I have found that a lot of CF lights need a couple of
minutes to reach full brightness, which really
limits their usefulness. For example, I think
they are useless in bathrooms, where you walk
in, turn on a light, and want the light right away,
for a brief period.
They work better for applications where you turn the
lights on and leave them on all evening.
I would think that a drop light definitely falls
in the first category.
I have seen this slow-startup problem only in the
lamps. Other types of fluorescents to not seem
to suffer from it.
Also, my house has lots of those 65 watt
recessed ceiling floods, and I have replaced about 2/3
of them with CF bulbs. I have found that they
do not last any longer than the incandescent bulbs.
But that style incandescent bulb is rather expensive,
almost as much as the CF version, so the lifetime
is not such an issue for me.