By Neil Bennett | on March 10, 2008
Price When Reviewed: 51 . 12.77
Pros: Accurate balanced colour output.
Cons: Only lights areas up to A4.
While it would be nice to think that all design studios have perfect lighting, many are bright, harsh and lit by fluorescent strips. This can make judging how your work will look under other lighting conditions difficult, which is best achieved by inspecting it under balanced lighting conditions.
The traditional way to achieve this is to buy a viewing booth, but these are bulky and expensive – you’d be hard pressed to find one costing less than £500. The new GrafiLite is around a tenth of that – and is light, compact and easily stored.
The GrafiLite has two parts that are hinged at the top: the base and the light. In use it’s quite sturdy on your desk, and then folds to about the same size as a bottle of wine.
Compared to most viewing booths, the GrafiLite illuminates a much smaller area. Entry-level booths can happily light A3+ sheets, and larger ones are available. The GrafiLite can realistically light areas up to just over A4, but had trouble with the oversized magazine you’ve got in your hands right now.
For smaller proofs and photos, though, the GrafiLite works perfectly. It produces light that’s similar
to daylight, and the change compared to fluorescent lighting is instantly noticeable.
Daylight has neutral colour characteristics, not favouring any shade or tone. The GrafiLite uses what its publicity materials call "a specially formulated blend of rare earth phosphors" to achieve this, which sounds like a shampoo ad – but to our eyes, the light balance is spot on.
Of course, you can’t guarantee that the final environment that your work will be lit by daylight – but it’s a good common ground to work from.
Colour Confidence says that the bulb inside the GrafiLite should last more than a year – and replacements cost less than £13. You’ll probably need an extension lead too, as the GrafiLite’s built-in cable is very short.
If you’re short on space and budget, and don’t need to light work larger than A4, then the GrafiLite is an innovative lighting system that’ll find favour with small studios.