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Thread: Still Life Photography with CFL

  1. #1

    Default Still Life Photography with CFL

    Hi all, I decided to post this thread specially dedicated to using CFL (Continuous Fluorescent Light). Please note that this is a thread purely to share knowledge relating to CFL and nothing else. Before I start anything I hope you guys will read first before posting anything.

    This thread is strictly to share with one another on topics relating to CFL on:
    All sort of Still life photos (experimental/artistic and etc) taken using CFL or CFL with other equipments like flash reflector
    Setup of CFLs for the Still live photos


    Please don't post things like:
    Sourcing for CFL (Please please don't do it here, you go google yourself or post your own WTB in Buy/Sell)
    Comparing with others equipments (I truly believe that different type of photography equipment has it own unique strength and weakness) If you really want to compare, please post your own thread.
    Still life photos/works without any use of CFL

    For any things realting to the following I have open up a thread at General, Reviews, Tech Talk. So do discuss over there instead
    Technical knowledge in using CFL
    Tips and tricks
    How different brand of camera behave when using CFL
    Auto White balance issues/theories/troubleshoot
    Lights/CRI/Color temperature/full spectrum theory
    Getting good images and how you achieve it with CFL
    How different brand of fluorescents behave (heat/CRI/and etc)

    General, Reviews, Tech Talk on CFL
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=381117

    That's about it...

    Hope everyone will find this thread useful in someways. For guys who are CFL owners/non-owners, I hope we can make use of this and learn from each others.

    (Something like... instead of giving a person a fish and feed him a day, why not teach him to fish so he can feed himself forever. So now we are fisherman and try to teach each others to fish with CFL ) By the way I got this from a professional photographer, very meaningful
    Last edited by wahgongzai; 29th May 2008 at 06:52 AM. Reason: Part of threads moved to General, Reviews, Tech Talk

  2. #2

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    Okay... Lets get started. As I am busy with my own projects (all dead line coming soon) I don't have any time to do a hobby/fun shoot yet. I decided that I will post something interesting on (Light Meter Reading) in a still life scenario. This is just a reference guide as how a light meter reads a CFL's lights and giving its own metering. And how lights and AWB behave when using a Sony A100

    CFL: One 50x70cm
    Fluorescent used: Eco Lights 36W 6500K x 4
    Ambient Light: None
    Flash Use: No:
    Camera used: Sony A100
    White Balance: AWB (auto white balance)
    Use tripod: No
    Anti Shake: Yes
    ISO: 200 all the way

    Modes: AP=Aperture Priority, M=Manual mode
    ND=No diffuser, WD=with diffuser



    The CFL is about 90cm away position in a 45 degree angle on the left side. Since no diffuser is mounted, harsh shadows can be seem which is normal. What puzzle me is that my Sony A100 when using AP can only get F5 and my Light meter show is F8 @ 1/125. I am not very sure why? If anyone knows can share? I really hope that is not because my light meter has lost its calibration I also notice when I focus at different parts of the light meter the shutter speed changes... From the bottom of the light meter 1/125 middle 1/100 the top 1/200.
    Last edited by wahgongzai; 11th May 2008 at 06:29 AM. Reason: Fogot to add imp point

  3. #3

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL



    Same distance same angle but with diffuser, this is the green cast I talk about...these two are selected from the others which has none. So its a on and off thingy... My friend recently test it with Canon 40D all no problems, if anyone has canon/nikon DSLR please share on this matter. By the way it should be WD M F8 @ 1/125 which i follow the light meter and is under exposure... There is a reason, when I took the shot, I notice my exposure reading MM went all the way to -2. I not sure what happen. I am still new to A100, but I notice when in full manual mode I can't control the exposure... I will try to find out these myself...
    Last edited by wahgongzai; 11th May 2008 at 06:27 AM. Reason: high light a point

  4. #4

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL



    Now I have move the lights closer from 90cm to 45cm, did a AP and a M. By the way is WD M F11 @ 1/125 trying to follow the light meter reading. Same, one out of three images will see one with slight green cast... Headache, will try to solve this. Maybe is my settings...

