Why do compact fluro bulbs never seem as bright as incandescent GLS?

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The light out-put of a comparable CFL is the same as an old style GLS bulb – it’s just the way the eye perceives it that varies. The amount of light in the room or area would be the same, but it would be different to look at.
Some people think that an old fashioned clear bulb is brighter than a pearl bulb – it’s brighter to look at, yes, but doesn’t provide more light in a room.
As with many things in life, for a few extra dollars you will get a better quality bulb that lasts longer and emits a nicer light.