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LED Strip vs Tube Lights in an existing T8 fixtures for Art Studio
I am helping my father order new lights for his art studio. We want to order LED lights to replace his T8 daylight fluorescent bulbs. We have two fixtures that hold six bulbs each. One fixture has a bad ballast that needs replacing; the other ballast was recently replaced.
I am trying to decide between T8 tube LEDs or adhesive LED strip lights. Your NorthLux 95 CRI T8 LED Tube for Art & Studio will work fine, but I will need to replace the ballast, correct? Or is there an easy workaround for that?
I heard that the tube lights waste a bit of luminosity because the light is directed upwards instead of all downward into the living (studio) area. On the contrary, strip lights are more efficient because ALL the light is directed toward the living area. So they are "brighter" and more lumens are shining directly into the living space. Correct?
If this is so, what product do you recommend for the strip lights for an art studio/gallery space? High CRI and color-accurate lighting are critical. My father is a professional portrait painter and color accuracy is (obviously!) important.
Both our T8 LED tube lights and LED strip lights sound like a great option for your father's new art studio!
In regards to your first question, you are correct on both the ballast as well as the "wasted" light situation. Unlike traditional fluorescent lamps, however, our T8 LED tube lights do not have a full 360 degree beam angle and are actually closer to 320 degrees, so there may be less concern with respect to wasted light.
For an LED strip light solution, you will also want to consider the additional complexity of wiring and installation, as well as the additional component cost with power supplies and other accessories. That being said, we would perhaps recommend either our ABSOLUTE SERIES LED strip lights (99 CRI) or CENTRIC DAYLIGHT LED strip lights (95 CRI); links below:
As an alternative to LED strip lights, our T5 linear lamps could also be a viable option; we have provided a link for this product below:
Regarding tubes versus the strips, is there a noticeable difference in the amount of light received? Does each tube have one strip within it, or multiple strips? Is the wattage used the same?
The LED strip lights emit 450 lumens per foot, so this equates to approximately 1800 lumens for a 4-foot section, making this approximately equal to the 1800 lumens emitted by the 4-ft T8 lamp. The LED strip lights emit light in a narrower angle of 120 degrees, however, so they may be even better at reducing "wasted" lumens as we discussed prior.
The other advantage is that LED strip lights would provide you with the ability to quickly scale up or down the amount of brightness needed by installing multiple rows. Since the LED strips are quite narrow (less than half an inch), you would be able to install multiple rows in a fixture without worrying too much about footprint issues.
Is the T8 NorthLux light more suitable for art/gallery use than the strip options? The NorthLux is the only one in which there is text or reviews citing art studio/gallery use. I had assumed the Filmgrade White would be the best for artists and color rendition.
They all offer 95 CRI and 5000K, so we would not say that one is more suitable than the other. The product pages are shown primarily for marketing purposes, so if you're interested in the LED strip approach, that would certainly be fine.
The FilmGrade LED strip lights offer a color temperature of 5600K which is specific to the TV & film lighting industry. It is a perfectly suitable color temperature for art and gallery use, though keep in mind that it would not match any of the industry standards for printing or digital arts (D50 and D65, respectively).
I noticed that the Absolute offers less lumens (375/ft compared to 450/ft for the Centric and the NorthLux). Is the difference noticeable?
Yes, the difference would be noticeable, as the light output is approximately 15-20% less. That being said, installing multiple rows of the ABSOLUTE SERIES could be an easy way to make up for any brightness loss.
Lastly- (sorry for all the questions!)- if I order the T8 bulbs for my existing fluorescent fixtures, I can bypass the existing ballasts by connecting the incoming 120v wires to the blue/red wires that feed each of the "tombstones" that hold the T8 pins? Here's a short video showing that procedure: https://youtu.be/ts4dW8kLefY.
Yes, that would be a perfect way to ensure compatibility. we've included the installation manual for the T8 lamps below, which has information on wiring configurations:
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LED strip lightsT8 LED tube lightsArt studio lightingT5 linear fixturesFluorescent replacements