better than the Ottlight. Hopefully someone's working on improving that type of lighting for color reproduction. These things put out a ton of light for what little power they consume. I've got a tiny JetBeam military grade flashlight with a Cree Q5 LED element and that sucker will practically blind you at full power with a focused beam.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 10:01:03 AM by tlooknbill » Logged
Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2011, 10:08:59 AM »
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Just an update on the issue of my concerns about transformers driving MR16 bulbs.

I'm sad to say my Solux task lamp just died. Bought it November 2008 and rarely turned it on in those two years because of the heat it generates. I'ld say it was on maybe 40 hours off and on at the most. It lasted about as long as the transformer on my Motorola modem which is on all the time.

I've never had problems with regular lamps going out except the bulb burning out. The Solux bulb is fine and I'm beginning to miss its light.

I paid $70 for the lamp and bulb combo from Tailored Lighting with a 1 year warranty on the lamp. The most expensive component of the two failed. Fortunately the Solux bulb is cheaper to replace when it goes out.
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2011, 11:19:25 PM »
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If you carefully read what I said, I was referring to the reason why Home Depot doesn't carry MR16 fixtures anymore including the reason why so many newer electronics these days are emitting this toxic smell through outgassing.  It was mainly to point out that so much of our electronic appliances are being built overseas with questionable quality and safety inspection standards, so why use a light that requires a transformer when there are so many other alternatives.

Well in Australia there is a large push to switch to CFL's over everything else for lighting now as part of a eco-friendly Government approach (there are detractors for this, however). Essentially incandescent light bulbs are banned from sale, halogens are still obtainable for the moment however they may be banned in a few years as well. We don't seem to have issues with poor quality electronics as there are standards in Australia to reject poor (read: cheap) quality 12v transformers that draw power all the time, are not regulated properly or have other unpleasant side effects. You can still buy halogen track lighting with transformers from say, Ikea if you so prefer, however since people here are more cognisant of the higher power bills most people are opting for CFL's now.

It's up to the US government to put their foot down on the capitalistic urges of "cheapest, no matter what" attitude which obviously is costing more in reliability and safety in the long run. Consumers should also be more educated in what products they purchase to reject poor quality ones and force unscrupulous companies out of the market in favour of safe and reliable products. (We can recall the "bad caps" cases where greed was put before customers, resulting in massive losses for all involved who are still forced to replace products even now).

Of course, this depends all on what you're trying to do. If you -need- MR16 track lighting with Solux you'd probably pay a bit more for decent transformers in the first place.

Having a light that requires a transformer is just another potential weak link no one should have to deal with. I mean when my AT&T DSL modem made by Motorola just quit on me a year ago after a years use, it wasn't the modem that broke--IT WAS THE FREAKIN' TRANSFORMER BLOCK that plugs into the wall! Do you know how hard it is to replace with one that matches the exact electrical specs? Give me a break!

Usually it's pretty straightforward to purchase a new transformer if it's a standard Voltage/Amperage (ie, 12v or 5v, under 2 Amps) or call Motorola for a new one (within reasonable cost). When I purchased a 12v transformer for my Solux Clip-On from USA it was about $20 AuD for a good quality one that plugs into the wall (needed it to run 240v -> 12v, otherwise it's an extra 16w of power to run my downstep power converter). If it blows up I can simply purchase a new one. You can cut the Eiko/Solux 3 pin cable into 2 pins for direct wiring, however I preferred to just get a jack to fit and then soldered it together to make it work however I can still use the US power transformer if I need to.

Getting back on topic it would be useful if someone could measure the spectral light output from the SP30/50 bulbs and give a subjective feel for how they are (and other CFL's) - as much as I like the Solux bulbs for general lighting I'd prefer to buy the "best bang for buck" CFL's I can get my hands on, which for me probably means shipping them direct from USA at this rate. If the spectral data is available one could start using it to compare them properly.

Concerning other energy conserving neutral-ish lighting, I haven't yet found a decent LED that renders color better than the Ottlight. Hopefully someone's working on improving that type of lighting for color reproduction. These things put out a ton of light for what little power they consume. I've got a tiny JetBeam military grade flashlight with a Cree Q5 LED element and that sucker will practically blind you at full power with a focused beam.

Just Normlicht's LED Light Booth uses LEDs to simulate most types of illuminants to a certain degree, doesn't look perfect however it's work in that direction. You just need a lot of LED's to cover the full spectrum and they need a lot of fine tuning to make it work.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2011, 11:22:12 PM »
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Thanks for the tips on rigging a replacement transformer for my Solux lamp. I'll have to pass on that though. I'm just going to hunt around for a new lamp. It's a shame the Eiko task lamp died because it looks like a well built product. Can't bring myself to throwing it away. All that heavy gauge metal construction.


It seems the Eiko SP50 is on back order by the company I bought it from off Amazon, so I bought the 5500K CRI 92 Alzo 150w output CFL's. Here's some pictures I posted of exactly how they look in my studio and how my DSLR sees it without any editing scrolling down this thread...

http://photo.net/beginner-photography-questions-forum/00YBX6

The exposures for most of those shots was 35mm @ 125th, f/8, ISO 800 with bulb about a 1 to 1 1/2 ft. away from the subject.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 11:28:04 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2011, 07:12:31 PM »
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Just wanted to update my experience with the Eiko SP50/955K 5500K, CRI 90+, 50w/200w output CFL bulb by including images to show exactly how they appear.

Since I also have the Alzo 45w/150w output CFL, I'll include it for comparison.

These images were shot Raw with my Pentax K100D DSLR and edited to look exactly as they appear several feet from my calibrated workstation. The EXIF data should be intact. Adjustments were made to the Aqua Hue and Orange Hue in ACR's HSL along with some sharpening, contrast, clarity, WB and curve tweaks. Afterward a saturation boost to the Yellow channel in Hue/Sat in Photoshop CS3 was applied selectively to only the yellow in the Skittles package which is really intense under both of these lights.

I had to convert to Apple Cinema Display profile which is embedded in the images instead of sRGB because it was impossible to get the yellow and cyan to look right in sRGB.


« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 07:20:39 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
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