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Thread: How about "High CRI"

  1. #1

    Default How about "High CRI"

    0- I think you know about CRI - Color Rendering Index. Some companies have their High CRI LEDs available. but few high CRI LED lights are seen in the market. Ra lights, or someone else?

    1- High CRI LEDs has a lower Lumens/Watt ratio than latest high power LEDs such as XP-G R5. And the max power is much lower too.

    2- High CRI LEDs are more expensive.

    3- So, the reasonable way to use them is a floody EDC light, with one or more LEDs.

    4- Will you spend more money to choose a high CRI LED EDC light with less lumens and shorter runtime?

    5- Is high CRI LEDs really better than regular LEDs in a flashlight?

    Let's brainstorm it.
    Last edited by neoseikan; 06-13-2010 at 09:19 PM.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by neoseikan View Post
    0- I think you know about CRI - Color Rendering Index. Some companies have their High CRI LEDs available. but few high CRI LED lights are seen in the market. Ra lights, or someone else? Come again? HDS has theirs (93CRI, very nice) and there are 83CRI Luminus LEDs. I've seen no other one's rated. Most warm LEDs have a CRI that's just about the same as their cool and neutral brethren.

    1- High CRI LEDs has a lower Lumens/Watt ratio than latest high power LEDs such as XP-G R5. And the max power is much lower too. So, is this an actual question?

    2- High CRI LEDs are more expensive. Is that so? I mean, I suppose but we really only have the HDS as an example. I suppose if they were cheaper and easy to make we'd have more of them.

    3- So, the reasonable way to use them is a floody EDC light, with one or more LEDs. Floody is nice for EDC in my opinion. Is this a question? Why would you need more than one?

    4- Will you spend more money to choose a high CRI LED EDC light with less lumens and shorter runtime? In some applications I think it's worth the cost but we have no real examples or opportunities...so it hardly matters. Fewer LED lumens is a result of more phosphor for warmer color, not higher CRI. Those are two different things. Neither of them will have shorter runtime as far as I know.

    5- Is high CRI LEDs really better than regular LEDs in a flashlight? Depends, what's your intended use?

    Let's brainstorm it. I'm trying but you've given us nothing to brainstorm yet. LOL

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* jblackwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by neoseikan View Post
    0- I think you know about CRI - Color Rendering Index. Some companies have their High CRI LEDs available. but few high CRI LED lights are seen in the market. Ra lights, or someone else?

    1- High CRI LEDs has a lower Lumens/Watt ratio than latest high power LEDs such as XP-G R5. And the max power is much lower too.
    Right.

    2- High CRI LEDs are more expensive.
    Only if you look at them as a lumens per dollar light. If quality isn't that important to you (specifically the quality of rendering color accurately in this case), then there are plenty of other lights that are a better value in that case.

    3- So, the reasonable way to use them is a floody EDC light, with one or more LEDs.
    I only know of two "production lights" that use a high CRI, one uses a Seol (sp) and the other a Nichia. From what I understand, the emitters themselves are more expensive than the most current high output lights that put out more than twice the light. That cost is passed along to us, the consumer, if demand warrants it.

    4- Will you spend more money to choose a high CRI LED EDC light with less lumens and shorter runtime?
    That's the beauty of RA/HDS lights,they're guaranteed to run for an hour, even though they do produce less lumens, 100 lumens of Henry's light is comparable to about 120 lumens of other manufacturer's claims (I don't have a Sundrop, so I can't speak to that light).

    5- Is high CRI LEDs really better than regular LEDs in a flashlight?
    Better is a bad word to use when talking about flashlights since there are so many features and design cues. A better question might be "are high CRI-LEDs really better AT RENDERING COLOR than regular LEDs in a flashlight?" The answer to that question is yes. It's up to the user to determine their needs. Even Don McGizmo dubs his Sundrop an entry in a niche market. Yet I'm sure he sells enough of them to warrant keeping them in stock. If you're looking for a light that will throw really far w/o regard to color rendering, why would you spend ANY money on a light that has no hot spot/reflector/TIR optic in order to focus the light for throw? In that case, it's not a better flashlight for your needs.

