We offer a few alternatives for your colour accurate lighting:
SoLux lighting is the most highly regarded lighting in the world, used by major galleries and institutions like the Van Gogh museum, the Vatican and the Guggenheim to light artworks and to produce reference photographs of the true appearance of their valuable materials.
Modern colour management uses a reference like source known as D50 - essentially a daylight type light source with a colour temperate of 5000K. SoLux 4700K bulbs offer the closest output to this reference lighting standard of across the full spectrum of light, making them the perfect light for colour proofing situations. There's no weird spikes in their output like you get with fluorescent light sources, so you can always trust the colour you're seeing under SoLux.
Not only perfect for colour proofing scenarios, they're of course also superb for the display of artworks - no more weird warm casts from tungsten bulbs or horrible blue/green light from fluorescent and LED.
They are also used in industries like automotive paint, display & creation of jewellery, and by many painters around the world in their studios to paint under. They are simply the best, most colour accurate lights available.
See below for some tips on choosing the right bulbs for your needs.
You can always trust the colour you're seeing under SoLux.
When choosing the right SoLux bulbs the first thing to understand is that all SoLux bulbs are only available as halogen downlight type bulbs with an MR16 (AKA GU5.3) fitting.
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, and normal bulbs versus the black backed bulbs.
If you are using your lights at ceiling height, you will want the 50W globes. If you are using track lighting, then you will most likely want to use the 35W bulbs as the 50s will be too bright at the shorter distance.
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 fixture.
If you want the most accurate light, go for the black backed bulbs.
With GrafiLites you just plug in, switch on, and can be assured that you're evaluating your prints in very good quality light.
GrafiLite lamps are a great colour accurate option for setting up a small, even portable, print viewing area.
The GrafiLite Mode illuminates an area around A3+ in size. It is a really simple system with a great quality light source. The GrafiLites are standard 240V lamps complete with GrafiLite colour accurate tubes. Just plug in, switch on, and be assured that you're evaluating your prints in very good quality light.
We use a couple of the Mode models in house to light a print table for print review - this system is used mainly for art reproduction work which requires very high accuracy.
The Fiilex V70 is our new LED lamp option for print evaluation. It offers similar colour accuracy to our GrafiLite lamp but is more energy efficient and has a long 50,000 hour lifespan.
It also features four colour temperature settings, and the ability to dim the light down to 20% making it a very simple solution for print viewing, and an excellent general purpose, high quality task light.
You can use these tubes simply to improve the general lighting in your work area (the improvement over standard fluorescent tubes is dramatic!) - they're the same tubes used in commercial lighting booths specifically used for pre-press scenarios, so they are excellent.