Thursday, August 21, 2014

on fancy Light bulbs

Months ago I was contacted by a company who wished for me to test and review their light bulbs in my sewing space.  Seriously... light bulbs.  Usually these type of offers are not a good fit, so I turn them down.  But, while light bulbs are not a terribly exciting topic, they are something we use every day.

This is the part of her email that really got my attention, "Research shows (and our consumers know) that our lighting products reduce eye strain/fatigue, allow colors to appear truer than conventional lighting, as well as elevate mood and energy."  Hmmm?

Verilux light bulb review


I responded, "I hate to use artificial lighting of any kind as it certainly does alter color perception.  Unfortunately, on cloudy days it's necessary.  It would be wonderful if your lights could help.  A few questions:
 

Is there a large difference between your light technology and light bulbs one buys at hardware stores that are sold as "daylight balanced"?  I currently use daylight balanced bulbs by Utilitech in the recessed lighting that is throughout my sewing workroom."

By the way, when I switched to "daylight balanced" bulbs I had noticed an improvement in the way colors appeared under the lights.  I still could tell that my color perception was "off" under artificial lighting and would always wait for sunlight to choose fabrics for a project.  Also, I tend to keep lights off during the day.  I so much prefer natural light patterns and even shadows.

Heather from Verilux responded in detail to my inquiry.  In case you are an information junkie like me, I'll copy and paste the details. But, the gist of it is that their lights are indeed more "true" than daylight balanced bulbs:

Daylight-balanced lights generally fall in the 5000/5500K range and ours are closer to 6500K, which is the temperature of actual daylight. That means our light is a bit closer to actual daylight than most "daylight balanced." When light temperature is much lower or higher than daylight, you get color distortion (either of reds or blues). 



This picture highlights the difference in how colors appear under typical incandescent vs. Verilux bulbs. In case you don't know, one great way to make a choice for lights you want to use for photography is to check out the CRI (color rendering mix). Verilux bulbs have a CRI of 85. Professional photographers who use supplemental light consider anything 90 or higher acceptable, so we are very close to what is used on photo shoots.

I decided to try Verilux flood lights for my sewing room recessed lighting.  There were some hiccups with my shipment(s), as a few bulbs kept getting broken in transit.  Since it happened twice in a row, we're thinking my UPS driver may be at fault.  Anyhoo, Verilux was happy to replace them, which they would do for any customer.  They have a 30 day product guarantee. 

So, what do I think?  They make a difference.  I actually chose fabrics for Tangential at night under my Verilux lighting with total confidence.  And, you know that was a pretty important project to me!  I can tell that these lights don't distort color.  Here's an example:

Verilux light

natural light

Neither of these photos have been color corrected in any way.  You can see that the colors are virtually identical.   The shadows and bright spot reflections created by artificial recessed lights still make them less than ideal for photographs, but the color is a great improvement.

The other difference is that it actually feels good to have the lights on.  As I mentioned, I usually prefer to be in dim natural light than fake light.  With these bulbs, it's different.  I turn on the lights during the day in my sewing room, whether sewing or typing or cutting.  They feel so bright and cheerful, almost just like sunshine.  I didn't expect to notice or care about that, but I do.

Well, if you have any questions, do let me know.  Verilux had a lot of lighting products other than bulbs, so if you need a lamp for desk work or task lighting by a chair you may want to take a look.  Hope this has been helpful!

36 comments:

  1. Wow - thanks for this review - it's really helpful because I do almost all of my sewing at night and do have to wait until mornings to choose fabric or take pictures. Thank you for being authentic and sharing with us what you do for yourself. This is one of the many reasons why I love your blog.

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    1. So glad to hear this is helpful for you, Anges! Light bulbs are a funny post topic, but, hey, color matters to all of us. =)

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  2. How interesting that having the lights makes you feel good, as she mentioned. I sit next to a large window to sew, but my fabric closet is dimly lit. I'm going to send the link to my handyman hubs. Thanks for the review.

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  3. Hi Rachel! Thank you for sharing your experience and Info. Good and correct light is so important to us. x Teje

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  4. Thank you! What a coincidence... The other day I was just looking for true light bulbs at the store and nothing. Love your blog too!

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  5. I am a lighting junkie (for very similar reasons, I love my color!) and generally hate artificial lights. I may have to give these a try, thanks so much for pointing them out! I drive my partner insane during Christmas time because I'm always pointing out the LED Christmas lights vs the incandescent ones. ;)

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  6. I can absolutely notice a difference in lighting. We just bought a house that was built in the 80s (with the hideous fixtures to match that decade) and the bulbs are all starting to burn out on us. In addition to replacing the fixtures, we definitely want to try a different kind of bulb. The yellow/red tinge I get even just looking at things is starting to drive me nuts. I will definitely look into these.

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  7. What terrific information! I will definitely be checking these out the next time I need to replace bulbs. Thanks Rachel!

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  8. i can never find the right light so this is extremely helpful to me. thanks for taking the time to share.

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  9. Wow! I'm surprised by this! The comparison images look great. I really need better lighting in my sewing space. It's darker anyway due to trees outside, but the lighting I have leaves thinks with a kind of "hot glow".....not exactly pretty really. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these.

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  10. Thanks (and to Verilux, too) for this review. The flourescents currently in my sewing room are better than the old incandescent, but nowhere near natural light. I'm going to switch to Verilux after reading this.

