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Not a dumb question at all!  Lighting isn't as straight forward as it might seem.  5000k is roughly the equivalent of sunlight during a winter day and puts out light with a distinct blue hue.  For a warmer light 3500K-3200K is often preferred.  For comparison the old "light bulb" is about 2800k and renders pretty orange.  The other issue to consider is CRI or Color Rendition Index.  That is a percentage of how close a light is to pure sunlight.  The higher the percentage the better.  A CRI of 80 or above is good.  90 plus is available at a premium.

Hope that helps without getting overly technical!

I am going through changing my fluorescent tubes to LED's in my basement where my layout is located and settled on 4000K LED's, but swapped panels from an opaque white to a clear frosted and like the effect; so you also have to consider whether the bulbs are going to be covered and, if so, with what type of panel.

If you go to the fluorescent/LED light bulb section of Lowes, most stores have a series of comparison photos in that area that show the difference in how various  "K" values make the scene look.

Although the "color" or "K factor" of the light is important, you should also look at the number of lumens produced by each type of bulb. The LED's I bought are 1,750 lumens which was bright enough for my use.

You may also want to consider, some of the LED's are dim-able, not all.   Recently noted that Exterior LED flood lamps seem to loose intensity a few LED modules at a time.

As noted below:  Lamps with multi color Primary LED's :   Magenta (Red),  Cyan (Blue),  and Yellow, can be controlled for different color combinations.  Something several years ago was an expensive project.

Last edited by Mike CT

It really depends on what you want to model. Time a of day, sunny weather ect.

I am going with led Par64 wash and spots dmx controlled. This will give me the ability to program a slow k shift from early morning to noon then sunset.

The spots will give single point source and a hard edge shadow like sunny days.

As a lighting designer when i was doing professional shows and the led technology first came out it would have been cost prohibitive but today consumer led stage lighting is so cheap the whole setup can be done almost for the price of a locomotive.

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