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Thread: Changing LED Tint With Filters

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Ok, I'll admit it, I've become a tint snob, and I used to agonize while waiting for a new light as to what tint the LED would be, but no more.

    I've now found the joy of customizing the tint on all of my lights to EXACTLY the tint I want thanks to the Lee Filter Swatch Book, which can be found here:
    http://www.shop.leefiltersusa.com/De...h-Book-SWB.htm

    And this is the European Contact page:
    http://www.leefilters.com/lighting/contact/

    And here is a link to the Rosco site, they have different versions available:
    http://www.rosco.com/us/products/lighting.cfm

    These little books contains hundreds of different colored filters, from light magenta to dark magenta, or light blue to dark blue, or light yellow to dark yellow, etc. Some even contains diffusing filters!

    Each plastic filter is about 1 1/2" x 2 1/2". It can take a little time to find the right filter because there are so many colors to choose from, but it's honestly a lot of fun and not all that hard.

    If your light has a greenish tint, then you'll probably want one of the pink (magenta) filters, while I found the XP-G R5 LED in my new NiteCore IFE2 (which seem to be more of a cyan, or green-blue tint) needed a light orange filter.

    Each filter has a number. All you do is just hold each filter in front of the light and write down the numbers of the filters that seem to work well, and then after narrowing it down to 3 or 4, you finally pick the one that gives you the perfect tint.

    What's the perfect tint? Well, not only did I use a white wall, but I would aim the light at a bookcase with lots of colorful books, and I went into the kitchen and aimed it at soup cans, etc. Then I went outside and looked at plants. I couldn't believe how much better colors looked when rendered with the correct filter in front of the light. AMAZING.

    When you finally select the right filter, you'll want to cut out a small square of that filter about the size of the front glass cover. If you can get the bezel off of your light, you can simply remove it and place the glass on the plastic filter and trace around it with a pen and cut to size, then place the filter inside the glass front cover and reassemble (filter, glass, bezel)

    On lights that I can't remove the bezel, I simply place the light, bezel down, on the filter and trace around it and cut it out, then taking my time, I'll begin trimming it until it fits down into the bezel area on top of the glass cover. Then I'll attach it using a reversible glue stick, and have found that it stays in place great. On my Jetbeam Bk-135A I didn't even have to use the glue stick, when I got it cut to size, I placed it down on the glass and it slid into place in a small groove. Neat!

    The difference it makes in the quality of the light is dramatic, and usually with only a very small loss in light output, which is more than made up by having such a beautiful tint.

    I can't recommend this enough. Now, every time I use one of my lights I really enjoy the quality of the light as much as the physical aspects of the light itself.

    So, rather than complaining about green or blue tints, customize every light you own with this simple, inexpensive, and easily reversible solution.
    Last edited by Derek Dean; 10-16-2011 at 01:58 PM. Reason: Added filter swatch book info for Europe and Rosco

  2. #2

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    I don't know if I'm a tint snob, but I was genuinely surprised when my wife said that she preferred cool white over warm high CRI because the former looked brighter. She didn't care a whit about accurate color rendering.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    It may be more important to me because I was a professional color printer for many years and became very sensitive to even minor tint variations.

    I was very lucky with the first lights I purchased back in 2006, which had SSC P4 LEDs and seemed to have very neutral tints. However, I've noticed many of my recent light purchases,which were only available with Cree cool white LEDs, have had cyanish tints, my least favorite tint since it can cause things to look flat and lifeless.

    Luckily, by using filters I've been able fix that on all of those lights, and because all of them are more than bright enough for my needs, the slight loss in brightness is inconsequential.

    I know this has been posted before, but I've been seeing more and more CPF members expressing dissatisfaction with their tints and felt this information was worth repeating.

