Comparison Review of Lighting Fixtures

A Comparison of Light Fixture Output and Photometrics (Part Two): HMI Lights

To compare the photometric (light outputs) data of two fixtures is time consuming. Here’s a handy chart.

In Part One we compared light outputs or photometrics of various tungsten fixtures. In this part, we’ll compare their more powerful cousins, HMI (5600K, Daylight). The following manufacturers are represented:

  • Arri
  • Mole Richardson
  • Desisti
  • Broncolor
  • K5600
  • Briese
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If I’ve left out your favorite manufacturer or fixture, please forgive me. As far as I know there isn’t a similar comparison anywhere on earth, so I’m entitled to the most amount of mistakes.

Clarifications and caveats

Such a comparison cannot be completely accurate. There are too many types of fixtures, modifiers, bulbs and situations to make this scientifically accurate, so don’t expect it. Furthermore, nobody has the money to buy each and every fixture and modifier and subject them to controlled testing. Therefore, take note of the following caveats:

  • Information in the chart might be inaccurate or plain wrong. For correct data, refer to the manufacturers’ websites.
  • The ratings and figures are taken from the manufacturers’ websites, and no other sources. These ratings are as published by the manufacturers and might not factually bear out.
  • When more than one bulb-type is available, I’ve chosen the one with the greatest output.
  • Many models are left out because I don’t care about them!
  • The red letter in the chart means the distance is below safe limits.
  • Do NOT make decisions based on this chart. Perform your own research. You are solely responsible for your actions.
  • Just because some fixtures don’t show 120 V or 220V doesn’t mean the manufacturer doesn’t make them for those voltages. I couldn’t find info on it, that’s all.
  • The voltages are gross averages. They can range between legally acceptable values, and this will slightly affect photometrics, as I’ve written in How to Estimate if your Lights and Gear will work on Portable Generators and the Mains Power Supply.
  • HMI light fixtures operate at a standard voltage, and the ballast is usually configured to operate under the electrical standard (100-240V). This makes it somewhat difficult to compare apples to apples, but the results aren’t that far off to be a deal breaker.

The chart

So, how do you read the chart? I’ve divided it between manufacturers and fixtures. I’ve tried to find the footcandle and lux values at 20 feet, but some manufacturers prefer to rate their fixtures at different distances. Therefore, I’ve ‘normalized’ the reading to what it would be a 20 feet. I’ve included both numbers so you can make your own judgements.

Each light is compared to the Arri 650 Plus tungsten fresnel fixture, and the difference is written in stops. Negative stops means lower light output.

The final column lists the total lux output divided by the wattage, which gives us a pretty accurate indication of whether we are getting enough light by increasing wattage. Great comparison (if I say so myself), so I hope you find it useful. Here’s the chart (click to enlarge):

 Lighting Lumens Comparison HMI Fixtures

Somebody should give me an award. In Part Three we’ll cover LEDs, some fluorescents and Plasma. Maybe we’ll end up with some insights as well!

Exclusive Bonus: Download your FREE list: 25 Proven DIY and Cheap Lighting Gear that actually delivers cinematic results (PDF file optimized for mobiles and tablets).