    In another case, would you whip out an aspheric light if you needed additional lighting at a photo shoot? Try it some time, you'll get uneven lighting, total washing out of your subject, and a myriad of other problems. I can't even use my high CRI RA Clicky for photography even though it IS billed as a wider beam. It's profile is totally different from the Sundrop and isn't really suited to it, but does that mean the Sundrop is a better light? Not for spotting at a medium distance. Not to mention, if I want strobe on a light, the Sundrop is miserable at that particular task as well (no strobe or momentary on it). Then again, the Sundrop does tailstand better than my RA Clicky . . . I could go on but I hope I've made my point.

    I don't have a Sundrop only due to a lack of funds. If it seems like I'm downing it, I'm not. I love my LS20 and I've been wanting to add to my McGizmos but having trouble deciding between the Haiku and the Sundrop. That's for another thread, though. Please use better language when discussing merits of flashlight design.
    Let's brainstorm it.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Honestly I'd have to see some number comparisons to give a more educated opinion.

    I will say this though:

    Portable lighting demands efficiency since there is a lack of constant power. You have batteries and they run out. It makes sense to me to make certain sacrifices, like CRI, in order to keep your light running long and bright. If the difference in efficiency between a high CRI led and an XP-G is very large then my opinion is that they are not suited for flashlights.

    I think High CRIs would be better suited for home lighting. They would make a great alternative to those cold, depressing, low CRI CFL lights. They have a lower max output so they make only work well in clusters or for certain types of lighting (like mini pot lights lining the perimeter of a room).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    No, I wouldn't spend more money to choose high CRI. Given my usage (I am not a torch afficionado), it would be just another useless gimmick.

    The normal torches I have now show colours in a perfectly acceptable manner for me in outdoor use and on the rare occasions I use them indoors I've seen no need to chase something different either.

    I want bright light, I want cool light, I want it relatively "throwy" and I want value for my dough so until high CRI does all those things at least as well as my current cool white Eagletacs and Jetbeams and does it at no additional expense, I'll be staying away.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Vesper's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    I think you will always have a (growing) select bunch who will go for a high CRI version. I would instantly make the trade off for more expense and lower lumens for a higher quality CRI beam.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    0- No, High CRI doesn't means warmer tint. Nichia's High CRI LEDs has both pure white and warm white tints. And warmer tint LEDs can still be low CRI.

    1- Yes, the question should be more clear: What kind of people feel it more important to get higher CRI in a flashlight than to get higher output / runtime?

    2- I may be one of them, but that's because I always like niche things. How about your idea?

    3- For example, With a Nichia high CRI LED, you can get less than 80 Lumens from an EDC light, which cost about 1 Watt. That's like a light 5 years ago. So, as a flashaholic in 2010, will you give up modern high efficiency LEDs for this one?
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  8. #8

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Count me in on the "would want a high CRI light" primarily for photographic purposes. Sadly most of what's available is more than I currently want to pay and has lower output. Maybe some day I'll look in to rolling my own solution.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    I have been extremely interested in high CRI lights since the cree XR-E.. it appears lumens are all that matter for the time being, and CRI has been left stale.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    I don't enjoy using any of my LED lights. Even my warmest one (XR-E Q2-5A, which is still considered neutral) fails to offer the detail of my incans. The cool ones (e.g., WC) look downright sickly.

    I suspect that when/if I ever find an LED worthy of replacing my incans for general use, it will be an emitter with a (warm) low CCT and high CRI value.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by neoseikan View Post
    3- For example, With a Nichia high CRI LED, you can get less than 80 Lumens from an EDC light, which cost about 1 Watt. That's like a light 5 years ago. So, as a flashaholic in 2010, will you give up modern high efficiency LEDs for this one?
    Small note, there are better high CRI LEDs out there than that one. The latest high CRI Nichias (NS6L183T-H1) offer a vast improvement over that, I've got 8 of them that put out 132-150 lumens at 800 mA, tint is ~4500, the highest tint bin on the datasheet is about 190 lumens at 800 mA (but I should mention that I've never seen those). There have been a couple of group buys for High CRI SSC P4s at a similar state, the most recent was 143-163 lumens at 800 mA, CCT at ~4000K. Still a fair distance from XP-Gs, SST-90s and the like, but not as bad as what you've suggested.

    As for me personally, I've been spoilt by high CRI LEDs, and generally prefer high CRI, high CCT lights with them as an EDC, the Nichias mentioned above are the best I've found. I'll still have some lower CRI LEDs, but those are more for specific purposes.