  4. #4

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by the.Mtn.Man View Post
    I don't know if I'm a tint snob, but I was genuinely surprised when my wife said that she preferred cool white over warm high CRI because the former looked brighter. She didn't care a whit about accurate color rendering.
    Accurate color rendering is relative. A 100 cri at a color temperature of 3000k would be crap compared to a cool or neutral white led at 75 CRI. One thing to keep in mind is that the moveie and photography industry use HMI lighting and it's only about 85 CRI but is the exact tint of noonday sunlight and I guarantee you when they turn that on the colors are just as accurate as sunlight to any but the most trained eyes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    I've now found the joy of customizing the tint on all of my lights to EXACTLY the tint I want thanks to the Lee Filter Swatch Book, which can be found here:
    http://www.shop.leefiltersusa.com/Sw...2.qscstrfrnt02
    I guess I'm a tint snob, too, and since I work with telescope filters, the thought of using filters on flashlights has crossed my mind, although I'm not exactly thrilled with losing even more output, and for me what's important is not only the appearance of the tint but the resulting spectrum. However, what I didn't realize until now (due to previous experience) was that the spectrum of each filter is available online, which means that I can find the best match if it exists. I may not end up using filters on a regular basis, but thanks to your post I'm intrigued enough to experiment with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    I was very lucky with the first lights I purchased back in 2006, which had SSC P4 LEDs and seemed to have very neutral tints. However, I've noticed many of my recent light purchases,which were only available with Cree cool white LEDs, have had cyanish tints, my least favorite tint since it can cause things to look flat and lifeless.
    Yeah, there is often too much blue and green, and not enough red. Ironically spectral cyan is rather lacking, as is the case with most white LEDs. The starting point for my initial experiments will be a high-CRI 4000K LED that generally has excellent color balance but a bit too much yellow and orange. If I can tone down those areas of its spectrum without affecting the overall balance between the other color ranges (while raising its color temperature to somewhere between 5000K and 6500K), then the result could potentially be the most accurate LED flashlight spectrum--with respect to sunlight--that I've seen to date. Some of the light blue and lavender filters look promising, but I still have a bunch of filter spectra to scrutinize.

    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyydude View Post
    Accurate color rendering is relative. A 100 cri at a color temperature of 3000k would be crap compared to a cool or neutral white led at 75 CRI.
    Exactly, 3000K doesn't cut it for accuracy if sunlight is your ideal reference, for example--color balance is more important overall than how well an LED's spectrum matches that of an ideal incandescent source at the same color temperature (i.e. CRI).

    That said, even when using filters to correct the tint, it is generally better to start with a high-CRI emitter because there will be less that is missing, as filters can only subtract ranges of color, not add them. Many low-CRI warm white LEDs are too lacking in blue to fully save, and the same goes for low-CRI cool white LEDs with regard to their general lack of red. Well, you could correct these deficiencies with darker filters, but then the light loss would be tremendous.

    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyydude View Post
    One thing to keep in mind is that the moveie and photography industry use HMI lighting and it's only about 85 CRI but is the exact tint of noonday sunlight and I guarantee you when they turn that on the colors are just as accurate as sunlight to any but the most trained eyes.
    My 85 CRI flashlight comes pretty close as it is, but now I'm going to find out how much closer it can get to virtually perfect color rendering.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyydude View Post
    Accurate color rendering is relative. A 100 cri at a color temperature of 3000k would be crap compared to a cool or neutral white led at 75 CRI. One thing to keep in mind is that the moveie and photography industry use HMI lighting and it's only about 85 CRI but is the exact tint of noonday sunlight and I guarantee you when they turn that on the colors are just as accurate as sunlight to any but the most trained eyes.
    I salute you! You get it.

    I now cringe everytime I see someone launch into tint pontification mode in a thread. I am old enough to have spent a good bit of time taking photographs on film. Sometimes those photos have unavoidably been taken indoors with only an incandescent light source. The results, of course, are a horrible orange cast to everything with very poor colour rendition of cooler colours.

    High CRI with spectral imbalance is worse than lower CRI with better spectral balance.

    A lot of people deride cool white LEDs declaring them to be unfit for anything because of their complete inability to render warm colours. I spotted this in the recent thread about the girlfriend wanting a powerful flash light for her walk-in closet

    One potential issue might be the tint, as the current version is a little on the cool side which might make identifying certain colors of clothes or shoes more difficult, but there is supposed to be a neutral version coming very soon...many people are waiting, it seems.
    When these sort of statements pop up on CPF I just mentally cringe. It is taken as fact that a cool white LED can not render warm colours or allow subtle differences to be differentiated. I took photos of paint charts lit with a cool white LED source to prove this, such as this one:



    Ooops, looks like I failed! The top pic was lit with an NDI while the bottom was lit with sunlight. The camera white balance was set to daylight for both shots.

