I noticed a huge difference in light output from different bulbs. It really does boil down to "you get what you pay for"!!! The ~$90 AquaMedic 10K bulb was the brightest, nicest looking bulb I ever used, Ushio 10K weren't bad @ $40, and anything <$20 - forget it.
Well, now that I've got my handy dandy PAR meter, I could really do some analysis.
Those Fishneedit fixtures seem pretty sweet...
When they first came out, I figured "eh, cheap and crappy", but now that they've been out a while, I've heard really good things. As long as it's a good housing and good ballast, I can replace a cheap bulb.