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Thread: High CRI and its significance

  1. #91
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by precisionworks View Post
    Does anyone else find it funny that the Pantone color checker seems expensive to some people? Most everyone who posts in this section has at least $400-$500 invested in their McGizmo, with some members (not to mention names like Yaesumofo) investing much more.
    Well, in my world where I qualify for EIC $70 dollars represents 70 frozen pizzas or 350 packs of Ramen soup, so yes it is a big expense considering it's something which I would admittedly find useful but which isn't absolutely essential. And I'll add that with nearly everybody these days owning a digicam there might be a huge market for color checker charts among serious amateurs if the price were closer to $10. I know the R&D to make these isn't trivial. I also know setting up the manufacture isn't trivial, either. However, once that's done it doesn't cost a whole lot more to bang out 100 million of these instead of perhaps half a million. The incremental cost of making another is well under $10 I'm sure. I guess it depends which business model you prefer to follow as a company. Some prefer to deal in small quantities of products which a high profit margin. Others prefer to mass market products and make money on volume.

    BTW, I personally don't buy $400 lights because I just don't see the value, and frankly couldn't afford them even if I did. Sure, they're definitely better than almost all $12 lights and most $50 lights, but not enough IMO to justify the huge markup. Some people I know have had issues with switches or tints or poor efficiency converters on these expensive lights. Now I almost expect that on a $12 light, might be mildly tolerant of it on a $50 light if it rarely occurred, but things like that just shouldn't happen at all on a $400 light. Isn't part of the high price because you are buying the best that can be made, and having some assurance that it's thoroughly tested before it gets in your hands? In theory yes, but sadly in practice I've seen otherwise. Same thing with clothes. I've looked at $250 pants or shirts that seemed like garbage. The fabric was paper thin. They didn't seem like they would outlast $10 items from Modells. So exactly what are the extra bucks for? Snob appeal because it has a label? A lot of the same thing exists with high-end lights. Hey, it's a (fill in expensive brand name), it must be worth paying more for. I've taken some of these lights apart for examination and believe me, most are nothing special underneath the fancy body. A lot of it is just plain bling but few will say so. Sure, many of them are absolutely worth $75, $100, even $150, but once we start getting into $500 territory most aren't. That being said, I have seen some $1000 lights which easily justify their price.

    While I won't quite say exactly the same thing exists for these color checker cards, I think they can do way better on price but they would rather cater solely to a niche market in small quantities and therefore price them accordingly. I really hope the Chinese get in on this business. My guess is they can make something just as good, but sell it for $10 or less while still making a decent profit. They've done some wonderful things with LEDs so long as you're able to separate the wheat from the chaff (of which plenty admittedly exists).

  2. #92

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    But most of us here, given the choice between a nifty set of almost 2000 color tiles, and a LunaSol 20, would take the LS20 over the tiles in a heartbeat.
    Funny you would say that, as I have a LS20 in the mail ... but I'm also going to order a Gretag Macbeth color checker, probably in the mini size. When you total the cost of admission for a Sundrop + a LS20, the color checker adds only another 7%
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  3. #93
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    This thread has inspired me to pick up an X-Rite i1Display 2 . I had a Spyder3Pro on order, but just cancelled it in favor of the i1Display 2 after reading through a few more articles...
    强光手电是我最爱得

  4. #94

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    That's a pretty cool program ... eager to see your results.
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  5. #95
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    . . .

    BTW, I personally don't buy $400 lights because I just don't see the value, and frankly couldn't afford them even if I did. Sure, they're definitely better than almost all $12 lights and most $50 lights, but not enough IMO to justify the huge markup. Some people I know have had issues with switches or tints or poor efficiency converters on these expensive lights. Now I almost expect that on a $12 light, might be mildly tolerant of it on a $50 light if it rarely occurred, but things like that just shouldn't happen at all on a $400 light. Isn't part of the high price because you are buying the best that can be made, and having some assurance that it's thoroughly tested before it gets in your hands? In theory yes, but sadly in practice I've seen otherwise. Same thing with clothes. I've looked at $250 pants or shirts that seemed like garbage. The fabric was paper thin. They didn't seem like they would outlast $10 items from Modells. So exactly what are the extra bucks for? Snob appeal because it has a label? A lot of the same thing exists with high-end lights. Hey, it's a (fill in expensive brand name), it must be worth paying more for. I've taken some of these lights apart for examination and believe me, most are nothing special underneath the fancy body. A lot of it is just plain bling but few will say so. Sure, many of them are absolutely worth $75, $100, even $150, but once we start getting into $500 territory most aren't. That being said, I have seen some $1000 lights which easily justify their price.