    So these is all for now. I will try to do a personal fun shoot next week... Never shoot foods before . So guys if you have any still life images with the use of CFL to share, please do.

    thanks
    Last edited by wahgongzai; 11th May 2008 at 06:58 AM. Reason: comma

  5. #5

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    i guess we call it "FishCFlman"..hw's that hehe.
    I just got a set of CFL,trying to set up for today's shoot and hope to finish it so i could post it asap to share here. I guess it's fun doing this cheap and efficient way of lighting system.

    Moreover,they say that great things start from small beginnings....ryt?
    more power to you brother!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    I always knew CFL as Compact Fluorescent Light because it's really small compared to those ceiling mounted ones with seperate ballast and all.
    and all Fluorescent Light are Continuous, haven't heard of a strobe fluorescent light source before though.

    The colour cast you mentioned is a characteristic behaviour of flourescent tubes and it is how it works.. The pro who taught you these should have told you about it. It's one of the "downside" of using florescent tubes but their cost of light to watt ratio is just too attractive. Jewellery shooters use a panel of flour tubes to counter or lessen this effect.
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    Quote Originally Posted by wahgongzai View Post
    The CFL is about 90cm away position in a 45 degree angle on the left side. Since no diffuser is mounted, harsh shadows can be seem which is normal. What puzzle me is that my Sony A100 when using AP can only get F5 and my Light meter show is F8 @ 1/125. I am not very sure why? If anyone knows can share? I really hope that is not because my light meter has lost its calibration I also notice when I focus at different parts of the light meter the shutter speed changes... From the bottom of the light meter 1/125 middle 1/100 the top 1/200.
    The lightmeter on your camera is taking reflected lighting off the meter and backdrop, while your meter is taking incident light readings from the light source. Given, that your lightmeter is black, your camera will of course tell you to open a bit more.
    Last edited by Prismatic; 12th May 2008 at 02:51 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    Thanks Prismatic and yanyewkay for sharing

    And Mike (mikeelanac) looking forward to see you works bro

    By the way here are some of the fun shoot I have in mind:
    food stuff/cake/fruits
    Still image motion (toys moving, water and ink)
    Glass objects
    Metal Objects (should be challenging as its hard to shoot metallic which reflects)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    Hi guys,

    I still havent got time to get the lights. I could not even find a 32W energy saving one, only found 20W. Will update more when I get it started.

    Also, I would wish to try it with flash to try to get rid of the shadows.
    Last edited by FusionMist; 14th May 2008 at 12:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    hi ts

    pls advice if ur cfl is normal 60hz or is it a 100hz? reason i am asking is, looking at

    #1 (1/100) and #3 (1/40), the white is still ok, so i think urs is 100hz

    #2 (1/160), #4 (1/125), #5 (1/160) and #6 (1/125) is exceeding you cfl's frequency.

    think of it as shooting television, old model 60hz, shutter speed above 1/60 you get drak broad horizontal line. newer ones 100hz, shutter speed above 1/100 will also result in the same thing.

    another example will be shooting without flash in an office. office uses "ceiling light box with diffuser" with 2 or more flourescent lamp that is typically 60hz rating. if you shoot burst mode with shutter speed high than 60hz, you will notice that the color cast differ from each photos.

    reason for the green cast is the mercury in the lamp.

    btw, may i suggest this thread to be move to tech talk so more csers can see.
    Last edited by denniskee; 14th May 2008 at 04:08 PM.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    For lighting, normally what's important is the CRI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_rendering_index) and if the ballast is flicker-free. colour temperature is usually constant. As mentioned in some CFL posts around the forums, kinoflos (and similar brands most commonly used for video) are pretty popular as its pretty high on CRI and ballast is flicker-free (when in factory condition).

