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Thread: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    A coworker has expressed interest in getting a warm LED flashlight for gauging paint color match on his vehicle restoration projects. Are there reasonably priced LED flashlights which can be used for color differentiation, or is an incandescent the way to go?

    Thanks,
    Max_Power
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

  2. #2

    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    The best LEDs in terms of color rendition AFAIK are the SSC P4 (there's a special high-cri version) and the Nichia 083 and 183. However, neither are as good as an incandescent for distinguishing color; any LED is going to have a pretty spiky spectrum.

    I think the CRI on those two is around 92, and AFAIK there are no production lights that use either; they're only available in custom or very small batch flashlights.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    Ra lights now offers their clicky with a 100 lumen version with CRI 93.

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    Flashaholic* mwaldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    100% recommend the Ra. I have the older version (100ww Narrow, but not particularly high CRI) and love it.

    I'm very likely to sell my 140gt and get one of his new high CRI clickies.
    New Years Resolution 2010: I will neither purchase nor recommend any LED light that is not at least neutral, preferably warm.

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    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    Can you post a link to RA for me? I'm not quite a flashaholic yet :-)
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    My Lights: EDC; Nitecore EC1, ZLSC52, Quark Mini AAW, Preon P2
    Duty; Mag Recharger, Malkoff MD2 w/M60, C2 Bored w/LX2 clip Malkof M61 219

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    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    Hmm, $150 shipped... if only the emitter were easily upgradeable as LEDs progress...
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

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    Flashaholic Mike V's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    The problem is that the colour of those high CRI lights is way too warm.

    Paint colour is judged under "D65 illumination," which is 6,500 degrees Kelvin.

    Although D50 could be used also, which is 5,000 degrees Kelvin.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Henk_Lu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    There's the McGizmo SunDrop with the Nichia 083B. The CRI is about 87 IIRC, but the color temperature is much higher than the one of the Clicky, 5.700 Kelvin IIRC.

    At about 440$ it is very expensive for sure, the light it emits tries is terribly nixce though, as its name suggests, it tries to imitate the sunlight. Fot photography, the SunDrop is a high-praised tool, it doesn't have a normal beam with hotspot, but an even and floody beam with about 70 Lumen maximum. The beam stays even to the edge, where it is surrounded by a brownish corona, caused by the lens which is an optic in fact.

    I also got a Clicky 120 high CRI lately, I love that light for outdoor use, in my eyes it amplifies the colors, at 4.300 Kelvin (Not sure, the 100 Lumen model is specified 3.700 Lumen???) it is quite warm, like an incan with quite new batteries. The beam is nearly white in the hotspot, than turns to yellow-orange the more you look away from the center and around the hotspot it has a sort of brownish corona (white wall hunting).

    A cheaper way is to simply buy lights with a neutral white emitter (Q3/Q4 in 5A-5C), but the CRI will not be that high of course, but higher than cool white LEDs. Warm white LED lights are still very hard to find...
    My way : From Maglite and drop-ins over Fenix & Co to the real things - Customs and Titaniums!

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    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    I already have several "warm" emitters from Malkoff (Wildcat in warm white, MCE-W, M60WF, and a pair of M30W) which is why I am drawn like a moth to the flame of high CRI.

    I am inching my way to getting out the credit card for a high-CRI RA light. My greatest fear is that I will fork out 150 bucks for one and then a month later there will be something twice as good for half the money. It has been a long time since anything new happened on the high-CRI, high brightness front, so I'd guess that we are due for a new king of the hill soon.

    I wonder how the neutral white XPGs will look? The beamshots I've seen for standard cool-white ones from Malkoff look really close to neutral white already.

    I need to lock up my credit card :-).

    --Max_Power
    Last edited by Max_Power; 03-23-2010 at 04:29 PM.
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    I believe the CRI for the Nichia that McGizmo uses in the SuDrop is 97.

    Bill

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    Flashaholic* mudman cj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    If you don't want to afford a Sundrop, Don (the maker of the Sundrop) has extra Nichia 083 LEDs already mounted to stars for sale. I bought a few and built them into less expensive hosts, though I don't have one for sale. If you can't take on a project like that there are others that probably would. I'm too busy right now, but there are plenty of great builders on CPF.


  13. #13

    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    Did a quick search on the big two white LED makers - Cree, Lumileds.

