Dimmers on soft lights?

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    • #49771

      A couple of times I’ve backed lights away or hung a diffuser to ease off the light for a better picture. I had thought about cutting wires and installing a dimmer on each light to get finer control. A friend said you can’t do that on neons. Does anyone know anything on the topic?

    • #203633

      take an extension cord, cut it, wire the the thing into an elctrical outlet box with a dimmer switch… now you got a universal dimmer of high quality..

      but not all lights are dimmable.. many cfls, led and neon type lights are not to be used with dimmers.
      also dimming affects color balance…

    • #203634


      Common dimmer for house are low quality and cannot give a constant light.All element light similar to tungsten are dimmable because you control the electron in the element wire, most neon are not dimmable because you need high voltage between electrode at both end of the tube and need 5000 to 15000 Volts for a spark from one electrode to the other electrode. The best way to control light is the wattage of the light and the distance from thelight source to the subject. As example new light box are made of 5 neon bulbs (swirl type) but you can use may be2 bulbs or you can use 5 bulbs or you can use the distance to control the light or the last hint place white paper or white cloth in front of the light (check soft box).

      Remember if you double the distance you have 4 times less light. The inverse is true, if you reduce the distance by 2 you obtain 4 time the light.

      Number of bulbs or neon you use


      Paper filter or cloth.



    • #203635

      Neon? You never dim neon because it works on High voltages, needed to excite the gas – you’re talking about fluorescent tubes – a totally different kind of light device. You can dim fluorescent if they’re designed for it – it just needs a different type of ballast in the fitting – but it’s expensive. In practical terms you can go up or down a stop without the colour balance changing too much. Running a dimmer at 70% gives you up to full or down to half without making much difference.

      Watch out for cheap household dimmers – they don’t really dim the light at all, they just change how much time it’s on for. So on half, the sine wave ac power has is applied for half the cycle, then goes off. The filament takes a while to cool down, so it appears dimmer. Some camera settings mean you see a visible flicker. professional dimmers have better filtering and this isn’t usually a problem.

    • #203636

      Thanks guys. That really clarified the area for me.

    • #203637

      $20.00 worth of lighting… going for a day for night look… done in studio, replicating a night camping scene inside a tent.. one is a halogen lamp on a homemade dimmer like I mentioned above…
      lighting does not need to be expensive….

    • #204277
      Reese Stone

      I don't have any idea with this topic but for me it depends on the nature of your work. In my case, I am doing wholesale fashion jewelry so I really need a lamp that will produce so much light especially that I'm having an eye defect.I can still keep this post of yours because I know in time, I might still use the information or the replies of other users.

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