Color Balance Upon Dimming

Color balance retention upon dimming: Lamp color WILL stay balanced over the reasonable operating range (100% to 75%) of a fluorescent lamp, but the spectral distribution will change slightly as the lamp is dimmed. This is true for all fluorescent lamps and is simply a function of the technology of how a fluorescent lamp operates versus and incandescent lamp.

As you dim a fluorescent lamp, you lower the electrical current that is supplying the arc within the tube. This arc is invisible to the naked eye. What makes it visible is phosphors within the tube, each of which convert the arc into a different color that, when combined with all of the other phosphorous elements in the tube, create visible light. Since dimming does not change the quantity of those different phosphorous elements within the tube, only their temperature, the balance of color will remain the same as you dim. But since dimming results in a reduction of electrical current driving the creation and sustainability of the arc, the temperature of the arc will change, and so therefore, will the color temperature of the lamp, but only slightly so within that 75% to 100% reasonable operating range.

Thus a dimmed 3000Kelvin lamp may change to 2800Kelvin when dimmed (the color temperature will change), but the balance of colors within the lamp (the phosphors) will not change. This, again, is true for all fluorescent lamps. The extent to which this has an impact on your lighting your subject may be negligible, depending upon the specifications of your client.

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PrimeTime Lighting Systems, Inc.
(formerly KW/2)
4124 Billy Mitchell Drive
Addison, Texas 75001

Phone: 214-393-5998

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