4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

selfbuilt

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Reviewer's Note: The Quark Mini lights were provided for review by 4Sevens.com. Please see their website for more info.

Warning: Even more pic heavy than usual, due to the tint comparisons. :eek:oo:

4Sevens has followed up on their initial run of Cool White tint Minis with limited runs of two new tints – Neutral White tint and Warm White tint. The Warm White tints are currently available for pre-order, and I believe the Neutral Whites will be following shortly. I also believe 4sevens is planning to offer these on their other Quark/Preon lines. Please check the 4sevens threads on CPFMP for more info.

I realize this causes some confusion, as most people commonly refer to the Neutral tint lights as “warm” – but that’s only because they are warmer than standard Cool white. The Warm tints presented here are considerably warmer than that – actually closely approaching incandescent.

To help you understand the difference between the tints I am talking about, CPF user DFiorentino has complied an excellent set of basic tint bin graphs:

Cree Cool: http://img30.imageshack.us/i/creexlampcwfull.jpg/
Cree Neutral-Warm: http://img170.imageshack.us/i/creexlampnwwfullix9.jpg/

To put things in a temperature context, premium WD-WC bin standard Cool White tints are typically in the ~5500-7000K range. By my eye, I would estimate the 4Sevens pre-release samples to be around tint code 4C/D for the Neutral White tints (i.e. ~4400K) and 7A/B for the Warm White (i.e. ~3200K). Please check for with 4Sevens for confirmation of what is actually shipping.

UPDATE: 4Sevens has provided more detail on the tint bins to be released for the upcoming Neutral/Warm lines, but I am not sure if they are exactly the same as the pre-release samples tested here.


MiniCNW-1.jpg

MiniCNW-2.jpg

MiniCNW-3.jpg


FYI, the reason for reflected tint differences in the pics above is that more phosphor is typically used to get the warmer tints. This also explains the reported output bin differences - more phosphor also mean less luminus flux (the Cool White are R5s, the Neutral Whites are R4s, and the Warm Whites are Q5s). Effectively, warmer tints always mean lower output bins for the same manufacturing methods.

BEAMSHOTS

As I discussed in an earlier thread, this poses some problems for photography where one specific color reference white point is used. Commonly, we use our camera's "Sunlight" white balance for most beamshots (~5200K in the case of my Canon, which is about typical). While not bad for Cool White/Neutral White comparisons, this makes Warm White (and incandescents) look quite yellow-orange in comparison.

Below is an animated GIF of colorful objects taken under various conditions. The first shot is during the day in natural light, followed by the various Mini tints, plus a P60 incandescent - all done under the common "Sunlight" white balance.

Mini-sunlight-full.gif


Here are some outdoor shots, starting with the control shot in daylight:

MiniAA-Outdoor-Control-1.jpg


MiniAA-Outdoor-Cool.jpg


MiniAA-Outdoor-Neutral.jpg


MiniAA-Outdoor-Warm.jpg


Again, all of the above are done with a Sunlight white balance, which seems to favor Cool/Neutral white over Warm white.

But there is also another problem – the magenta–green axis is apparently not automatically compensated for with the default Sunlight white balance. While I can see this most noticeably in the Cool white pics (i.e. they look greener in the shots above than they are in fact in real life), even the Warm tint pics don’t quite right seem right (i.e. the pics are missing some magenta).

I thought a better way to proceed might be to choose a white balance that is intermediate to all three tints. While my camera doesn’t allow me to manually specify a white balance color temperature, I can do a custom white balance. This is done by setting the WB against a neutral background under your desired lighting source. In this case, by shining all 3 sample tints onto a uniform neutral grey background to generate the custom ”average” white balance.

First, the control daylight shot:
MiniBeam1-Day-1.jpg


And now a comparison animated GIF of all the tints:
Mini-Average1.gif


Here’s another example:

MiniBeam2-Day-1.jpg


Mini-Average2.gif


Frankly, I’m not sure this custom “average” white balance is much of an improvement over the Sunlight white balance per se (the Warm tints look even warmer? :thinking:). But it has helped remove the green-magenta shifting I had noticed previously (i.e. less yellow-green in all the shots). Believe it or not, that is actually an improvement. :thumbsup:

Anyway you slice it, photography of these different tints is not a simple matter – no one white balance setting accurately captures what you eye sees. This is likely because our brains do their own “white balancing” depending on the source of light. :shrug:

At the same time, you can’t go and change the white balance for each shot. At the extreme, if you successfully matched the white balance color temperature for each tint, they would also look exactly the same! :shakehead And trying to balance the pics on my monitor/graphics card setup according to what my eye sees is meaningless – it will look different on another computer.