    While I won't quite say exactly the same thing exists for these color checker cards, I think they can do way better on price but they would rather cater solely to a niche market in small quantities and therefore price them accordingly. I really hope the Chinese get in on this business. My guess is they can make something just as good, but sell it for $10 or less while still making a decent profit. They've done some wonderful things with LEDs so long as you're able to separate the wheat from the chaff (of which plenty admittedly exists).
    jtr,

    I would like to condsider the application of your comments in terms of this forum, and Don's lights even though I realize they were of a more general nature than this.

    For starters, even if you wanted to buy one of Don's lights, you probably wouldn't be able to. Even if you had the cash on hand right now, and were hot to own one certain model, you'd probably have to expend no small amount of time and effort to actually find one for sale. There have been half a dozen times over the past two or three years or so where I've been ready to buy a PD light from Don but none were available. Then the expendable funds I had on hand kind of went towards other things.

    Think on that for a second or two, jtr. Do you want to know why you won't be buying a McGizmo light? It's not just because you don't have the money for one. It's not just because you don't see the value in owning one. It's also because you actually probably just won't have the opportunity to buy the one you want.

    So you can imagine what sort of overtones of feeling your post brings up in me, jtr. I won't say your post is rude, because I know you don't mean it that way, and you have every right to express your opinion, of course. But I will say that I do find your post to be distasteful and tactless.

    The cost of a custom, limited production, very small run light or knife or handcrafted item can't be justly compared to a mass produced light. And I say this mainly because of this comment of yours: "Sure, they're definitely better than almost all $12 lights and most $50 lights, but not enough IMO to justify the huge markup." A "markup" implies that percentage of the cost of the light to the consumer which is added onto the production cost of the light, which is parts, labor, R&D, etc. If we want Don to make these lights that we all (or some of us) love so much, we have to pay for his labor. Not what the labor costs of a factory worker on a production line are, not what an unskilled worker would cost, but HIS costs, so that HE can live, and live well from the profits he makes as a custom light maker. It's not a markup in my opinion, jtr.

    In terms of supply and demand, Don isn't charging enough. Those who buy his lights direct from him can turn around and sell them here for a significant MARKUP over what they paid. Go take a look for yourself.

    Don made my LunaSol 20 for me, and it was worth every penny of the $500 I paid for it. It is worth more than that to me. And I'm proud and happy to be part of the customer base which is supporting Don's work. Despite the fact that we've never met, I consider Don a friend, and I admire and respect him and his work. The LunaSol 20 is the finest EDC--for my needs--yet produced, and I couldn't buy another light from anyone else that does what this one does at any price.

    My LS20 is a work of art, and it's an honor to carry it. Your post misses the mark by a mile, jtr. I understand what you're saying, and in another context I would have no problem with it. But here? I find it distasteful.

    Just my two cents.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  6. #96

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    I do find your post to be distasteful and tactless
    +1

    JS, you said that so much more ... tactfully ... than I could or would have
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  7. #97
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    I really hope the Chinese get in on this business. My guess is they can make something just as good, but sell it for $10 or less while still making a decent profit. They've done some wonderful things with LEDs so long as you're able to separate the wheat from the chaff (of which plenty admittedly exists).
    The Chinese are not going to make the SunDrop for $10. First of all, if they do it is only because they are copyingy somebody else's efforts. Secondly the SunDrop body is made out of Titanium and the optics out of Saphire crystal, both of which ares expensive material to start with. Add in his time to research and develop the product and its limited run production, I don't think $400 is out sight. Still, the SunDrop at $400 is not a light that everyone can justifiy to buy even given their other spending priorities. I would love to own a Porche but I have learned to accept I never will; my Honda gets me to work and back just fine.
    I am not going to cry that the Porche isn't worth it for those who already bought one. Finally, for people like you who want the features of the SunDrop without paying for all the frills, you can now buy the light engine and build your own at a very affordable price. If all Don wanted was to do was offer an elitist product that you couldn't afford, he would have never given you the chance to build your own light with the guts of his newest model.

  8. #98
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    js,

    I hear what you're saying and I figured someone would chime in about my post. I fully understand why custom light makers here charge what they do but did you read the rest of my post? There is a certain amount of fixed cost in terms of R&D, tooling, time to acquire parts, etc. which goes into making a new light. My problem is that once all this is done (it's a lot of work agreed-been there, done that) why only amortize these fixed costs on a small run of, say, 25 or 50 lights, when there is often demand for 200 or 500, even at the higher price? And by making a larger production run, you can actually decrease the sales price further, creating yet more demand. This is a business choice I frankly don't understand. Everything I design I do with the thought of producing thousands, if not more, should the demand be there.

    Let's do some numbers so this becomes clearer. Let's say a new light requires 200 hours of design work, and let's say the designer considers $75 an hour to be enough to make it worth their while. Furthermore, let's say the tooling costs are $10000. That's $25000 in fixed costs whether you make one light or 1 million. Now let's further say that the machining, material and parts costs per light are $60. Now let's add 1 hour per light for assembly and testing, and let's say that the maker is happy making $25 an hour for this part of the operation. Furthermore, let's add $10 per light for S&H. The labor is really the profit here since we're talking about a one-man operation, so no need to add in sales margins. If you add all that up we get marginal costs of $95 per light.