    Talking to a SSC rep a few months ago, I was told that there were high CRI P7s in the works, 900 lumens at 2.8A. That said, it was supposed to be out 2 months ago, so I wouldn't factor it into anything at the moment. Them and the high CRI SST-90s that were supposed to happen at the end of last year. If/when those come out in a sufficiently high CCT, the only reason I'll have for low CRI LEDs will be dedicated throwers, and maybe not even then.
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  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    1- High CRI LEDs has a lower Lumens/Watt ratio than latest high power LEDs such as XP-G R5. And the max power is much lower too.
    Thats my understanding... I think they are also more delicate and can not be driven as hard as colder tints.

    2- High CRI LEDs are more expensive.

    Thats my understanding as well.

    3- So, the reasonable way to use them is a floody EDC light, with one or more LEDs.
    Not necessarily. IMHO brighter is not always better.

    4- Will you spend more money to choose a high CRI LED EDC light with less lumens and shorter runtime?
    Not necessarily, depends on a lot of other factors as well.

    5- Is high CRI LEDs really better than regular LEDs in a flashlight?
    Generally yes.

    Let's brainstorm it.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Thank you for correcting.
    NS3W183-H1 has a typical If 300mA and a max If 400mA, so that I don't dare to run it at higher current.

    About the high CRI P7... The news appeared abut 3 years ago, and the rating is higher and higher, but still didn't see the sample.

    I really want one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Th232 View Post
    Small note, there are better high CRI LEDs out there than that one. The latest high CRI Nichias (NS6L183T-H1) offer a vast improvement over that, I've got 8 of them that put out 132-150 lumens at 800 mA, tint is ~4500, the highest tint bin on the datasheet is about 190 lumens at 800 mA (but I should mention that I've never seen those). There have been a couple of group buys for High CRI SSC P4s at a similar state, the most recent was 143-163 lumens at 800 mA, CCT at ~4000K. Still a fair distance from XP-Gs, SST-90s and the like, but not as bad as what you've suggested.

    As for me personally, I've been spoilt by high CRI LEDs, and generally prefer high CRI, high CCT lights with them as an EDC, the Nichias mentioned above are the best I've found. I'll still have some lower CRI LEDs, but those are more for specific purposes.

    Talking to a SSC rep a few months ago, I was told that there were high CRI P7s in the works, 900 lumens at 2.8A. That said, it was supposed to be out 2 months ago, so I wouldn't factor it into anything at the moment. Them and the high CRI SST-90s that were supposed to happen at the end of last year. If/when those come out in a sufficiently high CCT, the only reason I'll have for low CRI LEDs will be dedicated throwers, and maybe not even then.
    Last edited by neoseikan; 06-14-2010 at 03:09 AM.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by csshih View Post
    I have been extremely interested in high CRI lights since the cree XR-E.. it appears lumens are all that matter for the time being, and CRI has been left stale.
    Pretty much the way it appears to me. CRI isn't the best way of describing what we're really after (CRI + CCT gets closer) but regardless: quality of light is trumped by quantity.

  15. #15
    Enlightened branespload's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    So neutral and warm tints don't necessarily have a higher CRI compared to their cool tint counterparts? If it seems that colors are more natural/better looking, at least with outdoor settings, what factors are responsible for this?

    I always figured neutral tint had higher CRI but this thread seems to say otherwise. Just curious, thanks. Cool thread btw.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by branespload View Post
    So neutral and warm tints don't necessarily have a higher CRI compared to their cool tint counterparts? If it seems that colors are more natural/better looking, at least with outdoor settings, what factors are responsible for this?

    I always figured neutral tint had higher CRI but this thread seems to say otherwise. Just curious, thanks. Cool thread btw.
    Correct, warm tints don't necessarily have higher CRI rating.

    They seem better outdoors because they are emitting more light in the red/yellow part of the spectrum making browns and earthtones richer in color. Part of the blue light was traded for this yellow/red light by shining it through extra phosphors in the led lens, and thus some light is lost in the process so you have a slight decrease in output efficiency even though the emitter is being driven the same as before the extra phosphors.

