SoLux bulbs are generally recognised as the best bulbs in the world
for colour reproduction. They will provide a much better and more
accurate print viewing environment than regular halogen downlights.
SoLux bulbs are special halogen downlight type bulbs with an MR16 (AKA Gu5.3) fitting, so if you have existing halogen downlight fittings in your
room, it is simply a matter of replacing your existing globes with SoLux
In Australia, this fitting is generally only found in ceiling
fittings, or track lighting, and NOT in lamps. Please check your light
fittings for compatibility with both the fitting and your chosen wattage
before purchasing bulbs.
Once you are sure you have a suitable fitting for the bulbs, the
choice comes down to 50 watt versus 35 watt, normal bulbs versus the
black backed bulbs, and the colour temperature.
If you are using your lights at ceiling height, you will want the 50W
globes. If you are using track lighting or have managed to find a
suitable lamp, then you will most likely want to use the 35W bulbs as
the 50W bulbs will be too bright.
Normal versus black backed
The black backed bulbs are definitely more expensive, but they are
also definitely the most accurate. The black backing blocks unfiltered
light from leaving the bulb through the back of the lamp. This
unfiltered light can bounce of your fitting and come back out the front
of the fixture, and will have a warmer colour temperature. This will
mean your regular bulb will, in practice, usually have a slightly lower
colour temperature than stated, but it does depend greatly on your
If you want the most accurate light, go for the black backed bulbs.
Given then bulbs last several thousand hours in normal use, the extra
expense over time in minimal for the accuracy gained.
Almost everyone should buy the 4700K bulbs as these give the best colour
accuracy and match to the D50 print viewing standard and to natural
daylight. Some people prefer a warmer light for gallery display,
particularly black and white photographers, so 3500K may be suitable in
those situations. This temperature is popular in European galleries, but
in general, Australians prefer cooler lighting - probably because of
our hot climate.
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