Tag Archives: fluorescent lighting


Just a day ago, I posted about the 800w RedHead kits that were back in stock. The search results also showed a few CFL (Fluorescent) lighting kits too. New questions came about these 5 bulb CFL light heads compared to the 800w halogen RedHeads, but I really couldn't speak on it. I've never had the chance to test these things out ....... - until now.

5 CFL Bulb Lighting Kit

Turns out, these are fairly popular for talking head type interviews for their broad diffusion, low heat, and low power. I was pretty worried that they wouldn't hold up to the same light output, but in comparison, they are fairly close. They specs call for 1000w equivalent, i'm not sure about that, but they do hold up pretty well against the 800w bulb. I have to say, I'm pretty surprised. I was also doing my tests at F/4.5 cutting out a good amount of light. For talking head interviews, you can get your aperture wider.

Keep in mind that CFLs are very very diffused lights, and won't provide the same harsh shadows I sometimes desire on a set like Halogens would. If that's not your style, then these a good choice for basic studio lights. The only Cons you need to be aware of is that they are pretty hard to travel with using 5 large CFL bulbs each, and that they can present flickering if your shutter speed is set at certain speeds. They are dimmable by turning off individual bulbs at a time, so they are also not the most accurate in light control. One thing that is nice, is that they are actually cheaper than both LED lighting and Halogen kits.

5 CFL Bulb Dimmable DImmer Switches

The Heads aren't of the highest build quality, mostly plastic except for the Ceramic area on the bulb mounts. The softbox is a pain in the a## to assemble, so I don't suggest these if you require speed on your shoots. The softboxes don't have a speed ring, they are attached directly to the light heads. You'd have to just travel with the complete head and box. The light stands that come with this kit are of good quality, which I can use on some of my heavier setups. The kit also comes with a travel bag, useful only if you want to break down the softboxes.

5 CFL Bulb Light

I can't speak on the many other CFL heads on the market, but beware of that dreadful flickering. My tests on these particular ones showed you can probably squeeze in about 1/160th shutter which is not great, but more than enough for in studio video. If you're trying to use these for photography, know your limits. In the end, I was surprised, and these are some pretty nice source of lights. Even with the small interior diffuser and external diffuser panel on the softbox, the light output was fairly decent in comparison to the 800w head. I might do a test with a few of these for our next 'Infinite White background' video. These are available in both 2pc and 3pc kits found below.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 10.24.42 AM
find-price-button 2pc. 5 CFL Bulb Lighting Kit Softboxes Lightstands Travel Bag

5 bulb CFL lighting kit boom arm
find-price-button 3 pc. 5 Bulb CFL Lighting Kit with Softboxes Light Stands


NextWaveDV.com reviews the Linco Flora Fluorescent lights and puts them against some very expensive Kino's. (Hey, I get a shot out too!). Although not a true match against the Kino's, the Linco's seem to hold up very well through the tests. Looks like a solid design with a great output at a budget filmmaker price. Unlike cheaper FLO's, these Linco's seem to be more tolerant to higher shutter speeds with less banding. Keep in mind I believe they are testing at 1/1000ths shutter speed, which isn't something you'll be using with 'in studio' video.

find-price-button Linco CFL Flora Lighting Kits Softbox - via eBay

find-price-button Linco CFL Flora Kits Softboxes - via Amazon


Kevin a.k.a YouTube member BustedToyProductions shares a quick overview of the Linco Flora Fluorescent light head. Flo's are an extremely efficient way of generating a whole lot of light, but not as easy to control if you're trying to spot a narrow area. Fluorescent lights are best used in situations when you need to spill lots of evenly diffused light over a large area i.e. Green Screen, Product Photography, or Beauty Type shots. Dimming for the Linco Flora is controlled by switches that turn off a number of lights at a time. The quick open softbox (almost Brolly type) is pretty cool, and should make break down quick and portable, but just make sure to keep the bulbs safe - these won't take a beating like LED lights. Great stuff though, and unlike Halogen or Tungsten lighting, these will generate less heat for close up use and small areas. [Thanks Kevin]

find-price-button Linco Flora Fluorescent Lighting Heads, Kits, Softboxes, Boom, Stands