There's been quite a bit of recent interest in Neutral white (Warm) Tinted LEDs.
Once again I have by the kind courtesy of 4Sevens a Quark AA2 Neutral White for review -
Important Note of self-correction -
I have been calling these LEDs "Warm" tinted
(my excuse: since they are "warm" when compared to regular cool white LEDs).
BUT for clarity -
Cree designs these XR-E Q3 5A LEDs "neutral white" - which are in the color temperature (CCT) range of 5,000 – 3,700 degK.
(Q3 5A = 4,300 degK)
Cree does have separately warm white LEDs - that are in the color temperature range 3,700 – 2,600 degK.
For comparison Cree's cool whites are in the range 10,000 – 5,000 degK.
externally it is identical to the regular cool white Quark AA2. The Neutral White version has the regular clip still attached - whereas the other Quark AA2 has the clever rubber strap attached.
hmmmm... I think in this shot one can just make out that the Neutral White LEDs seem to have a bit more brown reflected in the reflector(s).
How does it compare?
I only have one other Neutral White/"warm" LED flashlight - but I'm sure like others I'd like to see how a Neutral White light compares to a regular cool white light -
vs. regular cool white Quark AA2 - both Max and NiMH -
they seem about the same brightness level - but it is hard to tell with the different tints.
So I took those beamshots and removed the colors by desaturation -
it would appear that the regular cool white is just a bit brighter - but I certainly couldn't tell just eyeballing the beams even when side-by-side - so in practice it probably would not make much practical difference in the difference in brightness - BUT the tint difference may be important - see later.....
vs. Fenix LD20 - both Max and NiMH
it seems that the Fenix LD20 may be a just a bit brighter - but then its beam is noticeably narrower than the Quark AA2 Neutral White. Also notice how much nicer the Quark's beam is - it is due to the self centering LED to reflector design - this is a point worth emphasizing as it is a definite incremental improvement in flashlight design.
vs. Fenix L2D-RB100 (my favorite regular tint) both Max and NiMH
in real-life and and in isolation the RB-100 tend to have a somewhat brownish/pinkish tint - but in comparison with a true Neutral White (warm tint) - it looks blueish..... The levels look very comparable.
vs. NiteCore EZ AA-W (Warm tint) both on Max and NiMH (obviously the EZ-AA is a single AA light)
the NiteCore EZ-AA actually looks brighter - but its beam is considerably narrower and the Quark's hotspot is definitely brighter.
But what is more important to me is the difference in tint - the NiteCore seems more saturated deeper in color, whereas the Quark is paler. I'm not sure which I prefer - but the point is even with a noticeable tint difference neither is objectionable - whereas we tend to be very sensitive to greenish tints in cool white, and some even have problems with blueish tints....... whereas warm seems just well... warm, and differences seem less objectionable.....
OK what about color rendition - this is a not very well understood subject - evidence by many who would just quote CRI figures (incandescent are "perfect" at CRI=100 by definition - yet anyone having to see yellow on white or sort out navy blue and black will attest this is far from perfect)
Anyway I took pictures of a Macbeth color rendition chart -
INDEX to follow up parts -
Explanation for the warmer tinted Neutral white with reference to Kruithof curve - Post #5
Outdoor Foliage comparison beamshots - Post #9
Lower level comparisons and tint shift - Post #14
Standardized Stairway beamshot comparison - Post #25
Stairway hotspot comparison - Post #26