    Now lets do some numbers. On a production run of 25 lights we have total fixed costs of $25000 plus marginal costs of 25x$95, for a total of $27375. This means a total purchase price with shipping of $1095 per light. So yes, easy to see why these extremely low production runs cost what they do.

    Now lets increase the run to 250 units. It is still feasible to make a run like this in a one-man shop. I've done bigger runs of circuit boards and stuff in my 7x11 workroom, and I'm very disorganized plus have pretty severe CTS. A person with better use of their hands plus more organization could undoubtedly make runs of 1000 or more, but let's stick with 250. Even I could do that. Doing the numbers our fixed costs remain the same, marginal costs are 250x$95, and price per light with shipping comes to $195. Now the prices are starting to get into the realm where demand will creep up significantly. Also note that I didn't even account for the very real possibility of a lower marginal cost per light due to the larger quantities. This is especially true with electronics where buying 250 versus 25 represents a huge decrease in unit cost. Additionally, it bears mention that when you make large numbers of anything, you can often set yourself up in ways to substantially reduce your time outlay per unit. The time needed for this setup when making only 25 units might be more than the time saved in manufacture, but with 250 units you'll almost definitely have a net time savings. I didn't account for this possibility, either. My educated guess if both things are taken into account is the sales price per light drops to $165.

    One thing I didn't analyze yet is how much money actually ends up in the pocket of the person making these versus their total time. First off, we have a fixed time of 200 hours before any lights are made for which the manufacturer wants to be paid $15000. Then we have an incremental assembly time of one hour per unit for which the manufacturer is happy with $25. All the other expenses to make a light are for parts. So for 25 lights there is 225 hours of labor for $15000 plus 25x$25, or $15625 total. Per hour this comes to $69.44. Doing the same thing for 250 lights give us 450 hours and $21250 total, or $47.22 per hour. Obviously by making more lights you'll make less per hour but you'll make more total. Moreover, note that the investment in time to make 250 lights is twice what is required to make only 25. This sounds like a lot more bang for your R&D time. Moreover, even if you want to make the same for assembly labor as you do for R&D, this only increases the price of the light by $50. So you end up with $1145 per light in 25s but only $245 in 250s. You make the same per hour regardless of how many lights you make, but the customer benefits with a lower sales price, and you make more money overall. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. I also slogged through the numbers for 1000 units. You end up with $120 each for $25/hour assembly, or $170 each for $75/hour assembly.

    Bottom line-if the demand is really there it makes a lot more sense to produce things by the hundreds or thousands, not 25 or 50 at a time. Any time I hear things like "It's also because you actually probably just won't have the opportunity to buy the one you want." this tells me there's more money to be made. Even if I didn't or couldn't make something personally to satisfy a very large demand, I would outsource the less critical parts and simply do the final assembly/testing/quality control myself. I know by making very low runs of stuff it lends a certain air of exclusivity to a product but it also represents lost potential profits. Also, none of my post is directed at Don in particular or for that matter anyone else here who makes small runs of lights in their "garage". Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do. For some it's just a side business. For others they may not have the time or physical ability or room. Rather, most of my ire is directed at rather large manufacturers who have people who actually know all these numbers, and then they choose to make "exclusive" low-run products, often priced well above the norm relative to their costs. These are precisely the $500 lights or even $200 lights whose worth I fail to see. For somebody like Don, I might simply think of a $500 sales price as helping to support someone who does a lot of good for the community. However, were I to personally sell anything around here, I'm going for the jugular with the lowest prices and highest quantities I can make consistent with maintaining quality acceptable to me and my customers. That's just the way I do all my business since I personally appreciate quality but low cost products. I've already come pretty close to beating the Chinese on price for a regulator board I assembly and sell to somebody while maintaining much better quality (hint-they're all tested and actually work within specs before shipping). The redesigned version will cost $0.50 less and take me 2/3rds of the time to assemble.

    I also agree this was probably the wrong forum to bring this up but something about those color chart prices struck a raw nerve.
    Last edited by jtr1962; 06-16-2008 at 12:54 PM. Reason: math error

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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by BabyDoc View Post
    The Chinese are not going to make the SunDrop for $10. First of all, if they do it is only because they are copyingy somebody else's efforts. Secondly the SunDrop body is made out of Titanium and the optics out of Saphire crystal, both of which ares expensive material to start with. Add in his time to research and develop the product and its limited run production, I don't think $400 is out sight.
    Please go back and reread my post. I said the Chinese could probably produce an excellent color checker chart for $10, not a Sundrop. Also, read my post right above this one. I did an analysis where I showed that a $400 price for low runs of such a light is easily justified.