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  11. We changed bulbs in our home office recently, and I couldn't believe the difference it made. At first, I thought it was too bright- but by the second night, I was so happy with the whiter, closer to natural light! I'll have to check out this brand and see how they compare to our current improved bulbs.

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  12. Wow! Good to know. I try to wait for daylight to choose colors but it isn't always possible and same deal for photographing but it just isn't always possible or practical. When I took the Color Intensive class with you I frequently used my Ott light to choose and photograph. Do you have any comparison of that with the Verilux?

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    1. Good question. Nope, I've never tried an Ott light so no comparison here. But, given the info Verilux gave us, you could look into the temperature of Ott lights and their CRI (color rendering mix).

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  13. Rosemary B here:
    Great post. There are so many bad light bulbs out now because of the EPA rules. Most of the lighting the newer bulbs create is very harsh and unpleasant.
    I am going to try these bulbs. Most people do not make much notice of lighting, but all of us here do because we depend on it for our projects, and good lighting = better outcome, right?
    Thank you for sharing this review, Rachel

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  14. I appreciate your post a great deal, but when I went to the Verilux website I could not find any bulbs for recessed lighting....

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    1. I am using these in the 23 watt: http://www.verilux.com/compact-fluorescent-bulbs/compact-fluorescent-flood/ I specifically asked if these had the same technology as their other products, and she verified that they do.

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  15. Thanks for the review, i wonder how these would stack up against OTT lights. I have been using "balanced daylight" from lowes as well. If the Kelvin rating of these bulbs is 6000-6500 they would be perfect seed starting bulbs too :)

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  16. Living up here in the far north, lack of daylight is a problem for many people. Not just in photographing or color choices, but with depression and moodiness, too. (Think about it: the sun rises about 7:30 am and it's completely dark by 4:30 pm. We miss our sunlight!) My MIL and my own mother use "daylight" like bulbs and they say they help immensely! Do you happen to know if these lights have the same "anti-depression" offer as many of the "daylight" bulbs do? I know ya'll down south don't have to worry about this kind of stuff, but up here's, it's very important.

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    1. I should clarify: the lack of sunlight is during the Winter months, not the Summer.

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    2. It sounds like they are designed to help with that too: http://www.verilux.com/learn-more/winter-blues/

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  17. Thanks so much for this post! I am in the process of designing a new sewing room for my house at the lake and there are so many trees getting good lighting is an issue. I will be looking into this!

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  18. Very helpful!! I'm so glad you did this review. Like other readers, I sew only at night.

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  19. Verilux is a great company. Worth the extra expense.

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  20. that's amazing! I generally hate artificial light and make sure to choose fabrics in the day time. These bulbs could be a complete game changer. I wonder if they are available in the UK (must check it out!)

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  21. I'm so glad you chose to do this review! Lighting is a huge problem in my sewing room and I've tried the daylight bulbs as well. They're barely okay. I'll have to give these a try.
    Thanks so much.

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  22. The biggest problem I had while picking colors at night with incandescently was trying to distinguish between white, snow, PFD and other high value Kona Cottons. It was impossible with some of them. Other than that, I prefer the warm glow of incandescent :)

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  23. Love that you're able to take decent photos and choose fabrics by there true colour. I always struggle with that, too.

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  24. Wow. Your comparison IS pretty dang amazing (to copy Hilary from above!). I haven't wanted to invest in fancy lighting for taking pictures (I'd rather spend $ on fabric), but I'll have to check out these lightbulbs. They might make all the difference. I have more trouble with natural light in the summer given my leaf cover and the arc of the sun not shining in my walk-out-basement sewing area.

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    1. The thing to remember is that artificial lights still cast weird shadows. I don't mind at all when natural shadows fall in my pictures, but with the lights on you often get a shadow of YOU in the picture as you lean across to take it. I don't take pictures with the lights on if good natural light is available, that's for sure. My husband says a wider, more diffused light source (Iike a huge 24" x 36" light box mounted on the ceiling) would be better for taking in door pictures than the recessed lighting.

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  25. Thanks, Rachel, for such an informative blog post. I called Verilux today for some additional information, and told them that I learned about them through you. They were very helpful, and I'm now planning to purchase at least one of their products. Thanks again.

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  26. I'm so glad you posted this. Lighting is a HUGE ginormous problem for me while trying to sew (or do anything for that matter) because of my vision problems. I am going to try one of their products. Hoping this makes a difference for me :) Thanks for sharing!

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  27. Thought I'd add to this -- it's not all about CRI. Incandescent bulbs are actually considered to have a 95 to 100 CRI. (Halogen bulbs included.) Yet you compared to "standard bulbs" in your images, and I think many people like the "whiter" presentation rather than the yellow of incandescents.

    Sunlight renders colors so well because all wavelengths of colors are well represented, while incandescents lean toward reds / oranges. I linked to an article (from my name) where you can actually see an 80+ CRI LED bulb stacking up against an incandescent. What do you prefer?

    Color temperature is a different factor; is more complex than it appears to be; and there is no "natural" daylight color, because the sun changes apparent color temperature at different times of the day. So bottom line is how you best like to assess your quilting work; ALSO ... what lighting will it be seen under most often when it's done? A cost 2700K incandescent / LED room while watching TV, or a high color temperature in an active living area? Things to think about when choosing lights for assessing your work.

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