Lighting Simulation to Study Light

Hello, I’m currently a photographer but I liked to use Blender and want to use it to study light.
I want to use a human model with textures and set up some lights.
My question is: is Cycles a reliable renderer for this? Physically correct, as in, I can study it and apply that knowledge to real world light, or should I use luxrender?

I will use probably Sintel as the model, and some boxes of different sizes emitting light, is that a good way of simulating some different light sources?

Cycles is neither spectral nor completely physically accurate. You’d be better off with something like LuxRender, Thea, Maxwell, or Mitsuba.

Depends what aspects of light you want to study.

If its just photography flash setups (soft boxes, diffusers, reflectors, coloured gels etc) - then i’d say Cycles is just fine - you dont need spectral accuracy for stuff like that.

If on the other hand you want to study the physical properties of light (i.e. dispersion through materials, caustic patterns, diffraction etc) - then cycles is not currently capable.

I’m not sure it needs to be a really perfect physical simulation… I just want correct behavior in regards to shadows on the model
I had to look what’s spectral accuracy and, well, I don’t think I really need something that simulates real wavelengths.

I guess I will do some tests with LuxRender and compare it with Cycles. If Cycles looks close enough I might go with it.

Spectral renderers are more than just measuring light by wavelength, they also allow for more accurate material definitions. But if all you’re interested in is basic lighting, then Cycles is good enough at replicating shadow and bounce lighting. Lights have proper quadratic falloff. Your only issue might be transferring the energy values in Cycles to real world studio values.