  10. #100
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Hi guys,
    As I was going to respond that I felt the bone of contention was more directed at the color checker than my lights, I see jtr1962 has responded with a long cost and business analysis. I don't have enough caffeine in me yet to follow his thoughts and frankly probably won't. The one thing he keys on that I agree with in general but not in specific is the economy of scale presumed available to me and likewise to be enjoyed by those getting lights from me.

    IMHO, if most of the Ti lights I have made were done on a larger scale and by a legitimate business, they would need to sell for well over $1000 ea. and I think the demand for them at those prices would be slim indeed!! That some now sell for prices near that in the BST is primarily due to the scarcity of the light and not its perceived intrinsic value.

    To bring out thousands of a light in a timely fashion would require employees and overheads which I don't have to factor in at present. I am a little guy with limited time and I think as things stand, the market for these lights is a small niche. To expand the market would require marketing and marketing to be effective requires a certain amount of hype and ra ra that is not in my nature what so ever.

    I would like to build more lights and in a quicker time frame than has been the case. This would require a better relationship with vendors I have who as often as not have been the bottle neck for me to date. I have a major disruption in flow at present due to lack of converters and a need to find new solutions and sources. The LunaSol 20 as presently configured is way too labor intensive for me but it is what it is and I happen to believe in it to the point I am willing to keep on trudging away at it. It is conceivable that the SunDrop could use light engines assembled via outsourcing and this would limit the demand of my time in assembly significantly. However getting to a point where outsourcing would be viable would require bridging a significant gap in both quantity as well as identifying and training such an outsource.

    Folks can second guess and better guess what I am up to all they want but I don't have to spend time at that party and don't feel inclined to. I spend enough time as it is trying to identify a path that I can follow. It's a path that rarely has foot prints on it. Therein lies much of the fun and challenges as well as some danger and a need for some caution. Don't know if any of this makes sense and ultimately don't care because it is certainly not germane to High CRI and its significance!

    I agree that it would be cool if the color checker was a mere $10. It isn't and I decided that I wanted one for any number of reasons and was willing to pay the price of admission. Hopefully, as a tool and means of gathering insight and information it will prove to have been worth it. Only time will tell.

    While typing away I see that jtr1962 is adding to his position and his defense (no offense taken, BTW). I think stating that the Chinese could build a color checker for $10 is a good subject for debate. My curiosity is just how "true" are those color samples and what defines "true". If there is something inherent in the material that makes these colors more consistent across various light sources and this requires expenses in production that none of us are aware of, it could be a good example of the "real thing" and an inexpensive copy looking to be the same on the surface but where it counts, they could be miles apart. With differences unknown, the essence not of our ken, we can assume right and left but perhaps not correctly?!?!

    Ignorance always provides an easy foothold but one that always gives way when any load or force of significance is applied. I speculated on the possible utility in something like the color checker a couple days ago without knowing any such device existed. Now I have something akin to what I was proposing on order and headed my way. What I don't know about this thing is basically everything. Could it be made offshore at a fraction of its current price? I have no idea! For all I know, it may well be made offshore and the selling price might be justified or a case where great margin is enjoyed due to lack of competition in the market for these or the nature of an inelastic demand for such an item, with the suppliers in full control. I doubt we will ever see a color checker on an end cap in a Target store!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  11. #101
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Thanks for your insightful post, Don. None of my posts were in any way directed at you or your business. I'm not privy to what's involved in your getting out a light, nor do I need to be. My post simply stated what I would do, from my own personal point of view, and my thoughts regarding what I consider overpricing of mass produced products. This obviously and most definitely does not include your great line of lights here. I'll also give you a little background since it may puzzle others as to why I feel so strongly. Well, my father spent (i.e. wasted IMO) large sums of money when baseball card manufacturers suddenly went from low-cost bubble gum cards to "designer" sets. Sure, he bought the cheaper stuff also but like many others in the hobby, he had to have everything. It annoys me to this day that these companies increased their profit margins with "limited editions", "anniversary sets", and so on at the expense of easily duped people like my father. We still have a basement full of stuff which is now practically worthless but for which he paid a pretty penny. It is precisely this milking of markets and taking advantage of weak-minded people via slick advertising which annoys me. The costs to make the exclusive sets were probably not much more than the old-school cards, but they sold for 5 times as much. Note that unlike any flashlight, most of the things he bought had zero intrinsic value (they are pieces of cardboard, nothing more). And when I saw the color checker chart I simply saw another overpriced piece of cardboard and my ire was raised.

    That's all on this from me. I may continue this subject of overpricing in the CAFE where it really belongs.

