Altman CDM-TV, CDM 150/T6, 70W, 150W ceramic high-intensity discharge metal halide lamps.

Altman lights are employed to illuminate buildings and theaters. Altman lights are used for movie sets and video work. Yet the same lights are appropriate for digital still photography, especially for tri-linear scanning backs such as BetterLight, Anagramm, Kigamo, or older PhaseOne (which probably does not really continue with large format digital backs; PhaseOne is now mainly sticking with medium format size).

Altman makes HMI fresnels, tungsten fresnels, and CDM fresnels. Like most lighting for theaters, movie sets and TV studios, the lights are designed to hang down, not so much to stand on a light stand.

The current model Altman ceramic high-intensity discharge metal halide lamps is the Altman CDM-TV. This is a 70 watt CDM that is rated as equivalent to a 300 watt photography lamp. The Altman CDM-TV-150 watt is rated at 650 watts equivalency.

Altman, Buhl, De Sisti, and North Light Products all make ceramic high-intensity discharge metal halide lamps. The ones we see used with BetterLight digital backs are those of North Light. The folks at BetterLight have experience with every brand and kind of lighting, so it would be appropriate to ask them the pros and cons of each illumination technology. You should ask Dave Christensen, since he actually designs and builds studio lights. Telephone 650 366-5483, e-mail

A new Digital Photography Course helps you learn about lighting for digital studios

The advent of digital photography has been both a blessing and a curse to photographers. The downside is few people understand what kinds of digital camera technology need which kinds of lighting.

A tri-linear scan back from PhaseOne, Kigamo, Anagramm, BetterLight, for example, can only work with certain kinds of lighting.

But which kinds are good, and which kinds don‚t function with scan backs at all?

Then you have medium format digital backs such as PhaseOne, Imacon, Leaf Valeo, Jenoptik EyeLike, MegaVision and others. These are a different kind of digital camera again. They react differently to lighting than scanning backs.

To sort all this out the FLAAR editor has attended Photokina four times (took eight years since Photokina is held only every two years). Presently Nicholas is back from PhotoPlus Expo in New York.

But you can learn his eight-years worth of experience in a single course. Nicholas Hellmuth’s course on digital photography is available via the Internet in your home or office.



Most recently updated November 8, 2004.