    I have taken several other photos of paint colour charts and there is no problem differentiating between subtle warm shades.

    I also played around with filters a bit and took photos, but my only digital camera at the time was a 2.5mp phone and it's low light performance was not very good, but here are a couple of photos that might be of interest:



    Those filters when put to use - except for the skylight which is too subtle.



    The teflon was there because I have a large roll of transparent teflon tape which has a silicone adhesive backing and thought it might be more practical than carving up a perfectly good Hoya 81A as it could be cut to shape and just stuck on the lens and could be removed easily if required. I never bothered because my experiments left me perfectly happy with cool tints.

    The photos do demonstrated that there is a cost in output with using filters.
    Last edited by Cheapskate; 08-23-2011 at 09:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* samuraishot's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the interesting post and link, DD. I just placed an order and can't wait to try it out!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Cheapskate I salute you for getting it too, wish you had a warm led to take comparison shots of a paint sample set. Warm, Cool, and Sunlight. The warm thing is as much psychology as it is actual color rendering. If it was truly color rendering you're after I'd go with neutral white leds never warm.

    Both my P7 led flashlight and my one luck of the tint lottery XR-E neutral white led has a hotspot very near noonday sunlight with only the slightest bit of green for the XR-E and pretty much spot on with the P7. I can actually use it to calibrate my computer monitor pretty close to sunlight when comparing the monitor to a photo printout from my color calibrated printer. I would never be able to so with a warm white led, in fact I have to turn of my warm CFL room light just to do the monitor calibration because it messes up the color rendering on the photo.

  9. #9

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyydude View Post
    Accurate color rendering is relative. A 100 cri at a color temperature of 3000k would be crap compared to a cool or neutral white led at 75 CRI. One thing to keep in mind is that the moveie and photography industry use HMI lighting and it's only about 85 CRI but is the exact tint of noonday sunlight and I guarantee you when they turn that on the colors are just as accurate as sunlight to any but the most trained eyes.
    It's a matter of preference. I find cool tints to be too glaring and not particularly pleasing, especially at lower levels. My current EDC is an Ra Clicky at around 3000k and a CRI of 93, to my eyes it's the best flashlight beam I've ever used.

    But hey, I'd love it if we started seeing 85 CRI cool whites on the market. Then maybe we'd have half a chance of things looking their proper color instead of overly blue.

    As for the movie industry, they use HMI when they're trying to match sunlight or when trying to make a studio set look like it's outdoors (the other option is to take an incandescent source and put a daylight blue gel over it). Otherwise they tend to use 3200K incans or the LED or fluorescent equivalent.
    Last edited by the.Mtn.Man; 08-23-2011 at 07:03 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    I am old enough to have spent a good bit of time taking photographs on film. Sometimes those photos have unavoidably been taken indoors with only an incandescent light source. The results, of course, are a horrible orange cast to everything with very poor colour rendition of cooler colours.
    That's because you were using daylight balanced film, bro. You get the same effect with a digital camera if you white balance in sunlight and try taking pictures under 3200K conditions. The opposite effect is also interesting: if you white balance indoors and then take pictures outdoors, everything will be varying shades of sickly blue.
    Last edited by the.Mtn.Man; 08-23-2011 at 10:08 AM.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Do you see that 80A filter in the pic I posted?.........

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by samuraishot View Post
    Thanks for the interesting post and link, DD. I just placed an order and can't wait to try it out!
    I think you'll find it very worth the time and small investment. I hope you'll post your results.

    I found the key to using these filters is to not be in a hurry when selecting the right one for each light. I would play with them for a while with the light, narrow it down to 3 or 4, and then go do something else for a while. This would give my eyes a chance to readjust to regular viewing conditions.

    Often I will pick my favorite and then go to bed and wait for the next night to see if it was still my favorite, and some times I would change my mind and go with my secondary choice.