    Now back to high-CRI. Don, have you every experimented with RGBA? I'm finding that the addition of amber to RGB helps a lot. Before I did so, my skin tones looked too pink compared to how they look in sunlight. Afterwards, it was just right.
    Last edited by jtr1962; 06-16-2008 at 01:22 PM.

  12. #102
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    jtr1962,
    I have experimented very little with multi colors given the need for sophisticated drivers to have any real control over them. I am convinced that if someone came up with an array of multiple LED's of colors and at drive levels appropriate to approximate the full spectrum of the sun that you would indeed have a great light source! Getting the photons to distribute among themselves evenly would not be trivial nor would the package or driving of such a beast be trivial.

    As an aside, I believe the Cree 4x was packaged with access to each dice individually with thoughts towards multi colored dice within. Four dice you could have your RGBA in one package.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    I normally try to avoid piping up unless I feel my comments will add something to the conversation. But here, I think they will.

    Jtr, I think there's an important distinction here, and it has to do with why Don builds his lights: is it for business or for pleasure?

    From a strictly monetary point of view, there's no question that Don could make more money on his lights. We all know that there's an incredible demand for them. And since he incurs the vast majority of his costs upfront - by designing the lights, sourcing the components, and building prototypes, etc. - the incremental cost to produce more lights would be minimal. Jtr, your analysis on this one was spot on: building additional lights during each run would cost him little, but would lead to a better supply at a lower price.

    But I suspect that making money isn't the only reason Don makes his lights. Building even a few more lights in each run would take him away from doing what he really loves: exploring the frontiers of light.

    As long as people are willing to pay the high prices for these lights, they'll continue to fund Don's forays into the unknown: the reflectorless mule, the high-CRI sundrop, the now-classic PD. The sale of these lights supports his exploration, and that exploration yields incredible results. Selling more lights would bring him more money, but would come at the expense of the time and effort he needs to design groundbreaking lights. Given a limited amount of time, I think he just chooses to spend more of it tinkering and inventing than running a business.

    - FITP

    (Don, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...)
    Last edited by FlashInThePan; 06-16-2008 at 02:35 PM.
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  14. #104
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    FITP,
    There is some truth in what you have said but when it comes to Ti components, the incrimental expenses are not trivial and the time required to build them is not trivial as it is finite. The time I spend on CPF and in answering e-mails is time not available for something else.

    The time I spend discussing my business is time not spent doing my business or even discussing High CRI and its significance.

    JTR1962,

    If the color checker is nothing more than a piece of cardboard with a colored paint on it, I hope there is something quite special about the paint for the price paid!! There may be something special and expensive about the paint and/ or process.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    I I can't stand reading posts like this written by people who just don't know how wrong you are regarding the price of the color checker. (and likley other calibrated standards)

    Here is how it works.
    The color checker is a tool. It represents a STANDARD.
    As an aside if you have a tool like a light meter you spend significantly MORE for a light meter if it has been calibrated to a traceable standard compared to one that has not been calibrated.

    The color checker is used (as just one example) in the production of motion pictures. It is photographed by the cameras (both video and film) and allows the EXACT calibration for a process called color timing of the filing process. That means that you can take multiple medias and films and make them all look alike.
    The bottom line here is they use these things on 100 MILLION dollar motion pictures EVERY DAY and as a tool they are extremely valuable.
    If it is so easy and if it is just a hunk of cardboard with some printed color squares on it . I challenge you to make one..let alone reproduce them in the hundreds and make all of them exactly alike so they quality to be a STANDARD.
    I dont you could do it.
    Your entire post is full of holes and holds no water not to mention that it is WAY off topic.

    Yaesumofo



    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    Well, in my world where I qualify for EIC $70 dollars represents 70 frozen pizzas or 350 packs of Ramen soup, so yes it is a big expense considering it's something which I would admittedly find useful but which isn't absolutely essential. And I'll add that with nearly everybody these days owning a digicam there might be a huge market for color checker charts among serious amateurs if the price were closer to $10. I know the R&D to make these isn't trivial. I also know setting up the manufacture isn't trivial, either. However, once that's done it doesn't cost a whole lot more to bang out 100 million of these instead of perhaps half a million. The incremental cost of making another is well under $10 I'm sure. I guess it depends which business model you prefer to follow as a company. Some prefer to deal in small quantities of products which a high profit margin. Others prefer to mass market products and make money on volume.

