How Distance Affects

Foot-Candle Intensity


Updated: 05/26/2014   

2 feet 340 fc
4 feet 90 fc
6 feet 37 fc
8 feet 21 fc
10 feet 14 fc
12 feet 9.8 fc
14 feet 6.9 fc
16 feet 5.6 fc
18 feet 4.3 fc
20 feet 3.5 fc

Light measured on an object is inversely proportional to the distance the object is from the light source. Thus, doubling the distance that a light is from a subject results in one-quarter the number of foot-candles of light on a subject. (Remember, you can multiply foot-candles by 10 to get the approximate light levels in lux.)

Distance Flood Spot
5' 700 6320
10' 180 1720
15' 80 770
20' 45 440
25' 30 280
30' 20 195

The chart on the left shows the relationship between distance and foot-candles for studio LED and fluorescent lighting instruments.

The chart on the right shows how intensity diminishes when a 1,000-watt studio Fresnel is used in the flood and spot positions. The lamp distance, inverse-square law does not strictly hold when reflectors are used in lighting instruments such as Fresnels.

Even so, the relationship between light distance is important to know (especially on locations where dimmers are not commonly used) and lighting ratios between the various lights are being established. As you will note from these charts, a few feet of added distance will significantly diminish the brightness of light on a subject.

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