So, at the end of the day, it’s best to stick with one white balance (either Sunlight or the “average” I created above), and just try to objectively compare the differences. That’s why I included the P60 incan in the shots above – whatever you may think of the tints, it does help show how much the Warm tints look like an incan. :)

Subjectively, I can tell you that I prefer the Cool and Neutral white tints for outdoor use. They appear to give me the closest to daylight color rendition. However, if you actually like the look of incandescents, then the Warm tints are the closet LED match you are likely to find.

OUTPUT/RUNTIMES:

For more info on my testing methods, please see my earlier Mini AA and Mini 123 review.

MiniAA-TintRuntime.gif

Mini123-TintRuntime.gif


As you can see, my lightbox reads the Neutral tints as slightly lower output than the Cool Whites, and the Warm tints as considerably lower. Both of these are consistent with the reported output bins (R5 for the Cool, R4 for the Neutral, Q5 for the Warm).

As you can also see, runtime performance is comparable on all models. :thumbsup: Note that runtime is heavily influenced by Vf, so I wouldn’t expect wide differences from one tint sample to another – all are likely made under similar manufacturing conditions. Again, the extra phosphor simply reduces relative output.

So, in the end, the only real issue you should use to decide on these various tints is just that – tint. :)

Hope the photo comparisons were helpful!

:wave:
 
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COAST

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Another great comparison!!! Great job!
 

photonstorm

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Excellent info as usual selfbuilt.

I just received my warm white Q MiNi AA a couple days ago and just love the warmth of the light outdoors.
Using a 14500, it somewhat makes up for the difference in output compared to the cool white.

I'm looking forward to the run of R4 neutrals next month.
 

don.gwapo

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Love that warm white led. It really rendered the true color of an object at night. Now, i'm tempted to get a warm white mini cr2 so that my cool mini cr2 will have a brother.
 

Wilmette

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Awesome comparo pix, Selfbuilt. They helped me pull the trigger on a Preon 2 WW today. Thank you.
 

selfbuilt

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Re: 4Sevens Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Glad you are liking the comparisons!

I just received my warm white Q MiNi AA a couple days ago and just love the warmth of the light outdoors.
Using a 14500, it somewhat makes up for the difference in output compared to the cool white.
I would be careful running it this way. As my Mini AA/123 testing showed, these lights seem to run on direct drive on max on 3.7V Li-ion sources (like the 14500). That's a lot of heat to dissipate, and the small thermal mass of the Mini line means you are not going to be able to do so effectively.

Frankly, I've never been a big fan of those kinds of outputs in single-cell lights. For long-term performance, you are best avoiding extended Hi output on 14500.
 

TwitchALot

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Thanks Selfbuilt! Out of curiosity, do know if warm/neutral emitters are more expensive and more difficult to manufacture since extra phosphor has to be added to the LED? Are they produced in smaller quantities as a result? I still wonder why we're not seeing as many neutral/warm tinted lights as we do cool lights. Is it because of the types of LED's companies are requesting (cool) or because it's simply harder to manufacture warmer tints? :scratch:
 

GlobalPlayer

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Once again thanks selfbuilt for this graet job,

I think these comparisons and infos will help many of us which tint to choose
 

ASheep

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Great review Selfbuilt, right when I was telling myself I DON'T need a WW preon 2...:whistle:
My poor wallet has never been the same since I found this place, keep up the good reviews :popcorn:
 

dannyk

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Great job! Now to run out and buy them all.....:thumbsup:
 

cave dave

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

(the Cool White are R5s, the Neutral Whites are R4s, and the Warm Whites are Q5s). Effectively, warmer tints always mean lower output bins for the same manufacturing methods.

I believe the last run of Neutral's were Q4.
 