    The 3000K light is generally easier on the eyes in my experience as well, so your eyes stay a bit more dilated perhaps... just something to think about. (less angry blue glare)

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* psychbeat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    yeah - my 3b tint xpg-r2 is better on muddy rooty trails for
    sure. Ive compared it to a couple regular xpg r5s and a
    5700k SST-50 which is good but not as good as the 3B xpg FWIW

    I don t care about CRI as much as being able to see whats mud and
    whats dry dirt or rock.

    Im using mine for "extreme" downhill mtn biking tho so CRI isnt
    as important as tint probably since Im moving pretty quickly.

    the rest of the time Im using my lights for hiking n diging trails etc.
    so again- not SUPER important the higher CRI the better!

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* pjandyho's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    This thread is interesting. I have always been an incandescent fan but loved LED lights for their better efficiency. I am starting to fall in love with all the neutral and warm tinted LEDs that are being offered. Just got the high CRI Ra clicky from the delivery guy and I am very impressed. To be honest, I have thought that the high CRI offered by HDS would belong in the warm tint category but am surprised to find that the main hotspot to be almost cool white with a slightly brownish warm corona or side spill. Still very nice beam profile and color I would say. Definitely a keeper.

    With that said, I think I would prefer the high CRI for most of my camping and trekking needs and the cool white (which runs brighter) for my urban usage. High CRI lightings are really a niche product for those who needs or appreciates it.
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  19. #19
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by neoseikan View Post
    3- For example, With a Nichia high CRI LED, you can get less than 80 Lumens from an EDC light, which cost about 1 Watt. That's like a light 5 years ago. So, as a flashaholic in 2010, will you give up modern high efficiency LEDs for this one?
    yes, I personally would.

    but what about the NS6L183-H3?

  20. #20

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by csshih View Post
    yes, I personally would.

    but what about the NS6L183-H3?
    I just don't know how much better H3 is than other regular LEDs.
    But 700mA is quite good.
    Last edited by neoseikan; 06-14-2010 at 03:10 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    I know that I have been itching to try out a high CRI light more and more lately. I keep seeing things appear somewhat "flat", color-wise, with LEDs and it makes me understand the Incan guys better. I however would still like to have improved efficiency over those, which leads me to high-CRI LEDs. Yes, I think I'd be willing to trade off some of today's extreme efficiency for better color rendition and possibly more useful lumens.

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    Flashaholic* Zatoichi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    So far I've been interested in quality, brightness, beam patterns and efficiency etc. but not took much notice of tints and CRI. I used my incan P60 drop-in the other day just to check it hadn't got damaged and thought how nice things looked with it. I might start paying more interest, especially for my camping and outdoor lights. I think efficiency has got to the stage where the trade off's aren't a big issue.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    If this were a drop in module to add to my collection of lights, I would always be interested in a new one to add that had some difference. Meaning a high CRI light source would be great to have to compare to all the others and add to my stable of lights. I would be willing to pay good money for a quality build light even if its not a 300 lumen monster that we are now expecting and demanding as a minimum for a P60 type unit.

    If you are talking about building a custom light from the ground up such as your Legion II that would be a high CRI in a SST-50 general LED format type range that would be a two to three hundred dollar light, I would probably be more reluctant to spend the money myself but I am sure it would be a high quality unit.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    I wonder what the warm SST -50 version of the new Mg- PLI P-Rocket's CRI is?
    Sure seems good but I can't put a number on it. Could it be in the 80's maybe?
    Last edited by Sgt. LED; 06-14-2010 at 12:33 PM.

  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    My guess is that high CRI will always be a niche market but as to how large that niche might become, .

    A truly high CRI light will have color rendering very similar to an incandescent light of the same CCT. A moderately high CRI light may be way off in some specific color bands and noticibly different than an incandescent source of the same CCT.

    What I find promising with the LED's is the fact that they can reach higher CCT's than typical incandescent sources and potentially do this without sacrifice in CRI. It has been discussed many times but there is good reason to hope for some new standard of light based on sunlight and not incandescent sources. Incandescent sources limit us to the planck curve. LED sources open a much wider potential range of agregate tint as well as color rendering across the full spectrum.

    To date, the high CRI LED's I have worked with do not lend themselves well to collimation. The Nichia's which I believe have the best output in terms of CCT/CRI consist of multiple die and their projected or collimated image is not on par with a single die source. There also seems to be more variation in apparent tint from spot to spill with the high CRI LEDs which can be an obvious artifact in itself whether it is significant in actual use or not.