    BTW, I personally don't buy $400 lights because I just don't see the value, and frankly couldn't afford them even if I did. Sure, they're definitely better than almost all $12 lights and most $50 lights, but not enough IMO to justify the huge markup. Some people I know have had issues with switches or tints or poor efficiency converters on these expensive lights. Now I almost expect that on a $12 light, might be mildly tolerant of it on a $50 light if it rarely occurred, but things like that just shouldn't happen at all on a $400 light. Isn't part of the high price because you are buying the best that can be made, and having some assurance that it's thoroughly tested before it gets in your hands? In theory yes, but sadly in practice I've seen otherwise. Same thing with clothes. I've looked at $250 pants or shirts that seemed like garbage. The fabric was paper thin. They didn't seem like they would outlast $10 items from Modells. So exactly what are the extra bucks for? Snob appeal because it has a label? A lot of the same thing exists with high-end lights. Hey, it's a (fill in expensive brand name), it must be worth paying more for. I've taken some of these lights apart for examination and believe me, most are nothing special underneath the fancy body. A lot of it is just plain blind but few will say so. Sure, many of them are absolutely worth $75, $100, even $150, but once we start getting into $500 territory most aren't. That being said, I have seen some $1000 lights which easily justify their price.

    While I won't quite say exactly the same thing exists for these color checker cards, I think they can do way better on price but they would rather cater solely to a niche market in small quantities and therefore price them accordingly. I really hope the Chinese get in on this business. My guess is they can make something just as good, but sell it for $10 or less while still making a decent profit. They've done some wonderful things with LEDs so long as you're able to separate the wheat from the chaff (of which plenty admittedly exists).
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  16. #106
    Flashaholic* AndyTiedye's Avatar
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Color is obviously important to me!
    A color checker seems like it might be worthwhile.
    I have quite a bit invested in lights, and quite a bit in camera gear.
    The cost does not seem out of line.
    Looking forward to a review when you get it.

  17. #107

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    I don't have any clue whether it's technically feasible to reproduce the chart for a low printing cost or not. But it's a somewhat moot point, as it would cost you as much in lawyers as you saved in material costs. For better or worse, pantone protects what it considers to be it's intellectual property, and china aside, you're unlikely to easily find a comparable alternative. The price, value, and cost to produce a product are often unrelated to each other, so long as the latter is less than the preceding two numbers.

    So, given that we can't do much about that (beyond choosing to buy one or not) I'm curious to hear about the strengths and weaknesses of the ones that are available. Upon reading such claims as "... reflect light the same way in all parts of the visible spectrum" I almost wonder if this isn't the opposite of what we're looking for? I mean it sounds like the color square here are intended to look consistent, so you can check them against the color of whatever your actual object of focus is. But I think that in our case we're looking for the differences instead. If these squares look consistant under the light of a cree mule and sundrop, what have we learned about the leds in question? If we can highlight the differences between the two leds, then perhaps we would have a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and uses of each?
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  18. #108
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by yaesumofo View Post
    I I can't stand reading posts like this written by people who just don't know how wrong you are regarding the price of the color checker. (and likley other calibrated standards)
    I started a new thread on this topic in the CAFE where it really belongs. I replied to your post there. Please let's not further pollute this interesting thread with this off-topic discussion.

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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by iconoclast View Post
    Upon reading such claims as "... reflect light the same way in all parts of the visible spectrum" I almost wonder if this isn't the opposite of what we're looking for?
    To me honestly the claim that the card reflects light the same way in all parts of the visible spectrum makes no sense in the context of color. Something which reflects light the same way over the entire visible spectrum will by definition appear neutral (i.e. white, black, or some shade of gray). By definition something which is colored doesn't reflect light over the entire spectrum the same way. What I think they're referring to here is the card's reflectance. In other words, all of the squares are equally shiny or matte.

    As to whether or not this is what we're looking for, I honestly can't answer that without knowing more about how these cards are produced. For example, does the yellow square only reflect light in a narrow band from let's say 570 to 590 nm, or does it reflect a wider range of wavelengths centered around 580 nm (either way it would appear the same color to our eyes under the same light). I suggested a way to ascertain this by using narrowband colored LEDs. If a given square appears much darker, then it's obviously not reflecting the range of wavelengths in question. I tend to think a card with squares which only reflect a very narrow range of wavelengths (the bare minimum needed to display the color properly) would be much more useful for our purposes. If the red square appears black under a Cree but red under a Nichia 083 that certainly gives us valuable information.

  20. #110
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Just curious however how exactly would such a color card be used by a flashlight maker? I am not even sure how film makers use this chart however it seems to be pretty interesting.

    I can not see it being very practical for an average collector of lights or maybe someone who plays with lights around the house. I could imagine it would be a nice tool for someone such as Don or others who actually make higher end lights. Maybe if you wanted to produce a run of lights with a consistent tint or something however tint is not controlled by any chart and is set from the factory with each emitter....right?

    If I am thinking right would one use this chart as a guide somehow? Maybe add or remove certain colors of light until you can clearly see all of the different colors on the chart? Could a person not do the same thing with random colored objects around the yard or home? I can see how a high dollar film maker would need such a chart however in real life situations would an average flashlight user even encounter this large of a spectrum of colors?