    For me the idea was to get a tint that was just a tiny bit warm, with just a teeny tiny hint of red. That's MY preference, which is what's so cool about this. It let's each one of us fine tune our lights to what is best for own individual eyes and preferences.

    The great thing about this is that you get INSTANT feedback. You just aim your light at something with lots of different colors (yes, a Macbeth Color Checker would be ideal, but soup cans work REALLY well too ) and move the filters in and out of the light path. When you get the right filter all of a sudden the colors pop and look "right". The greens are green, the reds are red, the yellows are yellow, and hopefully the whites looks white.

    My NovaTac 120P needed only a very light magenta filter, while my Nitecore IFE2 needed a fairly heavy orange filter, but now the tints of both lights are more or less identical and both render colors much better now.

    I've found the biggest plus for doing this is when using my lights outside. The difference when walking outside at night is huge. Not only are the colors of the plants and the ground more accurate, but because the colors are now distinct (without that cyanish haze over everything) there is much more contrast, which makes for a much more pleasant and safe experience, at least for me.

    In any case, I'm enjoying the discussion. It's nice that we've come far enough along in the progression of LED technology to move beyond how bright or efficient an LED is, and begin talking about where we want it go in terms of color rendering and tint.

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    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Thanks for the info... I was looking for something just like this

    How much heat can these filters take??
    Cataract, Shiny things specialist.
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  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataract View Post
    How much heat can these filters take??
    You could always contact Lee Filters for an exact answer, but they're designed for use with high intensity professional lighting, so I imagine they can survive most LED flashlight use.

    As far as filtering a powerful incandescent light with them, I would be a bit concerned with trying to place one inside the glass cover with no way to cool off, but it might still be worth a try.

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    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

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    Last edited by Cheapskate; 08-24-2011 at 11:04 AM.

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    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyydude View Post
    Cheapskate I salute you for getting it too, wish you had a warm led to take comparison shots of a paint sample set.
    I have acquired one since I took those original pics, so here are 3 different LEDs vs sunlight:


  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Walterk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Besides tints, could you please inform us how these Lee filters work for diffusion ?
    I know it works for the Maxabeam, so suppose it works for any light (except Mag-lite maybe ).

  18. #18

    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Now I see with the warm, on the right side the greens and browns are more difficult to distinguish although reds are slightly better rendered. But I'd still say the neutral looking Jetbeam Jet I Pro gets closest.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    That's my thinking also. I really like the Jet I pro tint and I dislike the tint of the Ti. I really should mod it.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* shao.fu.tzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    I asked for one of those swatch books and they sent it to me for free, albeit about two months later. It's full of film of every color and texture... tinted film, diffuser film.. everything. It's huge... Definitely going to need to experiment more with it.

    Shao

  21. #21

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    I now cringe everytime I see someone launch into tint pontification mode in a thread. I am old enough to have spent a good bit of time taking photographs on film. Sometimes those photos have unavoidably been taken indoors with only an incandescent light source. The results, of course, are a horrible orange cast to everything with very poor colour rendition of cooler colours.

    High CRI with spectral imbalance is worse than lower CRI with better spectral balance.
    The colors under solid-filament-based incandescent lighting may be inaccurate due to the spectral imbalance (unfiltered), but it's not any worse at rendering cool colors than cool white LEDs are at rendering warm colors. Also, distinguishing between colors is manageable under both types of lighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    A lot of people deride cool white LEDs declaring them to be unfit for anything because of their complete inability to render warm colours.
    Some folks believe that the emission spectra of white LEDs consist of only a few huge, narrow spikes, but it's actually continuous (with some spikes and "valleys" to be sure), so I agree that it's possible to distinguish between most colors, including warm ones (although the accuracy of the latter is generally very poor).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    I spotted this in the recent thread about the girlfriend wanting a powerful flash light for her walk-in closet

    One potential issue might be the tint, as the current version is a little on the cool side which might make identifying certain colors of clothes or shoes more difficult, but there is supposed to be a neutral version coming very soon...many people are waiting, it seems.
    When these sort of statements pop up on CPF I just mentally cringe.
    I don't see anything wrong with that statement. For example, the girlfriend may have some trouble finding a fuchsia-colored article of clothing if it looks lavender or even deep purple under cool white LED lighting, sort of like in the following example (I grabbed whatever was convenient ):

