Just for the record, I am currently having much fun playing with fluorescent lights.

Late last year I explored what was available in the realm of fluorescent light fixtures for still and video production and I bought four fixtures from Fotodiox. The biggest one has six double tubes, the two next biggest ones have four double tubes and the smallest one has two double tubes. All but the smallest have switches that allow you to turn off one or even two banks of tubes for more control.

The bodies of the lights are made of heavy metal and they have metal barn doors that close over the tubes to protect them during travel. I have used them now on six different commercial video projects and dozens of still photography shoots and have had no issues with them at all. I like the quality of light and the color is easy to manage by either shooting raw files or by doing a custom white balance before shooting.

Here is an image of one of the "middle-way" banks:

Unlike portable flashes these lights are heavy and need to be on stout stands. It might also be a good idea to toss a sandbag or two on those stands as well. You'll also need electrical power. But not the amount you'd need to make a nice tungsten soft light....

I've seen people use them "bare", with no diffusers or modifiers but I prefer mine to be pushed through a nice diffusion silk. A "one stop" silk is just right. Used with diffusion these already large light sources become lush with softness. The Dulux bulbs are powered by electronic ballasts that are supposed to be flicker free. At the price point I'd take that with a grain of salt and test them before you do any high shutter speed work or high fps videotaping for eventually slow motion effects. All I can say is that I've never seen any flicker or banding in my use.

The one caveat I'll toss out is that no big assortment of tubes like this is going to travel well. I limit my travel with long tube fluorescent lights to cars only, no airlines, no shipping services. If you are looking for a little change in your still life, portrait or video work these might just move the creative needle a bit. They are cheap enough to try out.

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