What kind of light bulbs should I use?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Starlite, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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    Ok so my light set arrived today, and I'm happy about that.... but it came with some generic looking Phillips light bulbs, of 100 watts.

    I don't know what kind of light bulbs I need, nor how may watts.

    Can someone help me out on this?

    I've found a couple things on Ebay that looked interesting:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...MEWA:IT&viewitem=&item=110044359321&rd=1&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...MEWA:IT&viewitem=&item=110044861094&rd=1&rd=1



    Can anyone educate me a little bit?

    Like on the first one, it says the bulb generates 120 watts of light at only 30 watts power, which generates less heat... that sounds great, but I don't know how many watts I should be using, per light bulb. I tried the 100 watt bulbs that came with my package, and when I tried using it with the silver umbrella, not very much light was being reflected back.

    The soft white translucent umbrella, seemed to work better with that bulb.

    What are these kind of bulbs CALLED anyways? The ones that are generating more light wattage then the power wattage they use?

    Can I buy these kind of bulbs at a local store? Or are these specialized or professional type bulbs, that I can only find in a professional store? (i live in LA, by the way)


    thanks very much for reading this :hug::
  2. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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  3. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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  4. Torus34
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    Torus34 Active Member

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    Check the literature which came with your gear to find out the maximum recommended wattage.

    Then check any of the major camera stores for ordinary incandescent bulbs of that wattage. They come in wattages up to 500. Pricing is reasonable.

    If you're using a digital camera, don't forget to make the necessary light source adjustment.
  5. W.Smith
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    W.Smith New Member

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    Wouldn't halogen lights be an alternative? Doesn't generate as much heat as tungsten does in the proper fittings. And six times the power output, from the same power consumption, as I understand it. Continuous too.
    WB can be custom measured and set. Or you can use the preset WB for fluorescent light many cameras have. If you shoot RAW you'll have even wider latitude to adjust later.
    Any of you ever used halogen light in a studio?
  6. Torus34
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    Torus34 Active Member

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    Halogen sounds like a good idea to explore. I'm afraid I'm a bit 'old school' in the area of studio lighting. I tend to rely on those things I know well -- sometimes to the exclusion of trying something newer and better.
  7. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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    Check the literature that came with my digital camera? Are there recommendations for specific wattage lights for different cameras?

    I AM using a digital camera (HP Gateway 5 megapixel – until I upgrade), but what are the “necessary light source adjustments”?

    “Halogen” light bulbs? Any links so that I can check them out? How are these better/different then fluorescent?


    No comments/replies regarding the bulbs I posted above? I was hoping to get some feedback from those who are experienced, about those light bulbs, and what bulbs are good for portrait shots.
  8. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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    I did some further looking today, and I am noticing that bulbs above 125-150 watts, really jump up in price.

    Can anyone tell me how many watts I should shoot for, and/or suggest the best places to shop for light bulbs?
  9. Digital Matt
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    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    What types of things are you going to be shooting? With continuous output lighting, you often end up with longish shutter speeds. The output is no where near the intensity of flash. If you are shooting still lifes, it's ok. Mount the camera on a tripod and go for it. For shooting portraits handholding at 1/30 and slower is not recommended. Your models may not be able to hold still enough either.
  10. blooper
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    blooper New Member

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    for my studio shots, i use 500watt 120volt flood bulbs. they light my tiny room extraordinarily well. i also pop on a couple umbrellas to diffuse the light and walla(sp)! i shoot live models tho, so the heat that is generated from these bulbs can be irratating.

    if youre shooting products, i think 250watt bulbs will be enough. since you dont have to worrying about singeing the hairs off their skin by moving the lamps closer, you can afford to locate the lamps close with lower wattage.

    but if you are shooting live models, consider the temperatures.
  11. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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    I'm looking to shoot live models - portrait type photos.

    Do they make "cool" lights that have enough wattage that won't be as hot? Is two lights of 250 watts enough, or do I need to think about 500 watts each?

    Where do you suggest I shop for bulbs?


    thx
  12. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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    May I ask you to elaborate just a little? What do you mean I will often "end up" with longish shutter speeds? Because the continuous lights don't have the output intensity of a flash? How much wattage does a flash give off? Can I come close?

    I'm puzzled tho, why I would "end up" with longish shutter speeds.. I mean, would I be setting the shutter speed myself, or would this be from the camera setting it automatically?

    I know I need to experiment/work more, to learn this, but if you could help out with any elaboration..........

    :hail:
  13. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Continuous lights don't put out nearly as much light as strobe/flash does. Therefore, you may need to have a longer shutter speed to get proper exposure...longer shutter speeds are not good for a)holding the camera and b)subjects that move (people etc.).

    I'm not sure of the math...but I read a post on another site...where someone had calculated that a for a regular bulb to be as bright as a studio light...it would need to be something like 100,000 watts.

    Strobes are so bright...that they only need to be lit for a very small fraction of a second.
  14. Starlite
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    Starlite New Member

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    hmmm, so why do they even HAVE continuous lights then?


    You're making me think that I totally need to switch?


    I mean, two 500 watt lights aren't going to be enough, that is what you are saying?

    What would be the minimum, for decent portrait photos?
  15. W.Smith
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    Continuous lights are useful for images of static subjects. From a tripod. With remote or timed shutter release. So still life really. Where longer shutter speeds don't matter so much.
    Studio flash light sets usually have a continuous 'modeling light' built in. So that you can see the relative effect of the light setup while you are setting it up. A flash is too short for our human eyes to interpret the lighting from.
    Again, depending on what you want to shoot.
    Not for portraiture, it won't. Jewelry would be fine.
    I think that's measured in milliwatt seconds, but I'm not sure. Maybe one of the others can shed some light on that.

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