    Sunlight (my ideal reference):


    Cool white LED:


    Perhaps she could make some mental adjustments in order to compensate, but wouldn't it be preferable to use a flashlight that more accurately renders colors instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    It is taken as fact that a cool white LED can not render warm colours or allow subtle differences to be differentiated.
    They're rendered and can be differentiated, but that doesn't change the fact that they can be way off. In my photo above, you can tell the difference between all of the colors under cool white LED lighting, but the yellow looks pale (almost greenish) instead of slightly orangish (like a school bus) and the teddy bear's fur looks significantly more purplish than it does under sunlight.

    By the way, when my filters arrive and I've had a chance to experiment with them, I'll revisit this topic in this thread. At the moment, my unfiltered ZebraLight H51c (4000K CCT, 85 CRI) renders the above subject thusly:


    Hmmm...a bit too much yellow in the whites and a little too much red in some colors, but pretty accurate overall (more so than other LEDs I've used or seen to date). I think that a very pale blue or lavender filter--with the right spectrum, not merely the right tint--could make it nearly perfect.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by GaAslamp View Post
    The colors under solid-filament-based incandescent lighting may be inaccurate due to the spectral imbalance (unfiltered), but it's not any worse at rendering cool colors than cool white LEDs are at rendering warm colors. Also, distinguishing between colors is manageable under both types of lighting.
    If you say so.


  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Walterk View Post
    Besides tints, could you please inform us how these Lee filters work for diffusion ?
    Most of the tinted filters have no diffusion quality, letting the beam pass unaltered except for tint. However, some of the tinted filters are opaque, giving both tint and diffusion.

    Also, there are a large number of semi-clear or white diffusion swatches. Some of them are a kind of thin, papery material, and add a diffusion with a textured feeling, like light filtered through tree leaves, and some are the same type of plastic material that the colored filters are made from, but with varying degrees of diffusion, from mild to quite heavy.

    I was just playing with the diffusion filters and found one (HT 254 Frost) that is quite excellent, giving a very mild, beam smoothing diffusion without completely killing the center spot. Very nice!

    My guess is that there are roughly 30-40 different diffusion swatches.

    Edit: By the way, if you live in Europe or the UK, you might have better luck requesting the Swatch Book from the UK Office:
    http://www.leefilters.com/lighting/contact/
    Last edited by Derek Dean; 08-24-2011 at 03:28 PM. Reason: Added UK INFO

  24. #24

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    If you say so.

    As a matter of fact, I do say so, at least according to what my eyes see under incandescent lighting. If your photo represents what you see to a significant degree, then might I suggest scheduling an appointment with an ophthalmologist? Kidding aside, I could take photos like that, too, if I used a daylight or other high-CCT white balance setting, but all I'd really be doing is demonstrating the limitations of my camera rather than showing others a reasonable approximation of what I'm actually seeing.

    Using the same colorful subject I used earlier for comparison, here is a photo taken under incandescent lighting. To be perfectly honest, I can see and distinguish between cool colors such as shades of blue much more readily in person than in this photo, but they still do show up well enough for me to post this as a worst case example that still supports the point I was making.


    And since we're talking about clothing in closets, I went to a closet in my home, picked a random spot that had some cool colors (some of which have subtle distinctions), closed the door, turned on the incandescent light inside, and snapped a photo. As in the photo right above, the colors are not entirely accurate, but the cool ones are distinguishable (even more so in person), and could be identified if you're accustomed to looking for clothes under such lighting (although accurate color rendering makes it easier and is always preferable).


    Not that I need to provide one shred of photographic evidence, mind you, as anybody who has ever used tungsten-filament incandescent lighting knows from their own long experience that it's not nearly as bad as your photo makes it out to be (nor mine, for that matter, despite my effort to make them reflect what I see--cameras are not human eyes).
    Last edited by GaAslamp; 08-24-2011 at 08:51 PM.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Of course the nice thing about using these filters is that you don't have to convince anybody of anything, and you don't have to worry about white balance, or tungsten lighting, or spectral analysis, or anything else.

