Balcar fluorescent lights for digital photography studios.
Fluorescent lights have been used in TV studios for years. Videssence is a popular brand. But we tried to use Videssence fixtures and quickly found out they were awkward when you tried them on top of a lightstand. Videssence fluorescent lights are designed to hang from the TV studio, like a bat in a cave. And, the Videssence cases fell apart the first week using them to transport out on location.
So we began to look around for more practical replacements. We found two good replacements for fluorescent studio lighting: Balcar for when you really need serious power (shown here). And Westcott Spiderlites (fluorescent) when you need a lighter, more portable basic system. We have both the Balcar and the Westcott because sometimes you need a really powerful system (Balcar) and other times you need to move a set out on location (we use the Westcott fluorescent lights for photographing tropical flowers and plants in Guatemala).
Balcar lights are made in France and you get the European quality you expect. We find the Balcar lights better designed for photo studios than the Videssence.
Fluorescent lighting is one of several kinds of studio lighting that is ideal for digital photography in particular
When you used Ektachrome or Fujichrome, having fluorescent lights was the kiss of death. But with today's digital fluorescent lighting, no more ugly color cast. After all, you just click on your Macbeth ColorChecker, or click on any white or gray, and you balance for whatever light. With digital cameas it makes no difference whatsoever whether the lighting is fluorescent, tungsten, CD (ceramic discharge), or HMI for that matter.
What does count is heat: fluorescent lighting is cool lighting for your studio. So if you are starting a digital photography studio, or improving one you already have, you can find these Balcar fluorescent lights at PMA, Photo Plus, or Photokina trade shows.
Most recently updated August 15, 2006.