    CREE:
    http://www.cree.com/products/pdf/xlamp7090xr-e.pdf

    Cree lists a CRI of ~75 for cool and neutral LEDs, and a CRI of ~80 for warm white.

    Luxeon:
    http://www.phillipslumileds.com/prod...n-rebel-white/

    Luxeon Rebel LEDs are bit better, with CRIs ranging between 80-90+.

    This jives with my own experience, my luxeon rebel based torch has a better white balance than my CREE based lights, which are often obviously tinted.

    Unfortunately not many manufacturers are offering high CRI LEDs as options. They are still pushing for the most flux per watt, often cool white. You can custom order ($$$) or mod your own light however.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    I love LED flashlights as much as the next guy, but why on earth would you be judging paint matching with a flashlight at all. That kind of work should be done in a well lit shop.

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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Power View Post
    A coworker has expressed interest in getting a warm LED flashlight for gauging paint color match on his vehicle restoration projects. Are there reasonably priced LED flashlights which can be used for color differentiation, or is an incandescent the way to go?

    Thanks,
    Max_Power
    I worked in an automotive paint shop for five years.

    I could sit here and write a book about color matching but the pertininent part is this: You need sunlight.

    THEN you might examine in other forms of light, but if you've got no sunlight test you've got nothing.

    Just trust me on this one.

    EDIT: Ok I'll type more on this.

    Color matching car paint works like this - you get the formula for the car/model/year, then you mix it.

    There is no such thing as one pigment anymore. Black? It's got green, blue, or whatever in there too. White? It's the same, AND probably has a few drops of black!

    So you mix it - but it's not going to match perfectly, no way.

    Say the car hasn't seen much sun, then it's up to the painter and "blending" skills - but even then you've got a factory oven baked paint job versus HVLP gun and a shop. The painter has to be able to blend.

    Now say you're trying to match a color from one car to another - same stuff applies.

    Now what happens, despite the "rulebook" in every professional paint shop, you have to do the dreaded and prohibited "eyeball match".

    This gets really tedious, and can waste a lot of expensive pigment. Accounts have been made and trashed on this skill set. It's always a gamble too - even the 37 year veteran at that shop I worked at said that every time.

    There's just no way in hell you'd do this with any flashlight. Absolutely no way.

    You really need the sun.
    Last edited by Dude Dudeson; 03-23-2010 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Ok I'll write some of that book...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    So do all incandecents have a high CRI? If so what is the CRI number?

    Will a Streamlight Strion incan have better color rendering properties when compared to a Sundrop with high CRI LED?

    Thanks.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikellen View Post
    So do all incandecents have a high CRI? If so what is the CRI number?

    Will a Streamlight Strion incan have better color rendering properties when compared to a Sundrop with high CRI LED?

    Thanks.
    For a start, you may want to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_rendering_index

    Basically, the whole definition of CRI is how a light source compares to an incandescent. (Well, to be accurate, a black body radiator, which an incan is. And to go further, the light source is compared to a Black body at its equivalent color temperature. There's more to it, you can always read up. You may also be interested in the criticisms of CRI - possibly not being the best measure)

    So, ALL incandescent lights always have a CRI of 100. There is no higher value than that.
    Last edited by hoongern; 04-05-2010 at 08:54 AM.
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  18. #18
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    This is the one front that has been keeping me from purchasing a flashlight for several months. I am waiting (and waiting) for a light/dropin with 200+ OTF lumens with a higher CRI than the 5A/5B/5C troupe, which doesn't cost an arm and a leg. That will be my perfect emitter.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Want best CRI in a neutral or warm LED flashlight

    You can use any old light for color mathing -- the trick is to never let anyone see the paint under some other light.

    If somebody is going to look at paint in bright daylight, incandescent, or whatever, however, then you have to match the colors with that light it will be eventually viewed under.

    Color perception, aside from differences in individuals' eyes, will always be the combination of the light hitting the surface, reflecting from the surface, and getting into the eye of the observer, as well as what else the observer is seeing at the time -- and then the way the brain will interpret and compensate for what is seen. Vision (and hearing) just doesn't work like an objective scientific instrument, and the brain works subjectively. Artists have generally agreed that the best light to paint by is bright daylight, from the north, which doesn't vary as much by the time of day.

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