From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Photoflood lamps are a type of incandescent light bulb designed for use as a continuous light source for photographic purposes.[1] The filaments of such lamps are operated at much higher temperatures than is the case for standard, general lighting service lamps. The result is a brilliance of light much higher than the lamp's wattage rating would suggest. The trade off is that the lamp has a very short service life of seldom more than ten hours.



Photoflood lamps were used by photographers and film makers as a continuous lighting source. However for photographers, such use has been overtaken by the use of high power studio flash units many of which also provide a lower power light for modelling purposes.[2] Film makers have turned to longer lasting tungsten halogen lamps which, in their turn, are being overtaken by light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.[3]


Photoflood lamps are still used in special cases by the motion picture industry. Where an illuminated lamp is required on set as part of the dressing, the light fall from a normal light bulb would not be visible on film as it would be swamped by the bright studio lighting. The ordinary lamp is replaced by a photoflood bulb whose intense light is easily visible on film (and if so required, is bright enough that it can form the sole illumination for the shot).[4]

Lamp characteristics[edit]

Photoflood bulbs are available in a number of sizes. The two most common sizes have these characteristics.[5]

120 volt lamps
Type Watts Lumens Lumens per watt Colour
temperature (K)
Avg. Life
ANSI code
100 watt lamp 100 1630 16.3 750[6]
No. 1 photoflood 250 6500 26 3200 20[7] ECA
No. 2 photoflood 500 17,800 35.6 3400 6[8] EBV

240 volt lamps
Type Watts Lumens Lumens per watt Colour
temperature (K)
Avg. Life
100 watt lamp 100 1200 12 2900 1000[9]
No. 1 photoflood 275 8500 30 3400 3[10]
No. 2 photoflood 500 14,400 28.8 3400 6[11]

Note that in each case an ordinary 100 watt lamp is provided for comparison purposes.


  1. ^ Photoflood lighting
  2. ^ Studio flash
  3. ^ Later products
  4. ^ Hollywood photoflood
  5. ^ Specifications
  6. ^ "GE Large Lamp Catalog" (PDF). GE. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Traditional Lighting" (PDF). EiKO. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  8. ^ "EBV-LN" (PDF). EiKO. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  9. ^ "satco S4079". Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  10. ^ 275W colour temp
  11. ^ "Dr Fischer Photo Lamp 500W 3400K Edison". Retrieved 19 November 2019.