    This topic is interesting to me for some reason and I just found myself going through a bunch of my lights comparing the tints to a pile of different colored clothes. Never paid much attention however there is a vast difference between all of my luxeons and visible colors. The color perception changed with each light and changed even more if I used two beams together. Kind of weird but I got the most true to life results from using my FF2 and an old Arc I have had for years that was modded by LitFuse with a TWOH I believe. Seperate they look a little off however when used together it is almost like the color perception I get from a standard household lightbulb.
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  21. #111

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    I can not see it being very practical for an average collector of lights
    To me, having a color standard is similar to having a light meter - a tool that many of us own & use on a regular basis.

    The light meter gives a lux reading, or a lumen reading when used with an integrating sphere. The color standard provides information on how different colors appear when using any particular light. If your work involves no color differentiation, any light source will do, whether 3000° K or 6000° K. Our eyes have a great ability to compensate for the worst lighting possible. But some jobs call for accurate color rendering - like looking for the "red" wire in a 3-phase panel that's been cobbled together over a number of years. Lights like the Sundrop are a natural for this duty, but you might also find that your 6P incan does a good job - or that it doesn't.
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  22. #112
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    To me honestly the claim that the card reflects light the same way in all parts of the visible spectrum makes no sense in the context of color. Something which reflects light the same way over the entire visible spectrum will by definition appear neutral (i.e. white, black, or some shade of gray). By definition something which is colored doesn't reflect light over the entire spectrum the same way. What I think they're referring to here is the card's reflectance. In other words, all of the squares are equally shiny or matte.

    As to whether or not this is what we're looking for, I honestly can't answer that without knowing more about how these cards are produced. For example, does the yellow square only reflect light in a narrow band from let's say 570 to 590 nm, or does it reflect a wider range of wavelengths centered around 580 nm (either way it would appear the same color to our eyes under the same light). I suggested a way to ascertain this by using narrowband colored LEDs. If a given square appears much darker, then it's obviously not reflecting the range of wavelengths in question. I tend to think a card with squares which only reflect a very narrow range of wavelengths (the bare minimum needed to display the color properly) would be much more useful for our purposes. If the red square appears black under a Cree but red under a Nichia 083 that certainly gives us valuable information.
    Bold added by me. I too wonder if this color checker isn't somehow going in the opposite direction of what some of us may hope we can "get" from the color checker.

    I believe you can get very narrow band filters which only allow passage of light in a tight band of the spectrum. If we want to know if a particular LED is providing light in a specific band then perhaps if we can't illuminate a color target that only reflects light in this band, we could shine the light through such a filter and either observe the intensity of light getting through on a white wall of even measuring this light with a lux meter.

    I see three issues here.

    1) we realize that not all light sources are the same in terms of color rendering and we are curious as to just how good a light might be in color rendering.

    2) There may be some devices other than a spectrometer that can allow us to some how gage the color rendering ability of a particular light; such as the color checker.

    3) since there is nothing we can really do to alter the output (color wise) of a light source we have, we may seek and find information on how well the light source performs in color rendering but what is the point if there is nothing we can do about it?

    Now for someone like myself who designs and makes some lights, if I decide I want to make a light that is "good" at color rendering then I would first attempt to select a LED to use in this light and it follows that I would want it to be it be a proper selection. I have a spectrometer so I can get a spectrum from the LED but looking at the graph doesn't impart to me a feel for how well the light will render various colors. The color checker presumably will be an aid here.

    For someone who has illumination tasks which require good color rendering, they may take it on faith that a particular light is good at such a task or they may want to evaluate it themselves. Again, the color checker may be a tool in such a case for them to use.

    It might be interesting to come up with a list of tasks or other aspects we are aware of when color actually is something we need to know. Many have given the example of reading resistor bands or identifying wires in a loom by their jacket color. BabyDoc has given a need for color rendering in regards to diagnosis of patients. I have experienced a real difference in trying to gage sunburn and the condition of meat on the grill. Obviously color rendering comes into play if the light is used for illumination in photos or video.

    Our wants and actual needs may not be the same when it comes to color rendering and if color rendering comes at a cost, it helps to understand what that cost might be.

    If good color rendering is deemed necessary or simply desirable, how do we get it? If the light is a single source then the source needs to be high in CRI. If the source is a cluster or array of LED's then we have a much better chance of enhancing color rendering but we need to know what we are doing or have a means of checking what we are doing. Robo identified a dual source that yielded the best color rendering he found in his stable of lights. This is something he had not considered before. Is it useful information to him? Only he can make that call. He can take those two lights and bounce them off say a card of MCPET film and get a flood of good color rendering mix of light should the need arise.
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  23. #113

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    If the desire is a low cost chart with lots of colors on it that any member of CPF can purchase and compare their lights with may I suggest something like http://www.dickblick.com/zz049/15/ with the front removed.

    The high cost color charts all consistently reflect the same particular wavelengths from each particular sample on each card of a given model from a given manufacturer, (hence the ability to be used as a "standard") and they are treated to eliminate glare.

