Build Your Own Controlled Light Print Viewing System

Discussion in 'Printers, Monitors, and Color Management' started by Iliah, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    This is a wonderful and practical piece written a year ago by Joseph Holmes, http://www.josephholmes.com/

    My favorite viewing light solution costs about a seventh as much as a desktop light box with dimmers, takes up no desk space, is flicker-free, has better light quality colorimetrically and a good color temperature, although it’s not useful for viewing transparencies.

    The system consists of the following items:

    1. One 50-watt, 12-volt SoLux 4700K halogen spot (MR-16 type) with a 37-degree beam angle. The best artificial light I know of, this spot has a CRI of 99+ in the main part of the beam. Retail price: $15. Go to www.SoLux.net for more information, or call Tailored Lighting in Rochester, N.Y., 585-328-2170.

    2. One length of basic Halo brand track, single-circuit type. Mine is mounted on the ceiling, parallel to the wall behind my monitor, positioned 21 or 22 inches from the wall (my 19-inch monitor is twisted at a 20-degree angle and almost touches the wall). My track is hardwired and has its own wall switch. Cost: $10 or $20 for the track. Find a Halo dealer through Cooper Lighting at www.cooperlighting.com.

    3. A 12-foot, three-wire Halo L950 Cord and Plug Connector with a grounded plug, 10-amp rating, or a hardwired setup. Cost: about $15 for the cord.

    4. One Halo fixture, model L2770 P (P is the color code for white, MB for black). The fixture costs $127 to $179, depending on the retailer, but it’s the only one I’ve found that allows this viewing setup to work properly. Beware of using the wrong one, for reasons I’ll explain later.

    5. One Halo L111 Soft Focus Lens. This glass disk with a bumpy surface goes into the fixture in front of the lamp to yield superior beam smoothness. Cost: $10 to $15.

    Mount the fixture directly over the monitor’s left side, pointed down and to the right, to illuminate prints held just to the right of the monitor. Put a bit of black mat board across the top of the monitor to keep from lighting up the dust on the face of the display. The top of the track (i.e., the ceiling) should be about 45 inches straight up from the center of the monitor to get the intensity right with the 36-degree SoLux lamp. SoLux also makes 24- and 17-degree beam angle versions, which should be mounted farther away, and so accommodate higher ceilings.

    The total cost is about $200 and maybe three hours of work, including mounting the track and getting the parts.

    The lamp works by releasing amber from its dielectric reflector-coated back, and reflecting bluish light out the front, resulting in a color temperature far higher that of the filament. The amber light must be totally absorbed by the fixture so as not to pollute the room with the wrong color of light (about 2000K). The 3000K light that comes out of the front at a wide angle to the beam, directly from the filament, must also be absorbed. Only the model L2770 ixture achieves sufficient absorption of this unwanted light. To illuminate a large-format print, all you need is two fixtures adjusted accordingly.

    This is a wonderful solution to a frustrating problem, and I love using it every day.
     
  2. TOF guy

    TOF guy

    208
    Mar 11, 2005
    This also something I was looking into! So thank you (again) Iliah for these great tips.

    Do you have a pic of your set-up by any chance? As you know, a pic is worth many words (or threads!)

    Thank you again,
    Thierry
     
  3. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    Dear Thierry,

    I use a different setup, because there are three of us working simultaneously. So we just have a normal darkroom with rail light (SoLux lamps, https://www.solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/colorproofkit.html?id=So2Uds3s , 4700K, white) in the far end of the room, with only 2 lamps on normally. Lamps are bounced from the white ceiling. Having a lamp near each working place we have too much cross-glare on the monitors, even with the hoods on the monitors. We just want something about 16 lux to see keyboards, the darker the better. Viewing proofs happens in a different room, with a light booth.

    The setup Holmes describing is good for solo studio.
     
  4. TOF guy

    TOF guy

    208
    Mar 11, 2005
    I'll look into installing the setup which John describes (couldn't find the piece on his web site, so thank you for describing it to us here).

    As a side-note, I must avoid bouncing light on my ceiling. I've always suspected that it's not quite neutral, a little yellow, and now I know this for a fact :biggrin:

    Thierry
     
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