Is a photography light bulb different from a general use bulb?
The short answer is: yes. On the surface, however, the answer is “no”, since most light bulbs can be used for several applications; factors like shape, size, intensity, technology determine which bulb is the best fit. A a photography light bulb can be used for applications outside photography, and many general use bulbs can be used for photography.
When we take a deeper look at photography light bulb technology, there are differences of light quality among LED, Tungsten, HID and CFL bulbs, or how these bulbs render colors. Color rendering, or how object colors appear under a specific light source, might not be as important to most people when it comes to home lighting as everyone’s color perception is a little different. Photo and video cameras, on the other hand, nowadays (in 2017) are more sensitive to light than the human eye, which makes the choice of light source more crucial. The standard most widely accepted and used for measuring color fidelity is CRI, short for Color Rendering Index. The reference value is 100 for perfect color rendition. ALZO CFL and LED bulbs have a CRI of 91 or higher.
Another main difference is the shape and the resulting focus or angle of the light emitted by a photography light bulb. Cylindrical modeling bulbs, U-tube CFL bulbs, circular flashtubes, flat 2-pin bulbs with a ceramic base are just a few photography-specific bulbs with a defined light angle and a non-standard base to fit photo light fixtures.
For the majority of photographic applications, more, brighter light is desirable, making larger bulbs with more light output necessary. ALZO offers the following wattage: 15W, 27W, 45W and 85W in the compact fluorescent section, and 22W and 32W in the LED section.
Besides light intensity (Lumens output) and power consumption (wattage), color temperature is the most important aspect in photography, and is not affected by the type of bulb. In other words, a 5500K daylight bulb generates the same color temperature as an LED or CFL bulb. There are a variety of color temperatures available in the photography light bulb market, ranging from 2800K to 6500K+, but it seems that bulbs in the 5500K+/- range that resemble daylight, and bulbs in the 3200+/- range for ambient lighting are the preferred ones.
In conclusion, it can be said that many bulbs for general use such as home lighting can be used for photography and video recording, and vice versa. All ALZO CFL and LED light bulbs can be used interchangeably for photography and home use, with the exception of the very large 85W bulbs that create a fit problem with home lighting fixtures (and in many cases, the 45W bulbs as well).To get the right bulbs for your application, feel free to call us at 800-582-7009 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re happy to help you.