Nice controlled sampling, Rob. I didn't pursue the direct light photos as I thought reflected/perceived is what we are after.
Put the shots up in Photoshop and used Levels layer to measure reflected brightness resident in the photos. Evaluated highest focus light using lasso selection on two tolerances 50 and 75.
- Used an analog tube high definition monitor set to Adobe Gamma values. (Sorry guys, our LCD screens are garbage for precison processing. Particularly when you want WYSIWYG between the displayed and printed photo)
Based on this I would have to go with SubjectC or SubjectD
50 Tolerance- this is the hot center of the reflected light. About 2 or 3 feet as seen.
SubjectC is slightly brighter and yet tighter spread than SubjectD. SubjectA is a joke. SubjectB doesn't have the amount of energy of C and D.
75 Tolerance- bigger area, now about 4 or 5 feet. Same thing between SubjectC and SubjectD. SubjectB is falling a little further behind. SubjectA, bahahaha.
There was one idiosynchracy of SubjectD. When I checked the brightness of the darkness
, SubjectD is well ahead of the rest. So in the short range, SubjectD has a wider dispersion.
The questions begged by all of this... Are the differences between C, D and even B perceptually significant? I have no way to draw any statistical conclusions to that. Plus the eyeball and it'* neural accompanyment has its own preferences.
The bias I bring to the lights is that I have prefered the SSs. They behave like bringing the contrast up on your computer display. It doesn't seem that i have as much light as an OEM across the entire field of vision, but I can see moving and highly reflective objects from further away. Like streets signs, speed limit signs, deer etc.
edit: I do agree that $50 for one set of lights, and those things had better light things up like 46th and Broadway.