    You don't have to know how to work a digital camera and you don't have to know anything about color.

    All you have to do is turn on your light and keep putting different filters in front of it until you find the one that gives you the tint YOU like . For many folks that will probably mean getting it to look more white, but some folks might prefer a bit of pink, or a bit of yellow, or a bit of blue.

    Not only that, but if you change your mind down the line and decide you'd like it a little warmer or cooler, all you have to do is cut another filter out and pop it in.

    The sky is the limit and their aren't any rules.

    Want a purple beam? That's how I got my CPF photo. When I first got these filters I put the purple filter over my flashlight and took a picture of myself . It kind of freaks people out when you show them your neat new light and turn it on and it's super duper bright purple .

  26. #26

    Default Re: Changing LED Tint With Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    I have acquired one since I took those original pics, so here are 3 different LEDs vs sunlight:

    Nice!

  27. #27
    Flashaholic Cheapskate's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    What the camera sees is very relevant, because it gives us an objective view of the spectral balance of a light source. Because our brains are incredibly powerful signal processors, what we perceive is not the same as reality.

    The tungsten and warm LED I used have a spectral balance which renders colours poorly, compared to the cool XR-E, which of the light sources I used, gives the closest approximation of Daylight. Our brains are certainly able to process the skewed spectra of tungsten and the warm LEDs and let us perceive colours, but to my eyes/brain, a cooler led gives a better result in terms of colour rendering, probably because less 'processing' is required.

    I don't mind people saying they prefer tungsten or warm LED's, but when they say cool LED's can't render warm colours well, they are simply wrong.

    Be careful with that argument that your brain can adjust for the spectral imbalance imposed by tungsten and warm LEDs, because it can just as easily be turned around to argue that it can also compensate for discerning warm colours lit with a cool light source.

  28. #28

    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    Of course the nice thing about using these filters is that you don't have to convince anybody of anything, and you don't have to worry about white balance, or tungsten lighting, or spectral analysis, or anything else.
    Those who care about accurate color rendering do. If all you care about is the aesthetic of the tint, then that's fine, but it's not the be-all-end-all of filtering light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    You don't have to know how to work a digital camera and you don't have to know anything about color.

    All you have to do is turn on your light and keep putting different filters in front of it until you find the one that gives you the tint YOU like .
    Sure, but without some objective guidance in the process, it would take much longer. Besides, I already like the tints of most of my lights well enough (except for one really green LED)--it's their color rendering that leaves much to be desired. I'm not sure how much filtering could help most of them (while keeping light loss within reason), but maybe I could at least nudge my best one slightly closer to perfect color rendering (and give it a tint closer to that of sunlight).

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    The sky is the limit and their aren't any rules.
    If color accuracy is your goal, then there are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    What the camera sees is very relevant, because it gives us an objective view of the spectral balance of a light source. Because our brains are incredibly powerful signal processors, what we perceive is not the same as reality.
    I agree in principle, but what your camera utterly fails to show in your example, due to its limitations, is the reality that there is enough blue in common tungsten-filament incandescent lighting for the human eye (and visual system as a whole) to see "cool" colors and discriminate between them. That was my assertion, it's just as true now as when I first said it, anybody can see this for themselves at the mere flick of a switch, and your photo does absolutely nothing to contradict it (only presents a false representation of the underlying reality).

