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Home > Technology > SoLux Print Lighting and Print Proofing

SoLux Print Lighting and Print Proofing

March 19th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

SoLux low voltage bulbs are excellent for proofing and displaying photography. They have an very good Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 98 or 99. CRI is a measurement of a lights ability to replicate the daylight spectrum. The bulbs also come in a number of Kelvin temperatures ranging from 3500K to 5000K depending on your use. Most gallery display and proofing for galleries is done at 3500K, while most CMYK press proofing is done at 5000K. My studio is actually lit by 24 of the 4700K SoLux bulbs on Lutron dimmers.

Depending on the size of the prints you need to proof, one or more SoLux bulbs can be set up in fixture to light the print. The trick is to get the light as even as possible at the current ANSI standard which specifies 2200 ± 470 lux. You can use a camera meter and a gray card to figure it out. A meter reading of F16 at ¼ of a second for 100ASA will match the brightness of professional proofing stations.

I think it best to have the brightness and Kelvin temp match your monitor. Final viewing conditions should also be considered whenever possible. This is most true for Gallery work as there is a known light source under which the Art is displayed. Most commercial work that is printed CMYK will be ultimately be viewed under a multitude of light sources, so matching D50 is the best we can do.

There has always been great debate over what Kelvin Temp and Gamma to profile monitors at. We can all agree that it’s between 5000K and 6500K and between 1.8 and 2.2 Gamma. I currently profile mine to 5500K and a Gamma of 2.2. I suggest matching your monitor as closely as possible to the way the printed image will be viewed by the client or audience. For commercial photographers this means: match what a proof looks like at press check. For fine art photographers this means your monitor should match the print hanging on the wall.

Whatever Kelvin flavor of light you need, SoLux seems to be the right technology for lighting prints. Read More on SoLux Proofing.

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  1. Rex Flex
    March 19th, 2008 at 15:44 | #1

    dude, doesn’t the color temp change when you use a dimmer?

  2. Michael Stewart
    March 20th, 2008 at 13:37 | #2

    Rex, Color temp does go way down(warm) when I dim them down. These are just my house lights, that happen to also work well for looking at prints when they are full power. I turn them up full power when I’m looking at prints and way way down when I’m soft proofing on screen.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

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