    I get the impression that commercial and industrial lighting has keyed on CCT to a certain extent but the actual CRI is more secondary if even a consideration. I think it would take a demand push to bring CRI into relevance but where would such a push come from? I think when it comes to portable lighting, even more emphasis is placed on quantity of light and not quality. In the majority of situations, I think the demand for quantity is reasonable and justifiable even if there are other alternatives available. The more choices we have available to us the better chance we have of making the appropriate choice. Obviously the better we understand these choices the easier it is to make the best choice based on our wants and needs.

    If the technology could bring us to a 5-6K CCT and 100 CRI light source of homogeneous light regardless of collimation and beam distribution, I would guess that most of us would be quite satisfied on all counts. That is not to say that our preferences might be elsewhere but such a light would not be deficient in its ability to illuminate and differentiate. Obviously I assume such a source to be sufficient in flux (lumens) for the task at hand. If such a source were more costly in currency be it power or money, it would not be the choice made for many of us in many applications. I started this paragraph with the condition of "If technology could". That's only the first hurdle and the bigger and tougher hurdle is that of marketing.

    If CRI is below some threshold then it starts to loose any meaning as an average because we really need to know where the spikes and troughs are on its spectral graph.
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  26. #26
    Flashaholic* BigHonu's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    I am not a High CRI proponent when it comes to portable/EDC style lighting as I feel that flux/efficiency is a more important factor. Tint preferences aside, I believe that the ability to 'see' what is out there is the main goal of our lighting choices. High CRI is almost useless if the flux is insufficient.

    Hopefully the manufacturers can get to a point where High CRI lighting becomes the norm as LED lighting makes its way into the home lighting market. If I can get High CRI, 5000K in color temp, and 300+ lumens at reasonable drive levels, and a reasonably small die size, I would buy that.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. LED View Post
    I wonder what the warm SST -50 version of the new Mg- PLI P-Rocket's CRI is?
    Sure seems good but I can't put a number on it. Could it be in the 80's maybe?
    It's 83CRI.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigHonu View Post
    I am not a High CRI proponent when it comes to portable/EDC style lighting as I feel that flux/efficiency is a more important factor. Tint preferences aside, I believe that the ability to 'see' what is out there is the main goal of our lighting choices. High CRI is almost useless if the flux is insufficient.

    Hopefully the manufacturers can get to a point where High CRI lighting becomes the norm as LED lighting makes its way into the home lighting market. If I can get High CRI, 5000K in color temp, and 300+ lumens at reasonable drive levels, and a reasonably small die size, I would buy that.
    I would agree but you probably don't even need 100 lumens in the EDC style lighting that you're talking about. Throw is the only thing that would truly necessitate needing maximum lux in my book and throw is useless in edc as anything more than a toy (again, in the EDC role).

    I'm with you on the high CRI, 5000K and 300+ lumens (with good run time). Until then I'll enjoy my 600 lumens at 3000K and 83CRI or get a RA with 100 lumens and 93CRI or sacrifice some run time and use one of the many incan rechargeable choices.

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    Thank you, that's good to hear!

  29. #29
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    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    kito109654,

    Yes, 100 lumens would make a great EDC. I find that while I have access to more lumens (Haiku XP-G and HDS 170) I mostly use the lower levels.

    Max lux helps with throw, however I was referring to max flux. IMO, you would need MORE total lumens for a floodier type beam to be effective, and especially so when dealing with a High CRI type source. Lower flux is not so bad if you are dealing with things 5-10 feet away, but a problem if the distance increases and you want to keep the relative advantage of a High CRI source.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: How about "High CRI"

    LOL, I even bolded the word "flux" in your post, maybe I should go take a nap. Yeah, you're totally right, a floody beam is going to need much more output.

    The nailbender drop in I just received illustrates this well. While not high CRI, 83 is adequate. It is 3000K with a very floody beam (huuuuge hotspot) and it puts out over 500 lumens after it's heated up pretty good. It will light a medium range area very well but it can't throw like my 240 lumen TK11 can.

    For it's intended purpose (night hiking) I would not trade the output for 100 lumens of 93 CRI, for example. There is certainly a trade off.

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