    In fact, I'm pretty sure that your camera would be able to capture and discriminate between "cool" colors (like mine can, and it's not a great camera) if you let it adjust its own white balance, working around its limitations. Otherwise, photos would look as though there were virtually no blue in incandescent lighting, which is demonstrably false (there is way too little blue for accuracy, that's true, but there is enough to see and distinguish between "cool" colors, which was my point). That would make for a closer representation of what people are able to see, which is what most of us, I'd venture to guess, are concerned about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    The tungsten and warm LED I used have a spectral balance which renders colours poorly, compared to the cool XR-E, which of the light sources I used, gives the closest approximation of Daylight.
    Cool white XR-Es are deficient at red wavelengths, which makes them just about as poor at color rendering accuracy as incandescent lights (as shown in my previous example). XP-Gs are even worse on paper, by the way, but I haven't bothered to split hairs over which is worse--they're all bad. I will say that cool white LEDs are closer to sunlight when it comes to rendering whites and grays, but that's just one aspect of color rendering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    Our brains are certainly able to process the skewed spectra of tungsten and the warm LEDs and let us perceive colours,
    But we can't perceive colors that aren't there to begin with! That would be known as imagination, not perception. Just like cool white LEDs allow us to perceive a skewed version of "warm" colors, incandescent lighting allows us to perceive a skewed version of "cool" colors. You're saying that the latter isn't true because the colors don't show up in your photo, but I say that it is true because I can SEE them with my own eyes and they show up in MY photos (you could suggest that I merely imagined the colors, but I'm reasonably certain that my camera did not).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    but to my eyes/brain, a cooler led gives a better result in terms of colour rendering, probably because less 'processing' is required.
    And now we finally get to subjective opinion, which is highly dependent on the differences between individuals. If I had to choose--and it's not easy because they're both so awful as well as different in their inaccuracies--I would say that incandescent lighting allows me to see slightly more accurate color rendering overall. This is despite the fact that I MUCH prefer the tint of cool white LEDs when illuminating white and gray objects. However, colors just look so bluish and greenish under cool white LED lighting, while my eyes are better able to compensate for the equally--but oppositely--skewed color balance of incandescent lighting. Maybe I'm just more accustomed to it, but the difference is not great, in any case--both types of lighting are suitable for distinguishing between colors and identifying them (with some effort for some colors), even though accuracy for both is poor. Those who think that cool white LEDs cannot render "warm" colors are mistaken, and likewise those who think that incandescent lighting cannot render "cool" colors are equally mistaken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    I don't mind people saying they prefer tungsten or warm LED's, but when they say cool LED's can't render warm colours well, they are simply wrong.
    Where we differ is that I think incandescent lighting renders "cool" colors about as well as cool white LED lighting renders "warm" colors (i.e. poorly but adequate for most practical purposes). This is partly because the spectra of both are continuous, whereas with typical fluorescent or street lighting, to name a couple of examples, we may have great difficulty with certain colors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
    Be careful with that argument that your brain can adjust for the spectral imbalance imposed by tungsten and warm LEDs, because it can just as easily be turned around to argue that it can also compensate for discerning warm colours lit with a cool light source.
    Where did I ever say otherwise? My basic assertion was (quoted from my first post on this subtopic): "distinguishing between colors is manageable under both types of lighting," which referred to cool white LEDs and incandescent lighting. By the way, this includes whatever automatic processing goes on in our heads and in most cameras if you let them do it. The fact that it doesn't work in your "objective" photo that was supposed to capture "reality"--but could NOT because of your camera's lack of dynamic range--is neither interesting nor relevant to my simple, easily verifiable assertion and the reality of human perception.
    Last edited by GaAslamp; 08-25-2011 at 07:53 PM.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm an LED tint snob!

    My point with this thread wasn't to use filters to create a perfect color rendering light source, but only to share with other CPF members an inexpensive, easy, and completely reversible way to change the tint on their lights to virtually any color they want ..... warm, cool, pink, yellow, amber, red, etc.

    I've read so many threads recently where folks talked about how much they liked everything about a new light they had recently acquired EXCEPT FOR IT'S TINT, and I felt that this was a wonderful way to help those folks change that one aspect of their light to make it perfect FOR THEM.

    When asking manufacturers why they don't do a better job of picking their LED tints, I've heard the same answer over and over and over. "Oh, tint is such a subjective thing. What I think is a good tint might not be good to your eyes, so there's no point in worrying about it".

    Well finally we are no longer held captive by a manufacturer's choice of LED tint bins. We now have the power to make our wonderful lighting instruments produce the color light that is perfect for OUR EYES, and it won't require a soldering gun or trying to figure out which tint bin is right, it only takes holding these little filters up to the light, selecting the one we like, and then cutting it to size.

    What could be easier?

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* samuraishot's Avatar
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    Default

    That's how I also understood as the reason you started this thread

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