    Normal fluorescents in the house are subject to colour cast (green or magenta), flickering at speeds other than multiples of 50hz (our power line frequency; 1/25 works, not sure about 1/100 and above), inconsistent colouring due to CRI (they might not produce certain colours of the 7 basic wavelength ROYGBIV)...

    Some details are recalled off hand so pardon if their wrong or terms misused.

    Generally, you wouldnt know if your light meter is off in its calibration, unless you send it in, or it's consistently off by more than (+/-) 1-stop, which then would be obvious. A simple test would be one you are doing but setting the exposure on ur camera to what ur meter tells you. I'm sure if ur using a dslr, manual mode should be possible, so check the reference book. Once you do that, look at ur shots on a calibrated screen and see if the exposure if off... change different lenses (but keep the same setup on tripod). So the only variable is the lens. If your exposure if not ideal then 1) compensate mentally for the light meter or 2) send it in.

    If the exposures given by the different lenses are not similar, then you know that there are some differences in the lens - i.e. one exposes slightly brighter or darker. Not sure about your lighting kit, so it may or may not reproduce the same light consistently (which is not ideal for this test).
    Last edited by alexj; 14th May 2008 at 10:46 PM. Reason: add words to further clarify points

  12. #12

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    thanks Alexj for sharing especially on the tips for checking light meter

    For Denniskee, I just now went check thru the fluorescent (Ecolights, Philips, PowerPac, Hitachi) that I have. So far all have the same indication of 50-60hz. Regarding the flickering issues by fluorescents I have chatted with a few guys/kahkis on this topic, So far all of them mentioned that the current fluorescent has improve a lot over the years, and the flickering is not as bad as the old ones 5-6 yrs ago. From what I have experimented, I have shot a overexposed portray at a shutter speed 1/250 with F8, but is with 2 CFLs (640BW+520BW)...Also heard that one way to test the flickering is to shoot a burst of continuous shots than compare the histogram and see any major changes between each.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    I believe the CRI numbers are wrong. The perfert CRI is 100.
    For example, standard CRI for Philips bulbs is 80, while their enhanced color range is 85.
    The energy-saving one are usually 85 too.
    Last edited by Prismatic; 15th May 2008 at 11:15 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    Types of Continuous Fluorescent Lights

    The Lamp Socket: Common in Singapore, normally need a (Soft thru/Reflective Silver) Umbrella to insert into it to create a diffuse light source.

    Flolight Fluorescent Light Tubes: Very Powerful lights, normally it uses a few Fluorescent tubes instead of fluorescent bulbs. And it ranges from 4-8 tubes, thus can get 1000BW and above. Normally this come with barndoors, which allow a person to control the light more efficiently. I think I saw two at Sony show room which they used it to light up objects for people to test the Sony DSLR.

    Lamp Socket with multi bulb heads: Something like the lamp socket, but this one has a bigger head with multi bulb adapters (4-6) which you can insert the bulbs. It also has switch controls behind it which you can control the power by switching off one or more of the lights. Normally these lights come with a silver round metal dish and a diffuser cloth.

    Fluorescent Lights with Softbox: Basically is a Lamp Socket but has a softbox attached to it. Come with varies sizes/shapes. I am using these for my work. So far I have the 40cm Square, 50cm Hexagon, 50cm square, 50x70cm CFL

    DIY CFL: I read it from one China Photography magazine. The photographer uses a ordinary lamp and one of those A4 paper carton box to create one. It works great, he even uses cardboards to create the barn doors .

    So guys, if you process anyone of the CFL type. Do share it here if you use it to shoot still life photography.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Still Life Photography with CFL

    Hi all, I have move all the below topics to General, Reviews, Tech Talk

    So from now onwards, these topics will be discuss at General, Reviews, Tech Talk instead.
    Technical knowledge in using CFL
    Tips and tricks
    How different brand of camera behave when using CFL
    Auto White balance issues/theories/troubleshoot
    Lights/CRI/Color temperature/full spectrum theory
    Getting good images and how you achieve it with CFL
    How different brand of fluorescents behave (heat/CRI/and etc)

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showt...62#post4049362

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