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cave dave

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Incorrect. The neutral white XP-G's are R4. You're off by 28%

Sorry, I edited it after I posted, without even seeing your post. I was referring to the last run of neutrals of which I own two of. Somehow I missed the fact that Selfbuilt was testing a pre-production sample of the R4. I did however go over to the neutral R4 thread and put my vote in. I plan on buying a couple and don't mind buying the extra tube needed if the complete flashlight is a different configuration. Thanks for doing the special runs. :thumbsup:
 
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selfbuilt

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Thanks Selfbuilt! Out of curiosity, do know if warm/neutral emitters are more expensive and more difficult to manufacture since extra phosphor has to be added to the LED? Are they produced in smaller quantities as a result? I still wonder why we're not seeing as many neutral/warm tinted lights as we do cool lights. Is it because of the types of LED's companies are requesting (cool) or because it's simply harder to manufacture warmer tints? :scratch:
I doubt they they any more expensive for the phosphor per se (although maybe it is trickier laying it down well thick).

It probably largely just reflects demand - people are used to the cool white tints, which many see as "modern". Also, by warming up the tints, they are also lowering the overal efficiency - which goes against the grain of what most expect from LEDs.

This later point is probably fed by manufacturers - they are often try to push their lights as having the "latest and greatest" LED (as measured by luminus flux efficiency). A bit of a chicken-and-the-egg issue ... do consumers drive this mad rush for higher output bins, or do manufacturers stoke it?

At the end of the day, I think people need to consider what features they want in a light (and characteristics of a LED), and go from that. And in that sense, I welcome the option of warmer tint bins for those who want them.
 

skyfire

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

you already have the R4 neutral tint to test?! thank you 4sevens, and thank you selfbuilt!

i cant wait for the X-PG neutral tints. i already have 123-2T R5 and 123-2T Q3 neutral tint, and the X-PG neutral R4 is exactly what i want. it would be as close to perfect as possible.

4sevens, hope the 123-2T, AA tactical, and Preon 2, makes the cut. cause i am 100% sure i will pre-order those. and maybe a AA-2T, or AA turbo.
 

MarNav1

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Selfbuilt thanks for the great reviews man! 4Sevens thanks for the cool little lights! I am like a little kid, just sit and stare at the beacon! Also the packaging is much better than the box, great idea!
 

selfbuilt

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

i cant wait for the X-PG neutral tints. i already have 123-2T R5 and 123-2T Q3 neutral tint, and the X-PG neutral R4 is exactly what i want. it would be as close to perfect as possible.
I agree - I think the 4C0/4D0 tint bin in R4 output will indeed be highly popular.

I'm not one of the avid neutral tint fans, but I do personally prefer the 4C/D bin over the more common 5A/B. And the R4 output bin is quite impressive.
 

LEDAdd1ct

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

Thank you for your photos, selfbuilt. :)
 

TwitchALot

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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

I doubt they they any more expensive for the phosphor per se (although maybe it is trickier laying it down well thick).

It probably largely just reflects demand - people are used to the cool white tints, which many see as "modern". Also, by warming up the tints, they are also lowering the overal efficiency - which goes against the grain of what most expect from LEDs.

This later point is probably fed by manufacturers - they are often try to push their lights as having the "latest and greatest" LED (as measured by luminus flux efficiency). A bit of a chicken-and-the-egg issue ... do consumers drive this mad rush for higher output bins, or do manufacturers stoke it?

At the end of the day, I think people need to consider what features they want in a light (and characteristics of a LED), and go from that. And in that sense, I welcome the option of warmer tint bins for those who want them.

Thanks SB!
 
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Re: 4Sevens Mini Tint Comparison - Warm, Neutral, Cool White - BEAMSHOTS & RUNTIMES!

At the end of the day, I think people need to consider what features they want in a light (and characteristics of a LED), and go from that. And in that sense, I welcome the option of warmer tint bins for those who want them.

Not being a guy who spends a ton of money on every latest and greatest light that comes out, I am very measured with the lights I purchase and find myself torn on which tint to get. I'm really quite set on getting a 4Sevens light, quite possibly the Preon 2. I'm probably like most of the market and want the brightest possible, but really have an inkling to try out a warm tint so I at least can say I have one and have tried it. On the other hand, the neutrals seem like a compromise with minimal lost lumens, but then I heard they have the worst CRI. Then again, I'm like you and feel the cool whites are really quite acceptable and they don't feel unnatural. What to do:(?
 

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