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Subject: Lighting for copy photography

Lighting for copy photography

From: Frank A. Reynolds <fr0c>
Date: Wednesday, April 7, 1999
David Seubert <seubert [at] library__ucsb__edu> writes

>We just inherited a "new" copy stand from another department.
>Patrons use the stand to photograph/videotape items from our
>collections: book covers, photographs, manuscripts etc. It currently
>has four 150 watt Sylvania floodlights in it.
>Also, we recently had a photographer ask if he should bring tungsten
>or daylight film. Assuming that most photographers are going to be
>using daylight film, should we buy daylight temperature bulbs? Has
>anybody done this? Also, is it possible to get bulbs for a copy
>stand that filter UV light? I've looked through a couple of archival
>(but not photo) catalogs and haven't come up with anything.

The basic difference between daylight and tungsten film is the color
temperature that they are balanced for.  The standard for this is
the Kelvin (K) temperature scale.   Daylight film is balanced at
5500K, and most tungsten films are 3200K.  So depending on your
needs, use, and/or preferences, you must first decide on the type of
film you want to use, or decide on the type of lighting that you
want to use.  Usually the type of lighting used is the main issue
with copy-work.

Most electronic flashes in general use are rated at 5500K so they
can be used with daylight film.  For tungsten film you can obtain
250-watt lamps and 500-watt 3200K lamps (bulbs).  This means you
have either 500 or 1000 watts of light if you use 2 lamps, or 1000
or 4000 watts of light with 4 lamps.  I currently use 4, 250-watt
lamps for color film.

There are relatively lower wattage 5500K fluorescent lamps, which
start at $24.00 each.   The only company I know that makes fixtures
for them is Videssence (TV studios purchase them to light their
sets).  I received a quote on one of their fixtures in 1996 and they
"started" at $2500.00 (you will need two).  If you have that kind of
funding their URL is <URL:>

You will have to decide which lighting system is better for the
items in your collection.   My experience though shows that repented
handling of valuable work on a copystand probably is far more
detrimental to the work than the lighting.

A good book to start with when considering copy-work is:

    Copying and Duplicating in Black-and-White and Color
    Kodak publication M-1

Frank A. Reynolds
Graphics Manager
Hunt Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:80
                  Distributed: Thursday, April 8, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-80-003
Received on Wednesday, 7 April, 1999

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