What is the difference between a floodlight and a spotlight?

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cologneled's picture
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What is the difference between a floodlight and a spotlight?

What is the difference between a floodlight and a spotlight?

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Floodlight has a very wide beam and lights up a wide area in front of you. (Floody)

Spotlight has a very narrow beam and is good for looking at objects far away. (Throwy)

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Imagine that photons of light are water molecules.

Now picture a garden hose set to “stream” or “Jet”
What you get is all those molecules pushed together into one tight stream that projects out with power, but doesn’t cover much of an area.

Now set the same hose (with the same water flow behind it) to “Spray”
What you get is roughly the same amount of water flowing but it is in a wide open pattern that doesn’t go as far, but will cover everything in water.

Essentially the combination of reflector depth and style combine like the nozzle of a hose to give you Jet/Spotlight or Spray/Floodlight or somewhere in between the two.

Another consideration is that a regular garden hose, with a regular household flow behind it, might only project a few feet while getting everything wet.
If you were to hook the same rig up to a fire-hose with a higher flow, you can get a flood that still has some projection simply because it has SO MUCH water to throw out the front.

That last bit is why we sometimes say that the really powerful flood-style light still have “some throw to them” because they has such a huge bucket of photons to use.

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