    Things that are probably not true of the color wheel from the art store. Ink formulations could change slightly from batch to batch without having much effect on the intended function of the color wheel. It would make an interesting target for beamshots, but that's about as far as it goes.

  24. #114
    Flashaholic* Stillphoto's Avatar
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    For what its worth, Kodak makes a nice cheap one as well, though it doesn't have the same reflectance tolerances.

    http://www.filmtools.com/kodcolsepgui.html
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  25. #115

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Other than Don's SunBar and MeatLight, has anyone had the opportunity to check out fixtures or other light groupings with a cri emphasis?
    I noticed this fixture which seems to be using sixteen of the high-cri nichia 083 for room lighting.
    Cree's response seems to be this light which claims to produce 650 lumens with a cri of 92. I'm curious if either of these live up to their promise as room lighting that doesn't make your guests look like zombies?
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  26. #116
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by iconoclast
    The LED ... making up for the fact that titanium doesn't glow inherently
    though TI can make your wallet glow red.

  27. #117

    Crackup Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    ...
    I did discover that in the bathrooms at least, I needed to add some red LED's to bring the skin tones and colors closer to realistic or what you would see under natural light.
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyTiedye View Post
    though TI can make your wallet glow red.
    Ah ha! So that's the secret. Now we know why these McGizmos work so much better than other flashlights.
    The LED ... making up for the fact that titanium doesn't glow inherently

  28. #118

    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    TI can make your wallet glow red.
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  29. #119
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Guys,

    Regardless of the exact wording, we know what the Gretag Macbeth color checker, and products like it, are doing. Because each square of color IS A SINGLE PIGMENT, with a single spectral peak reflectance, tapering off above and below the peak, then each color WILL REMAIN TRUE no matter what the irregularities of the illumination source.

    Consider a "green" color square made from a mixture of blue and yellow. Let's say, each parts blue and yellow. Now if the light source has significantly more intensity in the blue part of the spectrum than the yellow part (like an LED), this green WILL APPEAR AS A DIFFERENT COLOR, A DIFFERENT GREEN, than when illuminated with a source that has more yellow than blue (like an incan). The actual tint of green will change as a result of the light source you use, because it is not really green, but a mixture of blue and yellow pigments.

    It's true that you fool the eye into seeing green, but spectrally, if you analyzed the reflectance of the color square, you'd see two peaks, not one.

    A true pigment always maintains its true color, but only varies in intensity due to the amount of light available at that part of the spectrum. So an incan would illuminate the red and orange color squares much brighter than an LED would, but they would still have the same shade of red and orange. If there is no light intensity available in that part of the spectrum, they'll just go to black. So, for example, back to the green square made of blue and yellow, if you hit it with strongly blue or violet light, it will look bluish. But a square of true green will just look almost black.

    This is what we want.

    Here's how Don is suggesting we use this, I think:

    1. Buy $70 Greta Macbeth color checker tool (which isn't necessarily a piece of paper! I think it's probably more substantial than that, but I could be wrong).

    2. Illuminate the color checker with a particular flashlight.

    3. Take a picture with a digital camera.

    4. Now notice which squares are brighter and which are dimmer. An incan will make the reds and oranges and yellows POP! While an LED will make other colors pop, depending on its spectral output curve. A perfect, laboratory standard light source (like the one used in some expensive spectrometers for transmittance) would illuminate all squares the same, none brighter or dimmer than the others.

    5. And you can possibly convert the image to grey-scale for easier identification of which squares are more or less intense than average.

    As for the "reflects light in all parts of the visible spectrum" quote, I think that they mean in terms of gloss or semi-gloss or matte type characteristics, because, yes, obviously, white or black or grey are the only "colors" that reflect all visible wavelengths the same.

    As for how an amateur photographer might use the color checker, he or she would photograph the color checker along with all the other objects or scenes. Then in photoshop or some other digital photgraphy software, he or she could hold the color checker next to the monitor and adjust the colors until the colors on the screen matched the ones to the right, in real life. Or, more importantly, he or she could independtly adjust the photographs from different cameras or situations, so that all color checker images were identicle.

    IT'S A STANDARD! And just like yaesumofo says, this always adds considerable expense. $70 for a color checker is quite reasonable, in my opinion.
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  30. #120
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    Default Re: High CRI and its significance

    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    As for how an amateur photographer might use the color checker, he or she would photograph the color checker along with all the other objects or scenes. Then in photoshop or some other digital photgraphy software, he or she could hold the color checker next to the monitor and adjust the colors until the colors on the screen matched the ones to the right, in real life.
    Can someone more knowledgeable about color gamuts than me chime in here? It seems to me a display device can only the display the colors within its color gamut, and some (most?, all?) might not be able to display all the colors in the color checker.

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