An interesting clip from Robin Myers, "CIE Standard Illuminant A is specified as 2856 K and corresponds to a
standard tungsten lamp (not tungsten halogen!). Tungsten halogen lamps
can go higher in color temperature but never as high as 3800 K. Tungsten
melts at 3410 K +-20 K. The halogen allows the vaporizing tungsten to
deposit back onto the filament and the close proximity of the bulb walls
to the filament keeps the tunsten from depositing on the glass. If you
are using 3800 K lighting then it is a filtered lamp or a standard lamp
in a filtered housing. If it is a commonly available lamp, then someone
could measure one for you and send the emission spectrum. If it is a
custom filtered housing, then you would probably have to measure the
emission spectrum in situ.".
Also this"Can prints be made that do appear similar under different lighting, yes,
but... It is mainly a function of the colorants used, the substrate materials,
the display environment (e.g. surrounding colors) and the illumination (there
are other factors but they tend to be lower order effects). As the
illumination changes, the goals are to have prints that maintain their basic
color balance (e.g. do not acquire a color cast), memory colors remain
somewhat similar (e.g. sky stays blue, grass green, flesh tones maintain
healthy appearance) and the tonality of the image is maintained. Most printing
systems achieve this. The printing industry has worked on this issue for a
long time, specifically to address the metamerism issue and has selected
colorants and materials that minimize problems with illumination changes. As
an example, take a magazine page into different lighting. The images and
colors maintain their basic relationships even though they may be viewed under
tungsten, fluorescent, natural light, or combinations of these. The exact
color values do change, but the relationship to the whole image is maintained
within the tolerance of our acceptability."
And this from Chris Murphy, "> In the process of changing out the generic Halogen bulbs to the Solux
> 4700K bulbs I realized that this CANNOT be what is used in many fine
> art and modern art galleries around the world – the blue-shift was
> substantial and it took a Solux 3500K bulb to come close to what
> “seemed” neutral light. Also, the Kelvin rated bulbs made some art
> more flat…
At lower ambient light levels, rods in the retina become more sensitive
to blue light. It's similar to the sensation of things getting
bluer/cooler in appearance after the sun as set. So in a fine art
setting, something less than 5000K is as necessary as it is
> I understand that using a 5000K booth for viewing is standard but
> isn’t this standard more realistic in office-type atmospheres where
> Fluorescent lighting is abundant? If one is printing a digital fine
> art print that is expected to be viewed in a gallery-like atmosphere,
> isn’t 5000K too high of a rating for viewing such work?
It depends on the nature of the work, and the ambient light level.
Outdoor photography could reasonably be lit with more light, and also
something closer to 5000K, for example.
> I understand that 5000K is basically “sun straight up” noon but that
> reference point, it seems to me, should not be relevant to fine art –
> whether that be painting, giclee, dye-sub, photography, etc. I
> recently read that the Van Gogh Gallery uses Solux Halogen MR-16 bulbs
> but I find it hard to believe that they would use a bulb rated at
> 4700K with its slight bias toward the blue spectrum (as far as I can
> see). I am not an expert but I would like anyone experienced with
> this topic to please respond.
I don't know what they are using for certain, but I think they are
using the 3500K bulb, which is specifically marketed for museum use.
Interesting questions that result from this are, which of the following
methods produces better results, and are "better" results dictated by
more by the originator, viewer, or the artwork itself?
a.) Produce printer profile based on 5000K/D50 (most are), view under
ISO 3664 recommended conditions which is a fairly bright D50-based
environment for critical evaluation and any editing; and then display
the artwork in lower ambient light with a corresponding lower color
b.) Produce printer profile based on custom spectral power distribution
(e.g. 3500K SoLux), view under that condition for critical evaluation
and editing; and display artwork under that same condition.
I think when the SPD's are similar, just the amount of light and the
color temperature are being reduced, I think a.) would work as well as
b.) perhaps with a little more effort. But if the SPD's are not the
same between the two light sources, then I think the way to go is
I couldn't find the article on museum ISO lighting, but it should be somewhere on the web.